Moving with an IEP — The Bump
Special Needs

Moving with an IEP

I have a couple of questions regarding moving with an IEP.  This will be a military move from one state to waaaay across the US (not sure if state to state matters more then within state moves).  Also, DS2's IEP is up for renewal next month and the meeting has just been scheduled for Feb. 4. 

Is there any need to mention that we will be moving?  The move is anticipated in August.  Both school districts (here and the new state) start school around the same time and I am not exactly sure which school he will start kindergarten in (here or in the new state).  My gut says he would start maybe the first 2 weeks of kindergarten here and then it will take a week to get to where we are going and then start the new school.

Has anyone moved to a new state with an IEP and how smooth was the transition?  What do I expect and how does it work?  FWIW, in case it matters, DS2 would not be at a DODEA school.  He will attend a public school no matter what (at the new state's location the actual schools on base are public schools which I had never heard of happening before). 

The new state, as I have been told by the EFMP office, has limited therapies (school and private therapies) locally but they have approved us which means that base feels they can support DS2's needs.  I am a little nervous about that but figure I will do what research I can now and then deal with whatever I can get once we are there.  Out of the options we had (involving DH's military career) this new base was our best option and I want to make the best of it.

Re: Moving with an IEP

  • Hmmm, I can't edit.  I'm not sure if it matters but mentioning in case it does.  This IEP will cover the rest of this school year (he is in pre-k special needs class currently) and then in the fall he will be in an inclusion kindergarten classroom.
  • The current IEP will follow him to the new state and be in force until they can get there own IEP set up so keep it in mind while making the bew one. No reason to disclose the move that I can think of.
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  • No answers, but I'm following this post.

    We are also a military family and will be moving later this year (though it will be for retirement, not the usual PCS).  We have only been here about a year, but DS didn't have his IEP in place yet as he was only 2 at the time. 

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  • -auntie- said:
    I have a couple of questions regarding moving with an IEP.  This will be a military move from one state to waaaay across the US (not sure if state to state matters more then within state moves).  Also, DS2's IEP is up for renewal next month and the meeting has just been scheduled for Feb. 4.  

    There's a lot to consider.

    Are they doing the IEP in February because it will expire soon? Will they be reopening the IEP to create a transitional one for kindie? Our district does rolling IEPs, but often will revisit an IEP if there's a transitional year- kindie, intermediate grades, middle and high school.

    Yes they are doing his IEP in February because it expires.  I am not exactly sure if they will reopen the IEP or not or how the entire thing even works.  DS2's teacher, during our phone call last night, did mention something about the IEP maybe only going through May and then a new one starting in August.  I am not sure how they do it here.  Since we'll be moving, I'd rather it just be one IEP with notes stating X goal would start August 2015 or something to that effect but mainly because I do not have a set date of when we will move.  We have only been told August but it all depends on what the orders will say and those have not been issued yet (we estimate we will have them in February).

    Interstate moves sometimes mean changing laws sometimes. IDEA is the law of the land, but some states have tighter timelines. His current IEP stays in place until the new LEA has a chance to evaluate and write a new one but in some states, a parent can insist the previous IEP "stays put".

    Not sure if it matters but we will be moving from TN to AZ. 

    Is there any need to mention that we will be moving?  The move is anticipated in August.  Both school districts (here and the new state) start school around the same time and I am not exactly sure which school he will start kindergarten in (here or in the new state).  My gut says he would start maybe the first 2 weeks of kindergarten here and then it will take a week to get to where we are going and then start the new school.

    That's a tough timeline. Depending on the relationship you have with the district and how cooperative they are, sometimes sharing a coming moves will yield a spectacular set of services because the school knows they won't be paying for them. Other districts resent the time and expense of drafting something that will never be used and do the absolute generic minimum.
    I am not confident on the relationship we have with the district.  I had to request an IEE when everything first started because the PT eval was incomplete and completely inaccurate on something and she would not come up with resolutions of her own.  I'm sure I'm not liked by her and am "that parent" as I have also had to speak with the former principal when his IEP has been out of compliance.  The relationship between his current teacher and aides is excellent though.  It is because of this potentially negative relationship that I specifically do not want to notify them of the move until the new IEP is signed and dated.

    What sort of placement do you anticipate? If he's in a self contained setting now and will be transitioning to one much like it in the same building, it might make sense to start at the current school. But if he'd be adjusting to a new classroom structure, building, teachers, classmates and then doing the same all over again in a couple weeks, you could have some behavior issues or regression. I'd discuss this with his psychologist if you have one.

    TBH, if my kid was only getting a week or two in one place before moving, I'd probably just start him at the new school.

    I am expecting him to be in an inclusion kindergarten class in the fall.  His current teacher also feels that this is his least restrictive environment and the best placement for him.  My understanding of the inclusion classroom (from his current teacher) is that it is across the hall from her class, that there are approximately 16 kids total, and that there is 1 aide and 1 teacher.  While I assume we would start school in TN (solely dependent on when the orders state we have to be in AZ), I don't really see the point if he would only be there for a week or two.  But how do you deal with that? I wouldn't want him counted truant or anything.  Or is it simply I withdraw him from school?  He is technically not compulsary age in August.  Here it is 6yr old and he won't be 6 until Oct. 

    Has anyone moved to a new state with an IEP and how smooth was the transition?  What do I expect and how does it work? 

    I've never done it, but I know many who have. This is one of those situations you almost can't predict. A big piece will depend on differences in how schools do things. How well versed they are in IDEA, what sort of resources exist that they can slide your child into. Given that they're on a military base, I'm guessing they'd well practices at transitioning kids and interpreting IEPs into their preferred packages. 

    One thing that is open to change is the where services are offered. Some districts tend to mainstream all students for at least part of the day using integrated or inclusion model classes. Some push in services like OT or SLT others have pull outs. Some have ASD and DD classrooms, some have OOD placements for kids who require self contained classrooms (my district uses the IU for self contained settings- a kind of local sped coop). Some places put a para in each class or with each kid; other turf kids who require an aide to a smaller class setting.

    For AZ,  I am not sure what they actually have.  At this point I have only spoken with the EFMP coordinator who is the one who stated services are limited (I failed to ask specifics).  She mentioned that the schools on base are public schools and not DOD schools (which surprised me only because I thought all schools on military bases were DOD schools).  She did mention that it is possible he would get sent to a school district in a nearby town.  I was planning on sending the new IEP to them to share with the SpEd director there once I had it.  They had previously requested his current IEP before they gave the yay or nay on if we would be able to PCS there.  Due to the EFMP status, the base has to look everything over to see if they have the services to support the EFM.  If they feel they can then you can be assigned there but if they feel they can't then they deny the PCS.

    What is the difference between integrated and inclusion?  Or is it the same thing?

     FWIW, in case it matters, DS2 would not be at a DODEA school.  He will attend a public school no matter what (at the new state's location the actual schools on base are public schools which I had never heard of happening before). 

    The new state, as I have been told by the EFMP office, has limited therapies (school and private therapies) locally but they have approved us which means that base feels they can support DS2's needs.  I am a little nervous about that but figure I will do what research I can now and then deal with whatever I can get once we are there.  Out of the options we had (involving DH's military career) this new base was our best option and I want to make the best of it.

    Ugh. Is this a very rural area? IDEA is IDEA. There's some wiggle room, but if your kid requires something educationally, they have to figure it out. What does your son get now?

    At school my son gets PT and OT both twice per month.  He has an adaptive toilet system and an adaptive swing for the playground (both of these were in his IEP).  He also has an adaptive chair for the cafeteria and one in the classroom (used only if he is having a weaker day).  He has an IHP with parameters in the IEP for how to deal with his nut allergy (lunch and when food is in the classroom).  Nothing is really over the top IMO.  I'm not sure what it is called but I anticipate he will need more assistive type services.  I'm pretty sure I am using the wrong terminology.  I mean things like he'll need to be granted more time to get to/from the cafeteria for lunch, maybe work more on keyboard vs writing skills, have his work dictated and someone else write it for him, and similar type things.  The school will need to figure out how they will deal with him going to the bathroom because an aide will be required for that, where his adaptive toilet system will be, etc.  Things that, IMO, shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

    I wonder if it makes sense to contact the new district head of special services and make a connection once you have the new IEP in hand. They may be able to shed some light on how a child like yours might be serviced in the district. At least they'd have a heads up. Ask if they have a SEPTA or other parent group locally that could help you find local resources.

    What is SEPTA?

    Thank you to all who have responded and helped!
  • I would recommend giving the new district a copy of the iep ahead of time if possible. We dealt with a move last year to a new state and it was a nightmare. It may just be the state/people we dealt with but they basically threw out our iep and tried to drastically cut minutes without doing a new evaluation. Long story short after months we finally came to an agreement. If you can get an idea of if the new district has a similar program and is willing to provide similar accommodations (of course if it's deeked necessary they would have to, but they may want to do their own evaluation for that) then that would be a good start.
  • Dd had an IEP when we moved from Germany to NM (and between two school districts) to AZ to NE. We did IEP meetings shortly before moving a few of those times just to get updated input from the teachers/staff that were used to working with dd. Other times we didn't feel the need/have the ability to do a pre-move review. One thing I found to be essential was to make sure I kept my copy with our other important papers (birth certificates etc) during the move so that the gaining school could make a copy during registration since it sometimes can take a bit for the student files to transfer (we were not allowed to hand carry official student records) and the last thing needed is to not have a copy of IEP in the school on the first day. I would also not start at the current school for a week or two and then move if starting at current location would involve adapting to a new place, room, schedule, etc.

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  • FWIW, none of the stateside schools my kids attended were under the DoD school system. All were run by the local school districts and some had to allow non-military families to send their children there....even when the school was completely on base.

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  • -auntie- said:

    -auntie- said:



    Yes they are doing his IEP in February because it expires.  I am not exactly sure if they will reopen the IEP or not or how the entire thing even works.  DS2's teacher, during our phone call last night, did mention something about the IEP maybe only going through May and then a new one starting in August.  I am not sure how they do it here.  Since we'll be moving, I'd rather it just be one IEP with notes stating X goal would start August 2015 or something to that effect but mainly because I do not have a set date of when we will move.  We have only been told August but it all depends on what the orders will say and those have not been issued yet (we estimate we will have them in February).

    So they have to do the IEP now to keep it legal. It does make sense to revisit in April or May to create a transitional one for kindie and also to explore ESY if that would be appropriate. 

    My guess is the goals and service parts for kindie would be so very different that writing them now might not yield the sort of goals you can anticipate nearly nine months away in another state.

    I do not expect him to qualify for ESY (he hasn't yet).  His disability is CP and mainly physical.  Gross and fine motor deficiencies for sure.  He seems cognitively on track but I am not sure if there are any underlying learning disabilities at this point.  I am not sure how to figure that out either.


    Not sure if it matters but we will be moving from TN to AZ.  

    I'm not sure of the particulars in terms of these states.

    I realize I never really answered your question of if this was a rural area or not.  Part of me says yes but only because of the towns I have lived in.  I can't find much online other then during normal base hours (think typical business hours) there are upwards of 18,000 people on the base.  The largest neighboring town has a population of around 43,000.  The area is not necessarily rural but is a lot smaller then where we have been stationed in the past.

    I am not confident on the relationship we have with the district.  I had to request an IEE when everything first started because the PT eval was incomplete and completely inaccurate on something and she would not come up with resolutions of her own.  I'm sure I'm not liked by her and am "that parent" as I have also had to speak with the former principal when his IEP has been out of compliance.  The relationship between his current teacher and aides is excellent though.  It is because of this potentially negative relationship that I specifically do not want to notify them of the move until the new IEP is signed and dated.

    Makes sense. 

    I am expecting him to be in an inclusion kindergarten class in the fall.  His current teacher also feels that this is his least restrictive environment and the best placement for him.  My understanding of the inclusion classroom (from his current teacher) is that it is across the hall from her class, that there are approximately 16 kids total, and that there is 1 aide and 1 teacher. 

    It's hard to say. Schools use all manner of labels for different classrooms. In my district, elementary "inclusion" would be a classroom with up to 1/3 of the kids on an IEP for various reasons. In the primary grades it might include kids with ASD, ADHD, ID, significant speech delays, etc. Our inclusion classes are mostly co-taught, and tend to have close to the district mandate class sizes of 24 in primary. In secondary, "inclusion" would be 2-3 kids with an IEP for ADHD, ASD or perhaps a mild SLD in a class of 30 kids.

     While I assume we would start school in TN (solely dependent on when the orders state we have to be in AZ), I don't really see the point if he would only be there for a week or two.  But how do you deal with that? I wouldn't want him counted truant or anything.  Or is it simply I withdraw him from school?  He is technically not compulsary age in August.  Here it is 6yr old and he won't be 6 until Oct.  

    This is totally your call to make. Since he'd be in the same building, maybe he would transition OK. Maybe not. If he's not "compulsory age" they can't mark him truant, but there's the issue of pulling a kid with an IEP out. Does he have a dev pedi or psychologist who could/would weigh in and perhaps supply you with a letter if it's decided he's do better with one transition once he gets to AZ?

    He does have a developmental pedi that we only see once per year and it is more just a checkup where the pedi makes sure we are seeing who we should be.  I need to make an appointment with him anyway since I am behind on this year's appointment.  I will make a note to ask him about the whole should he go to school briefly here or not thing.  Thank you for this suggestion!
     
    She did mention that it is possible he would get sent to a school district in a nearby town.  I was planning on sending the new IEP to them to share with the SpEd director there once I had it.  They had previously requested his current IEP before they gave the yay or nay on if we would be able to PCS there.  Due to the EFMP status, the base has to look everything over to see if they have the services to support the EFM.  If they feel they can then you can be assigned there but if they feel they can't then they deny the PCS.

    Once they get your new IEP signed and the orders come through, I'd share the IEP and talk about a plan to replicate his services in place.

    I was planning on doing this but it is nice to see it in writing that this is really what should happen as well.  Would you suggest I talk to the Special Ed director (I believe this is who looked at the actual IEP but I can find this out) or the school liason officer at the new base?

    What is the difference between integrated and inclusion?  Or is it the same thing?

    Hard to say. Integration and inclusion are sometimes used interchangably, but are different philosophically and in typically in practice. Generally you only see intergrated at a preschool level. Often these classes are created to serve IEPs needs for a range of kids; sometimes typical non-disabled students attend as peer models but not always.

    DS2's preschool is only kids with IEPs but is held at the elementary school I am zoned for. 

    Inclusion is about adapting a learning community to meet the needs of all students.


    At school my son gets PT and OT both twice per month.  He has an adaptive toilet system and an adaptive swing for the playground (both of these were in his IEP).  He also has an adaptive chair for the cafeteria and one in the classroom (used only if he is having a weaker day). 

    That shouldn't be an onerous schedule for IEP services. I could see, however, the school district turfing him to a different building that already has the gear (and the people familiar with it) if these things don't exist in the school that serves your new catchment area.

    It's not strictly legal for them to say "we don't have that/do that here" but they may be used to getting away with it. LRE is his neighborhood school. You might want to read Emotions to Advocacy before you meet with the new district.

    I am actually expecting to be told he will go to school off base.  I have no reason to think this it is just a gut feeling.  I do have the book you suggested already so I will get to reading that more in depth.
     He has an IHP with parameters in the IEP for how to deal with his nut allergy (lunch and when food is in the classroom).  Nothing is really over the top IMO. 

    The nut allergy thing is no biggie. But toileting could be. A lot of schools get really squicky about helping mainstreamed kids with the bathroom. I don't know what exactly the issues are, but is independence in this realm possible? This is a common reason to be turfed.

    Toileting is somewhat independent.  He requires an adaptive seat and if there isn't one, someone would have to hold him up on the toilet because he cannot do that for himself.  They have worked very hard at his school on getting him to push his pants down/pull them up on his own and from their set up they say he can (but he still has trouble sometimes with getting his pants over his butt).  There is a definite fall hazard in the bathroom without some adaptive equipment and minor help (to include getting on/off a step stool for washing and drying hands).

    I'm not sure what it is called but I anticipate he will need more assistive type services.  I'm pretty sure I am using the wrong terminology.  I mean things like he'll need to be granted more time to get to/from the cafeteria for lunch,

    This isn't a huge deal and could be put in place via an IEP, IHP or even a Section 504.


     maybe work more on keyboard vs writing skills,

    Eh, not sure you want to go there in kindie unless your DS's disability is such that writing isn't a reasonable goal. If he's only gett bi-monthly OT, I'm guessing that's not the case.

    Many places don't introduce keyboards until the second half of first at the earliest.

    I'm not exactly sure what I'm suggesting. LOL  His writing hand gets tired very easily and I don't foresee him ever really being able to handwrite papers (although that is obviously not done in Kindergarten!).  I suppose it all depends on what and how much writing is expected.  He does not write size appropriate (working on it) and his main writing goals in school are being able to write his name independently (in private it is the same thing plus learning how to write all of the alphabet). 

     have his work dictated and someone else write it for him, and similar type things.

    So a scribe? That would be a para which is an $$$ proposition. This is the kind of thing that could have him removed to a resource setting for academics or even included in a self contained classroom that already has multiple paras available in it. He could be mainstreamed for classes in whisch this isn't necessary. 

    The other problem with a scribe going forward is the stigma. Other kids will notice and may make assumptions about how special your child is or that they have some unfair advantage. I would absolutely be 100% certain a scribe was needed and would explore other adaptive options.

    I am not sure an actual scribe is needed at this point.  I was thinking more like if the teacher asked X for an assignment, he would give the answer, and the teacher or aide would write it down for him or they would have to help him physically write it down (hand over hand type of thing).  He does not have the endurance to write a lot, nor does he really understand staying on the line, word spacing, letter size, etc.  I suppose all of those things are items that are worked on in Kindergarten anyway but I really don't know.  I think I most worried about him being assigned written work and not being able to complete it and then getting marked off for it.

     The school will need to figure out how they will deal with him going to the bathroom because an aide will be required for that, where his adaptive toilet system will be, etc.  Things that, IMO, shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

    This can be a deal breaker in some schools unfortunately. Often the default on this is the nurses' suite if they have one which may limit school assignment. Is this going to be a permanent need? Or is it something he'll take over at some point?

    I probably stated most of this above.  For the current term, he will require some sort of supervision in the bathroom as there is a fall/injury risk due to his balance issues and still working on being able to independently push down/pull up pants and underwear.  The adaptive toilet, at least for this current school, I am not too worried about because if the inclusion K class is kept where it is then it is right across the hall and he could easily be taken there for bathroom breaks.  I would be nervous to have his adaptive seating be in a regular bathroom where unsupervised children go because I could completely see kids breaking it (general kid curiosity).  I could totally see kids messing around with it just because it is different (even though it would be super gross!).  And without the adaptive toilet seat, an adult would physically have to hold him up on the toilet while he went to the bathroom.
    What is SEPTA?

    Special Education PTA. In schools where these exist, there's lots of support and advocacy information available from those who have gone before or are dealing with similar issues currently.

    I have never heard of this but will see what I can find out.  I have a strong feeling given the size of the new base that there would not be one there (and I don't think there is one here either as I have never heard of it).

    In the end, I just want the transition to be as smooth as possible.  I truly cannot thank you enough for you insight as some of the things you bring up I had not thought off (like the toileting issue and it being possible he is shipped to the nurses office for something like that).  Are there other things to look into and/or be aware of? 




  • Let me see what I can answer here.  Thanks again for all of your insight!

    1. ESY: If he regresses I think it is more of me taking a break at home and "just letting him be a kid" kind of thing.  For example, he does not use his walker much at home because, quite frankly, the house we rent is not walker friendly (and it is a multi level house). However, with our move I will be looking into either base housing or renting a ranch level house.  At this time, I am actually being much more proactive and assertive in him doing more skills at home (undressing/dressing a bit more, not carrying him as much/helping him walk HHA and go up the stairs with help vs crawling, etc.).  A lot of that is not only is he simply getting too big but I am expecting a baby in early May and need him to be a bit more independent in the areas I can work on.  He does have private therapies weekly if there is school or not.

    2.  Talking to Special Ed prior to arrival: Since we are moving, should I be expecting full evals?  He will be turning 6 in October so I believe he is due anyway right?  If this is the case, what do I do here?  Ask for brand new evals?

    3. The school and to start kindie there or not: Yes he is very comfortable in the school.  This is his 2nd year at the special ed preschool although this is his first year of going full time and he had no transition issue.  The first year he went he only went 2 days per week.

    4. Potentially be shipped off base for school:  At this point we are looking into base housing, meaning his home school should be the one on base; however, we are not necessarily set on living there.  I have plans on looking at the largest town nearby (which is where I think he would get shipped to IF they could not take care of his school needs on base).  And if he was going to end up being at a school not on base, I would more then likely look into living in the town of whatever school he would be in.  I do the parent drop off/pick up thing and don't have him ride the bus.

    5. Bathroom time: He has an adaptive seat and sits to pee.  I know he pees at school but his poop schedule is not regular and he does not seem to typically poop during school hours although he has in the past.  One of his big IEP goals this year was actually getting him to tell them he had to go to the bathroom and this goal has finally been met.  I honestly do not know if he could eventually learn to stand to pee.  That goal has never really entered my mind to be honest.  I would think as long as he has something to hold on to (handicap bar as long as it is in reach or the bars that can go right next to the toilet) I think this may be possible.  He is unable to independently stand at this point.  We are lucky if he will static stand for 30sec.  There is currently no way he would be able to stand without support, get his pants and underwear down, pee, get his pants and underwear back up, etc.  We do not try at home because the toilet at the house is too tall (and way to short if he stands on a stool).  I am absolutely up for trying this with safety rails once he is a bit taller.  To be really honest, I had never even thought of the whole social stigma of sitting to pee, peeing standing up being some sort of bonding experience with boys, etc.  I will also ask to take a look at how low their classroom toilet is (his adaptive seat is actually removeable and is only used when he goes to the bathroom).  I do know that they have some sort of bar that he holds on to while pushing his pants down/pulling them up and they are not holding on to them (this was news to me as I thought they were holding him at the waist).  I have already asked for a picture of the setup (I'm curious to see if it is something I can duplicate at home or maybe where we end up).  I also had not thought of the whole him being alone with an adult in the bathroom thing which is odd because this is generally something I think about but more so for public bathrooms like a gas station, Target, etc.  I will certainly be working more diligently on his bathroom skills.  He is verbal though and typically tells me when anything happens at school. For example, last week they were on modified lockdown. He told me before he was even put in the car and before the aide (not personal but classroom) could even tell me.

    6. To scribe or not to scribe: I had not thought of how time intensive it would be for an aide or the teacher to simply write down whatever assignment he would need written.  I think finding out how much writing is involved is something I need to ask the school and kindergarten teacher and then the teacher out where we are headed.  I also had not that about how a teacher could potentially leave a lot of the teaching/supports to an aide if he had one although I can see why it would happen.  As for tone issues, yes, his posture is completely affected.  He has to frequently be corrected to sit up straight.  He can sit in a regular classroom chair as long as he has his feet touching the floor but quite honestly that doesn't really help his posture.  He often slouches down (think teenage posture in a chair!) especially when he does cutting activities.  Tone in the hands? I will need to double check with his private OT on if she thinks his tiring out will be less as he writes more.  I wouldn't say his brother excelled at writing in preschool. He did not go to an actual preschool though. Both boys were in an in-home daycare where the provider did do school work. DS1 learned to read at 4 and was writing very simple and small things before he went to kindergarten.  He is in first grade now and his writing is getting better but I think it would match up to the average first graders writing. 

    7. Question on learning disabilities: Since I do not know if DS2 has a learning disability (although it is common with kids with CP), how would I figure it out?  The only thing I have really figured out at this point is that while he knows his letters and the sounds they make but he has a hard time sounding words out (not sure if this is just laziness or an actual problem).  He'll tend to guess at the word.  He does seem to pick up sight words easily.  My husband did have dyslexia (I think and he isn't here at the moment to ask) when he was younger and he was a lefty who mirror wrote for awhile in case that matters. 
  • Mirror writing in lefties could be simply that they are copying the motion of writing that they observe from right handed teachers (across the body and back out). We encountered that with dd, a lefty while ex and my whole family are right handed. Once I realized dd's daycare room teacher was also a lefty and asked her to sit with dd so she could see how lefties wrote the mirror writing disappeared......just throwing it out there that mirror writing by lefties isn't always an indication of learning disabilities.

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