Common core has spawn conversations regarding IEP goals and alignment. Now that most states have adopted common core, it is time to have the conversation about how IEP teams will move students academically. The answer lies in accommodations! The IEP team’s first step is to understand the student’s disability and its impact on learning academics. Once the team has a clear understanding, then accommodations will only be limited by the team’s creativity.
The best place to start is by looking closely at the student’s disability and utilizing the evidence found with the psychological testing report, academic testing report, work samples, teacher interviews, and student interview. These five components will paint the picture needed to understand the student’s disability with academics. If the IEP team doesn’t start with data, then they are apt to miss opportunities that will be needed for thinking about and writing accommodations. Continue reading
I am so happy with the amount of attention our multimedia workbook called Healthy Relationships is receiving. This workbook was designed for special needs adults. The lessons that are taught in our workbook have to do with developing friendships and relationship while maintaining safety at all times. What is great about the workbook is it comes with a CD ROM that allows the reader to complete the lessons over and over again. With the CD ROM the reader can decide if they would like the text read out loud. This option allows the reader to use the workbook independently. The workbook also has interactive drop down menus as well as text boxes.
Michelle Garcia Winner, Social Thinking, is highlighting information from our workbook during her up and coming conference tour 2014-2015 and our workbook will also be for sale on her book table.
In addition, this month our workbook was reviewed at www.http://specialneedsbookreview.com check it out!
Every new school year is stressful; despite the fact that I love and look forward to new beginnings. Stress, if not properly managed, easily causes me to feel incompetent and overwhelmed. There are just so many variables to consider at the start of the school year, and juggling is not always my forte. Managing new students (and parents) that are added to the existing caseload, new teaching responsibilities, scheduling meeting, learning new forms along with other IEP responsibilities, is daunting. I am out of breath and haven’t yet mentioned teaching and classroom management.
Over my thirty-years of teaching, I have discovered some strategies for managing the start-up craze. First of all, make contact with all the new parents on your caseload and share with them how to best get in touch with you. Ask parents how they are best reached and what form of communication they’d prefer. Always remember that parents aren’t your enemy, they are your partner. Next, begin to set a calendar of all meetings for the year. Confirm dates selected with providers and begin to provide parents with meeting dates and times. The goal should be that by the end of September, all of the annuals and triennials meetings should be calendared for the year. Committing to scheduling meetings will ensure a smooth school year and alleviate anxiety. I promise that less than one percent of your meetings will change if you provide parents with advance notice. Continue reading
I love working with special needs students. In fact, I love it so much that I often recognize when a little more work might be needed on a topic/lesson and so I take it upon myself to go that extra mile. The consequence is that during the school year, I might just work an additional hour or two at night on my own time. Many teachers ask me for my opinion, and I am grateful. I feel appreciated and a part of the process. It is always nice to be included and be valued for my opinions.
I believe that instructional assistants should have a voice. After all, we are part of the team carrying out the IEP goals and consequently, have insight on student achievement and motivation. After eight years of being an aide, I finally learned that the most powerful gift that I can give my students is faith, words to express their feelings, and the opportunity to respect who they are even when they are at their worst. I believe what I am doing is empowering students with a sense of belonging and significance.
Please consider the instructional assistant an asset to the classroom and realize that we are just as invested in the student as the other members of the staff that touch their lives. I am in it for the kids!
How many times have you heard yourself or another person say, “I’m ready for summer?” Let the truth be told, my students are ready! Many students have shared their family plans for vacation and they are extremely excited. Whatever your plans are for the summer sometime should be spent on reading, writing and math. In order to prepare for summer, now is a good time to think about a routine that will allow you to incorporate academics in a positive way.
I was the I. When my son turned three he was entered into the area school district with the diagnosis of Autistic or on the Autism spectrum. Whatever they want to call it, it has changed a few times since: Autistic, Asperger’s high functioning, on the spectrum and now we have processing disorder.
Nevertheless, I attended my ﬁrst IEP meeting to hear what the team determined was the best route for my son’s educational placement. To my surprise, I felt like a complete moron! I am a college graduate, at the time I worked at UCSD hospital and I did my job well. Hey, on many occasions during the night shift, I could be found in emergency surgery cases. I am well educated and extremely competent.
How is your student performing in school? Did your student have a good year both academically and socially? If not, request in writing an IEP meeting to address your concerns. So often many parents wait for the fall and prefer to just ride the end of the year out. Instead, request a meeting now and make adjustments to the IEP, so that the year ends on a positive note.
- Build effective communication: Most recently I was assigned testing a student for special education services. Prior to the formal meeting to discuss findings, I invited parents to a pre-meeting to educate parents on specific vocabulary that they would be hearing in the meeting, ways to interpret scores from tests both standardized and scaled scores as well as what they would experience with behavior scales.
I began the pre-meeting with some history of who I was both professionally and personally. Parents shared the history of their child’s education and their academic concerns. They also shared their hopes and personal interests. We discussed and agreed on the best ways to communicate effectively and respectfully.
I reviewed my academic assessment as well as the psychologists report. We discussed qualification for special education services being a team decision. Parents left the meeting informed and had an opportunity to do their own research prior to the initial formal meeting.