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How to Prepare for a Manifestation Determination Review

April 11, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

One of the most devastating calls you can receive as a parent is the School calling to tell you they have initiated an expulsion proceeding against your child due to poor behavior. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) before the expulsion process can start they must hold a Manifestation Determination review. This review must be held within 10 days of the conduct. At which time the IEP team must review the complete file and consider all relevant information, including the IEP, any teacher observations, and any information supplied by the parents. The IEP team must then answer two questions: Read the rest of this entry →

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A Letter to the School Administrator That Has Lost Perspective

June 21, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Dear Principal, Assistant Principal or Dean of Students that has lost perspective;

Over the past school year I have seen an increasingly troubling trend among a FEW of you entrusted to protect and educate our children.  You have adopted a military philosophy known as, “Kill one, save a thousand.”  At this point I’m sure many of you are screaming foul and yelling at the computer screen that nothing you do actually kills a child.  I would argue that your actions in many ways can have this affect on a child.  At best you are killing their dreams and at worst you are emotionally scaring them for a lifetime in ways you may not even be aware of.  I know you think your actions are justified because you have an entire school full of other children to think about but you are going about it all wrong.  If you want to embrace a philosophy how about the Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath to, “Do no harm.”  Work with the child’s parents and find a solution that helps the situation for all involved and doesn’t harm even one child.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Confessions of a Special Education Advocate

May 14, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Winning isn’t everything!!!! Let me say that again, winning isn’t everything. Your child IS everything, they are your world, and they are your “everything.” Sometimes we get so caught up in the chess game between Schools and Parents we all forget that there is a beautiful child who needs our help, is asking for our help and is screaming for our help. Negative behaviors mean something, not that the child is bad but that the child is trying to make us listen to them. Maybe that negative behavior is the only way the child knows how to communicate their needs and wants. It’s up to us as the adults to listen and not spend our time trying to outmaneuver each other in the IEP meeting.

As you can tell I’m a little emotional right now. This IEP season has been a difficult one because many of our clients have children with varying degrees of mental health issues. The mind is a complicated place that has very little predictability when mental health issues are involved. Whether you are talking about a 7 year old boy with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an 8 year old boy with an anxiety disorder or a teenager who spent her toddler years in foster care and was born addicted to drugs; writing an IEP for these children is a difficult, ongoing process. Difficult might actually be an understatement, I’m not even sure an appropriate word exists in the English language for this monumental task. So why do we spend our precious time trying to outmaneuver each other rather than spend the necessary time writing an IEP that will shape a better future for that child. Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Myths About Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

January 30, 2012 in Special Education Articles by bob fitzsimmons

The regulations that implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are complex, detailed and broad. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about them, and it is not uncommon for school staff, who generally have good intentions, to misstate a regulation or to rely on an assumption about a particular regulation. When school staff rely on special education mythology, two things occur: the school risks being in noncompliance; and more importantly, the all-important relationship with parents is undermined, eroding the trust that is necessary to achieve genuine consensus. Read the rest of this entry →

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