How to Find the Right Special Education Advocate for Your Child

How to Find the Right Special Education Advocate for Your Child

A special education advocate is a professional who helps families and individuals with special needs navigate the complex world of special education. They provide support, guidance, and information about IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), 504s, services, and other available resources for their clients. Special education advocates work with families to ensure their child’s educational rights are being met. They can also help them access the services they need for their child’s success.

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Who is Responsible for Ensuring the General Education Teachers Understand my Child's IEP?

Who is Responsible for Ensuring the General Education Teachers Understand my Child's IEP?

The IEP is one of the most critical documents in a child's education. All teachers should read it so that everyone understands what is expected of the child and how they will be supported in the classroom. Your child's case manager makes sure that this happens by working with teachers, parents, and school aides at their school to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what your child needs for support and accommodations.

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Homework When it is Just Too Much!

Homework When it is Just Too Much!

Homework can be a source of stress for parents, students, and teachers. But it doesn't have to be! Here are some strategies for managing homework, so it doesn't cause added stress or anxiety in your family.

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Triennial Evaluations and Updated Data

Triennial Evaluations and Updated Data

This post was inspired by a follower asking the following question: my son's IEP goals have been carried over from year to year, although in 7th grade, all assessments are from first and 2nd grade. I disagree that these are his baselines. How can I get them to update this information?

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Tools to Self-Advocacy

Tools to Self-Advocacy

As kids get older and enter middle school and high school the information in their IEP are no longer left to just one or two adults. They may have 6, 8 ,15 adults at school that SHOULD know the ins and outs of their IEP but probably do not. So here are a few tips to help with self advocacy.

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Dyslexia hides in the subtests!

Dyslexia hides in the subtests!

Why is it so hard to identify dyslexia? I often tell my clients it is because dyslexia is found in the subtests. But what does that mean? It means if you only look at composite scores on psychological and educational evaluations, you may not see evidence of dyslexia.

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Talk to me About Placement

Talk to me About Placement

Placement can be an emotional discussion, and many people have different beliefs. Do your research before going into the IEP. Check your vision for your child, will this placement help or hinder getting them to those goals? There is often an argument that can be made on either side. If you need help answering this question, make an appointment to talk to me, I'll try to help you see both sides of the issue so you can be better informed.

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Common Manipulations said at an IEP meeting

Common Manipulations said at an IEP meeting

The response? -- "We need to provide him with the Least Restrictive Environment; this will make him dependent on a Sound Field. We want him to be successful without needing that crutch." WHAT?!?

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New Year, New Look at the IEP

New Year, New Look at the IEP

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document that outlines the specific educational and related services that a student with a disability receives. It is individualized to meet the child's specific and unique needs so they can make meaningful progress in school. It should also be greeted with the future in mind; what will they do after high school? What will their living situation be? Will they be employable.? Will they be able to live independently?

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But WAIT... there's more! Don't forget progress reports.

But WAIT... there's more! Don't forget progress reports.

Congratulations! You have an IEP for your child and are happy with the final product. The IEP team collaborated and worked hard to create an IEP that will work for your child. You pat yourself on the back and think, “I’m so grateful I don’t have to do this again for another year.”

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Tips for including the general education teacher in the IEP discussion

Tips for including the general education teacher in the IEP discussion

When the IEP came, and I was blown away. This mother was a genius. She had been data collecting, quote gathering, and priming me for what was to come. She had made me a member of HER team without my realizing it.

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Best Gift for a Dyslexic

Best Gift for a Dyslexic

Okay, this might sound cheesy, but the best "gift" I ever gave my dyslexic child was access to Learning Ally. No, I do not get a kickback from Learning Ally, but I believe in what they offer and what they are doing for children with reading disabilities. Here are some of the bonuses I have seen regarding access to audiobooks. My child can build background knowledge on topics being learned in content classes using material that are above his reading level. For example, my child's history class was learning about the Jamestown settlement this year. I knew this would bore Eli unless he could connect to the content. He listened to the book Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone to create a connection to the history. When it came time to do a project on the Jamestown settlement, Eli had a fantastic knowledge of the events that occurred there and created an impressive journal entry from a child's perspective in Jamestown.  Access to audiobooks allows my child to "ear read" (a phrase coined by Ben Foss in The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan) books his classmates are reading. Eli loves to read books about video games, Pokémon, and mysteries. But he often cannot access the books by "eye reading." But, being able to "ear read" books allows him to participate in conversations with his peers.  Vocabulay A boatload of data suggests that listening to books exposes children to the same amount of vocabulary growth as reading does. Listening to books is just a different way to access and grow knowledge.  Love of reading We all want our children to love reading. But when reading is EXHAUSTING, it is hard to develop that love. As a dyslexic, I do not love to read. However, I do LOVE to learn. You will always find an educational podcast or historical fiction audiobook queued up on my phone. We can instill a love for knowledge and reading through access to audiobooks. The best part of this gift is it, or something like it, can be free through your child's IEP. My son has access to L

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But I have a Diagnosis!!!

But I have a Diagnosis!!!

“My child has been diagnosed, but the school said that doesn’t matter.” This statement is one of the most common frustrations I hear from parents

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Winter Party Mania

Winter Party Mania

Most students love a good class party, but that excitement can aggravate the students with sensory needs. As a teacher, I tried hard to accommodate sensory sensitive students, even in non-party times. Although I do not love a noisy classroom, I know that that noise often means they are LEARNING. But, some students simply don't do well in that collaborative commotion. So, I paired with another nearby teacher to have a desk in the back of her room so when a child needed a break, there was a safe place to go, and I did the same for her.

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My Kid Can't Go to the School Dance ... Can He?

My Kid Can't Go to the School Dance ... Can He?

"In providing or arranging for the provision of nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, including meals, recess periods, and the services and activities set forth in § 300.107, each public agency1 must ensure that each child with a disability participates with nondisabled children in those extracurricular services and activities to the maximum extent appropriate to the need of that child. The public agency must ensure that each child with a disability has the supplementary aids and services2 determined by the child's IEP Team to be appropriate and necessary for the child to participate in nonacademic settings." 34 C.F.R. § 300.117.

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Quick Check: Your Child's IEP

Quick Check: Your Child's IEP

Let's be honest; there are a million things to consider when examining an IEP. It really can get overwhelming. Where do I start? Why do I need to worry about anything other than goals? Isn't this the school's job?

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Consecutive is my Favorite IEP Word for Goals

know, it seems silly that I would have a favorite word for an IEP goal. I often tease the teams I work saying, "You know I would like you to add my favorite word here…" But why is consecutive my favorite word?

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