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Reading Is Not A Natural Process

March 26, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many proponents of ‘whole language’ feel that, since humans learn to speak their native language through immersion, the act of reading follows a similar pattern and exposure to the printed word leads to the development of reading skills.  This reasoning bears a false truth value.  A great deal of care and attention to detail must accompany reading instruction because reading is quite different from speech.

In speech, the listener is provided with many clues as to the meaning of the words presented by the speaker.  Intonation, pitch, cadence, and body language all provide context clues that assist in the comprehension of auditory signals.  Further, according to the Innateness Hypothesis, children are equipped with a blueprint for the innate principles and properties that pertain to the grammars of all spoken human language called universal grammar.  Barring neurologically-based developmental delays, children do not require explicit instruction to master the spoken language.  Universal Grammar aids the child in the task of constructing the “spoken language”.  Structure dependency of the native language and coordinate structure constraint are inherent.  Additionally, through stages in oral communication, a speaker learns from the surrounding linguistic environment the proper cadence, pitch, and intonation associated with the successful display of language ability, as well as, the rules of grammar that are language specific.  This presents speech as a natural process.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Tips for Parents: Dealing with College Admissions Tests

March 25, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Martin, a high school freshman with ADD, says, “The testing never ends, school tests, PSAT, ACT and Advanced Placement Tests. Even when you go to college or law school, there are tests and licensing exams. You just can’t escape.”

The pressure to perform on high-stakes tests such as the ACT or SAT is at an all time high. Although there are some students who can handle the pressures, many students, especially those with disabilities, don’t fare as well. The challenges are formidable. There are several reasons for this. College admissions tests: Read the rest of this entry →

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Reverse the Effects of Sequestration on Special Ed: Congress says No Way

March 23, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

In case you have not watched the nightly news in the last few months you might not have realized that sequestration began on March 1, 2013.  You may not even know what sequestration is but if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) you will most definitely see the effect.  According to USA.gov, “Sequestration, sometimes called the sequester, is a process that automatically cuts the federal budget across most departments and agencies.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Spring Has Sprung and so Have IEPs

March 20, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Spring is here, although you wouldn’t know it judging by the weather in some parts of the country.  Spring break is upon us; so many people will be taking family vacations to reconnect with their loved ones.  However, when the break is over, it will be time to get down to serious IEP business.  When classes resume, there are probably 8-9 weeks of academics left until summer break and during that time your child will be preparing and taking state tests.  When you think about it, the semester is almost over. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Importance of Inclusive Programming

March 19, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Inclusive Programming Is Beneficial For All Students

The compulsory education system aims at providing children with the tools they need to succeed in the academic school environment as well as life beyond the classroom. For the purposes of ensuring that every student receives an appropriate education, sometimes schools are required to divide students based on ability. In such a system, children with special needs are often separated from their mainstream peers for a portion, if not all, of the school day. While this division may be ideal from an academic perspective, it creates an artificial separation between children which might be mistaken for a natural division. In order to ensure that children internalize the inherent value of every individual, schools need to find a way to demonstrate the value of students, no matter what their ability levels are. Inclusive programming both during the school day and in extracurricular activities has the power to show all children the value of every individual. Read the rest of this entry →

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Orton-Gillingham: Who, Where and Why?

March 18, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

To those of you who have tried (and some have succeeded) it seems like you need a secret handshake to get Orton-Gillingham training. After a quick search on the internet, it might appear that you need to fly to a destination that is most likely east of the Mississippi and requires at least two weeks of your time away from home. Then once you complete this two week training, you must dedicate the rest of your life to become ‘certified.’ But this is all an illusion, an illusion that really hampers the ability of very good people to get their knowledge and training to those who need it the most, the struggling kids. Read the rest of this entry →

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New Regulations for Parental Consent for the Use of Public Benefits

March 17, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Tomorrow is March 18th and that means there are new regulations related to parental consent for the use of public benefits or insurance to pay for services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  These new regulations were published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2013, and are effective on March 18, 2013.  At the heart of this new language is reducing the School District’s requirement to seek parental approval each time the School District wants to access public benefits for IEP services to a one time approval.  Below you will find the prior language and the new language. Read the rest of this entry →

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Understanding the Importance of IEP Goals and Objectives

March 13, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The Goals and Objectives section of the IEP is the”meat” of the IEP. Goals and objectives should be directly linked to the child’s educational needs. Special educators determine what a child’s education needs are through formal and informal assessments, through observations of the child’s behaviors and social interactions, through parent feedback, through work products the child creates and through evaluating the child’s level of success with different teaching interventions. The goals and objectives are the specific skills the child is going to learn during the course of the IEP, which is usually one year. Read the rest of this entry →

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To Spell or Not to Spell: Is it important?

March 11, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

It happened again. I was in an IEP for a student with dyslexia who is struggling with spelling the most. This GATE-identified young man is in the 5th grade and spelling phonetically, yet he was not receiving  services for spelling last year – which is why I am now involved in the IEP process. The meeting was somewhat tense from the beginning, but when we got to the spelling goal this is what was presented: Thomas will be taught to memorize and spell 200 of the most common sight words. Hmm. Ok. So, my response: Can we change this goal so that we are actually teaching him to spell versus just memorizing some words? This is when I got the death stare and then silence. I interpreted the silence to mean that the RSP teacher didn’t know how to write the goal because she did not know how to teach a kid who is spelling phonetically how to spell. Then she said it, and the general ed teacher agreed with a nod of his head: He is going to middle school next year and he really doesn’t need to know how to spell anymore. I mean they don’t give spelling tests. My heart started to pound and then she added the ubiquitous suggestion: He can just learn to use spell check. Read the rest of this entry →

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Using Prior Written Notice as a tool

March 10, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

How many parents attended IEP’s recently where you requested changes to your child’s IEP only to be met with resistance and ultimately the School District refused to make the change.  This happens often and many times the parents leave the meeting unsatisfied and not understanding why their request was not approved.  If that is the case the School District is not adequately following the requirements under Prior Written Notice (PWN).  Not only are decisions about your child’s IEP supposed to be Team decisions BUT they are also supposed to be fully thought out, based in facts and put in writing.  This is why the Prior Written Notice requirement was put in place.  It’s easy for a School to say no, it’s not always so easy for them to articulate why they said no.  It becomes increasingly more difficult for the School to explain if the real reason they said no was not based on your child’s individual needs but based on budget concerns or other monetary issues. Read the rest of this entry →

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