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Strong Advocacy & Positive School Relationships are not Mutually Exclusive

July 5, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

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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Why Free Doesn’t Really Apply to FAPE

May 20, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a myth!  Generally[1] 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:

  1. have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
  2. meet the standards of the State educational agency;
  3. include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
  4. 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 →
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Top 10 Ways Parents and Schools Can Have a Good Working Relationship

January 24, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

We all know it takes a village to raise a child and to make sure that child receives a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE); the two most important components in making that happen are the parents and the school.  In order to do that, everyone needs to do be responsible for their role in educating that child as well as work together to address all their areas of need.  I know it’s not an easy task to accomplish; however, the student will have a better opportunity to receive FAPE if both parties work together instead of spending their time working against each other.  Here are some tips that might help to achieve a good working relationship between parents and schools. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Parent-Teacher Teamwork and a Dash of the Unexpected Help Coax Breakthroughs for Special Needs Kids

August 16, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

When you’re parenting a special needs child, only someone running in your shoes can really understand the marathon of challenges associated with educating that child.

As a former parent educator at a major university in California, and a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I understand the importance of educating our special children.  It takes a village to raise a child.  And when that child has special needs, it sometimes takes a village, the neighboring village, and a tribe of warriors!

Finding balance between a child’s disability, a quality education and some fun innovative experimentation, is the greatest challenge of all.  With all the therapies, behavioral plans, IEPs, etc., that our kids are subjected to, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the simplest and effective educational tactics: Teamwork.  Yes, teamwork, between you and your child’s Special Ed Teacher.   Read the rest of this entry →

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The Inspirational Teacher Series – Sarah Stine

July 12, 2012 in Inspirational Teacher Series by Dennise Goldberg

Today in the Inspirational Teacher Series we profile Sarah Stine.  Sarah has been teaching since 2008 in a private independent special needs school.  I hope you enjoy her profile.

1. What is your name?

Sarah Stine

2. What is your education level and credentials?

Masters level teacher with a Degree in Early Childhood Education, Reading Specialist Endorsement

3. What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

Children should have access to an education that is tailored to their individual needs- No Matter What! Read the rest of this entry →

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The Inspirational Teacher Series – Amanda Thompson

July 4, 2012 in Inspirational Teacher Series by Dennise Goldberg

Today in the Inspirational Teacher Series we profile Amanda Thompson.  Amanda has been teaching for 3 years and specializes in working with children who are blind or vision impaired.  I hope you enjoy her profile.

1. What is your name?

Amanda Thompson 

2. What is your education level and credentials?

I have my Master’s of Education in Special Education, focusing on visual impairments and students who access the general education curriculum.  Read the rest of this entry →

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The Inspirational teacher Series – Erica Donaldson

June 29, 2012 in Inspirational Teacher Series by Dennise Goldberg

Today in the Inspirational Teacher Series we profile Erica Donaldson.  Erica has been teaching for 15 years and uses a hands on approach to Teaching.  I hope you enjoy her profile.

1. What is your name?

Erika Donaldson

2. What is your education level and credentials?

Bach of Teaching (Infants/Primary, inc Special Education), Bach Education (Qualifying to Year 10 mainstream SEP to Year 12) Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

A Matter of Trust

March 22, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

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 →

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2 million Parents are Unsatisfied with IEP involvement and do little about it

February 6, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

On January 24th Disability Scope ran an article, Most Parents Pleased with Role in Child’s IEP. The article stated:

In a study looking at the experiences of families of more than 10,000 students with disabilities, the majority of parents said they attended their child’s most recent IEP meeting. And of parents who attended, about 70 percent said they thought their level of involvement in decision making was “about right.” In most other cases, parents said they wanted to be more involved. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Do relationships with Special Education departments have to be adversarial?

February 5, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I don’t think so.

I have never had an adversarial relationship with our public school’s special education department. I’ve been working with them for 8 years total for two kids, so I like to think I have insight into how our relationship is successful. I am 100% certain there are people who are not able to have the same relationship with their school system, absolutely certain. I also know there are people that start the process fighting, when there isn’t even a bad history. I think it is worth a try to build a mutually respectful relationship from the beginning or to start fresh if things go wrong. Read the rest of this entry →

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