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My Child has a Medical Diagnosis why doesn’t he Qualify for an IEP?

March 19, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

I often hear from parents, I have just gotten a medical diagnosis for my child and have set up my first IEP meeting to qualify them to receive services.  That medical diagnosis could be ADHD, a learning disorder, a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder, pervasive developmental disorder or a whole host of others.  These are typically the same parents that are blown away when the School District tells them they don’t qualify. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Effects of Separation on Attachment

April 16, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Attachments are the ties that bind (i.e.: the connection with people interacted with and comforted by). When separation occurs, children become distressed when a preferred caregiver (whom they are attached to) leaves. In toddlers, the children also try to deter the preferred caregiver from departing. Crying, reaching for, approaching and climbing on the departing caregivers are common behaviors for children during this stage to display (Berk, 2010).

There are three important factors that influence separation anxiety: child’s temperament, context of the departure and caregiver’s behavior. The child’s ability to regulate his or her emotions to the changing situation, who and where the child is left, and supportive caregivers facilitate an easy transition and decrease the amount of separation anxiety the child experiences (Berk, 2010). Read the rest of this entry →

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Before the school year begins: simple ways to empower your child

August 14, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many kids feel uneasy right about now. The new school year looms - with many unknowns. Unanswered questions can lead to anxiety - even a sense of helplessness.

Often kids' questions about school go unspoken and unanswered. They may want a new teacher to know about their interests and talents- but there's not an opportunity for them to communicate these things.

How empowering it would be if your child had a chance to ask his questions and speak his mind!

Here are some simple ideas that can make a big difference in the way your child feels about the new school year. As a bonus, these strategies help your child develop self-advocacy skills and set the stage for a positive relationship with new teachers. Read the rest of this entry →

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Anxiety—The Hidden Disability: It Affects One in Eight Children

August 5, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports one in eight children suffer from anxiety disorders. Without intervention, they're at risk for poor performance, diminished learning and social/behavior problems in school. Because anxiety disorders show up differently in children, parents and teachers can't always identify them until the child hits the breaking point.

When a student acts out—throws a book, yells, storms out of the room—or has difficulty learning to read or grasping new math concepts, teachers often don't suspect anxiety as the underlying cause, which means the problems may persist or worsen.

This fall, I consulted with Mr. Lee, an exasperated third grade teacher. “I want to give up,” he said, slumping in his chair. Mr. Lee is one of the most thoughtful, talented teachers I’ve worked with. It's unusual to see him so defeated. He related an incident from that morning's math class. Read the rest of this entry →

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Fight or Flight: Anxiety in the Classroom

April 23, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Fight or Flight. Those are the two typical responses we have to a threatening situation. It is a basic response we humans share with other species and can be quite adaptive in a real life dangerous event. As the human brain has developed, we have gained thinking skills. This has been quite an advantage in many ways, but has become a liability as well. It has brought on anxiety, the fear of the unknown and the anticipation of negative outcomes.

Even anxiety can be helpful. It is what keeps us driving slow in a snowstorm and motivates kids to study for the spelling test on Friday. In moderate doses, anxiety keeps us on the straight and narrow and helps us make choices that are helpful to us. I joke with some of my clients that someone with a complete lack of anxiety is also called a criminal!  Read the rest of this entry →

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Why Is He Behaving “That Way?” The Answer: PEAT

June 20, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Ever wonder why your child behaves “that way?” Wonder why he dawdles, why he won’t read, why he fights with David and Brian? We can’t tell you about his genes, his DNA, the chemicals in his body, each of his neurons, or David and Brian. We don’t know all the causes of troubling behaviors, especially for individual children. But we can tell you about PEAT. Using PEAT might help you learn what’s currently causing his troubling behavior, an important step in figuring out a solution.


PEAT stands for Physiology, Experience, Action, and Thought. First we’ll define the words and ask some questions that help explain them. Then we’ll show you how you might use PEAT to help your mythical 10-year old son, Charlie.

Physiology refers to your child’s physical needs. Does he get enough sleep? Does he have a nutritious diet? Is he having an allergic reaction? Do his ears and throat hurt? Is he forced to sit in class far more than his body can tolerate? Read the rest of this entry →

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Incomplete classroom assignments and anxiety with homework should be a Red Flag

June 14, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Nowadays, students who are high functioning are placed in general education classes.  However, with the constant rise in class size, sometimes a child with a disability will have a difficult time keeping up in the classroom; for example, completing classroom assignments.  A child may not always express their frustrations verbally or ask for help if they are unable to complete classroom assignments.  More often than not, the child will shut down and give up in class.  Read the rest of this entry →

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