This may come as a surprise, but most school psychologists do not know how to identify dyslexia, and if they do identify a reading problem, it is usually mislabeled as an auditory processing disorder. To further complicate the problem, the report may do an excellent job of describing the reading and writing issues and then fall absurdly short in the recommendations section. Recently, I read a report that did a beautiful job of explaining a young girl’s difficulty with decoding, spelling and fluency. The tests showed a clear deficit in phonological awareness, so what were the recommendations that got my blood boiling and provoked me to throw my arms in the air? Student needs to improve reading. Yes, that’s right. That was the recommendation to the IEP team. So, what is the underlying issue and what do parents and teachers need to know about the testing in order to make appropriate recommendations? Read on for answers. 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 →
I attended an IEP this week where the discussion focused mainly on the student’s off task behavior; there are a variety of reasons why a student will exhibit this behavior. The difficulty is identifying the exact reasons why or what triggered the off task behavior. I think we as parents and educators of children with special needs must keep in mind that in order to determine the cause of off task behavior, we must acknowledge all the areas of need first. Most children with special needs have multiple disabilities, so it’s imperative to look at each area as a possible trigger for off task behavior. Read the rest of this entry →
1. What is the special education law that can help my child with a disability?
The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977. This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. In 1990 EHA was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. IDEA was most recently reauthorized in 2004. The Purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education or FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.
It’s important to note that the law only guarantees an appropriate education and not the best education. Best is a four letter word and Parents should learn to replace it with the word appropriate when discussing their child’s special education needs Read the rest of this entry →
You’ve suspected it since your child was three. You were quite sure of it when your child was five and now your child is in school and you are convinced and unwavering about it. The school is not quite as convinced and they are slow to react to your suspicions. Be prepared; the road to the diagnosis may not be easy or cheap, but in the long run it will be worth it. The steps to diagnosis below make the assumption that you have done your research about dyslexia and you understand the symptoms. If you are still at that stage, you can visit www.interdys.org for more information. Read the rest of this entry →
1. If your child is exhibiting new behavioral problems that are interfering with their ability to access the curriculum; your school may need to implement a Behavior Support Plan to extinguish the negative or off task behavior.
2. If your child is struggling academically in the first semester, don’t wait until second semester to address the problem. If you have to request new assessments; keep in mind the timeline from the day you authorized the assessments. The school has 60 days* in which to conduct the assessments and hold an IEP, so if you wait until second semester, the school year might be coming to an end; basically, your child has lost the entire year. * Some States have different timelines so please check the timelines in your State. Read the rest of this entry →
What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
A neuropsychological evaluation is comprehensive battery of tests that provides a detailed picture of a person’s aptitude, achievement, and social and emotional status as compared to others at the same stage of development. Only a trained neuropsychologist administers such assessments. The evaluation involves a clinical history and interview, completion of standardized checklists, completion of paper and pencil tasks, hands-on activities, and computer-based tasks. Read the rest of this entry →
The new school year has begun for many of us, which means another year of IEP’s. For some parents, it’s their introduction into the world of Special Education. The pre-school assessments might be their first experience hearing about their child’s areas of strengths as well as areas of needs. As we all know, the latter is much more difficult to deal with because when our son or daughter was born all we were concerned about was making sure they ate, slept and had on a clean diaper. The thought of having a child with special needs was not on the list of concerns. So when a few years pass in a child’s life and they begin to show signs of developmental delay, behavioral problems, etc…parents have to ask the hard question “does my child have special needs?” Read the rest of this entry →
This rare but potentially devastating condition affects girls born to older mothers. And as we as OT’s working in schools and preschools have already observed, many of our “first time moms” are often in their late thirties and early forties.
It is not a given that all older moms give birth to children with issues. But in the case of XXX Syndrome that is one of the prominent factors. XXX Syndrome is characterized by the presence of an additional X chromosome in each cell of female children/fetus. If the extra X chromosome occurs only in some of the cells it is called a mosaic, and has less developmental impact. It is not an inherited condition and usually occurs during conception and is related to a delayed or incomplete splitting of the egg during fertilization. Occurrence is about 1 in 1,000. Read the rest of this entry →
Funny thing happened to the learning field in the 21st century- numbers now rule the world. Parents, administrators, politicians, clinicians, educators . . . everyone seems to be clamoring for (and clinging to) numerical data. To be sure, scores are important sources of information. But they almost never tell the whole story about a learner.
Qualitative findings are observations made about learner behavior. Such findings may focus on process (how the learner arrived at a response or completed a task) or product (such as accuracy, types/patterns of errors, and organization of work). Quantitative findings are numerical and often normative, meaning that the test developers administered the task to numerous students (usually at different age/grade levels) to generate means and standard scores (like an IQ score). Contrary to what many believe, a standard score does not represent an amount of ability or level of skill. Rather it is a comparison between a learner’s ability level in a defined area or skill with that of other, similar-age students. Both qualitative and quantitative assessment information serve important purposes in assessments. Each type of information has its advantages and disadvantages. Read the rest of this entry →