“They cannot use RTI or an SST to delay an IEP or 504. Also are they using OG and have they requested AT and OT assessment? Lastly, what is the status of her OG tutor?” There are a lot of things that are right with these sentences but there one thing that is glaringly wrong with it. Go back and read that sentence again and this time read it as a parent who might just be starting their journey with a child with dyslexia. How would you feel? Left out? Overwhelmed? Well, I must admit this is what I allowed to happen in one of my own IEP meetings very recently. When we adjourned the meeting and stepped outside to debrief, the dad said, “What was going on in there? Were they speaking Spanish?” Right then I knew I had failed to do part of my job. I had failed to check-in with my clients and make sure they understood what we were talking about. I failed to prepare them with a list of acronyms to refer to. I failed to make sure they understood they could pause the meeting at any time to ask for clarification. The ironic part of this story is that the dad is active military which means he speaks in acronyms all day long – and the IEP jargon was overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking all of the responsibility, the school side of the table (yes, I know we are supposed to be a team, but…) were equally as guilty as myself. We get into this mode of talking to each, preaching to the choir and forget how overwhelming and new this is for parents. So, to prevent this from happening again, I have listed below some commonly used terms during IEP meetings for a child with dyslexia, what they mean and how they can be misused and misunderstood and why they come up in meetings about students with dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →
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Response to Intervention: A General Overview
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a 3-tiered assessment, identification, intervention, and monitoring framework that provides information about student academic and behavioral success. The impetus behind RTI is to identify struggling learners before they fail, and to provide them with appropriate, scientifically research-based interventions, in order to accelerate their learning. Identification, scientifically research-based interventions, and progress monitoring provide educators with information related to the effectiveness of instruction, specific and targeted areas in need of more intense or frequent instruction, reduced referrals to special education, and individual student data for the creation of measurable goals and objectives.
The RTI process utilizes data-based decision making for the early identification of struggling students and monitoring of student progress. Universal screenings of students are usually conducted three times during the school year and provide educators with baseline data (fall screening) and student progress data (winter and spring screenings). These screenings typically focus on those foundational areas that research has shown to best predict success. For example, reading screenings often focus on accuracy, rate, and comprehension while math screenings focus on computation and concepts. Educators analyze screening results, along with other available data, to determine if students require more intense and more frequent instruction than what is provided in the regular classroom. Students are then placed on a tier depending upon the data analysis results. Read the rest of this entry →
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is excruciatingly SLOW, but then again I can’t think of any Federal law that acts quickly!!! The problem is IDEA was written to make sure things like assessments and services were done accurately and with much thought but many School Districts are breaking the spirit of the law. They are using the vague language of the law to delay parents from getting the help their child needs to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Delay is defined as: To cause to be later or slower than expected or desired or to act or move slowly by putting off an action or a decision. I can’t go more than two hours without receiving a call from a frustrated parent who either, 1) can’t get their child assessed for special education, or 2) can’t get the proper amount of services in their child’s IEP, or 3) can’t get the proper amount of support in their child’s IEP. The number one reason for these parents frustration is the delay tactics that the school district’s use. Read the rest of this entry →
Karen Janowski asked on Twitter, "have you helped your students optimize their performance using tech?-color choices, font sizes, text-to-speech, readability..." and when I re-tweeted her, she added, "we'll keep preaching it until it's unnecessary. Think that will ever happen?" Read the rest of this entry →
It’s 2011 and some school districts are already back in session, it’s time to address your child’s academic struggles and find out why they are not doing well in school. It is now second semester and before you know it, the school year will be over. Remember, school districts do not conduct IEP’s during the summer and with all the budget cuts you might not be able to resolve any disputes until the next school year begins. I’m bringing this up now because recently I’ve been told by some parents that they plan on opening an IEP for their child sometime this year. I’m glad to hear it, however, there are few details you should be aware of before waiting too long to request an IEP. Read the rest of this entry →
What are the learning pathways? Research tells us that learners absorb new information through the primary sensory visual, auditory, kinesthetic-tactile (VAKT)  pathways, and these entrances must be in working order. They also should optimally function together, or integrate. One or two pathways may be stronger than the others, and can compete with the weaker ones, creating an out-of-sync learning input structure. Visual processing speed may be faster than a lagging auditory (listening) processing speed, creating a conflict between the two.  Without auditory-visual integration,  the result is a “slow, inattentive learner” although the student is highly intelligent.  Read the rest of this entry →
In the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the process for determining which children have a specific learning disability (SLD) was altered to include response to intervention (RTI). This change stemmed from criticism of how children were tested for an SLD, which was primarily looking at the discrepancy between a child’s intellect (IQ) and ability. Read the rest of this entry →
In 2004, the federal government set new guidelines for effective instruction in core disciplines, including reading. IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, strengthened the requirements for identifying and educating students with disabilities. Read the rest of this entry →