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Ten Related Services for an IEP you may not know about

August 19, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

In General the term Related Service means services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as described in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.  The Related Services most people are familiar with are Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Transportation.

The following list describes ten Related Services you may not know about:  Read the rest of this entry →

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What is Extended School Year

May 21, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

One of the most common questions I hear from parents is, what is extended school year?  Extended School Year or ESY is not summer school, but rather it is for children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) who need additional school days to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and prolonged periods of time off will have a negative impact on them.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) describes extended school year to mean: Read the rest of this entry →

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Top Ten Common Questions About Special Education

December 12, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

1.  What is the special education law that can help my child with a disability?

The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977.  This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.  In 1990 EHA was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.  IDEA was most recently reauthorized in 2004.  The Purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education or FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.

It’s important to note that the law only guarantees an appropriate education and not the best education.  Best is a four letter word and Parents should learn to replace it with the word appropriate when discussing their child’s special education needs Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Obscure or Overlooked aspects of IDEA

August 23, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

1.  Medical Services can be paid for by the School District if it is for diagnostic or evaluation purposes.  As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Act: “Medical Services means services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.”

2.  The Child find mandate requires all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State, and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, to be identified, located, and evaluated.  The child find mandate also includes children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to gradeRead the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Occupational Therapy: More than just handwriting!

July 24, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Many children who have an IEP receive Occupational Therapy (OT) as a related service to address poor handwriting.  While handwriting referrals are an appropriate use of Occupational Therapy services and OT’s are well equipped to address handwriting challenges that impact learning, illegible or sloppy handwriting can be a symptom of more significant processing or motor challenges and poor handwriting is not the only type of symptom that educators and parents should be considering when determining the need for OT services.  Occupational Therapy is an underutilized and often misunderstood discipline, that can serve as a valuable resource to address many IEP related goals.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Special Education Advisor is 2 Years Old!!

May 29, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Special Education Advisor started out as a way to help parents educate themselves on the Special Education process in the United States. I wanted to create a non-threatening place for parents to come and learn to be their child’s best advocate in an IEP meeting. That was it that was my dream. What has occurred in the preceding 2 years has been nothing short of amazing. With no budget and 2 employees, my husband and I, we set out on this journey and many of you have come along for the ride. We now have a vibrant community which includes more than 40,000 visitors per month and growing.

Originally, my husband and I did all of the content on the website ourselves but then one day we got an email. A Special Education Professional introduced herself and asked if she could write a guest post for SEA. Wow, why didn’t I think of that? We added a page on the website where parents, educators and other professionals could submit guest articles and we never looked back. Today, we post a minimum of 5 new articles per week including 3 guest articles. The subject of these articles while still heavily IEP related, now cover a vast array of different special needs related content. We are constantly looking for new areas to cover and in the last 4 months added an app and product review section.

We wanted to take a moment and personally thank all of our visitors, members, twitter followers, facebook fans, pinteresters and google plusers for coming along for the ride. That was a mouth full, but you get the idea. We spend an abundant amount of our time, 7 days a week, on SEA and interacting with all of you makes it worthwhile. We hope you will continue with us on this journey and help us spread the word about SEA in the coming years.

In the meantime, below is a list of 25 of our most popular articles from the last two years:

Brief History of Special Education Court Cases 

Just as the 1970’s began the passing of legislation for children with disabilities it was also the start of some of its most important court cases.  Two cases in particular were the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 343 Fed. Supp. 279, (1972) and Mills v. Board of Education of District of Columbia, 348 F. Supp. 866 (1972).  In both PARC and Mills the judges struck down local laws that excluded children with disabilities from schools.  They established that children with a disability have a right to a public education and access to an education.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Program for children who qualify for special education services by their local public school district.  It is not an Individual Education Plan.  Why isn’t it a Plan?  As the old saying goes, “plans are made to be broken!”  A program on the other hand must be followed!!  Congress in their infinite wisdom got this one right.  It is a legally binding document that must be followed to the letter of the law and tailored to meet your child’s unique needs.  An IEP must include:

How to Prepare for your Next IEP Meeting

Life is hectic when raising a child with special needs.  Parents are constantly dealing with therapies, medical appointments, administering medicine, and life in general.  To make matters worse parents are telling me they keep hearing in IEP meetings from School District personnel, “If you don’t like our offer take us to due process”.  This makes it even more important to be prepared for your next meeting.  This article will help you truly prepare for the next IEP meeting.

Proposed DSM 5 Changes and Autism: What Parents & Advocates Need to Know

In May of 2013 the new diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder will be distributed to doctors via the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5). Think of the DSM 5 as the Bible of diagnostic criteria, developed and written by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Least Restrictive Environment (Legal, Judicial and Practical meaning)

The term Least Restrictive Environment is thrown around a lot in special education but what does it really mean.  There is the legal definition which states:

Disability Categories under IDEA

The following list outlines the definitions of each of the disability categories established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education (Improvement) Act of 2004 (“IDEA”)

2012 Update: Essential Special Education Twitter Feeds to Follow

Below is a list of Special Education Twitter Feeds worth following.  The list includes Parents, Educators, Advocates, Attorneys, Therapists and National Organizations.  This list should keep you up to date on everything happening in and around the world of Special Education.

IEP Goals And Objectives: Are These Any Good?

To develop IEP goals (and, in some states and situations, objectives) that are meaningful, measurable, and manageable, requires a  preliminary step that too many IEP Teams rush though: Writing a quality Present Levels section (“present levels of academic achievement and functional performance”) of the IEP. This section forms the basis and justification for all goals and objectives. In turn, the goals and objectives form the basis for all services and placements.

Top Ten Questions to Ask at an IEP

If your child has an IEP, the following top ten list is comprised of generic questions that all parents should be asking.  This list is not specific to any disability or situation.

A Letter to the MOTHER Who Rolled Her Eyes at My Son

Dear Other Mother at Physical Therapy,

For the past three days I have watched you roll your eyes at my son. I can see your annoyance with him when he gets loud and interrupts your quiet making it hard for you to read your book. I saw your anger when he accidentally bumped into you and just kept going instead of stopping to say he was sorry. I hear the hostility in your voice as you yell for the technicians to pay attention to your daughter and stop giving my boy extra attention. And for three days I have said nothing.

Brief History Of Special Education Legislation

Prior to the 1970’s special education in the United States was in a dismal state.  Many children with a disability were denied access to a public education.  Most of these children were either home schooled, did not receive any education at all or worse yet were institutionalized.  The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977.  This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EHA).  This law introduced the concepts of:

A Letter to Ron Clark: What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers

Dear Ron,

I have recently read your article, “What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents” and found it to be ill-conceived, short sided and quite frankly wrong on many accounts. I am aware of your accolades and achievements as written in the editor’s note prior to the article but I will also point you to Rule #51 in your Essential 55 Rules, “Live so that you will never have regrets”. If you don’t already, I feel you will learn to regret writing this article. This article has the ability to create an even bigger chasm between Parents and Teachers. Parent Involvement in a Child’s Education, as proven by 20 years of research, is one of the most effective methods in a child’s academic success. Educating our children needs to be a partnership between Parents and Teachers. Especially, since school age children spend 70% of their time outside of school. Your article makes it painfully aware that your idea of a Parent – Teacher partnership is one where Parents do everything you ask without input or questions.

What Is The Orton-Gillingham Approach?

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a unique language training system that was designed by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham.  Dr. Orton, a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist, was a pioneer in focusing attention on reading failure and related language processing difficulties.  He revolutionized modern thought concerning learning disabilities, determining that language-based disorders were biological and not environmental in origin.  He brought together neuroscientific information and principles of remediation, having extensively studied children with the kind of language processing difficulties now commonly associated with dyslexia and formulating a set of teaching principles and practices for such children.  He strongly believed that such disorders would respond to specific training if properly diagnosed and if the proper training methods to meet the needs of each particular case were instituted.

Special Education Facebook Pages to Like

The following is a list of Facebook pages that do a wonderful job of tracking, educating and informing on all aspects of Special Education and advocacy.  Anyone that has a child with an individualized education program (IEP) or individual family service plan (IFSP) should like these pages.

Top Ten Parental Rights in Special Education

10.  Parents have the right to request that their child be assessed for Special Education without delay.

9.  Parents have the right to list all of their concerns in the IEP.

OSEP Provides Guidance on the Number of Transition Goals Required in an IEP

When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized in 2004 the U. S. Department of Education through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) required states to develop State Performance Plans based on 20 indicators. The data would be submitted annually, by each State, in Annual Performance Reports. The 13th Indicator, or Indicator 13, relates to transition services for students.

Seven Things I Wish Someone had Told Me When My Daughter Was First Diagnosed with Autism

1. You’re not alone. No, really, really not alone. About one in 110 of us are on the autism spectrum. Throughout the world, autism affects all races, social classes, religions, and income levels. You are going to meet some amazing people who are walking this road right with you. You may even find that you or your spouse are on the spectrum, but that’s a whole ‘nother subject.

IEP Recreation: There is no Friendship Algorithm

Making friends isn’t easy for anyone but becomes even more difficult if you are a child with special needs who has an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  While most schools use an IEP to primarily focus on academics, one of the most overlooked uses is to help with socialization and recreation.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allows for support services, known as “Related Services” that helps the child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  The definition of Related Services as defined by IDEA says:

Discipline for Children with IEPs

Disciplining a child with a disability is one of the most complicated issues surrounding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004.  Parents, a lot of times, feel helpless and don’t know who or where to turn when their child with a disability is constantly acting out at school and being suspended.  This article will help explain what rights your child with an IEP has when dealing with discipline issues.

Five Practical Sensory Strategies for the Classroom

Children with special needs very often present with sensory integration difficulties, where their neurological systems are not organizing and responding appropriately to the multitude of sensory information that is entering their system. Intact sensory integration is important for all activities a child does, especially participating and being available for learning in a classroom environment. When a child’s sensory system is dysregulated we may see behaviors such as hyperactivity, poor attention, low arousal/energy, emotional outbursts, or inappropriate social interactions. Many of these children are in classrooms of twenty-five students (or likely more ) with one teacher. How can we support these children in school to better ensure their sensory needs are met in order to be successful students? Working in collaboration with teachers I have found these strategies to be effective and practical in general education settings.

Please Step Away From the Child! The Misuse of Paraprofessionals in Inclusive Classrooms

I may upset a few parents with this post, but just know that I what I am about to say is in the best interest of your children. Many, many, many (did I say many?) parents insist that their children with autism have “shadows” when they are included in general education classrooms. Parents tell one another things like, “Whatever you do, make sure the shadow is assigned to your child, not the classroom.” In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is to assign a non-certified staff person to a child. In fact, it is not just my opinion. Research has shown that having a shadow assigned to a student can have detrimental effects (Downing, Ryndak, & Clark, 2000); Giangreco & Broer, 2005). Some of the documented negative effects of having shadows assigned to students include:

Ten Related Services for an IEP you may not know about

In General the term Related Service means services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as described in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.  The Related Services most people are familiar with are Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Transportation.

FREE Common Core Standards App

Consider this your call to action! The Common Core Standards are coming to your State and every Teacher and Parent of a child with special needs MUST have this free app on their phone, tablet or iPad. As a parent of a child with special needs I don’t go to my son’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting without a copy of California’s State Standards for his grade level. I use these standards to write goals for my son’s IEP based on his individualized needs.

Change Your Ways!

For most of us, the drive to change our own behavior emerges on or around on January 1st with the dawn of a new year and new possibilities for self improvement. Loose a little weight, stop smoking, exercise more, and eat leafy greens seem to be among the favorites. Most of us are pretty conservative and only select 1 (maybe 2) goals to tackle each year. After all, we are only human and it takes a lot of thinking to change a pattern or ingrained routine. If you’re diligent and work hard, you might see a change but for most of us….it’s an exercise in futility somewhere around March 1st. Why does that happen? How do we lose our “oomph” and why do we slip back into our old, familiar ways. Why can’t we learn to change our ways? These are all questions that we ought to be asking, but rarely do. Instead, we wait until the following year and begin the process all over again. Why? Because changing a behavior is REALLY hard, even when highly motivated to do so.

Dear School Personnel, Community Members and Neighbors

To Whom it May Concern,

I am the parent of a special needs child.  I was overwhelmed, confused, heart broken and struggling to unravel the complexities before me.

Please do not pass judgement of me without knowing why I did not attend the school PTA breakfasts or community picnics.  Please take a few minutes to understand why I did not take you up on your offer to have lunch or grab a cup of coffee.  Although we see each other in the supermarket or at school functions, I don’t think you really ever knew me, actually, I can guarantee that you did not know me because just as my child was different, so was I.

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Lifelong Learning As A Special Ed Therapy Professional

April 5, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists all provide essential services to help individuals recover or manage their disability. It’s apparent to these professionals, or students specializing in this field, that to be able to give the highest quality of care requires extensive education to enter professions as well as continuing education throughout the subsequent career. But what is the special recipe to maximize your lifelong learning as a therapy professional? Read the rest of this entry →

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What is compensatory education?

December 5, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

What is it?

Compensatory education is generally defined as a remedy owed to children with a disability who have been denied, a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Compensatory education may include summer services, additional therapy hours, or other measures that make the student whole for past violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by the School District. Compensatory education is intended to be a onetime offer to compensate for past denial of FAPE and doesn’t relieve the School District of providing FAPE on a go forward basis. Thus, compensatory education should be in addition to the necessary services to provide the child FAPE in the current or future Individualized Education Programs (IEP). Read the rest of this entry →

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Telepractice is becoming increasingly popular. Are you on board?

November 29, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The public school dilemma

One of the largest obstacles in speech therapy services over the years has been achieving high levels of parent involvement. Without parent involvement, learning reinforcement wanes and it’s difficult to graduate these kids from speech-language therapy. There are other difficulties we face in schools, including personnel shortages which inhibit us from seeing kids at a proper treatment age. Public schools mitigate large caseloads by starting speech treatment later than they should, graduating kids even though they’re not ready, or even refusing to see kids despite their need for therapy. Many of the local school districts are forced to wait and treat speech problems until the child is eight, far into their developmental process, and at that point it’s much harder to retrain habits that are already engrained. Public schools face quite a daunting dilemma.

I came across an article about New Mexico’s educational budget cuts, and they’re going to turn kids away who absolutely need speech therapy. While tax dollars are being used to build a new high school with little to no enrollment, officials are denying imperative speech-language development services. If education doesn’t help kids read, write, speak and develop confidence, then what is its purpose? We face so many difficulties in education, and it’s about time we rethink the way services are delivered and received.

Telepractice is a viable solution

Telepractice is a way of delivering speech-language therapy to students online via an HD webcam, high quality audio chat, and advanced interactive tools used for engagement and interaction with the student. And the best part is that ASHA has approved of this service delivery model since 2005. SLPs don’t have to travel, they can treat more kids during the day, and learning reinforcement is higher because we connect with students while they’re in their natural learning environment: the home. While the student and SLP connect for a session over the online platform, parents are present as the facilitator, and as you can already tell, this provides incredible learning advantages. Kent State University’s OMNIE (Ohio Master’s Network Initiatives in Education) research study on the effects of telepractice indicates the following benefits to student learning [1]:

  • Student reaction to the program was overwhelmingly positive
  • Administrators felt teletherapy was more consistent than face-to-face sessions and required more attention and engagement on the part of the student
  • Most parents rated the program as “above average” and praised their children’s progress
  • Students are not removed from precious class-room time
  • Students avoid awkward social situations
  • Students avoid the all-to-common stereotype of special education

Visual Speech Therapy is a great choice

Visual Speech Therapy is a telepractice that connects SLPs with students while at home, and the benefits outlined above abound in VST’s proven visual learning approach. Why else is “Visual” part of the name? VST is the first telepractice to implement Speech Buddies. Speech Buddies are a series of revolutionary speech therapy tools to help children learn correct and consistent tongue positioning for five of the most difficult-to-learn problem sounds – R, S, L, CH, and SH. Speech Buddies were designed by a team of speech-language pathologists and engineers who understand the challenges associated with speech therapy and treating speech disorders. Speech Buddies train correct tongue placement so children learn and feel how to produce the right sound. Having customized tools for articulation disorders is a breakthrough technology for the speech therapy industry.

Speech Buddies have been shown to help children learn to correct problem sounds twice as fast [2]. They help address mild or severe speech challenges by making it easy to pronounce the correct sound, every time. Research shows that kids with an R sound disorder can achieve 90% accuracy within just eight speech sessions [3], and kids with an S sound disorder can achieve 71% accuracy within just eight speech sessions [4].

Contact Visual Speech Therapy for a free demonstration of the online platform and Speech Buddies to see if this is right for you at this time. Find out more by visiting their website as well: www.visualspeechtherapy.com.

[1] http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Editorial/Content/Editorial.aspx?CC=164509

[2] Gordy Rogers & Jessica Galgano, Speech Buddies and Intra-Oral Tactile Biofeedback, 2010.

[3] http://visualspeechtherapy.com/_include/images/misc/Speech_Buddies_R_Case_Study.pdf

[4] http://visualspeechtherapy.com/_include/images/misc/White_Paper_SB_Clincal_Trial-8-20-2010.pdf

 

 

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Top Ten Special Education Supreme Court Cases

November 28, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The list outlines the top ten Special Education Supreme Court Cases and a short description of each ruling.  To read the entire opinion click on the name of each case below:

1. Hendrick Hudson Board of Education. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982)

First Supreme Court case regarding special education set the standard for what is a “Free Appropriate Public Education”.   The ruling provided children with disabilities access to public schools that also provided a basic floor of opportunity.  Not the best education but one where the child has passing grades in classes and is advancing to higher grades. Read the rest of this entry →

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