Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

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I Have a Dream for Special Education

January 17, 2016 in Featured, Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

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 →

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Peer-Reviewed Research & Research Based Instruction

August 22, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when reauthorized in 2004 introduced the concept of Research Based Instruction. This was done in order to align the regulations with the No Child Left Behind Act and to hold Schools more accountable for the lack of progress children with disabilities were making in their classrooms.

Congress, in their findings, determined, “the implementation of this title (IDEA) has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Learning Basic Life Skills in High School

August 17, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

What should families expect their children to learn in a life skills class at the high school level? A simple question; however, I think many schools seem to struggle with providing valuable life skills lessons. Our students age out at 22 years old, which means the state is no longer responsible with providing the students services through public schools. When students attain that age and leave our system, it is incredibly important for them and their family that the student has learned coping skills to assist them to become more independent in their life. Read the rest of this entry →

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Learning Outside the Box

July 11, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

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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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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What is a Special Education Advocate?

January 25, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Special Education Advocates or IEP Advocates help parents write appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and attain special education services for their child with a disability from their public school system.  They do so by familiarizing themselves with the special education process.  Please be aware, advocates are not attorneys.  However, advocates are extremely helpful in IEP meetings to assist in the negotiation process between parents and their school.  The Advocate can provide information about special education options and requirements and can help seek specific services or programs.  The advocate knows local schools resources and can see solutions others might not.  A Special Education Advocate is: Read the rest of this entry →

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Ten Steps to Writing Effective IEP Goals

January 23, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that all Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) include:

A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, designed to (a) meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and (b) meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability. Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Help Your Child with Special Needs be More Independent

January 19, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The ultimate goal of a parent is the independence of their child.  Parents try to set the stage perfectly – with love, support, encouragement, guidance and nurturance. As different developmental stages occur, opportunities emerge to foster skills that will lead to independence.  We want our kids to be ready when these chances happen.

This process holds additional complexities for parents of children with special needs. Everyone struggles with the age-old question of when to ‘let go’ at each developmental stage.  And the answer for every child and parent is different.  However, just because developmental progress occurs in a more idiosyncratic or even delayed fashion doesn’t mean that the moments for these decisions on how much to let go and transitions in parental behavior aren’t arriving at all.  They are, and with a special needs child, a parent’s approach to fostering independence needs to be even more intentional and sophisticated. Read the rest of this entry →

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In order to be fair we have got to treat them different

December 19, 2013 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

A couple of months ago I was touring an inclusive charter school that my wife and I want my son to attend for middle school. As we toured the different classrooms I noticed a sign hanging over the blackboard in every class. The sign read, “Fairness is not getting the same thing as everyone else, but getting what you need.” This motto seemed appropriate since the charter’s school inclusion “model allows for the individual needs of each child to be addressed in a manner that enhances each child’s strengths while also addressing learning needs” all within the general education setting.

Being the curious type I snapped a picture of one of the signs and went home to research the individual who came up with this philosophy. After doing some Google searches I found the following YouTube video from Rick Lavoie. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

13 Key Issues Autism, special needs and parents of disabled need for their Family – Today, tomorrow and …?

November 5, 2013 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I call these my Baker’s Dozen – This is in no way a complete list, and each and every family’s situation will have nuances. Remember, it all can’t or doesn’t need to be done at once;

1. Get a proper diagnosis and assessments early. These are the building blocks for successful EI, IEP’s, ITP’s, ongoing evaluations, services, support, benefits, management and living options.

2. Accept your child. Accept yourself. Accept this community There are hundreds, even thousands of us close by. Just like you. Some may have more financial means, many may not. We all have many of the same needs, challenges and concerns… Sometimes scared, upset, and trying to understand, learn more, live a life, rebuild our dreams and thrive. Read the rest of this entry →

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