Monday, December 30, 2013

Individualized IEPs: What Does it Take?

Individualized IEPs: What Does it Take?
Wondering if your child's IEP is really specific to his unique needs?
When you answer the questions on this IEP Checklist, you will know if your child's IEP is individualized, as the law requires.

Who's on the Team?
Schools must do all they can to ensure that parents participate in the IEP process.
You know your child so very well and the school needs to know your insights and concerns. Here's how to Add Parent Input to the IEP.

Services in the IEP: Specific & Individualized
Your child's IEP must include specific information about the services he will receive.
Download the Model IEP Form from the US Department of Education that requires the projected beginning date, frequency, location, and duration of services.

If you would like more information about IEPs, please contact us at Family Matters.  Our phone number is 866-436-7842.  We provide workshops and trainings on IEPs.  We also can review records and help parents analyze IEP goals to ensure that they are measurable, appropriate and realistic.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some holiday links

The last month or so, I have come across some great, helpful resources about special needs and the holidays.  I thought I would highlight a few here in case anyone is interested in checking these posts out.

Christmas gift list:

At Four Plus an Angel, Ashlynn, a teen with autism, shares great gift suggestions for kids with autism. 

Holiday Sensory Challenges

The holidays are filled with fun, excitement, and sensory challenges for kids and adults alike.  Read this article for information about holiday sensory challenges and ways to help kids.

SPD Hanukkah

Check out this wonderful article about Hanukkah and Sensory Processing Disorder.

Holiday Humor

12 Days of Christmas SPD style

Twas the Night before an SPD Christmas

Autism Tips

This post has some great tips for parents of kids with autism on how to survive the holidays. 

A simple Christmas Request

Read this heartwarming post by a mom of a special needs kid.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Advocacy achieved through awful pop music

written by Lexi at Mostly True Stuff

“I’m sorry you have to see this,” I said to Lance as I connected my iPhone to the cassette player in my car (it’s hipster to use both a cassette tape and an iphone for music) and turned the volume way up.  What blasted through the stereo was a Katy Perry song that I’m ashamed to say I own, but was SO fitting, and SO terrible all at once. Have you heard her “Roar” song? It’s quite possibly the worst written song ever. BUT, it’s fantastic “music” to pump yourself up to before you go into a fight.
Except, this wasn’t a fight. It was an IEP meeting. I prepare for these meetings like athletes prepare for the big game, which includes a pre-game warm up. I sang the words on the top of my lungs and punch danced as we wound through the streets of our town while  Lance seemed to focus on actively repressing what he was witnessing.

I have a hard time with confrontation. I’ve used the word “fight” to about the work I do to make sure my kids get the services necessary to be successful in school. It’s not a fight. It’s advocacy, and there’s a big difference. My pre-game routine isn’t to get me to a place where I can yell, scream and demand at these meetings. It’s to get me in the mode to advocate, even when it’s hard. Even when it makes everyone in the room really uncomfortable because I will not bend as far as they are asking me to.  For me, standing up for myself and my children is equivalent to win in any sport; TKO in a fight.

To read the rest of the story, go to Mostly True Stuff

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Sensory Child Gets Organized Giveaway!

UPDATE:  If you are entering the giveaway, please make sure and include your email address so we can contact you if you win!

A couple years ago, I learned about Executive Function skills when I was trying to figure out how to help my son with school.  His teachers complained that he had trouble focusing, remembering to turn assignments in, and keeping his papers and materials organized.  According to WebMD:
Executive function refers to a set of mental skills that are coordinated in the brain's frontal lobe. Executive functions work together to help a person achieve goals.  Executive function includes the ability to:    

  • manage time and attention
  • switch focus
  • plan and organize
  • remember details
  • curb inappropriate speech or behavior
  • integrate past experience with present action

  • Kids with learning disorders, ADHD, autism (like my son) and other disorders often have executive functioning issues. 

    It was a relief to have a name and a reason for his focus issues, but I still didn't know exactly how to help him, which is why I jumped at the chance to read The Sensory Child Gets Organized by Carolyn Dalgliesh.  The subtitle sums up what this book is all about:  "Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids."

    The books starts off with some really good general information about sensory issues and how they are related to distractibility and organization.  Dalgliesh then goes on to help you answer the question, "How does your child learn best?" complete with a learning style survey and concrete ways to support each learning style.

    Dalgliesh has named her system Sensory Organizing and she explains that the system "focuses on helping you identify the most prevalent challenges or behaviors you are seeing in your child right now, and teaches you how to tap into structure, routines, visual aids and organizing toold to change behavior and put your child in a position to succeed."

    This book includes chapters on the Fundamentals of Sensory Spaces, storage systems, transitions, taking trips, and even information on social situations.

    This book is a must-have for any parent of a kid who struggles with organization.  Heck, it's a must-have for parents who struggle with it themselves.  I originally read this book with Danny, my autistic son, in mind, but I quickly realized that this system will not only help my other two children, but it could revolutionize my life.  Believe me, I need the help!

    I highly recommend you check out The Sensory Child Gets by Carolyn Dalgliesh!

    And we have one copy of the book to give away to a lucky reader.  Check out how to enter the giveaway below:

    How to Enter the Giveaway!

    ~~Leave a comment on this blog post for one entry.
    ~~Share the blog on Facebook or Twitter for another entry. (Please mention this in the comments so I know you have shared the post!)
    ~~Like our Facebook page (again, leave a comment telling me you have liked us).

    The deadline for entries is December 7th at midnight.