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Visual Supports in the Classroom

May 29, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Imagine you are in Japan for the first time. You know a few conversational phrases in Japanese, but you cannot read the language. It’s lunchtime and you decide to grab something at a Fast Food restaurant. The first place you try has a menu that looks like this: Read the rest of this entry →

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Sumer break is upon us….time to chill out!

May 27, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

I can’t tell you how many times people ask me what my son is going to do this summer.  My answer is always the same…as little as possible.  I know for some kids, they must always have a daily structured schedule, so this blog does not apply to them.  For those that need structure please see Summer Shock.  For others who have children like my son who have 2-3 hours of homework a day and may be in middle or high school; I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  This was my son’s first year of middle school and what a difference it was from elementary school.  He worked so hard all year long; he’s told me several times “I can’t wait until school ends so I can do nothing and relax.”  Read the rest of this entry →

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What is Extended School Year

May 21, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

One of the most common questions I hear from parents is, what is extended school year?  Extended School Year or ESY is not summer school, but rather it is for children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who need additional school days to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and prolonged periods of time off will have a negative impact on them.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) describes extended school year to mean: Read the rest of this entry →

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OCR – Dear Colleague Letter on Retaliation

May 20, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY

April 24, 2013

Dear Colleague:

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the United States Department of Education (Department) is responsible for enforcing Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age by recipients of Federal financial assistance (recipient(s)) from the Department.1 Although a significant portion of the complaints filed with OCR in recent years have included retaliation claims, OCR has never before issued public guidance on this important subject. The purpose of this letter is to remind school districts, postsecondary institutions, and other recipients that retaliation is also a violation of Federal law.2 This letter seeks to clarify the basic principles of retaliation law and to describe OCR’s methods of enforcement. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

The Highly Qualified Speech Pathologist – Do You Have One?

May 19, 2013 in App Review, Special Education Articles by Jess

For parents of children on the Autism spectrum who are in the mainstream classroom environment, the question of having highly qualified professionals on your child's team is an important one. Although most parents want their high-functioning child to be in the mainstream, what they don't realize is that they are giving up the potential of having specialists who really understand their child, in exchange for time in the mainstream with neurotypical peers. The highly qualified clause of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, sadly, does not give parents the right to demand a specialist who is qualified in inclusion, social communication, and other key aspects of your child's learning style. Nor does it require that your child's specialist have a particular passion for incorporating cutting edge technology and strategies to maximize your child's success. When you have specialists on your child's team who don't understand these key components, your child is at risk for social isolation, exclusion, bullying, behavioral challenges and falling below grade level. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Dyslexia: To Spell or Not to Spell – The Sequel

May 12, 2013 in Featured, Special Education Articles by Jess

I think I am a fairly reasonable person. I know how to pick my battles and when to use honey to catch flies. This spelling conundrum is getting the better of me. Let me refresh your memory and then give you an update. Awhile back I shared a story about an IEP where the resource teacher and general education teacher unanimously agreed that the 5th grade student with dyslexia really didn’t need to know how to spell because, “…after all, they don’t really need it in middle school anyway and he can just use spell check.” I then put their theory to the test and found that if this student relied solely on spell check in WORD, he would still misspell 27% of the words. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Stress & Worry

May 8, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Attention special needs parents.  I want to share with you two things you can do today to decrease your stress and worry.

But first, want to acknowledge that if you are like most of the parents I know raising a child with special needs, you are stressed and you are worried.

And you have good reason to be stressed.  You have good reason to be worried.

So before we talk about skills and strategies and ways to manage the big challenges on our agendas let us first say that whatever you are thinking and feeling about the situation you find yourself it is likely extremely reasonable.

When our children struggle, we struggle.  Often our children need us to be cheerleaders and advocates but we are also scared and anxious.  We are worried about the future and we may be struggling in the present. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Special Parenting for Special Needs (Let’s Wait On That Special Dog)

May 6, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I  just came across an article called “The 5 Best Tips for Parenting Special Needs Children.” Tip #2 was Get a Dog. Forgive me for not jumping on the warm and fuzzy bandwagon of running out to get a dog. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love dogs and the article is right: pets do help with stress release and learning responsibility. And yet, THAT made Tip #2?

My reaction is caused partly by the thought that if family life is already stressed and parenting is a difficult challenge, then bringing in another family member might not be such a good idea right at that time. It's important to make sure that the current family members are living respectfully together before a new member is added.

Here are 5 ideas to incorporate into parenting a special needs child - before you start looking for a puppy. Read the rest of this entry →

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A Letter to the School Superintendents Association (AASA)

May 5, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Dear AASA,

Recently you have published a report entitled; “Rethinking Special Education Due Process” which you claim is intended to spark a thoughtful, new dialogue about the need for critical changes to the special education dispute resolution system.  In reality what we have gotten is an attempt by your organization to use its influence to strip our children of their civil rights and their right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  A report so blatantly disrespectful and bigoted that S. James Rosenfeld the Director of the National Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers has issued a response distancing himself from it:

I was asked to review and comment upon a January 2013 draft of the Report, probably because it cited quotes from my article "It's Time for an Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure," 32-2 NAALJ 544-567 (Fall 2012) that were critical of many aspects of special education due process hearings. Those references were included in the final Report, which also listed me in acknowledging "the many people who have been involved in the development of this report."  Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Dyslexia: Taking the M out of the IEP

May 1, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

So, I bet your wondering what the M could possibly represent when we are talking about dyslexia. Money? Mystery? Nope. In this article we are talking about marginalization. It happens often and it happens under the radar. In IEPs and IEP meetings everywhere comments are being made, goals are be written and recommendations are being made that marginalize students with dyslexia. From recommendations of retention to writing goals with low expectations to providing inadequate services, these students are as capable as their peers and there are ways to not only avoid these paths to marginalization but also expose them along the way. Below are some recent comments heard and seen in IEPs and what they really mean.

“We realize she only learned 7 new letters last year, but she has a learning disability…” Read the rest of this entry →

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