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Special Education Advisor
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Dear AASA,

Recently you have published a report entitled; “Rethinking Special Education Due Process” which you claim is intended to spark a thoughtful, new dialogue about the need for critical changes to the special education dispute resolution system.  In reality what we have gotten is an attempt by your organization to use its influence to strip our children of their civil rights and their right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  A report so blatantly disrespectful and bigoted that S. James Rosenfeld the Director of the National Academy for IDEA Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers has issued a response distancing himself from it:
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Dennise Goldberg's profile photoChristeen Polson's profile photo
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I attended an IEP this week where the discussion focused mainly on the student’s off task behavior; there are a variety of reasons why a student will exhibit this behavior.  The difficulty is identifying the exact reasons why or what triggered the off task behavior.  I think we as parents and educators of children with special needs must keep in mind that in order to determine the cause of off task behavior, we must acknowledge all the areas of need first.  Most children with special needs have multiple disabilities, so it’s imperative to look at each area as a possible trigger for off task behavior.
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Ashley Singletery-Green's profile photo
 
This article can give helpful tips to teachers and parents alike.  It helped remind me of those things as a teacher that I can bring to the classroom to address this common problem
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Twas the night before an IEP meeting, when all through the house, every creature was stirring and running about. The assessments were filed in a notebook with care, in the hope that we’d get a one on one aide.

My son was having another tantrum in his bed, while visions of ABA therapy danced in my head; And I knew that I was out of my element since I’d never been taught any behavior strategies. When up in the attic arose such a clatter, I sprang from the room to see what was the matter.

Away to the attic I flew like a flash, tore up the ladder and then fell with a crash. I picked myself up, just as the light from above gave luster to my wife holding her stash. And what to my wandering eyes did she have but the behavior analysis thought lost long ago.

With this new data in hand I ran like a flash, scanned the info and sent out an email blast. The email was sent to the IEP team to consider the findings and help manage my son’s needs. My hands were both trembling and flailing about as thoughts of receiving help were brandied about.

Then came a knock at the door from below and I knew in a moment it must by Steve Nick. The advocate we hired had arrived at the door and more rapid than eagles he started pacing the floor. He discussed all our options, and then he whistled and shouted and called out their names.

Now OT, Now PT, Now Speech and Behavior Plan, On Counseling! On Parent Training! On Assistive Technology and Recreation Therapy! To the front of the classroom! To the use of an Aide! Oh there are still more options to be heard.

As we finished discussing his needs, we moved on to possible goal ideas. Then a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He then spoke not a word, but went straight to his work and filled up a graph plotting the bell curve. As soon as he finished he turned with a jerk, and laying a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod he screamed EUREKA and rose.

He sprang to his feet and showed us the data which proved our concerns were more than valid. When everyone was happy and thought we had a good strategy Steve Nick left our house with a bound. As he sprang to his car he gave me a whistle. As he drove out of sight I heard him exclaim a Free Appropriate Public Education for all, and to all a goodnight.
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Danielle Thrall's profile photoLearning Ally's profile photoTracey Siebold's profile photo
 
Perfect. 
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Some time ago I was reading a post by a parent who was commenting on her surprise that her child was suddenly gaining a myriad of skills – seemingly out of the blue. This was not just happening in one area, but in multiple areas: her previously non-verbal child was using new words and in the correct social context, and also trying new foods, and open to new sensory experiences.
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They’ve been standing on the brink of divorce. For seven years, they had devoted themselves tirelessly to their son with autism. They were worn out; all the joy had left their lives despite their son having made dramatic progress. Their boy was included in a regular class with supports; something they never dreamed of.
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With the publication of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, the topic of parenting styles has become very popular. Ms. Chua believes that the “Chinese” way in which she raised her two daughters produced excellent outcomes. Although not allowed to have sleepovers, play dates, or even earn less than an A in school, she claims they turned out to be productive, happy members of society.
 
Is this the best parenting style, or should parents adopt a less strict, more loving approach? According to researchers in the field of child development, there are generally four ways to parent: authoritarian (the Tiger Mom way), authoritative (a balanced approach), permissive (anything goes), and uninvolved (emotionally detached).
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Karina Richland's profile photo
 
Balance!  I just want my kids to be happy, kind, loving and good people.  I think the more you get to play as a child - the happier you will be as an adult.
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Have them in circles
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In the world of advocacy and dyslexia, the observation seems to be a forgotten and seriously under-utilized tool. In fact, the observation can be the one thing that can turn a case around and create some change, but it has to be done correctly. The observer needs to know what to look for and what to report. It may also come as a surprise, but one of the most heart-wrenching things I do as an advocate and dyslexia expert is the classroom observation. There have been observations where I actually felt nauseous the longer I sat and watched the instruction. The reason for my visceral response is usually caused by the ‘instruction’ the student I am advocating for is receiving; but it is also caused by the students in the class for whom I am not an advocate – who is watching out for them? I take solace in the thought that advocating for one student will have a ripple effect for others. So, what could provoke such a response to what should be an innocuous experience? Below I have described why an observation should take place and what the observer should be evaluating. I have also shared some very common experiences that occur in classrooms with students with dyslexia
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Christeen Polson's profile photo
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A recent IEP meeting began the same way they always do, “Jake is a great kid. He has a lot of friends and he tries really hard. We really like him and enjoy having him on campus.” Much to my surprise and my utter joy, Jake’s dad took off his glasses, leaned forward and said, “I know my kid is great. I know he has a lot of friends. But that is not why we are here. My kid can’t read, so let’s talk about that.” I beamed with pride and wished this could be said at every IEP/school meeting. Guess what? It can – just do it.
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The road to using technology to support your child may not always be a straight road. I have travelled down this road as a parent.  At times I felt I wasn’t seeing any gains, only to realize the curves did lead to further progress.
There may be many curves along the way as you try to figure out what your child needs to best support them with their school work.  As a parent, this takes time and learning.  Becoming more aware of what your child needs and what best supports them will help you identify clear goals and will help you be more successful in helping your child.
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Utkarsh Lokesh's profile photo
 
This list of Special Education Blogs might help teachers and parents #specialed #edtech #edblogs #edublogs #education http://buff.ly/YyCuK4 
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A School District in Alabama decided it was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to try to invalidate a Parent’s right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense that has been part and parcel with the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for decades.  Parent’s are at a marked disadvantage when dealing with a School District regarding their child’s Individualized Education Program and Congress was well aware of this when they crafted IDEA.  This is why IDEA includes various Procedural Safeguards for the sole purpose of leveling the playing field for Parents who are trying their best to raise a child with a disability and negotiate for an appropriate education for that child.  This is why it enrages me when a School District spends money that should have been used to educate students on lawyers when the intention of Congress regarding reimbursement of IEE’s is very clear. 
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The weird thing about the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder is that, although most everyone agrees on the variety of symptoms, the actual testing of it can differ widely. Assessments, and therefore instructive strategies, can fluctuate by state, district, profession and resources, both public and private. The California Office of Administrative Hearings for [Public School] Special Education has over 500 notices of fair hearings with the term Auditory Processing Disorder, meaning that either a parent or a school district was attempting clarification or a decision regarding some aspect of this disorder. Further, the California Speech-language Pathology, Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board has published a notice-
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I am noticing a disturbing trend when I read IEPs and I have had some nonsensical conversations about reading with IEP teams lately as well. This trend and these conversations center around the goals section of the IEP. What this has revealed to me is what I have suspected all along – there is a lack of expertise and understanding of not only dyslexia, but the progression of teaching reading and the components of the reading process. To correct this trend I offer the following examples to illustrate some fallacies about reading as well as how to fix goals.
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Have them in circles
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Special Education Advisor.com is a community of parents, educators, and special education service providers dedicated to helping families with special education needs children understand their special education rights and receive appropriate special education services.