The Goals and Objectives section of the IEP is the”meat” of the IEP. Goals and objectives should be directly linked to the child’s educational needs. Special educators determine what a child’s education needs are through formal and informal assessments, through observations of the child’s behaviors and social interactions, through parent feedback, through work products the child creates and through evaluating the child’s level of success with different teaching interventions. The goals and objectives are the specific skills the child is going to learn during the course of the IEP, which is usually one year. Read the rest of this entry →
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It happened again. I was in an IEP for a student with dyslexia who is struggling with spelling the most. This GATE-identified young man is in the 5th grade and spelling phonetically, yet he was not receiving services for spelling last year – which is why I am now involved in the IEP process. The meeting was somewhat tense from the beginning, but when we got to the spelling goal this is what was presented: Thomas will be taught to memorize and spell 200 of the most common sight words. Hmm. Ok. So, my response: Can we change this goal so that we are actually teaching him to spell versus just memorizing some words? This is when I got the death stare and then silence. I interpreted the silence to mean that the RSP teacher didn’t know how to write the goal because she did not know how to teach a kid who is spelling phonetically how to spell. Then she said it, and the general ed teacher agreed with a nod of his head: He is going to middle school next year and he really doesn’t need to know how to spell anymore. I mean they don’t give spelling tests. My heart started to pound and then she added the ubiquitous suggestion: He can just learn to use spell check. Read the rest of this entry →
We as parents spend a lot of time advocating for our children when they are young. However, there comes a time when our children become older and they have to learn how to advocate for themselves; knowing when the time is right will depend on your child. If your child is still attending elementary school, they are most likely NOT mature enough to participate. For those of you who have children in middle school, now is the time to think about the prospect of someday having your child attend their own IEP meeting. Read the rest of this entry →
In the special needs community, children are given labels based on their disability. The most common diagnosis a child may be given are Autism, ADHD or Specific Learning Disability; in fact, the most common eligibility for an IEP in this country is Specific Learning Disability. Ask yourself this question….does the label your child has be given accurately define all their areas of need? In many cases it does not; many children may have one diagnosis but also exhibit symptoms from other disabilities as well. Maybe your child has a Learning Disability but they also have Sensory Processing issues as well. Your child may have a diagnosis of Autism but also exhibits symptoms of ADHD or ODD too. For some children, they might have any of the three most common disabilities and also experience struggles with Mental Health. I think it’s safe to say that most children have multiple areas of need. Read the rest of this entry →
Every teacher in every classroom in every school in this country (and beyond) will come across several, if not dozens, of students who just can’t seem to get the ‘reading thing’ down. The students are smart, articulate, and creative, yet they omit small words, read slowly, have difficulty spelling, and stumble, guess or mumble through multisyllabic words. They are placed in reading groups for extra instruction and still don’t seem to ‘get it.’ And during his or her career, every teacher in every classroom in every school will ask themselves, “How can I help these children?” The answer is to learn as much as possible about dyslexia , because the child described above has dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →
If your child with special needs has been mainstreamed or fully included in a general education classroom, it is important that you communicate openly and honestly with the teacher about your child’s needs.
While special education teachers and outside agencies will meet with your child’s classroom teacher to share information, these meetings can often be brief, delayed, or worse yet, cancelled until further notice.
Therefore, It is necessary for you to monitor the information that is shared between your child’s teacher(s) and the support personnel, and then fill in any gaps. Between you and your child’s school, here are the top ten things that the classroom teacher needs to know about your child’s special needs: Read the rest of this entry →
When a child is first diagnosed with a disability, parents must learn a lot in a short time if they want their child to receive the best services. Finding that information can be challenging, but NICHCY is here to help. Has your child been classified as having an “Other Health Impairment”? NICHCY’s fact sheet can help clarify what that means. Has your child experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury? NICHCY’s fact sheet can help you understand how that disability affects learning.
NICHCY’s Disability Fact Sheets are our most popular web pages. Each fact sheet includes a definition, causes, characteristics, how common the disability is in school-age children, educational considerations, and helpful organizations for further information. Most also include supports broken down by age group, tips for teachers, tips for parents, and a brief story of a child with the disability. The fact sheets are a great starting point for anyone who is living or working with a child who has a disability. Many are also available in Spanish—easy to read, easy to share. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
Students with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) have significant difficulties in identifying and discriminating sounds despite having normal peripheral hearing. These students often have reading difficulties due to significantly poor phonological awareness, decoding ability and grapheme knowledge. Time and again a student with Auditory Processing Disorder will lack the necessary reading foundation skills that are essential in becoming a strong reader. Read the rest of this entry →
Special Education in America has come very far in the 30 plus years since the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed. The problem is somewhere along the way the spirit of the law and the practice of the law started to breakdown. The cornerstone of the special education law is the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and decisions about the IEP are decided at an IEP team meeting. The IEP becomes useless if the IEP team meeting goes off task. Unfortunately, instead of a team, often it becomes parents against the school and a massive communication breakdown occurs. There can be a significant lack of trust on both sides. Many times I hear from School personnel, “Why don’t parents think we are capable of assessing their children properly?” While on the other side parents think schools are turning them down for eligibility and services due to lack of funds when their children really need help. Read the rest of this entry →