Tagged "IEP"


4 Things I Remind Myself of Before the Next IEP Meeting

Posted by Casey Roy on

As sure as the first flowers are arriving, so is IEP time.

It almost sounds celebratory... but for those who have a special needs child, we know it is not like that.

I know we have an IEP meeting scheduled for Elizabeth on May 29th

She is 20 years old, but because we chose Option 23, she is technically still under the auspices of our local school system until the age of 22 years old.

So with this in mind, the local schools and the college program she is in meet to form the new IEP that will guide her into the next school year. So even at this age, we are looking at the IEP and making changes.

So with about 16 years of IEP prep times, meetings, re-evaluations and IEP adjustments, I wanted to tell you how I am approaching this meeting:

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Wrapping up the First Year of College

Posted by Casey Roy on

So hard to believe that Elizabeth is finishing her first year at her college program. 

I am so proud of her and all she is doing and all she is pushing herself to do.

For the child who once feared the loudness of the cafeteria at high school, it is wonderful to know she heads straight on into the crazy main student center at college.

I think that every once in a while, it really hits me that she is doing all that she is doing. And then other times, I see her have a meltdown or be really overloaded and I am yet again reminded that her disorders still play a big part in her days.

I was asking her, just the other day, about her day at college. It was a day when she was completing one of her internships on campus.  She told me that she had to work really hard to...READ MORE 

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FREE Tools & Webinar to facilitate back-to-school for the special needs!

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Michele Gianetti, RN introduces her work with Monica Purdy, MA, CCC-SLP on helping parents of special needs children getting back to school smoothly. It includes a free checklist and article published in Parenting Special Needs, and a free webinar with TalkTools happening September 16, 2017 from 12-1 p.m. EST!

The end of Summer! Or is it?

I know it can be quite confusing when you enter into a store to buy stuff for a picnic and you are assaulted by the sight of mounds of backpacks and posters of smiling children all nicely dressed for the new school year.

The way retail works is like having life on fast forward. “Enjoy Summer but, in case you want them, the Halloween candy is freshly stocked in aisle 10.”

So we are faced with seeing the school year on the horizon a bit earlier than I would like. For me, the thought of a new school year kind of makes me nervous. Not so much from the idea that we cannot handle things, after all we have been doing this for a long time. But from the understanding of the amount of work it does take to make sure all the “t’s” are crossed and the “i’s” are dotted for a new school year.

There are a lot of things to get in order, and a lot of them involve communication of information.

From the home to the new educator.

From the therapist(s) used in Summer, to the home and to the school therapists.

From the home to the intervention specialists.

It does take work but it is, in my opinion, critical for success and growth.

My communications over the years have taken on many different forms but in the last seven years, we have settled on a communication system that works.

I have always been such a firm believer in the importance of communication between all the members of “Team Elizabeth.”

This is why I am so excited to share with you the article that recently got published in Parenting Special Needs!

The article was a wonderful collaborative effort with Monica Purdy who is a speech therapist, as well as on the TalkTools speaker’s bureau.

The article centers on the area of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

The article contains some great PDF files of templates for communication with the school that I have used, such as:

  • The “introduction” letter which tells the new educator and staff all about your child.
  • The “Update” letter for the intervention specialists which provides them all the updates about your child since school ended in the Spring.
  • The daily communication sheet- which is easy to use and can be changed as needed.

These PDF’s can be very helpful, either in the form they are in, or as a baseline for you to use to make your own.

I invite you to read the article and hopefully, it will help you as you plan the start to a new school year. Or perhaps, it will give you guidance if you are just now starting your journey with your child.

Please watch this page for information about the free webinar that is happening next month based on the information in this article: "Webinar - SPD: Becoming an advocate for your child."

I wish everyone a peaceful August and hope to “see” you at the Webinar.

-Michele

Michele Gianetti is a mom of three, registered nurse, and published author ("I Believe in You," "Emily's Sister"). She writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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Planning For Summer A Full Season Ahead

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I have a friend who is quite spontaneous. From the last minute requests to meet for coffee to quick trips with her children, it is all done at the last minute and for her and her world, it works.

But for me and my world? Not so much!

I think something few people realize is that being a parent to a child with special needs changes so many things, but one big one is the loss of the spontaneity in exchange for a great amount of planning. So much planning goes into a what is a typical, effortless change of seasonal activities for others. From Summer to Fall and Spring to Summer, it all takes a great amount of work.

I say this because now is actually the time that Elizabeth and I begin to plan for Summer. Oh, I totally understand that is is only March. But I am quite similar to the retail world, you know a full season ahead of the actual date on the calendar? Remember how Halloween shows up around Labor Day? Well Summer is in my head and we have not had Easter yet. So with that in mind, I wanted to offer, in my opinion, the plan we have to help us transition to Summer. I hope they help.

Now is the time I think about Elizabeth’s goals for Summer.

- The ones we want to work on, not IEP related
- Do we want her to get tutored once or twice a week?
- Does she want to take any lessons?
- How many days will we be in a therapy?
- How many days a week does she want to volunteer?
And more….

Now is the time to talk to Elizabeth
- We talk about what she likes
- We talk about what she wants to do this Summer
- We talk about what she wants to take off the schedule.
And more…

The following are more generalized thoughts:

Now is the time to start making the calls
- If you are like me, the last thing you want to hear is that you missed a deadline for sign ups
- Or that the therapist is taking time off this Summer and you need to find someone.
- Or that the days you THOUGHT would work for something don’t and the days you wanted to be free are now not.

In other words, it is so much easier to get an idea of what is available now, allowing you to plan so much better.

Now is the time to make sure you have or do not have ESY
- That stands for Extended School Year.
- It is something available on the IEP
- It means, according to my understanding, that your child needs therapy during the summer so they will not loose skills or academic success
- For us it means that the school gives us a financial allotment to be used for summer therapies and tutoring,
- Sad fact here….I did not know about this early on for Elizabeth. Once I did, we had to have a fairly big discussion with the school to make sure we received it.
- So if this pertains to you, please verify it as you may have to have the therapist or tutor talk to your school about necessary paperwork prior to any summer work.

Now is the time to write it all down
- Put it all down
- Names of therapist
- Dates things are planned
- Phone numbers for easy access
- Ideas you have for extra fun in the Summer

Now is the time to remind yourself
- Put a reminder note in your April calendar to recheck with anyone you might have to call back and review your previous plans.
- Put a reminder in your May calendar to start talking to your child about summer, and keep talking as, for many of children, repetition is how they learn best.

I know Elizabeth and I are getting started on her Summer plans and so far so good.

I wish you all good luck as we all venture into another transition time.

-Michele Gianetti 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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Time For A Mid-Year Evaluation

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

It is officially the middle of the school year. Okay, not officially-officially but to me it is.

I find myself looking at the middle of January and realizing that fact and think WOW, that time already.

It is after this thought that I know it is time do my mid year check.

By this, I mean, I take a mental look at all the areas of Elizabeth’s life and see what successes we have seen, what struggles she has had, what changes we should make etc.

For me, it is easier to do check-ins frequently and catch anything that may be amiss than to have small problems grow big. Also, if your school system works like ours, February is the month of the second conference time. What better than to do this mid-year check and arrive at the conference time with clean, organized thoughts.

So with that in mind, here are some thoughts to help if you wish to do the same.

MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE AREAS OF YOUR CHILD’S LIFE

  • speech
  • O.T.
  • Socialization
  • School work
  • Outside activities
  • Things at home
  • Anything else you can think of

WRITE DOWN THE POSITIVES AND YOUR CONCERNS FOR EACH

Here is the time to be honest: if something has been bothering you about a class or therapy, write it down.

ORGANIZE PLAN FOR EACH AREA THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT

  •  Some things may be going along great but for those that tug at your heart do the above.
  • It helps to know who you need to talk to about the concerns. Which teacher or therapist.
  • If I had a concern about speech and Elizabeth’s work in a class. I would know I could address this concern with both the speech pathologist and intervention teacher present. This way I could have everyone on the same page at the same time.

WRITE DOWN THE CONCERNS FOR OTHERS TO READ AND KEEP

  • I am a firm believer that something written down and handed to a professional quickly helps them see just what you feel in a nice orderly way.
  • Also, it is such a good idea to have a copy to show you did address these concerns or did discuss them with the teachers and therapist.

MAKE A PLAN TO REVISIT THE CONCERNS

  • I always thought that to check back in with the teachers in about two to three weeks was a fair time.
  • I would watch for any communications that would come home from the school on Elizabeth’s communication notebook.
  • I would talk to Elizabeth about the concern.
  • I would contact the teachers or therapist at the agreed upon time.

I am not saying that there will be a situation or concern at this time of year. But we all know that IEP time is coming, plans for summer are on the horizon and life for our children is one big fluid situation.

So my thought is stay that one little bit ahead so that you and I don’t have to run to fix something for our child.

I wish you all a calm and if it is winter where you are, cozy month.

-Michele

Michele Gianetti writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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