As children and parents negotiate their way through the final weeks of summer and approach the beginning of a new school year, they experienced the inevitable and vast array of thoughts and feelings about the upcoming challenges they will face. Many students feel a predominance of excitement as they anticipate who their new teachers will be, look forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and sharing the experiences they have had since June. As a person, I hope that all children feel, on balance, more excitement than concern at the prospect of a fresh opportunity; however, as a Special Educator with thirteen years of school based experience, I know that many – if not most – children with special needs face every school year with worry and trepidation. Read the rest of this entry →
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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 →
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 →
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 →
Over the years I have spent a lot of time and energy writing about Teachers and separating them from the School District. In a post in March I wrote:
Learning to separate the School District and the School Personnel (Teachers, Therapists, Aides, etc.) is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. Once you are able to separate the people (school personnel) from the faceless corporation (the School District bean counters) it is not impossible to have a positive relationship with your school and also be a strong advocate for your child. 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 →
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 →
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 →
The following is a list of the most viewed special education advisor blogs from 2011. This doesn't include any of our guest articles which will be published separately. 2011 was Special Education Advisor's first full year of operation and we have grown more quickly that we could ever imagine. We currently have over 21,000 visitors a month and over 50,000 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 →
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 →