31 10, 2018

5 Elements of Successful Advocacy


1. ATTITUDE AND EMOTIONS Don’t yell. Drop your voice when you feel anger. If the other party seems to be acting in good faith, respond in-kind. Focus on how to get your partner(s) to do what you think they need to do. Never threaten anything you are not fully prepared to carry out successfully. Imagine yourself as the advocate for someone else’s child. […]

5 Elements of Successful Advocacy2019-05-23T12:33:59-05:00
2 08, 2018

7 Communication Tips for Building Strong Partnerships


The following is a collection of effective communication skills that can be used to encourage solution oriented conversations. 1. Know who and how to contact the right person to address your concerns. Identify your concerns and the outcomes you would like to see.  “We really need to focus on…”  Focus positively on the issue at hand and strive not to allow negativity to take control. “I’m sure we’ll find a good solution to…” Talk to the person closest to your child first, for example, your child’s teacher. […]

7 Communication Tips for Building Strong Partnerships2018-08-02T14:50:51-05:00
2 08, 2018

10 Back-to-School Assignments for Parents of Special Needs Kids


It’s time to get the kids ready for back to school with new clothes, a fresh supply of notebooks and maybe a cool new backpack.  But what about you?  Are you prepared for your special needs child to start school? Even if your child already has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), remember, it’s just a “plan.” For your child to get the full advantage (and hopefully significant progress) from the IEP, your participation in and preparation for its implementation is critical. Here are 10 homework assignments to help your child to make a successful transition into the new school year: [...]

10 Back-to-School Assignments for Parents of Special Needs Kids2018-08-02T14:27:36-05:00
12 07, 2018

Learning the Rules of the Game


Parent: “We should be able to trust the system to do what’s right for our kids.” In theory, this sounds good. But when you are dealing with a child with disabilities, there will always be disagreements. You simply will not get agreement from the number of participants who are required to be in these team meetings. Schools are in the decision-making process for the short-term. As a parent, you are in it for the long-term. Eventually, your child will leave the public school system. If he/she is does not receive an appropriate education, will the teacher, the school principal or director [...]

Learning the Rules of the Game2018-07-12T15:38:55-05:00
12 07, 2018

How to Disagree with the IEP Team Without Starting World War III


Many parents have questions about what to do when they are presented with an IEP that is not appropriate for their child. You should advise the IEP team that you don’t think the IEP is appropriate, that it does not provide your child with enough help or the right kind of help. You should use facts to support your position (i.e., facts from an evaluation of your child from a private sector evaluator, graphs of your child’s test scores). Be polite but firm. Tip: Think how Miss Manners handles difficult situations and use this idea to guide you. […]

How to Disagree with the IEP Team Without Starting World War III2019-02-27T13:36:37-06:00
12 07, 2018

The Art of IEP Diplomacy


During IEP season the stakes are high. Parents and teachers alike go into those meetings full of emotions and ideas. Sometimes I am surprised that what is unsaid seems just as loud as what is actually said. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of going into an IEP angry. I did not get the best results for my son at that meeting. So I’ve been trying different tactics over the years, and I’ve made a conscious effort to learn the art of diplomacy in my words and actions. Diplomacy is the art of prioritizing alliances over battles. It has cost [...]

The Art of IEP Diplomacy2019-02-27T14:55:12-06:00


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