When Homeschooling Chooses You

I never thought I would be a homeschooling parent.  My husband and I bought a house in a neighborhood that gave us access to the area’s best public elementary school.  When my twin boys were babies, I would cruise by the school, fantasizing about dropping and picking up my kids.  It was before the word "autism" became part of our vocabulary.

Integrated Lesson Planning for Special Needs

A few weeks ago, as I was sitting in a professional development meeting with a team of educators at New York City Public School PS79, located in Harlem, I was overcome with unexpected emotion. For several years, I have been a vendor to New York’s District 75, which supports 23,000 children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). On this particular day, I was doing what I like most about my work: spending time with teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and therapists, all of us putting our heads together to improve learning and outcomes for children with disabilities.

Parents as Equal Partners at the IEP Table

As a private consultant I have the pleasure of supporting families as they work to become knowledgeable members of their son’s or daughter’s IEP team. They are often anxious weeks before the scheduled date, worrying if their student will receive the supports and services they need or if they are going to lose a service that has been helping. They worry about their struggles in understanding what the assessments mean and they become anxious over whether or not goals will be written in the areas of need.

Using RtI Data to Get Ready for IEP Season

Now that the holidays are done and even though it is not yet Spring, the time is now to get ready for what is commonly known as "IEP season." While the thought of the next annual review or domains meeting to decide on a round of evaluations may be enough to provoke an anxiety attack, there are some strategies that can be employed to give you more control and a plan going into the next round of meetings. The following are some useful things to do that I have been using recently as I get ready to represent parents at IEP meetings.

My Child Has Dyslexia: Now What?

“When do I tell my child he or she has dyslexia?” Many parents agonize over this question. Susan Barton, creator of the Barton Reading & Spelling System and founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, says that children with dyslexia know by the first month of first grade that there is something that makes them different. “Every adult I’ve ever talked to said that the best day of their lives was when somebody told them they had dyslexia and they understood what it meant,” says Barton.

Bullying and Children with Special Needs

Bullying is a serious problem affecting many children and teens, but it is not likely that most children, especially those with special needs, will walk up to their parents and tell them, “I’m being bullied.” Bullying can involve name-calling, exclusion, or violence and should be identified and addressed as soon as possible. The ability to pinpoint the signs of bullying and take preventative measures against future incidents can make all the difference in the life and academic progress of a child with special needs.

The Importance of Independent Educational Evaluations

Evaluations, also called assessments in some states, provide valuable information regarding the nature and extent of your child’s disability as well as the impact the condition may have on his or her education. Strengths and weaknesses identified through this process form the basis for your child’s present levels of performance, or your child’s baseline of functioning in the area of evaluation.

The Role of the Independent Educational Evalua- tion (IEE)

The IEP Process: What You Need to Know

Beginning at age 3 and throughout your child’s education, if you suspect that your child has special needs, he/she may be eligible for support from the local school district. To determine such, assessments must be conducted, which can be requested by the parent. Once assessed, an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting will be held to discuss potential eligibility and appropriate placement/supports.

Three Steps To Better IEP Goals

Clear and measurable goals are the key to a successful IEP. Here are three steps to assure better goals in your child’s IEP.

Understand Your Child’s Current Functioning

IEP or 504 Plan: Which is Right For Your Child?

When a student qualifies for special education, the school district is required to develop an individual education program or “IEP” for the student. The IEP must include the basis for special education eligibility, measurable goals and objectives, the services, accommodations, and/or modifications required to accomplish the goals, and the type of placement, such as regular education, resource, special day class, etc.