Lies Parents Hear From Schools About IEPs

Lies Parents Hear From Schools About IEPs

School is back in session and schools are starting to review and assess children for IEPs (Individualized Educational Plan) or 504 plans. I have been hearing from parents all over the country who are afraid about lies they are hearing at their child’s school. Many of these parents are panicked and overwhelmed. They know their child needs help at school but they do not want to ruin their child’s future.
The issue that parents are feeling confused about is should their child have an IEP or a 504 plan. An IEP is for children who are having difficulty learning subjects in the classroom. Not because they have low intelligence, because they have a different learning style. I have seen numerous parents and received numerous emails from parents stating their child’s school has told them an IEP would mark their child for life as unintelligent and possibly bankrupt the school district. None of these remarks are true.

An IEP will not stop your child from getting into a college or getting a job. Not having a decent education can stop your child from getting into college or getting a job. Therefore, if your child needs an IEP and not a 504 Plan in order to benefit from their education, not having an IEP could stop your child from getting into college or a job because they failed to receive a proper education.  

Also think about when you applied for college or a job, did they ever ask for your middle school or elementary school records? The answer is no. Therefore, there is no way for a college or job to know if they ever had an IEP unless your child volunteers the information when they apply for college. Once again, colleges and jobs never ask an applicant if they ever had an IEP. Actually, an IEP can help students receive additional time taking the SAT and ACT and assist in college if they need it. So actually, it can help a child applying to college.

As for the idea that an IEP will bankrupt the school district, this is absurd. The school districts have plenty of money to provide children who need an IEP with an IEP. A 504 plan costs the district nothing and if the district fails to comply with the 504 plan, you really have no legal recourse. The IEP process is the same across the Country and if the school doesn’t comply with the IEP, you have a number of options.

Parents before you panic or sign anything with the school district stop and think. Look at the proposed plan and decide do you think this is really what your child needs or is the school bullying you into signing their proposed plan. If you have doubts, don’t sign and seek a second opinion. You are the one in charge. The school district cannot do anything until you sign the agreement. I have seen many parents made to feel guilty if they do not sign the school’s plan. You are not a bad parent, you are a cautious parent. I have seen many schools doing what is best for them financially not what is best for your child.

For more information about IEPs and 504 plans visit the website

Dr. Michael Rubino has worked with children and families for over 19 years. For more information about Dr. Michael Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website

Camouflagging A New Dangerous Teen Behavior

Camouflagging A New Dangerous Teen Behavior

A new behavior for teenage and tween girls has been identified by an adolescent psychologist. The behavior that has been identified is called “Camouflaging.” This behavior left unidentified can lead to low self-esteem, depression, cutting etc.
Camouflaging is when an adolescent girl changes how she looks, her opinions or things that she does in order to be accepted by the other girls. The real problem occurs when the girl is changing so much about herself or does it for so long that she forgets or losses track of her real self.

While this behavior has just been identified in girls and what the researcher explains appears correct, I believe this behavior applies to boys too.

Many adolescent boys change the way they dress, their beliefs and the way they act to be accepted by their friends. I hear many of these boys telling me in therapy that they feel lost. They tell me they no longer have an idea of who they really are or believe or feel. These boys also turn to alcohol, drugs and cutting. Usually to numb out their lost feeling or to feel something.

As a result, many teens start acting like someone they are not just to be accepted. This fear of not being accepted and forgetting their real self because they has been covering it up for so long or denying their true feelings for so long can result in boys and girls having low self-esteem or feeling depressed.

This low self-esteem and depression can result in such behaviors as cutting, eating disorders, drug use, becoming sexually active etc. Often boys and girls cut just so they can feel as I stated above. The constant denying of their emotions can cause boys and girls to lose a sense of their true feelings. Therefore, cutting can occur so boys and girls feel. Denying their feeling or who they are can result in boys and girls feeling very confused. Therefore, they look for behaviors that help them remember who they are and help them identify their true feelings. They also seek behaviors that help them deal with denying their feelings or changing their behaviors. This can trigger eating disorders or drug abuse. This helps numb out the feeling and confusion of denying their feeling and trying to forget their true self. This can cause feelings of depression and anxiety too.

What should parents look for in their teens? If your son or daughter tries to stop wearing his or her glasses or if he or she all of a sudden changes how he or she dresses or acts these are possible warning signs. Another change could be not doing as well in their classes because they are afraid of looking too smart.

While it is normal for teenagers to make changes in their attitudes or how they dress, we are talking about something that goes far beyond normal self-expression.

This is what we are talking about. If teenagers are changing their hair or how they dress as a way to express themselves that is normal teenage behavior. However, if teenagers are doing it just to fit in and they end up losing a sense of their true self this is camouflaging.

Camouflaging results in depression or low self-esteem because the teenager is forgetting their true self. If they are doing it as a way of trying to experiment with their self expression, the teenager is happy and confident as stated above. This is the main point to understand. Experimenting with their dress and beliefs etc. is normal for teens and helps teenagers identify themselves, however denying or camouflaging their feelings results in teens losing themselves and many behavior problems. This is the main thing for parents to watch for in their adolescents behavior.

If you go onto Yahoo and look up Camouflaging you will find a segment on Good Morning America about Camouflaging. In fact, here is the link to the GMA segment Also if parents look at the February issue of Teen Vogue, you will find an article about Camouflaging.

Dr Michael Rubino has over 19 years experience working with teenagers and their families. Dr Rubino is considered an expert psychotherapist in the treatment of teens. For more information about Dr Rubino and his private practice visit his website at

Kindness During A Divorce

Kindness During A Divorce

We often complain and criticize each other especially during a divorce. However, what about remembering and appreciating the good times? What about looking at what you can do to help the situation rather than plan your next attack? This may result in you appreciating and respecting each other. If you are divorcing and have children, respecting each other will help you and your children. Also you may even notice your children being more respectful and cooperative. If you are setting an example of kindness and gratitude, your children have something to follow.
When I work with couples who are trying to repair or end a relationship, I ask them to think back to the beginning of their relationship. What were they attracted to? What did they admire about the other person? Remembering the good that you recognized and appreciated in the other person can make decisions that you need to make during a divorce easier. People typically act in a civil manner towards people they respect. Hate and mistrust usually ends up in a fight a no one wins. I know it sounds crazy, but trying to focus on what you appreciated in someone at one time can make a divorce easier. Given in certain situations this is not practical, but for the average divorce this can be done.

Continuing this respect and appreciation after the divorce is very important if you have children. If your former spouse re-marries and they are marrying someone who cares about your children, be grateful for this fact. Your children have two homes where everyone loves and cares about them. What more could you want? Demonstrating this respect to your children can make this transition to having a step-parent easier and not overly traumatic.

However, in order for this to occur you and your ex-spouse need to remember what you admired at one time and focus on keeping part of those feelings alive. It will also help you feel better in the long run. You won’t feel like you wasted years of your life with someone you hate. Instead, you can view the marriage as something that just didn’t work even though you are both good people. We don’t always have to assign blame. At times being grateful for the experience and what you have learned about life and yourself is better than hating your ex-spouse. This is something we need to work on and address in our society. Furthermore, as I stated above when I have parents who have taken this approach it tends to impact how your children act and help the children adjust to the divorce easier.

As a psychotherapist who works with teenagers involved in high conflict divorces daily, I see the difference when parents don’t fight. When parents don’t focus on blaming and that both parents are good people, teenagers react in a positive manner. They continue to focus on their school work, to not turn to drugs or acting out and they respect their parents. They see what their friends are going through when the divorce is high conflict and the parents hate each other. These teenagers appreciate and respect their parents for not putting them through a civil war. When this occurs teenagers can do things that amaze us in how they share their gratitude with the world. 

This high school in Ohio should be an example to us. These teenagers are in a positive environment and have seen acts of kindness and look what they have created. This is not the first school video they have done. They also did a video in 2014. These kids have received positive feedback for their acts of kindness and they are turning around and helping thousands of other people. We need to keep in mind that teenagers tend to repeat and share the experiences they live in their daily lives. Therefore, if teenagers are exposed to kindness and respect even when parents are divorcing, they are likely to share it. This is why parents need to try to look at what were the good parts of their marriage even during divorce and avoid blaming.

I have included a link to this amazing video by this high school. I encourage you to watch it, donate to their cancer cause and think about how you can encourage and acknowledge a acts of kindness in your life and marriage. Look at what high school students & teachers can do when they decide to help others. We need to support them and encourage other teens

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 19 years experience working with teenagers and families going through high conflict divorces. To learn more about his work and private practice visit his website or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy