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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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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →