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When a Poorly written IEP causes injury

May 31, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

When a child is denied a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), the repercussions can be much greater than you might expect.  While the obvious results of a poorly written Individualized Education Program (IEP) are a lack of education, there can be a more serious consequence in the form of injury to the student.  When injury occurs there are two separate areas of law that need to be examined, 1) Special Education Law, and 2) Personal Injury Law.  It is important to bring this up because each area of law has different rules and regulations including statutes of limitation.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Can Students with Learning Disabilities Learn How to Learn?

May 31, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many middle school and high school students with reading disabilities have difficulty understanding their textbooks and succeeding on assignments. Reasons for their difficulties include:

  • Their inability to understand the demands of the task
  • Instruction devoted solely to the mastery of subject materials, such as a social studies chapter. Read the rest of this entry →
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Two worlds collide

May 25, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I am an organized planner. I need to plan things. I need to see where the trail is taking me before I begin the journey.

I thrive on familiarity. I am a hopeless creature of habit. I hate vacations. I am anxious going anywhere I've never been before, yet I love to explore new places and their possibilities.

I feel nauseous when I talk to someone new; especially if I feel somehow inferior to them. I don't know what to expect from a new person. I am anxious about the unknown.

I am uncomfortable with spontaneity even though I am in love with the idea of it. Read the rest of this entry →

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Getting organized when you are learning disabled

May 24, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

An alternate title for this piece might be “Getting minimally organized to avoid total chaos”.

I am disorganized. I am disorganized in two ways: I am disorganized in space, and I am disorganized in time.

I am disorganized in space

Everything in its place? HAH. I’d never remember where everything goes! I’ve got thousands of items in my home. Heck, I’ve got thousands of BOOKS. Then there’s all that stuff in my kitchen! Plates! Pots! Pans! Knives! Oy vey!

That’s organizing in space. It’s hard.

My space is just not organized. I don’t remember where things are. I don’t remember how things look. I don’t remember where I put things. We had our apartment painted. After a week, I wondered: What color did the walls used to be? I don’t know. What color are they now? I’m not sure. When I was a teenager, living in a room I had lived in for 10 years or so, there was a blackout. My parents found me, 30 minutes later, crawling around on the floor, trying to find my way out.

The other day I came into the kitchen (where our washer-dryer is) to get pajamas for my son. I put them down to do something else. Then I forgot where they were and spent 5 minutes looking. Yesterday, my wife was out, and called me to ask if her glasses were on the bookcase. I went and looked and came back to tell her there was a pair of glasses there, but I didn’t know if they were hers or our son’s. “Well” she asked, “what color are they? I have a green pair and a purple pair”. “I don’t know, I’ll go look”….. “I can’t really tell”. “Well, are they half frames or full frames?” “Huh?” Half frames? Full frames? They’re glasses! She explained and I went back to look again.

I am disorganized in time

Then there is organizing in time. When to do what. How long do things take? When did things happen? During my adolescence, I got hit by a car and had surgery on my eyes. Which happened first? I have no idea. People ask me if my son was born before or after I got my PhD, and I have to think “Let’s see, he was born in 1996, I got my degree in 1999″.

Some solutions for getting organized in space
Every thing in its place” is a joke. But there are a certain few things that I have to know how to find. Each of those things has one of a few places to be. For example, my glasses are either a) On my face b) On my
nightstand or c) On the sink. NO WHERE ELSE. EVER. My keys are in my pants pocket or on my dresser. My PDA is either on my belt or on my nightstand. That’s about all. I don’t try to overload myself.

In the morning, when I do my morning routine, I work top down. Hair, face, underarms. So I can remember what I’ve done.

My books are organized by category. I’m never quite sure which category is where, but I can at least search for the right category, and then find the right book. And I’ve got them sorted by author within category. The reason that works is I only had to do it once.

Some solutions for getting organized in time

I always allow too long to do things. I’ve recognized now that that won’t change. So, I always carry a book (or two). And I resign myself to waiting.

I also try to calculate how long things will take – I’m not usually right, but at least it shrinks the error.

Peter Flom is a learning disabled adult.  In 1965, his mother started the Gateway School, and he was the first student.  He is very involved with learning disabilities, is working on a book on the subject, and has spoken about LD to several groups.  He also has a PhD in psychometrics, works as a statistician, and is a husband and a father.  His website is www.IAmLearningDisabled.com

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After The Diagnosis: Sadness or Terror?

May 24, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

I would have to say that the worst time in my marriage was before collegeman (DS1) was diagnosed. No one had any idea what was wrong and no one offered any solutions that made any sense. Hubby and I were at odds about what was wrong and how to handle it. I do know that if there had not been a diagnosis and if things had continued in that downward spiral my marriage would have faltered. You cannot continue to raise children and not agree on how to do that. You cannot continue to live in a marriage when there is no acknowledgement of a problem. You cannot continue to be with someone who doesn’t agree with anything you do or say. So luckily for us, collegeman was diagnosed and we figured out what needed to be done to help him. So contrary to all those statistics that tell you that an autism diagnosis will doom your marriage…it actually saved mine. Read the rest of this entry →
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Top Ten Questions to Ask at an IEP

May 23, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

If your child has an IEP, the following top ten list is comprised of generic questions that all parents should be asking.  This list is not specific to any disability or situation.

10.  How has the School updated the present levels of performance?

The Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs) are crucial to writing a successful IEP.  Since many IEP Teams only perform assessments every 3 years, for the triennial IEP, it’s important to understand how this section is being updated.  “This section forms the basis and justification for all goals and objectives. In turn, the goals and objectives form the basis for all services and placements.” Read the rest of this entry →

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An Interview with Carol Murphy: The impact of speech-language disorders on learning

May 22, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

1)           Carol, the field of “learning disabilities” has been with us for many years. What do you feel are the current issues in identification?

The field of learning disabilities has made great progress over the years, including better assessments and the use of MRI brain imaging, allowing for earlier and more definitive identification of a child’s learning disabilities.  Further, research into specific programs or therapeutic strategies for intervention, have greatly enhanced the ability to more closely match the learning profile of students, thus reducing the unnecessary and time consuming attempts to find the appropriate remediation tools. 

However, as I see it, there is often a disconnect between educational and clinical assessments, diagnostic identification and qualifying for assistance. Since I live in California, I can be specific to my state, although most other states follow similar patterns. Read the rest of this entry →

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IEP Team Communication All Year Long

May 18, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

In the past, I have talked about the importance of parent participation in developing your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP); however, parent participation should not end on the day of the IEP meeting.  When both the school personnel and the parents understand that the path to a successful IEP starts with ongoing communication and support from the home environment, everybody wins!  I have seen resistance to this type of ongoing communication from both parents and school personnel for a variety of reasons.  What’s important to keep in mind, is finding the appropriate method to educate a child with a disability.  If it takes a village to raise a child, imagine what it takes to raise a child with a disability. Read the rest of this entry →

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Crying in Therapy

May 17, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

For many parents, family members and therapists, crying can be a big obstacle to overcome when teaching and working with a young child. While it may be difficult to manage this sort of behaviour, it is important to understand why a child is upset as well as the things you can do in order to see his way of thinking. In my opinion, the key to handling this issue is to try to figure out where the child is coming from and be willing to view things from his perspective. In doing so, you will be able to tell the difference between when he is simply protesting something new or if he is hurt and needs you to stop and assist him in his function. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Cost of Respect in an IEP

May 16, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Cue the music…..What you want.  Baby, I got.  What you need.  Do you know I got it?  All I'm askin'.  Is for a little respect.  At the IEP.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T  Find out what it means to me. Read the rest of this entry →

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