Monday, September 24, 2012

Special Education - Tips on Using Them to Help Your Child

Are you the parent of a child that has autism, and is receiving
special education services? Are you a parent that would like to
understand Draft individual education plans (IEP), and how you
can use them to benefit your child. This article will help you learn about
Draft IEP's, what the requirements are, and how to use them to
help your child's education.
A draft IEP is an individual education plan that is filled out in
advance, of the IEP meeting, for your child. Many parents wonder
if it is legal for special education personnel to do this. The Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is silent on draft IEP's.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which is part of the
Department of Education stated in the Federal Register Vol 71 August
12, 2006 "We do not encourage public agencies to prepare a draft IEP
prior to the IEP team meeting. . ."
So, draft IEP's are not illegal, but are discouraged by OSEP. The
Federal Register also states ". . .if a public agency develops a draft
IEP prior to the IEP meeting, the agency should make it clear to the
parents at the outset of the meeting, that the services proposed by
the agency are preliminary recommendations for review and discussion
with parents." Special education personnel rarely state this, at the
beginning of a meeting, so you may have to bring it up. The Federal
Register goes on to say "It is not permissible for an agency to have
the final IEP completed before an IEP Team meeting begins."
The Federal Register comments from OSEP also state "The public
agency also should provide the parents with a copy of its draft
proposals if the agency has developed them, prior to the IEP
meeting. . ." You should request this in writing, and I would
also quote the comments from the Federal Register. The
request should include timelines; for Example "I will expect
to receive a copy of the Draft IEP at the same time as my
10 day written notice of the IEP meeting."
The Federal Register also has OSEP stating "so as to give the
parents an opportunity to review the recommendations of the public
agency prior to the IEP team meeting, and be better able to engage in
a full discussion of the proposals for the IEP."
One way to use Draft IEP's to help your child, is to develop your own
draft IEP. Go to your state board of education's Website, go to
special education and then download an IEP form (Most states have an
IEP form available for downloading). Fill out the form, with everything
that you believe your child needs.
Take the form with you to your child's IEP meeting, and cross out each
section as it is discussed. This will allow you to not only be an
active participant in your child's IEP, but also to have your input
heard. Also, special education personnel cannot leave out important
parts of the IEP, as they do on occasion. Also by having your own
Draft IEP filled out, you can advocate for your child when special
education personnel want to change or decrease their educational
You can use Draft IEP's to help your child. By requesting the school's
Draft IEP in advance, you will be able to be an active participant in
the IEP process. By bringing your own Draft IEP, you can have your
opinions heard. Good luck!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Analyzing Online Education Opportunities

As the demand for online education has grown, so has the supply of online education opportunities. Take advantage of this large number of new online education opportunities by finding a program that is tailored to your needs. Here are four things to do before choosing the online education opportunity that meets your needs:
1. Clearly Define Your Educational Goals
You need to know exactly what you want to gain from your education. How much are you willing to spend? Are you trying to sharpen or reinforce your professional skills with a couple of classes? Are you trying to take a whole new career direction? Are you trying to advance your career with a new degree? Are you trying to add a more prestigious college to your resume? If you don't readily know the answers to all of these questions you may need to do some thinking over them before you're ready to proceed. Don't invest too much money in an educational program that may not meet your goals.
2. List All of the Likely Solutions to Your Educational Goals
Look over the materials provided to you in brochures and on the Internet from all universities that appear to relate to your educational goals. If they have academic advisors, take advantage of them to bounce your thoughts on your education off of them and get advice. Gather as much information from as many online educational institutions as possible. Compare their scholastic offerings, educational styles, costs, and educational support systems to your educational goals. Use this information to narrow your list down to a few schools that seem most suited to you.
3. Research the Schools Thoroughly
There are probably more fake online degree programs than legitimate online degree programs. If you aren't sure of the reputation of the college with which you're dealing, do some accreditation research. Once you know that the institution is legitimate, make sure that the site you're visiting is actually the site of the institution to which it claims to belong. A quick call to the school's listed phone number on a national educational institution listing site should let you verify that you are indeed dealing with the school with which you believe you're dealing.
4. Go with Either a Big Name or Accreditation
If your school of choice isn't a big name school such as Harvard, make sure that the school offering the online education opportunity has proper accreditation. Accreditation is how most employers and other educational institutions determine whether schools they've never heard of are providing adequate education. Accreditation may not be as important for local private colleges, but it is generally vital for online degree programs from small colleges.

Monday, September 10, 2012

5 Reasons Why your Child in Special Education May Not be Getting FAPE

Does your child receive special education services and you wonder if
they are receiving an appropriate education? This article, will
discuss 5 reasons why your child may not be receiving a free
appropriate public education. And also, what can you do about it?
There is a lot that you can do to ensure a free appropriate public
education for your child.
Reason 1: Many special education personnel have extremely low
expectations, for children with disabilities. You must have high
expectations for your child, just because they are not learning, does
not mean that they can't. They may need to be taught a different way.
Reason 2: Some special education personnel limit or refuse to provide,
educational and related services that children with disabilities need.
Some special education personnel will even deny that a child has
autism, so that they do not have to provide more intense special
education services. It is your job as a parent to fight for the
services that your child requires. Try to meet other parents, of
children with disabilities, in your school district. Help each other
advocate, and attend each other's IEP meetings. Together you will be a
strong group.
Reason 3: The curriculums, that some school districts use to teach
children with disabilities, do not work. Special education personnel
are often reluctant to change methodology, even if the child is not
learning. Investigate different curriculums, for your child's
disability. Join disability organizations and meet other parents. This
will allow you to share information with each other, what works.
Reason 4: Parents, are often forced to pay for independent
educational evaluations (IEE's), to prove that their child needs
certain special education services. If a parent must pay for an IEE,
to ensure that their child receives a free and appropriate public
education, then the education is no longer free. If your school
district evaluates your child, and you disagree with the evaluation
(or the way it is interpreted), then the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), gives you the right to have an Independent
Evaluation at Public Expense. My book Disability Deception has an
entire chapter on IEE's that will give you more information on this
Reason 5: Many school districts suspend children with disabilities,
for behavior that is part of their disability. Educate yourself on
what IDEA requires as far as behavior/discipline. Special education
personnel can suspend a child up to 10 days.
Within 10 days of a decision to change a child's placement they must
convene a manifestation determination meeting. This meeting is being
held to determine if the behavior is part of your child's disability.
If it is, they must do certain things to include developing a positive
behavior plan. If they determine that the behavior is not part of your
child's disability, then they can discipline them as they would a non
disabled child. You can file for a due process hearing, if you
disagree with the school districts manifestation determination
By knowing why most children do not receive FAPE, you can advocate
hard for your child. They are depending on you, because they may not
be able to stand up for themselves.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How To Overcome Special Education Personnel's Money Complaints

Are you the parent of a child with autism that has been denied needed educational services, for your child? Have you been told by school district personnel, that your child cannot receive a certain service, because the price is too high? This article will discuss ways that you can overcome these tactics used by some school personnel, for the benefit of your child.
The purpose of special education taken out of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living."
IDEA does not allow, school districts to use the "money" card, to get out of providing needed educational services to children with disabilities. The reality is, that many school districts try this tactic many times a day. And the sad thing is, that many parents believe them. Do not fall for this tactic! Stand up for your child, as you are the only advocate that they will ever have.
For Example:
**School administrator: "Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it."
**Bad reply from the parent: "Oh I totally understand, I didn't mean to ask for so much."
**School administrator: "Oh I am sure that you didn't. But you have to understand that we have a lot of children in our district, and we want to help them all. How about 30 minutes a week?"
**Parent: "30 minutes will be fine."
The problem with this conversation is, that the parent should have discussed evidence she had of her child's need. The parent also did not clarify, that the amount of time offered was for direct service. Many times special education personnel will write down consultative services, rather than direct services; without the parent being aware of it.
Same Example:
**School Administrator: "Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it."
**Good Example from the parent: "Mr. Parker, my daughter Mary needs 90 minutes of direct speech language therapy per week, to make progress in her education. As you will see from the Independent Educational Evaluation that I have here, the registered Speech/Language Pathologist recommends 90 minutes of direct service per week. I am not concerned with the school districts budget, but what I am concerned about is Mary's right to receive a free appropriate public education."
**School Administrator: "Why would you go and get an independent evaluation, don't you trust our speech /language pathologist to recommend the best for Mary."
**Parent: "The Speech/Language Pathologist that works for this district, is only recommending 30 minutes direct service per week, despite Mary's low test scores in areas of receptive and expressive language. Mary needs 90 minutes of Speech Language therapy per week, if you refuse to give it to her, I will consider filing for a due process hearing.
**School Administrator: "Oh, you don't have to get nasty."
**Parent: "I was not getting nasty. Due process is my right, if I disagree with your decision, which I do."
School administrator: "We will consult with out speech language pathologist, and consider giving Mary the 90 per week of direct speech therapy."
**Parent: "Thank You."

Special Education

Do you wonder about the most common mistakes that parents make in advocating for their child, receiving special education services? Would you like to be an effective advocate for your child with autism, and avoid these mistakes? This article will discuss 5 common mistakes that parents make in advocating for their child and how you can avoid them.
1. Letting emotions get the best of you! Many parents are unable to control their anger which gets in the way of their advocacy for their child.
2. Forgetting your inner voice! A lot of parents give too much weight to what some special education personnel say, rather than following their instincts.
3. Accepting lies from some special education personnel without challenging them. It is important to have a working knowledge of the federal and state special education laws so that you can recognize when you are being lied to!
4. Using the B word, when trying to get an education for your child! The B word is Best! The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that children have the right to a free appropriate public education; not the best.
5. Allowing special education personnel to continue year after year of not giving your child an appropriate education. Your child's life will be ruined if you do not advocate every year for the education that they need.
How to avoid these common mistakes:
1. If you are in an IEP meeting and find yourself getting angry ask for a break. Remember that the first person that loses their cool usually loses the fight. Stay calm no matter what! Find other parents that you can talk about your experiences with, this will help you keep focus and calm!
2. Always trust your instincts. If special education personnel are telling you something about your child that you does not seem right to you, start investigating. Possibly get an independent evaluation to help you determine if the school is being truthful!
3. If school personnel say something to you that does not sound right say: Show me in the federal or state special education laws where it says that you are allowed to do this! Always stand up to them in an assertive and persistent way, for the good of your child.
4. Always use the word appropriate, not best when advocating for your child.
5. If your school district refuses to give your child the special education services they need, consider an independent evaluation. If the independent evaluator states that your child needs the service, but the school district still refuses consider filing a state complaint or for a due process hearing Most special education personnel will continue denying services if the parent does not stand up to them.
If you follow these 5 things to avoid you will well be on your way to being an effective advocate for your child.