Pete Wright, the Godfather of Special Education law, has often been quoted saying, “Unless you are prepared to remove your child from public school forever, you need to view your relationship with the school as a marriage without the possibility of divorce.” While this may be true regarding the School relationship, this isn’t the case for individual members of the IEP Team. IEP Team members change frequently and it’s amazing how adding or removing one person from the IEP Team can make a huge difference in the quality and implementation of an IEP. While the Parents are not normally in control of the IEP team members from the School, there are methods the Parents can use to add or remove members. Read the rest of this entry →
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In my opinion parents and school districts can’t collaborate because they have different agendas. School Districts are businesses that are limited by school budgets and costs. Their business is educating the masses of children in the most cost effective method possible. Parents on the other hand are only interested in educating and raising their children. Parents want the best for their children while School Districts want the cheapest cost. While I don’t believe School Districts and Parents can collaborate the good news is, I do believe Parents and School Personnel (individuals) can collaborate. Believing in collaboration between individuals is one thing, but how do you actually foster collaboration? Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
Conflict is a necessary part of life. It inevitably occurs in classrooms where groups of individuals, with varied needs and experiences, pursue shared and individual goals. Successful classrooms are not “conflict free zones,” nor are they environments where every request, transition and interaction is a “battle of wills.” The trick is to create an environment where conflict is strategic, fruitful and relatively rare.
The best way to promote constructive conflict is actually to avoid conflict whenever possible. Learning from conflict takes patience and time, both of which are often limited resources in a classroom. It’s important to pick your battles. Avoiding conflict does not mean “turning the other cheek” or not holding young people up to expectations. But there are myriad ways to address negative behavior that are non-confrontational and proactive. Read the rest of this entry →
About 10% of the school population — 9 to 13 million children — struggle with mental health challenges, some of the most challenging students that educators face. In our inclusive classrooms, teachers are becoming skilled at working with children who exhibit learning, physical, and cognitive disabilities, as well as those on the autism spectrum while students with mental health challenges continue to mystify and frustrate. Read the rest of this entry →
Have you ever asked yourself what your local school teachers know about dyslexia? What have they learned on their own? What professional development have they been exposed to since they finished their teacher training programs? Have you ever wondered what they know to be an intervention for dyslexia? I recently read a thread on a Facebook page dedicated to teachers when the topic of dyslexia was posed to 75,000+ teachers. How they responded was not completely unexpected, but it was unnerving.
Before I go on, let me assure you that I love teachers. There are many, many teachers in my life. We have five teachers who work for us as reading therapists and I think they are all intelligent, empathetic, creative and passionate people. So, this article is not a bashing of teachers, instead the purpose is to shed light on what they have been taught, or not taught, to do for children with dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →
The success of school aged children within their home, school, community and academic lives is a function of their education. My goal is to create a safe, appropriate learning environment for the students I teach. Facilitation of learning pre-language, language, pre-academic, academic, and life or adaptive living skills is essential to their achievement. It is my belief that all children should and are capable of maintaining and progressing in academic and functional life skills at home, school and in their community.
When school encompasses children’s lives for almost as much time as an adult’s employment, one could surmise that school is their equivalent of work. Therefore, those experiences are a large portion of how children learn to “live and cope in society”, just as work experiences affect adults’ lives.
Per progressivism, learned behavior comes from observing and having experiences that have meaning. Encouraging learning theory while incorporating a hands on approach increases the amount of meaning and applicability to students’ lives. Read the rest of this entry →
If your child with special needs has been mainstreamed or fully included in a general education classroom, it is important that you communicate openly and honestly with the teacher about your child’s needs.
While special education teachers and outside agencies will meet with your child’s classroom teacher to share information, these meetings can often be brief, delayed, or worse yet, cancelled until further notice.
Therefore, It is necessary for you to monitor the information that is shared between your child’s teacher(s) and the support personnel, and then fill in any gaps. Between you and your child’s school, here are the top ten things that the classroom teacher needs to know about your child’s special needs: 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 →
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 →