I don’t understand why every time we post an article on Special Education Advisor regarding advocacy or relationships with your child’s school we always get the same type of comments. If the article is discussing how to collaborate with your school or create a positive relationship I receive comments about how utilizing this philosophy would put you in a weak position. On the other hand, every time we post an article about being a strong advocate for your child we get comments about how this is counterproductive to the collaborative nature of the IEP Meeting. Since when did we start living in a universe where you can’t have a positive relationship with your child’s school and be a strong advocate for their needs? You absolutely can do both, but it requires finesse. Before we talk about how to do this I want you to see two of these comments we have received. On the article Top Ten Methods to Foster IEP Team Collaboration we received this comment: Read the rest of this entry →
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Pete Wright, the Godfather of Special Education law, has often been quoted saying, “Unless you are prepared to remove your child from public school forever, you need to view your relationship with the school as a marriage without the possibility of divorce.” While this may be true regarding the School relationship, this isn’t the case for individual members of the IEP Team. IEP Team members change frequently and it’s amazing how adding or removing one person from the IEP Team can make a huge difference in the quality and implementation of an IEP. While the Parents are not normally in control of the IEP team members from the School, there are methods the Parents can use to add or remove members. Read the rest of this entry →
In my opinion parents and school districts can’t collaborate because they have different agendas. School Districts are businesses that are limited by school budgets and costs. Their business is educating the masses of children in the most cost effective method possible. Parents on the other hand are only interested in educating and raising their children. Parents want the best for their children while School Districts want the cheapest cost. While I don’t believe School Districts and Parents can collaborate the good news is, I do believe Parents and School Personnel (individuals) can collaborate. Believing in collaboration between individuals is one thing, but how do you actually foster collaboration? Read the rest of this entry →
Special Education Advocates or IEP Advocates help parents write appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and attain special education services for their child with a disability from their public school system. They do so by familiarizing themselves with the special education process. Please be aware, advocates are not attorneys. However, advocates are extremely helpful in IEP meetings to assist in the negotiation process between parents and their school. The Advocate can provide information about special education options and requirements and can help seek specific services or programs. The advocate knows local schools resources and can see solutions others might not. A Special Education Advocate is: Read the rest of this entry →
It’s IEP Season once again and many parents are starting to get their IEP meeting notices. While perusing this notice for the individuals that will be attending your child’s IEP you notice a name that scares you!! For some reason the School District’s attorney has been listed as an attendee for the meeting and you are not sure what to do. Your first reaction is to tell the District that their attorney isn’t allowed to attend an IEP but unfortunately this is not necessarily the case. The IEP Team members consist of: Read the rest of this entry →
During my monthly neighborhood support & study group meeting this past week, our local KDDs group (Kids with Differences & Disabilities) focused on first steps toward becoming strong advocates for our children with differences & disabilities.
As a group, we are reading through the book From Emotions to Advocacy by Pete and Pam Wright, a terrific guide for parents who are just getting started down the road of advocating for their children with learning disabilities, autism, ADHD, speech language disorders, emotional health issues, developmental delays and other special needs.
As a starting point for learning about how to advocate for our kids, our parent group focused a lot during the discussion on two main advocacy goals that the Wrights suggest in the book. First, your role as your child’s advocate within the public school setting is to ensure that he/she receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Read the rest of this entry →
It’s that time of the year where many of us are preparing our children to transition into a new placement in the fall semester. Whether your child will be transitioning into Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School or High School we are all concerned about their readiness to adapt to their new placement. I am personally stressed out because my son is beginning middle school in the fall. I keep hearing Greg Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid in my head saying:
Let me just say for the record I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. You got kids like me who haven't hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with these gorillas who need to shave twice a day. Read the rest of this entry →
Last Friday was my son’s 3 year review. It lasted three hours, which is not uncommon for a 3 year review; ours last that long even when we don’t have assessments to review. As I stated in my previous blog, my son is now in the 5th grade….yes, preparing for that wonderful time called “Middle School.” Our concerns for middle school are with his Academics, Speech/Language and Social Skills. My son’s Woodcock Johnson Achievement scores were quite surprising to us. He is now in the high average range in spelling and math calculation. However, he is still in the low average range in reading comprehension, story recall-delayed and applied problems with regards to math. He has a lot of strengths as well as many needs. Read the rest of this entry →
This morning I hosted my monthly tweet chat for the Coffee Klatch. The subject was Present Levels of Performance and writing IEP Goals. It was a great chat with input from parents and educators. We even ended up delving into the concept of Parent - Teacher Partnerships in Schools. Instead of writing about it, I have posted the transcript from the chat below. I think I might have missed some comments but recreated it as best I could. Although my twitter handle is @SpecialEdAdvice I was driving the ship below as @TheCoffeeKlatch. I hope you enjoy reading the transcript as much as I enjoyed hosting the tweet chat. Read the rest of this entry →
If you have been following my blogs lately, I recently got into a debate in the comment section of the Top Ten Negotiating Skills to Learn for an IEP. I’m going to focus this blog on one comment that was made:
“The (IEP) “team” concept does not in any way suggest a process of negotiation, rather it suggests collaboration. There is a significant difference with the former implying a relationship of possibly opposing views, while the latter implies a co-operative relationship.” Read the rest of this entry →