IEP for 7 year old with Tourettes, ADHD,OCD and Anxiety Disorder

Dr. Laura,

My 7 year old son underwent a full evaluation in March and was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and OCD.

He was constantly in trouble last year at school for things he couldn't control (ie- his motor and vocal tics, his need to touch the walls, etc.) and even after hearing the diagnosis, his school told us that they couldn't get him an IEP in place until they received all the paperwork (report) from the team that evaluated him. So, for the last 2.5 months of first grade he was still punished for his conditions, even though school personnel was fully aware of what was going on.

His report came to us in July, and after playing phone tag with his school we have finally set up a meeting to put an IEP in place. My question is, where do I even start with an IEP?? I know that the obvious things are things that were suggested in his report-- his need for occupational therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. After the therapies, I am left clueless as to what I need to be asking for and what I don't!

Thanks In Advance,

It is overwhelming to raise a child with these issues, and even more overwhelming to navigate the school system. I would suggest that you call the school and ask them to give you a referral for an advocate. That person will know what resources are available. Be persistent so you get this name asap.

You should also see yourself as a full-fledged member of the IEP team. Ask whatever questions you need to so that you fully understand the discussions and recommendations. Be sure you are comfortable with the plan, and don't agree to it until you are. See these folks as resources for your son, but you are the one who knows him best.

I would add that if your son has been punished by the school for his tics and other inadvertent behaviors, he may need some counseling. This is not a usual part of the IEP but the advocate should be able to refer you to someone and the school should cover this expense. You might want to point out to the school that this counseling is to address his reaction to their handling of his issues, and that it will help him to behave in class in the future.

Good luck!
Dr. Laura

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I have seen amazing improvement in my *very* angry 17 year-old son after acknowledging that there was a reason he was so angry and acting out. We have had several heartfelt conversations and I have seen a real change in how he treats his younger brother, and how he treats me.


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