Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

You are browsing the archive for 2012 August.

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Abuse and Mistreatment by a School

August 31, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Jess

Hello,

My name is Dawn Warburton and I am a follower of both your Facebook page and website. I often share your information as I find it is valuable and important for people to know. However, that is not why I am writing.

Today is the second day of school in my area, Cape Cod, MA. My son, age 16, a junior, is not there. Instead, he is in bed suffering from an unexplained migraine that he has been battle for the last few days. A headache so intense we spent four and half hours in the hospital emergency room last night getting blood work and a CAT scan only to find it was considered a “tension” or stress headache. This is not the first time my son has been sick, in fact he has been battle illness since the middle of his ninth grade year. The week before our winter vacation he was out of school for five days with a high fever and swollen lymph nodes. A trip to the pediatrician resulted in a diagnosis of a “virus” and a prescriptions of rest, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. As the remainder of the school months continued, he became sicker and sicker. Finally, out of frustrations and six more doctors visits, I took him to an off cape functional medicine doctor in Wellesley, MA who diagnosed him with mononucleosis, pneumonia, and a parvovirus which effects the bone marrow. Imagine my surprise, shock and anger that my son had been sick for so long. Read the rest of this entry →

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Thoughts on Independence

August 29, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The overriding goal for most students with disabilities is to become independent.  Very often, IEP goals include the specification that skills should be demonstrated “independently.”  We use this word a lot in special education, but it sometimes seems as though there are different interpretations.

To me, independent means without prompts or other assistance.  It means that a skill is performed from start to finish, with no cues or guidance beyond those normally available to anyone performing this skill.  To take a simple example, if all of the children in the classroom take out their reading books upon the teacher’s instruction “Please take out your reading books,” then that is what independent looks like for my student who may have autism, ADHD, or another challenge.  It is not independent if my student takes out his reading book only after his one-to-one aide has repeated the instruction, or if he opens and reads from the book but the teacher took it from her own desk and handed it to him. Read the rest of this entry →

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Once you label me, you negate me

August 28, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

We live in a society where labels have significant importance and are meaningless all at the same time.  This strange paradigm really speaks to the radical changes needed to take place in the world before equality for all can be accomplished.

Let’s focus on the significant importance of labels with regard to the disabled (label).  It’s not lost on me that in the first three sentences of this blog I have already labeled a large portion of our population, but it leads right into why labels have significant importance in our society.  The “Big Book of Labels” otherwise known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (“DSM”) is in many ways the gatekeeper for access to proper services and accommodations.  Without that diagnosis (label) and the proper diagnostic medical code, the insurance companies will not pay.  Will not pay for therapy, will not pay for services, will not pay for equipment, and will not pay for anything.  Then there are the Schools and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act where you must meet the definition of an “eligibility or disability category” (Anyone of 13 labels) before needs can even be considered to offer help.  Let’s not forget about all of the other federal and state laws such as, the Americans with Disabilities Act (labels), Section 504 (labels) or any of the State Autism insurance laws (labels).  The way our society is set-up, it requires all of us to fight for our labels.  We have started to revel in our labels; if we remove our labels, brings a loss of services, accommodations and respect.  Just look at the debate over the new autism definition (label) for the DSM5 if you think I’m wrong.  Does changing the definition in the “Big Book of Labels” mean you no longer have the need for services and accommodations;  no, of course not. Read the rest of this entry →

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Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

August 27, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that behavior is a special factor that must be considered when developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Specifically, IDEA states that IEP’s for those children whose behavior impedes their learning or that of others, should consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), and other strategies, to address that behavior.  Congress’s reasons for including PBIS was due in part based on their findings which stated, “Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by providing incentives for whole-school approaches, scientifically based early reading programs, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and early intervening services to reduce the need to label children as disabled in order to address the learning and behavioral needs of such children.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Obscure or Overlooked aspects of IDEA

August 23, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

1.  Medical Services can be paid for by the School District if it is for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.  As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Act: “Medical Services means services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.”

2.  The Child find mandate requires all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State, and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, to be identified, located, and evaluated.  The child find mandate also includes children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to gradeRead the rest of this entry →

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Pre-School Assessments Can Serve Many Purposes

August 23, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The new school year has begun for many of us, which means another year of IEP’s.  For some parents, it’s their introduction into the world of Special Education.  The pre-school assessments might be their first experience hearing about their child’s areas of strengths as well as areas of needs.  As we all know, the latter is much more difficult to deal with because when our son or daughter was born all we were concerned about was making sure they ate, slept and had on a clean diaper.  The thought of having a child with special needs was not on the list of concerns.  So when a few years pass in a child’s life and they begin to show signs of developmental delay, behavioral problems, etc…parents have to ask the hard question “does my child have special needs?”  Read the rest of this entry →

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Preventing Meltdowns: Outsmarting the Explosive Behavior of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

August 22, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Meltdown behavior is quite common for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And, indeed, the most frequently asked question by parents and educators is: “What do I do when my child has meltdowns?”

When the meltdown is occurring, the best reaction is to ensure the safety of all concerned. Know that explosive behavior is not planned but instead is most often caused by subtle and perplexing triggers. When the behavior happens, everyone in its path feels pain, especially the child.

Stages of Explosive Behavior

So, what exactly is explosive behavior? In my book Outsmarting Explosive Behavior: A Visual System of Support and Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum (Endow, 2009), explosive behavior is defined as having four distinct stages, followed by a clearly defined recovery period. In addition, the physiological fight/flight mechanism is triggered immediately prior to the explosion. Read the rest of this entry →

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What do Attention, Thinking, Planning, Memory and Follow-through Have in Common?

August 21, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Dear Drs. Utay

After testing with a school psychologist, we were told our son has a problem with executive functioning. He is intelligent but can’t apply himself. I thought he just needed more motivation or better study skills but it’s more complicated than that. What is executive functioning and how do I work with my son to improve it?

Executive functioning affects every aspect of life in and out of school. Many children just like this boy struggle with executive functioning deficiencies, but few are given the tools to make improvements. Let’s start with the basics. Read the rest of this entry →

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Call to Action: We can’t expect fairness when we do nothing about it when it’s taken away

August 20, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Dear Members of Congress;

Today all over the United States children with a disability are not being provided an appropriate education via their Individualized Education Program (IEP).  While there are many wonderful School Districts there are some that are skirting their responsibility because they know they can get away with it.  In these troubled economic times some School Districts are cutting necessary services as a cost saving method knowing that many parents don’t have the means to disagree and file a complaint.  The law that governs special education in the United States, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was not meant to shift the balance of power to the school districts but that is what has happened.  The fairness was taken from IDEA in 2006 and it’s time to give it back and level the playing field for parents. Read the rest of this entry →

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IDEA Leadership Conference: Leading Together to Achieve Success from Cradle to Career

August 19, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Do you think that federal and state departments of education staff are a bunch of outdated bureaucrats who sit in locked offices enforcing obscure rules and ignoring the needs of kids and families? Well, I’ve just spent three days learning, collaborating, and planning with hundreds of them. These folks are knowledgeable, passionate, eager to learn, and dedicated to finding better ways to support states and stakeholders to effectively serve students who have disabilities. Read the rest of this entry →

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