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

Dec 25
Profile photo of Dennise Goldberg

by Dennise Goldberg

The following is a list of the most viewed special education advisor blogs from 2012. This doesn’t include any of our guest articles which has been published separately. 2012 was Special Education Advisor’s second full year of operation and we continue to grow more quickly that we could ever imagine. We currently have over 36,000 visitors a month and over 75,000 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:

1.  How to Prepare for an IEP (Updated)

We live in an unprecedented era where schools are dealing with shrinking budgets and fewer resources but still must figure out how to educate an increasingly large number of student age children.  This is compounded by the fact that class sizes are increasing and the number of credentialed Teachers are decreasing due to layoffs.  Just like every other area of education, school districts are trying to figure out ways to cut special education costs as well.  Even though cost cannot be a factor when determining services in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) the children receiving the appropriate services are the ones whose parents are educated and prepared when attending their child’s IEP.  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.

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2.  But it’s in their IEP

Five little words, made up of only sixteen letters that every parent has uttered at one point or another if their child has an IEP.  Who we said it to isn’t as important as the fact that we have all said it.  I have written in the past about my Top Ten Special Education Pet Peeves and the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Comments I Ever Heard at an IEP but it’s time to discuss a new topic.  Below are the top responses heard after I uttered the words, “but it’s in their IEP.”

1.  Your child has an IEP no one ever gave me a copy? 

2.  Oh, I don’t read IEPs.

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3.  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.

The National Technical Assistance and Dissemination Center (NSTTAC) which is funded by OSEP helps States achieve compliance with indicator 13 and have put together a checklist and a checklist frequently asked questions to help in their efforts.

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4.  Proposed DSM-5 Changes and Autism: Ed vs. Med

If the Proposed DSM-5 changes have the effect predicted by the New York Times article, New autism definition may exclude many, study suggests, then these changes will cause a huge upheaval in the lives of many families who struggle with Autism every day. According to the New York Times Article:

Hundreds of thousands of people receive state-backed special services to help offset the disorders’ disabling effects, which include learning and social problems, and the diagnosis is in many ways central to their lives.

The diagnosis of autism is unfortunately the gateway to many state and medical services. In an ideal world it shouldn’t matter what the label is, if the child has a need for services they should be able to access those services. As we all know we don’t live in an ideal world. While the diagnosis of Autism is the gateway to state and medical services it does not work that way in Public Schools. You see there is a HUGE difference between a medical diagnosis of autism and an educational definition of autism. Before I expand on this point let’s look at the proposed changes.

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5.  Top 10 Items that Should Be Listed in an IEP

We all know how important it is to have an IEP that addresses our child’s Academic, Developmental and Functional needs; to ensure they are appropriately prepared for an independent future.  Therefore, as parents, we have to make sure our child’s IEP includes the necessary information to prepare them for life after high school.  The results of your child’s most recent assessments, report cards, state tests, school personnel and parent input will assist the team in developing an appropriate IEP.

Your child’s IEP should include the following information:

1.  A statement of your child’s Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance.

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6.  Top Ten Special Education Pet Peeves

Today’s blog post is meant to be cathartic for me personally. Since I spend my days entrenched in Special Education, I have become particularly sensitive to the following pet peeves. Wikipedia defines a pet peeve as, “a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it.” While some of the list below consists of minor annoyances, others make me down right angry.

1. Schools don’t diagnose they determine eligibility;

A day doesn’t go by without a phone call from a parent who tells me their child was diagnosed with Autism by the School District. School District’s DO NOT diagnose rather they have determined your child is eligible for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) under the eligibility category of Autism.

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7.  Addressing Bullying in an IEP

As a Parent the first reaction you have when someone is bullying your child is to emulate your best Al Capone impression from the Untouchabales.

I want you to get this guy where he breathes! I want you to find this Eliot Ness, I want him dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground! (I have edited this quote for language and shortened it but you get the idea)

While this might be your first reaction, this also happens to be the worst possible course of action. When your child is being bullied the number one issue should be your child, not the other child’s punishment. This is an extremely hard pill to swallow but is necessary for your child’s safety and well-being. Children with disabilities are very often the target of bullying but these same children will most likely have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which can be used as an effective way to address the bullying. Before addressing the issue in an IEP the following steps should be taken in writing:

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8.  I See You

I see you.
I see you.
Others see you flapping your arms, screaming and melting down.
Not me.
I see the person you really are.
Autism is a part of you BUT you are more than that.
You are a whole person with hopes and dreams and the ability to contribute to the world in amazing ways.
I see you.

I see you.

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9.  My Favorite Autism & Disability Communities on Facebook

Last month I published a list of Special Education Facebook Pages to Like. This was an extensive list of Companies and Organizations that focus primarily on Special Education. What was left off of this list was all of the amazing communities on facebook dedicated to creating a warm, loving, supportive, and nonjudgmental environment for parents raising children with autism and other special needs. Most of these communities are run by parents just like you and me. While I run the Special Education Advisor community page on facebook I spend just as much time on many of the community pages listed below. I also enlisted the help of Jessica at Autism Moms to bolster the list with some of her favorites as well.

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10.  Strength Based IEPs

When most people hear about a child that has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) the first thing that crosses their mind is, “I wonder what their deficits or needs are.”  This is because too many IEPs are being written using the deficit model.  The deficit model focuses on the student as the major problem, neither looking within the environment nor the instructional practices in the classroom.  As Kral stated way back in 1992, “if we ask people to look for deficits, they will usually find them, and their view of the situation will be colored by this. If we ask people to look for successes, they will usually find it, and their view of the situation will be colored by this”.  Only focusing on the child’s deficits could have the following effects, 1) the IEP will not work very well, and 2) it will cause self-esteem issues and behavior problems with the child.

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To read the Top Ten Most Viewed Special Education Guest Articles of 2012 click here.

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One Response to “Top Ten Most Viewed Special Education Advisor Blogs for 2012”

  1. Appreciate this great 2012 list of the most -viewed special education blogs! Many thanks for taking the time and effort to compile such a list. Will share with many parents and families of special needs children!

    All the best for a great New Year 2013 (will look forward to next year’s list, too)!

    Joan Brennan
    Website: http://www.FocusandRead.com
    Blog: http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/

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