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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What Do These Numbers Mean?

What Do These Numbers Mean?

I know it can seem daunting, but I'm here to help you figure it out. And if you hyperventilate looking at the paperwork, pop me an email. I thrive on charts, graphs, and numbers.

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What to Expect During the Evaluation?

What to Expect During the Evaluation?

Most of my readers are already in the throws of an IEP, so this process is behind them. However, if you are reading this and that describes you, please leave your experience below for others to read and learn from. Two of my three children have been evaluated. My youngest has been through 6 evaluations (2 through the school and four private.) Our experiences have been vastly different, but there are some constants, so I will speak to those. But please know no two experiences are the same.

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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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The 5 Year Vision

The 5 Year Vision

Creating a vision for your child will help determine the direction of the IEP and educatinal path.

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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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What is Fair Education?

What is Fair Education?

Life is not fair! That is so very true. We know it, kids know it, and teachers know it. However, we can create a school experience that offers more (get ready for an education buzzword) equity.

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