Parents advocate for the welfare of their child. Educators advocate for the welfare of all the children in their school. To be effective, both groups must contribute to an atmosphere of collaboration so all parties can achieve a sense of comfort that their responsibility to the child has been satisfied. But why, then, is there so much conflict in the field of special education? The answer is relatively simple. Conflict in education is usually driven by inadequate information as to the character of the disability involved and the appropriate response.
The following tips will help advocates, families, and educational professionals benefit from the knowledge gained from each perspective. The goal is for everyone involved to understand as much as possible about the child in order to assess how each participant can best address the educational needs of the child.
Searching for autism information on the web can be overwhelming. The word “autism” alone results in over 64 million and counting hits on Google. So, where do you turn to for the most relevant information and resources when there are so many different options? These are the top ten results:
Digital tools have the power to help students with learning disabilities communicate and gain confidence.
It is a statistic that most Americans would probably be stunned to find is so prevalent: One of out every 68 kids in the United States is on the autism spectrum, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it’s true that most children these days are considered “digital natives,” children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) also find themselves most comfortable with a device in their hands.
In an article for the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, author Kristie Brown Lofland notes that children with ASD are visual learners, which means technology can be a valuable tool in the learning process.
“Technology just makes visual images more accessible to the individual with ASD. Computer graphics capture and maintain their attention,” Lofland writes.
More importantly, technology has the power to help these children achieve confidence in social situations. In a 2015 Huffington Post article on how technology is aiding children with ASD, special educator Kathryn deBros said technology is a powerful, assistive tool for students struggling with socialization.
“A huge part of going to school is learning how to navigate social situations,” deBros told Huffington Post. “[Students with ASD] are totally lost without a roadmap. Technology has been huge in allowing them to bridge that gap between them and the other kids.”
From apps to robots, here are three ways technology can help students with ASD become confident learners.
What is an IEE?
The language regarding IEEs is found in the regulations implementing IDEA. Specifically, the right to an IEE is defined as:
“A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at the public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency. However, the public agency may initiate a hearing under Reg, 300.506 of this subpart to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the final decision is that the evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at the public expense.” (34 CFR. Part 300.503 (b)
“Whenever an independent evaluation is at the public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria which the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation.” (34 CFR 300.503 (e)
A new “To The Administrator Addressed Correspondence” letter has been posted on the TEA website:
February 26, 2018
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Responsibilities and Timelines Regarding Parent Requests for Special Education Evaluations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Texas Education Code (TEC), and the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).
In late 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) initiated visits to Texas to learn about referral, child find, and evaluation practices within the state’s special education system. On January 11, 2018, OSEP released a final monitoring report detailing its findings1
The purpose of this letter is to:
1. Provide a brief overview of OSEP’s findings
2. Articulate and confirm obligations mandated under IDEA
3. Provide information related to TEA’s next steps
TEA has posted some new documents at https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED/ that provide additional information. We have not reviewed it all yet, but would direct your attention first to the presentation to the state special education directors from their recent meeting in Austin – TCASE Special Education Update presented on 2/20/2018. It gives more information on their plans involving ESCs.