Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Qualities of a Good Special Education Advocate

Are you the parent of a child with autism that is having a dispute with school personnel, and would like some help? Are you the parent of a child with a learning disability, or another type of disability, that could use an advocate to help you in getting an appropriate education for your child? This article will give you 5 qualities that make a good special education advocate
An advocate is a person that has received special training, that helps parents navigate the special education system. In some cases the advocate is a parent of a child themselves, but this is not always the case. Before you hire an advocate check on their experience, and also make sure that the advocate is familiar with your child's disability, so that they are able to advocate effectively
1 A good advocate must be familiar with the federal and state education laws that apply to special education, and be willing to use them, when needed. This is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), State rules for special education (how they will comply with IDEA), and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The advocate does not have to memorize the laws, but should have a basic knowledge of what is in them. The advocate must also be willing to bring up the laws, at IEP meetings, if this will benefit the child.
2. A good advocate should not make false promises to parents. If an advocate tells you. that they will get the services that you want for your child, be leery! Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in special education, and advocates should not promise things that they may not be able to get. An experienced advocate who knows the law and your school district, should have a sense about what can be accomplished.
3. A good advocate should be passionate about your child, and the educational services that they need. Advocacy sometimes takes a lot of time. If the person helping you is not passionate about your child, they may not be willing to help you for the length of time that it takes to get your child an appropriate education.
4. A good advocate must be willing to stand up to special education personnel, when they disagree with them, or when the school personnel tell a lie. If the advocate you pick, has every quality, but is not willing to stand up to school personnel, he or she will not be an effective advocate for your child.
5. A good advocate is detail oriented, and makes sure that any services promised by special education personnel, are put in writing. A good advocate will read the IEP before they leave the meeting, and bring up any changes that should be made. Sometimes the little details are what makes for success!
By keeping in mind these 5 qualities, you will be better equipped to finding an advocate that will be able to help you, get an appropriate education for your child.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Children Educational Software

So you have bought children educational software for your kids. And it is gathering dust in your computer. Your kids have used it once or twice. Now they no longer seem interested in the educational software. What to do?
Here are some tips which you can use to motivate your children to use educational software regularly so that they can get full advantage from it:
1. Teach me
You can ask your children to teach what they have learned in the children educational software. For example, you can say: "I always wanted to know how it's done. Can you show me what you learned about it in your new software?"
You can make your questions sound casual. And when your children answer questions, listen with interest. Children love the idea of teaching something to their parents, as it makes them feel important. This in turn will help to create more interest in the educational software.
2. Use Children Educational Software yourself
B.K.Narayan, creator of 'Success Mindware'-total self development program for students ( says, "When parents ask me how they can motivate their children to keep using educational program regularly, I tell them to do 2 things:
First, use it yourself in front of your children. And when you use it, pretend to like it. Point out the interesting and useful features of the educational software. When your children see you using it and having fun, they also feel the interest to use it.
Secondly, when your children complete a particular activity or exercise given in the children educational software, praise them affectionately. Describe to your friends and family members, in presence of your children, how they completed the exercise efficiently and how intelligent they are. When you sing their praise in front of others, children feel happy and are inclined to use the educational software more frequently," says Narayan.
3. Set a reward for using Children Educational Software
You can set small rewards for your children depending on how many times they use the educational software in a week or how much progress they make in learning the skills given in it.
For example: buying an ice cream or going to nearby park, if they use the educational software for 3 times a week. For older children, you can give allowance or pocket money, or even a ticket to movie depending on their progress in using children educational software.
4. Save children educational software on desk top
So that when your kids start the computer, they will automatically see the educational software folder or icon on the screen. This will prevent them from forgetting about the new educational software you bought for them.
With careful thinking and some planning depending on your children's mood, you can easily motivate your kids to use children educational software regularly or frequently. And help them gain maximum benefits from it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Use an Independent Educational Evaluation to Benefit Your Child

Do you have a child with a learning disability or with autism that is
not making academic progress, even though they are getting special
education services? Would you like to know what educational and
related services your child needs in order to learn how to read, or do
other academics? This article will discuss what an Independent
Educational Evaluation (IEE) is, and how you can use one to benefit
your child with a disability.
The definition of an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) is:
An independent educational evaluation is an evaluation conducted by a
qualified person, who does not work for the school district. Parents
of children with a disability often get IEE's so that they understand
what educational needs their child has and what services they require.
Most independent evaluations are parent initiated and paid for by the
Once you have decided to get an IEE, there are several things to
consider about the evaluator:
a. Make sure that they are qualified to perform the educational
evaluation. For Example: a registered Occupational Therapist could
conduct an Occupational Therapy evaluation. If sensory processing
disorder (used to be called sensory integration disorder) is an issue,
make sure that you find a registered Occupational Therapist who is
SIPT certified. If your child has autism, make sure the evaluator
specializes in educational evaluations for children with all types of
b. Whether this person is now, or ever has been an employee of
your school district. Talk to the person, and make sure that they do
not have a relationship with your school district. Be careful, even if
they used to work for another school district, make sure they are
truly independent, and willing to make recommendations for what your
child needs.
c. Make sure that the evaluator is willing to write a detailed
report, to include recommendations for related and educational
services. Ask the evaluator if they are willing to recommend specific
amount of minutes of service and specific methodology for educational
and related services. If they are not, consider going to a different
Once you have answered these questions, make an appointment and take
your child. Bring up any concerns that you have, and make sure that
you understand what tests will be conducted on your child. When the
report is finished, have the evaluator mail a copy to you. If you have
concerns about what is written, you may contact the evaluator and tell
them your concerns. Make sure recommendations are specific for
minutes, #of times per week, goals, methodology, etc.
Call the school district and set up an IEP meeting to discuss the
results of the IEE. If they request a copy up front, you can give it
to them. If possible, set up with the evaluator, a time that she or he
can participate in the IEP meeting by telephone. By having the
evaluator participate, special education personnel will have a harder
time not including the evaluators recommendations.
At the IEP meeting, if the school personnel will not put the
recommendations in your child's IEP, they must give you prior written
notice (PWN), as to why they are not willing to accept, the evaluators
recommendations. This notice must include the reason that they are not
accepting the recommendations, and what evaluations they are using to
refuse. If at the IEP meeting the school personnel do include the
recommendations, ask for reimbursement of the independent educational
An independent educational evaluation can be invaluable to your child.
By understanding what your child's educational and related needs are,
you may be a more effective advocate, for needed educational and
related services. If your child does not receive an appropriate
education their future may be in jeopardy!