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WANTED: Parent Stories Of IEP And 504 Meetings

September 29, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

For the book:

When a School Says No, How to Get the Yes!

This is a book based on school meetings that were and were not successful in meeting a child’s needs and obtaining appropriate educational services. As a parent, how many times have you wished you knew what to say or how to ask for and obtain a service? This book will show parents how to do that, how to take the lead in school meetings and have school personnel collaborate with you. The book is based on analyses of true life scenarios through an easy to use set of questions that can be posed by parents and advocates. If you are interested in submitting a scenario of an IEP or 504 meeting(s) where you were or were not successful in obtaining educational services to meet your child’s needs, please send an email to Gettingtheyes@verizon.net to learn more about this book and receive guidelines for submission of your scenario. (We are working with a publisher, but have decided to expand on the areas of disabilities and issues before finalizing our submission to the publisher.)

THANK YOU for your interest in our book: When the School Says No, How to Get the Yes! You will find two documents attached to this email that will assist you in understanding the kind of scenarios we are seeking and how we will use these to assist other parents work with schools to obtain the programming and services needed to meet their children’s identified needs. You will also find a brief description of who we are at the bottom of this email

GUIDELINES FOR SCENARIO SUBMISSIONS This document will provide you with information as to the content of the scenarios we are seeking and what the reader can expect from reading your submission and the review and analysis carried out by the authors.

HOW TO GET FROM HERE TO THERE To further assist you in understanding the purpose and direction the book will take, attached is the article entitled How to Get From Here to There and the link to where this was published on the internet. The article highlights the basic concepts of the book and gives insight into the processes used to achieve a collaborative school meeting in order that appropriate programming and services are provided to meet the child’s needs. The book, itself, will provide extensive detail on how to use the key questions to attain an appropriate plan and program of services.

I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR SHARING with us your story to add to our book. Other interested parents and educators who read this book will learn a new set of skills to use during school meetings that will facilitate a collaborative approach to identifying and providing the programs of services that will meet the needs of children who are identified as having a disability or require a 504 plan.


Vaughn K. Lauer, Ph.D. is an educator with over 30 years of public school service spanning experiences from preschool through post-secondary levels. Dr. Lauer has been a teacher and university instructor and a building, district and state administrator in the field of public education. He has worked in the fields of general and special education with most of his career in special education. He has also worked in the areas of test development for students with disabilities and professional development for general and special education personnel and parents.

Guidelines for Scenario Submissions

Thank you for your interest in taking part in the creation of the book: WHEN A SCHOOL SAYS NO, HOW TO GET THE YES! After reading the GUIDELINES, please read the article HOW TO GET FROM HERE TO THERE included in this email and also published on the internet at:

http://www.specialeducationadvisor.com/how-to-get-from-here-to-there-in-an-iep-meeting/ to gain a deeper understanding of the purpose behind this book.

THE SUCCESS OF THIS BOOK is owed to the PARENTS of children with disabilities who have taken an extraordinary amount of time to provide us with their stories of struggles to obtain educational services for their child. It is also owed to those PARENTS who were ultimately successful in obtaining services—either readily or after a great deal of time and effort. It is you, the PARENT, who is able to convey, not only the steps you had to take, but the disappointments and frustrations you experienced along the way, as well as the triumphs. We thank you and are grateful for your time to write and send us your scenarios, so that we can analyze them to show other parents how to apply a structured collaboration process through use of the query method—that is, through a series of specific questions that are asked of the whole team—in order to develop a plan or intervention (i.e., IEP, 504, BIP) designed to meet children’s identified needs. And all of this is achieved through collaboration with the school personnel.

WE ARE SEEKING STORIES that depict key points and actions where a school meeting (IEP) failed, or succeeded, to achieve an outcome supporting the meeting of your child’s IEP, 504 Plan or identified educational needs. The detail of your story must capture a clear sequence of events (exact or approximated dates) and interactions among IEP team members that show what went wrong, what went right, and the effort and steps you and the school took to achieve or failed to achieve what you were seeking that would meet your child’s needs.

THE READER SHOULD BE ABLE to understand what you went through and envision the issues of discussion and the outcome(s) of that discussion. They should know who the individuals involved were by title. The reader should recognize what was offered, refused or rejected by you or the school and why. You DO NOT need to reference IDEA, 504 or ADA regulations and you DO NOT need not be an expert in those laws and regulations. You need to tell your story, so that the reader will understand what took place causing you to want to have your story told and have it reviewed and analyzed against set of key questions in order to aide others in achieving successful school meetings where their child’s needs are appropriately identified and where the school provides the necessary educational programming and services to meet those needs.



1. Scenarios are limited to 15 double spaced pages and usually are between 12-15 pages.

2. Scenarios must be authentic, written by the person making the submission and not have been previously published.

3. Scenarios must provide all of the contact information, as listed, and be included in the body of the email.

4. Scenarios need to be in Word and sent as an attachment to the email.


1. Fictitious names of people, places, schools, districts and programs

2. Titles of personnel

3. Actual/Approximate Dates

4. Age and grade of your child when the story took place


YOU MAY BE CONTACTED for clarification of key points or the sequence of events in order that the story is analyzed correctly and objectively.

IF YOUR STORY IS CHOSEN FOR PUBLICATION you will be contacted requesting your permission to publish your submission. Please understand that your submission may be edited for form and format so that it accommodates the structure of the book. Every effort will be made so as to not lose the substance of the scenario.

Because of the number of submissions, you will only receive further information if your story has been selected for publication.




First Name

Middle Initial

Last Name

Mailing Address


PO Box




Zip Code









Deadline for submissions is December, 2012.


Most educators have had limited training in the use of statistics and research data and that is why it is essential to have the appropriate and trained personnel at Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 meetings where data and their meaning can be explained and understood. Most parents are not experts in understanding educational data and statistics, in evaluating assessment results or in how to use them to make an informed decisions about educational programming for their child. IEP meetings, where such information is used to make decisions, are often foreign when compared to meetings held in the workplace. However, the process of decision-making should and can be made in the same manner, regardless of the setting. What is striking is that the processes for making decisions are easier than one would think—even when faced with educational jargon.

For example, each of us makes decisions throughout the day without a great deal of thought, in some cases, and more in others, but the approach we take is quite similar. Take, for example, our near daily experience of driving. Without much thought we go to the car, open it, get in, start the car and then decide to move in one direction or another. We already have a practiced set of processes we use and rely upon to achieve our goal and, in this case, getting to where we need to be using our vehicle and all of the information (data) that is made available to us. We simply need to apply a practiced process to the IEP meeting.

Much talk, research and operational procedures reference collaboration as an effective manner to approach problem solving in the workplace and school settings. On the surface this makes much sense. Working together to solve a problem? What could be better? Unfortunately, collaboration is often a little applied activity. How does a group of people, often times with healthy differing ideas, establish collaboration much less put it into effect? Especially, if that group of people only meets a few times over the course of a school year. A stronger and more functional approach is to apply collaboration in a more designed approach called structured collaboration. That is, there are key steps to follow that will facilitate collaboration through group problem solving, beginning with an agreement to work together on a group identified goal. The structure removes the focus from the individuals to the agreed upon task increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome, while reducing the degree of conflict. In terms of IEP meetings, the focus is on the child’s needs by a group of individuals who work cooperatively to do so.

Through an inquiry process, this can be accomplished, by answering 6 questions in a particular set of steps. The questions are:

 What do we know? Where are we? (If you don’t know where you are how can you know if you get there?

 Where do we want to go? What is it we want to accomplish? (What do we not know? What do we need to know?)

 How will we get there? What do we need to get there? (What do we not know? What do we need to know?)

 How will we know that we are getting there?

 How do we know when we have arrived?

 How do we keep what we have? Or, where do we want to go from here?

Clearly there is a bit more to this than simply asking these questions, but it is important to know that each question requires a group discussion and agreement to the answer—the definition of collaboration. Each succeeding question is based on the previous question and answer and again achieved through group agreement. In essence, we are building a plan (504 or BIP) or Individualized Education Program or intervention through incremental steps of group agreement. The end product is much stronger, because a team of people have created it, agreed to it and committed to its implementation—and success.

Schools do not regularly apply this process and therefore parents need to take the lead on putting this into practice. It is, after all, the child’s needs that are to be programmed for and met, and not the institutional or personal needs of anyone.

You will find this article published on the internet by following this link:


How to Get From Here to There is also a workshop developed for parents and advocates that expands on this article and is the basis for the book: When A School Says No, How to Get a Yes! For more information contact Dr. Vaughn K. Lauer at Vlauer1@verizon.net

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by Jess

Autism and the Birthday Party: A Litmus Test

September 28, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I have lost track of the number of times I’ve seen a mother of a child with autism break into tears when discussing the subject of birthday parties. Either her child is not being invited to birthday parties or the mother throws a birthday party and very few children attend.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Accommodations for Students with Disabilities on College Board Tests

September 27, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The new school year is in full swing which means that high school students will be preparing for various College Board tests. With regard to students with disabilities, it’s important for parents to be knowledgeable about the process in which your son or daughter must follow in order to apply for accommodations on the College Board Tests. According to www.collegeboard.com, in order for a student to receive accommodations on tests, they must be approved by the College Board Services for Students with Disabilities in advance. If accommodations are used without prior approval the tests scores will not be valid. Another important fact is that even if a student has been receiving accommodations through an IEP or 504 plan, they do not automatically qualify for assistance on their College Board Tests. The College Board has laid out specific instructions for students regarding eligibility, application and documentation requirements. Read the rest of this entry →

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Request for Special Education Assessment including Sample Letter

September 26, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

To request assessment to determine if your child is eligible for special education you should submit a written letter to your child’s school. If your child is preschool age and not enrolled in school yet then direct the letter to the School District’s Special Education Division. Otherwise, address the letter to your School’s Principal and hand deliver asking for a date stamped copy for your records. The written request will trigger specific timelines that the school must follow. The easiest way to remember these timelines is 15 - 15 – 60.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Nine Myths about Aspergers

September 25, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Steve Emfield

Asperger’s Syndrome is a condition of the brain and nerves, usually in place by birth, that affects how a person sees the world, processes information, and interacts with other people. Because those with AS act differently and since society has mechanisms for maintaining social norms, those with Aspergers are misunderstood, labeled, and rejected by society. If society would instead embrace our different brain types and variety of nervous systems, both those with AS and society at-large would benefit. In fact, Thom Hartmann points out that it is precisely those who are wired differently that have saved some civilizations in the past and it is those same types who will save our own civilization in the future – if we strive to accept them and understand what they see. Read the rest of this entry →

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a4cwsn Third App Party & 50 Ipads Giveaway

September 25, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Apps for Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn) is committed to helping the families and carers of children with special needs and the wider community of educators and therapists who support them, by producing videos that demonstrate how products designed to educate children and build their life skills really work from a user perspective. Their aim is that these videos, along with relevant information and advice from an independent source you can trust, provides valuable insight into whether a product is suitable for its intended purpose or not, enabling sensible buying decisions to be made.  They hope their site and its content provides a valuable resource to the community that serves our precious children with special needs.  Please let us them how they can improve the service they offer, or indeed how you can help them to do a better job, by emailing Info@a4cwsn.com Read the rest of this entry →

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The #SpEdChat Project

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

When I joined Twitter in July of 2010 and started searching for people to follow the first group of people I found were special educators.    I quickly learned that they were part of a weekly tweet chat called #SpEdchat.  For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter and Tweet Chats About.com defines it as: Read the rest of this entry →

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Brain Gym® Improves Functions

September 23, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Have you ever had a lamp where the light bulb was flickering? You tightened the light bulb and the bulb stopped flickering. What happened? The wiring became solidly connected. Imagine the brain body wiring becoming solidly connected. Imagine the lights of your brain and body turning on!!  Read the rest of this entry →

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Disability Categories under IDEA

September 22, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The following list outlines the definitions of each of the disability categories established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education (Improvement) Act of 2004 (“IDEA”) Read the rest of this entry →

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Sensory Integration & the Sick Child

September 20, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Rarely do we feel helpless when it comes to our child’s wellbeing. This wasn’t the case when he was very young and we were first learning about all of his developmental delays and special needs. We have spent the last ten years educating ourselves, learning and honing our parental skills. That doesn’t mean we have all the answers, but we have a great sense of what works for our child and how to tackle any obstacle that’s thrown our way. That is when he is well, once he becomes sick……that’s a whole other ballgame! Read the rest of this entry →

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