The phrase “Elephant in the Room” has been a part of the English language for a very long time; I’m sure as adults we’ve all used it in conversation at one time or another. Wikipedia defines it as “is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.” The two words that I think stand out the most in the definition are “ignored” and “unaddressed.” Let’s now apply this definition to children with disabilities; the “Elephant in the Room” in many schools or households is a child with a disability. There are many reasons why a child’s disability may be ignored or not addressed. Read the rest of this entry →
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The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that all Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) include:
A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to (a) meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and (b) meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability. Read the rest of this entry →
A couple of months ago I was touring an inclusive charter school that my wife and I want my son to attend for middle school. As we toured the different classrooms I noticed a sign hanging over the blackboard in every class. The sign read, “Fairness is not getting the same thing as everyone else, but getting what you need.” This motto seemed appropriate since the charter’s school inclusion “model allows for the individual needs of each child to be addressed in a manner that enhances each child’s strengths while also addressing learning needs” all within the general education setting.
Being the curious type I snapped a picture of one of the signs and went home to research the individual who came up with this philosophy. After doing some Google searches I found the following YouTube video from Rick Lavoie. Read the rest of this entry →
13 Key Issues Autism, special needs and parents of disabled need for their Family – Today, tomorrow and …?
I call these my Baker’s Dozen – This is in no way a complete list, and each and every family’s situation will have nuances. Remember, it all can’t or doesn’t need to be done at once;
1. Get a proper diagnosis and assessments early. These are the building blocks for successful EI, IEP’s, ITP’s, ongoing evaluations, services, support, benefits, management and living options.
2. Accept your child. Accept yourself. Accept this community There are hundreds, even thousands of us close by. Just like you. Some may have more financial means, many may not. We all have many of the same needs, challenges and concerns… Sometimes scared, upset, and trying to understand, learn more, live a life, rebuild our dreams and thrive. Read the rest of this entry →
Over the years, there have been many famous quotes about the responsibilities of a father. As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, the three that speak to me the most are:
“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad." (Anne Geddes);
"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." (Sigmund Freud); and
"It is a wise father that knows his own child." (William Shakespeare) Read the rest of this entry →
Finding Virtual Learning Technology Answers. Parents and teachers are finding a proliferation of virtual remediation to acceleration brain training programs promising fast and optimum gains in learning reading, math, and science that are research based. It is difficult to believe these promises, as most often the program designers do not have a background in classroom implementation let alone e-Learning implementation, which is totally different form pure classroom teaching.
Many virtual learning entrepreneurs come from backgrounds of scientists and somewhat related fields to education like optometry (testing vision), psychiatry, psychology, and medicine pediatrics (medically treating the whole child, and prescribing stimulant medications). Others are business and technology product development entrepreneurs who have never worked in a classroom, and understand technology delivery parameters, but not how children/adults actually learn and retain information so that it will transfer into real life productivity. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
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 →
Recently, the Office of Civil Rights submitted a report to the President on Helping to Ensure Equal Access to Education. This 76 page report is nothing short of shocking and shows we have a very long way to go on the issue of student’s with disabilities. Since I could not do it justice below are some points taken directly from the report.
- Over the last four years (FY 2009–12), OCR has received 28,971 complaints—more than in any previous four-year period in its history, and representing a 24 percent increase over the previous four-year period. Over half of them addressed disability issues, about a quarter pertained to Title VI concerns, and the remaining addressed sex and age discrimination, 14 percent and 6 percent respectively. Read the rest of this entry →
Last week I wrote a blog entitled, How we change the world is as important as the actual change where I challenged both Parents raising children with Autism and Self-Advocates to think about how they approach the current civil rights movement for individuals living with a disability. I asked them to consider Martin Luther King, Jr. as their role model and gave advice on how to approach each other in a calm, thoughtful manner. I sent this blog to Mama Be Good via twitter and waited for a response. Although she never officially responded she wrote her own blog post two days later entitled, Good Trouble: Autism and the Neurodiversity Movement. In it she writes: Read the rest of this entry →