Comments that Parents Hear: “We place all children with Autism here.”

The IDEA regulations put an emphasis on students being served at their home campus. Courts, hearing officers, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have allowed schools to place some groups of students with disabilities on one or more campuses with non-disabled students rather than on every campus.

However, the law and regulations put a priority on the concept of students being educated with their peers and in the general education classroom to the extent possible. There also must be a “continuum of alternative placements” within the school.  Also a child with a disability is not to be “removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.”

Parents should ask for the rationale for this practice and if exceptions are made and under what circumstances. Chances are the district has made exceptions for specific students. The parent could then discuss at least an exception for part of the day. Placement decisions are to be individualized and should be reviewed periodically. One size fits all models are not individualized. Circumstances/needs could have changed so that the student could be returned to the home campus at least part of the day.

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5 Reasons Why Presuming Competence is ALWAYS a Good Idea

This is an article that Kim, PRN Training & Evaluations Specialist, gives to everyone who works with her son, Hayden.


I think all teachers have had students who led them to that “ah-ha” experience that helped them realize why they got into teaching in the first place. The students were eager, curious, funny, stubborn, persistent, or just plain nice kids. It happened for me back in 1992. I was doing some school reform and inclusive education work with a newly built high school in southern New Hampshire. On my first day at the school, I met two incoming 9th graders, both of whom had pretty significant disabilities. Let’s call them John and Rob.

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What is a CRCG?

Unfortunately, Community Resource Coordination Groups (CRCG) are an asset that many parents, state agency staff and the general public are not aware of.  A CRCG can provide help and support to many individuals with disabilities and their families while also supporting the efforts of professionals.

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Planning for a Meeting about Your Child’s Behavior Needs

Raising a child with a disability is challenging.  Raising a child with a disability who also has behavioral needs is even more challenging.  As a parent, you may find yourself among competing approaches to handling behavior concerns.  Planning ahead for an individualized meeting about your child’s behavior needs will help you explain your own ideas about the best way to help your child in addition to listening to the ideas of others.

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5 School Trouble Spots

Article written by Terri Mauro, About.com

Getting your child an appropriate educational program is hard enough, but even if you’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” on the IEP, or chatted up every teacher on your child’s strengths and weaknesses, there will still be times during the school day when all those helps fall down a hole. Periods like recess and lunch and gym and locales like restrooms and buses are hard for most school kids — there are volumes of children’s literature devoted to them.  But for kids with special needs, those youthful rites of passage can be downright dangerous.

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Ignoring This Will Derail Your Child’s IEP Goals: An IEP Strategy

Traits, personality traits, or characteristics … no matter what you call them, if ignored, it is almost a guarantee that your child’s IEP goals will fail. What are these traits you ask?  They are the immeasurable qualities that make your child who they are.

Things like:

  • Your child’s learning style
  • Your child’s interests
  • Your child’s anxiety triggers or fears
  • Your child’s view of themselves

Knowing and documenting these characteristics will help everyone on the ARD committee understand how best to provide services to your child. It will also help you determine if a particular intervention or accommodation is right for your child. For example, because my son is a visual learner, with auditory processing and concentration issues, having read-aloud as an accommodation is counter-intuitive. Because I know this, I would ask that the accommodation be adapted (i.e, giving my child a book to follow along with or using turn-taking during read aloud).

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Comments that Parents Hear: “We have held __ IEP meetings this year. Your child is progressing with the current IEP, so we do not need another meeting.”

Recall the Law

The IEP must include “a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child— (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;  (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;”  300.320(a)(4)

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Comments that Parents Hear: We will measure this goal by “teacher observation”.

Thursdays on the blog, Chuck Noe will be sharing posts from his Comments that Parents Hear series.  Chuck will be checking in throughout the week to respond to your comments and questions…

Recall the Law

” Sec.  300.320  Definition of individualized education program.

(a) General.  As used in this part, the term individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with Sec. Sec.  300.320 through 300.324, and that must include– …  (3) A description of–

(i) How the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in paragraph (2) of this section will be measured; and

(ii) When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided;”.

The Response

The law does not list any specific methods of measuring progress.  Teacher observation is one way to measure progress but it can be very subjective, which Webster defines as “placing an emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes and opinions”.  An example of subjective teacher observation might be “I think Johnny has a better attitude today” or “I think Janie’s handwriting has improved”.  Although it might be important to have the teacher’s observations as PART of the measure of progress, you will probably need additional “objective” information.  Webster dictionary defines “objective” as “not influenced by personal feelings or prejudice, unbiased.”  “Objective” measurement might look like this: “I know Johnny is making progress toward demonstrating a positive attitude in the classroom because he made eye contact with me 4 times today, raised his hand and asked 2 questions,“ etc. or “Let’s look at Janie’s handwriting work samples over the last 3 weeks to determine what progress she has made in writing legibly”.

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Building a Just Society: Why Diversity & Inclusive Education Matter

This month, we want to talk about why inclusive education is important, and why ensuring that special education support is provided in a student’s least restrictive environment matters not only in the short term, but also in the long run.

DREDF is founded on the idea that disability rights are civil and human rights. In the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI), we work to train, support and empower parents and community partners to keep children with disabilities in their most inclusive, least restrictive educational settings, and to ensure that if children need a different kind of setting for some or all of their day, the long term goal is always to help them return to a program where they interact with children without disabilities. There are no special day classes in real life—we want all children to participate in and contribute to their communities, and to avoid institutionalization and isolation.

We know that sometimes the general education environment does not offer enough support to help a child reach their IEP goals. IEP goals are at the center of the special education process—once evaluation establishes a starting point, goals for one year later determine the types of services (speech, social skills, academic, motor, behavior, etc.) needed and how much specialized instruction, support and accommodations/modifications a student requires to receive a FAPE (free, appropriate, public education). We help parents understand their options, including the option to advocate to pull children out of their regular classrooms at times, because critical learning needs can’t be addressed there.

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