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Philosophy of Education

February 25, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The success of school aged children within their home, school, community and academic lives is a function of their education. My goal is to create a safe, appropriate learning environment for the students I teach. Facilitation of learning pre-language, language, pre-academic, academic, and life or adaptive living skills is essential to their achievement. It is my belief that all children should and are capable of maintaining and progressing in academic and functional life skills at home, school and in their community.

When school encompasses children’s lives for almost as much time as an adult’s employment, one could surmise that school is their equivalent of work. Therefore, those experiences are a large portion of how children learn to “live and cope in society”, just as work experiences affect adults’ lives.

Per progressivism, learned behavior comes from observing and having experiences that have meaning. Encouraging learning theory while incorporating a hands on approach increases the amount of meaning and applicability to students’ lives. Read the rest of this entry →

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Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs Applying for Disability Benefits

February 20, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Applying for Disability Benefits for Your Child

Caring for a special needs child can be a full time job—at home research, medical appointments, and finding trustworthy supportive care may cause parents to reach unexpected financial and emotional obstacles. If you or a loved one can no longer financially support a child with an illness or disability, it may be time to explore the Social Security Disability options available to you. Read the rest of this entry →

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Do Not Focus on the Label……Focus on the Areas of Need

February 19, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

In the special needs community, children are given labels based on their disability.  The most common diagnosis a child may be given are Autism, ADHD or Specific Learning Disability; in fact, the most common eligibility for an IEP in this country is Specific Learning Disability.  Ask yourself this question….does the label your child has be given accurately define all their areas of need?  In many cases it does not; many children may have one diagnosis but also exhibit symptoms from other disabilities as well.  Maybe your child has a Learning Disability but they also have Sensory Processing issues as well.  Your child may have a diagnosis of Autism but also exhibits symptoms of ADHD or ODD too.  For some children, they might have any of the three most common disabilities and also experience struggles with Mental Health.  I think it’s safe to say that most children have multiple areas of need. Read the rest of this entry →

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I Carry Your Heart With Me

February 14, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

With Valentine’s Day upon us I thought it was important for me to try and explain the love I have for my family. My life changed 18 years ago when I met my wife and again almost 11 year ago when I had my son. These two moments in time are not just mere events in my past but have become a part of me. Since I am not as eloquent as E.E. Cummings the best way to explain this feeling is by reading his poem, I Carry Your Heart With Me:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

I think this poem has meaning for anyone in love, or with a family, but it seems to especially ring true for families raising children with special needs. Every day I go out into the world, I carry my family’s heart. A heart so big it changed who I was and what I was capable of doing.

Every time I encounter ignorance, prejudice and social bias against individuals with disabilities I think about my family and my response is guided by their heart. Because, just like in the poem I carry their heart (I carry it in my heart).

Every time I see a child having a meltdown in the grocery store or a restaurant I think about my family and I show a little understanding and compassion. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).

Every time I see a Mom crying at an IEP meeting I try to help her to the best of my abilities. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).

Every time I see a child who cannot hit or catch or shoot a basket I tell their parents to keep looking because every child has strengths and they will find what they are good at just as my son found swimming. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).

Every time I see a parent who is just about at their wits end, I tell them it’s okay and that we have all been there. Just continue to move forward and don’t worry if sometimes you need to move one step backwards in order to move two steps forward. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).

These are all things I was not capable of in my youth. Before I met my wife and had my son. Before I carried their heart with me everywhere I go. You see I am changed forever, first by my wife and later by my son. My wife’s strength and compassion coupled by my son’s love for life shaped who I am today the same way a river shapes the landscape around them. Because, just like in the poem I carry my family’s heart (I carry it in my heart).

Originally Published February 14, 2012

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The Lowdown on Dyslexia

February 12, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Every teacher in every classroom in every school in this country (and beyond) will come across several, if not dozens, of students who just can’t seem to get the ‘reading thing’ down.  The students are smart, articulate, and creative, yet they omit small words, read slowly, have difficulty spelling, and stumble, guess or mumble through multisyllabic words. They are placed in reading groups for extra instruction and still don’t seem to ‘get it.’ And during his or her career, every teacher in every classroom in every school will ask themselves, “How can I help these children?”  The answer is to learn as much as possible about dyslexia , because the child described above has dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →

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Top Ten Things the Classroom Teacher Needs to Know About Your Child with Special Needs

February 11, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

If your child with special needs has been mainstreamed or fully included in a general education classroom, it is important that you communicate openly and honestly with the teacher about your child’s needs.

While special education teachers and outside agencies will meet with your child’s classroom teacher to share information, these meetings can often be brief, delayed, or worse yet, cancelled until further notice.

Therefore, It is necessary for you to monitor the information that is shared between your child’s teacher(s) and the support personnel, and then fill in any gaps. Between you and your child’s school, here are the top ten things that the classroom teacher needs to know about your child’s special needs: Read the rest of this entry →

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Teaching Self-Calming Skills

February 10, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

“You need to calm down.”

This is something I hear a lot in my work as a behavior specialist when a student starts to get agitated– answering rudely, refusing to work, making insulting comments or whining. A teacher might tell a child to “go sit in the beanbag chair and calm down” or simply “relax.”

The problem is, many students don’t know how to calm down. This is especially true for children who display chronic agitation or defiance. Read the rest of this entry →

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What Do You Teach?

February 5, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I’ve been reading Jan Valle and David Conner’s Rethinking disability, a disability studies approach to inclusive practices.  Thus far, I’ve found it to be a really concise, entertaining and easy to maneuver text about inclusive educational practices.  It’s a nice departure from the repetitious/outdated/seemingly inapplicable tomes I’ve encountered in grad. school.  I definitely recommend picking it up.

Valle & Conner (2010), open chapter three with a description of how special education teachers are perceived by the general public: Read the rest of this entry →

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You Need to Know about NICHCY’s Disability Fact Sheets

February 4, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When a child is first diagnosed with a disability, parents must learn a lot in a short time if they want their child to receive the best services. Finding that information can be challenging, but NICHCY is here to help. Has your child been classified as having an “Other Health Impairment”? NICHCY’s fact sheet can help clarify what that means. Has your child experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury? NICHCY’s fact sheet can help you understand how that disability affects learning.

NICHCY’s Disability Fact Sheets are our most popular web pages. Each fact sheet includes a definition, causes, characteristics, how common the disability is in school-age children, educational considerations, and helpful organizations for further information. Most also include supports broken down by age group, tips for teachers, tips for parents, and a brief story of a child with the disability. The fact sheets are a great starting point for anyone who is living or working with a child who has a disability. Many are also available in Spanish—easy to read, easy to share. Read the rest of this entry →

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