For those of you who beginning the IEP process, I just wanted go through some common misconceptions parents have regarding IEP’s. They are not magic and do not make all your child’s problems disappear. It is merely a tool to help your child be more successful in school and receive an appropriate education; as a result, your child will have the opportunity to lead an independent adult life in the future. Read the rest of this entry →
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How many parents attended IEP’s recently where you requested changes to your child’s IEP only to be met with resistance and ultimately the School District refused to make the change. This happens often and many times the parents leave the meeting unsatisfied and not understanding why their request was not approved. If that is the case the School District is not adequately following the requirements under Prior Written Notice (PWN). Not only are decisions about your child’s IEP supposed to be Team decisions BUT they are also supposed to be fully thought out, based in facts and put in writing. This is why the Prior Written Notice requirement was put in place. It’s easy for a School to say no, it’s not always so easy for them to articulate why they said no. It becomes increasingly more difficult for the School to explain if the real reason they said no was not based on your child’s individual needs but based on budget concerns or other monetary issues. Read the rest of this entry →
The following is a list of the most viewed special education advisor blogs from 2012. This doesn’t include any of our guest articles which has been published separately. 2012 was Special Education Advisor’s second full year of operation and we continue to grow more quickly that we could ever imagine. We currently have over 36,000 visitors a month and over 75,000 page views per month. We continue to grow every month and it’s all because of our members and visitors. Thank you for your continued support and without further adieu here is the list: Read the rest of this entry →
Twas the night before an IEP meeting, when all through the house, every creature was stirring and running about. The assessments were filed in a notebook with care, in the hope that we’d get a one on one aide.
My son was having another tantrum in his bed, while visions of ABA therapy danced in my head; And I knew that I was out of my element since I’d never been taught any behavior strategies. When up in the attic arose such a clatter, I sprang from the room to see what was the matter.
Away to the attic I flew like a flash, tore up the ladder and then fell with a crash. I picked myself up, just as the light from above gave luster to my wife holding her stash. And what to my wandering eyes did she have but the behavior analysis thought lost long ago. 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 →
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a myth! Generally speaking, if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) they are either receiving a Free Public Education or an Appropriate Public Education but not both. The term FAPE means special education and related services that:
- have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
- meet the standards of the State educational agency;
- include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
- are provided in conformity with the IEP required under Section 1414(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
To belong, to fit in, to be suitable, to be appropriate or to be a member of a club, organization, or set; this is what we all want for our children. So nothing hurts worse than when your child’s Teacher tells you, “Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom.” What you hear as a parent is a statement of your child’s failings. What I hear is an admission of a denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for your child. Let me give you a few examples of what you are not hearing but is implied in this statement:
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the school will not provide the appropriate aides and supports necessary to educate your child;
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I am not capable of educating your child;
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I don’t want to take the time to differentiate my instruction and find the method that your child learns;
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the District has increased my class size to 45 students and has not provided me with a paraprofessional to help lessen my load;
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I don’t want to follow his IEP because it takes too much time and energy;
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because the School District refuses to spend money on children with special needs; and
- Your child doesn’t belong in my classroom because I am a bad teacher.
The last example I want to explain, because I realize that I may have angered many educators. Just like every profession there are a few who are great at what they do, a few that are awful at what they do and many that are somewhere in between. Teaching is no exception and if you have uttered the phrase, “Your child doesn’t belong in my class,” you land solidly on the far left of the bell curve in the well below average category of Teaching. Even if you made this statement due to constraints caused by the School District, this statement is not acceptable. We all have the right to belong, and we also all have the right to be educated. This doesn’t mean I believe every child should be educated in a mainstream class; inevitably, many school districts will not provide the necessary supports needed for inclusion to be successful. I do however feel that every child deserves to be respected and to tell them or their parents they “don’t belong” is not appropriate.
About a month ago I went to my son’s back to school night. This is his first year in Middle School so we spent about 5 to 10 minutes in each class. The second class I went into was his social studies room and the Teacher started her discussion by stating, “I am going to set the bar really high this year for every student. I don’t care that this isn’t my honors class I am going to set the bar high and every single student WILL move higher than they thought they could. They might not all make it to the top but I will take them ALL as high as they can go.” She then read this poem:
She then walked us through the various methods she uses to teach including visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. To determine how each of her students learn she conducted a learning style assessment on the first day of school and used those results to modify her teaching style. If you haven’t realized it yet this Teacher lands on the far right of the bell curve in the well above average category for Teaching.
The morale of this little exercise is that there are good teachers and bad teachers, good school districts and bad school districts. So, if your child’s Teacher tells you, “Your child doesn’t belong in my class,” it’s time to find a new placement. It’s time to find a new placement not because your child doesn’t belong but because your child deserves better. Your child deserves a Teacher like my son’s social studies Teacher who is going to push them and help them fly.
How often have you heard the School District blame the Parents for the failure of an IEP? I’ve heard it more often than I would like and it’s more common than some would like to believe. This very topic was at the heart of a recent appeals proceeding conducted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Anchorage School District v. M.P.. The 9th Circuit was reviewing a ruling from a District Court that was “declining to consider whether M.P. received a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) because his parents were equally or more at fault for the absence of an updated IEP.” This ruling from the District Court, if upheld by the 9th Circuit, would have undermined the entire process established by Congress in IDEA and the rights afforded to parent’s to protect their child’s right to receive FAPE. The 9th Circuit understood the enormity of what the District Court had ruled and agreed to a judicial review of the lower court’s decision. During that review, “The school district argued that the parents were at fault because “they left the IEP meeting, did not file a dissenting report,” and did not adequately communicate their concerns to the school district.” The 9th Circuit Court of appeals disagreed and wrote the following: Read the rest of this entry →
I recently ran across a Special Education Hearing Officer decision from a couple of years ago in Pennsylvania that I found fascinating. The question at hand was, “Is the student’s educational program reasonable calculated to provide FAPE in the least restrictive environment (“LRE”)?” The student has a rare, genetic disease that manifests itself into a condition called hyperimmunoglobulinema-D (HIDS). Because of this, there are periods of time every month where he couldn’t be in the classroom to learn and he was missing a lot of instruction. During these periods of time when he couldn’t be in the classroom to learn the school set up a webcam room on campus. Read the rest of this entry →