Are There Different Levels of Dyscalculia?

Are There Different Levels of Dyscalculia?

Levels of Dyscalculia Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it difficult for people to understand math. Those with dyscalculia may find it challenging to solve mathematical problems, even if they seemingly enjoy the topic and concepts. Dyscalculia is one of the “Four Ds” as they are called-dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia. In severe cases, dyscalculia…

IEP Present Levels of Performance PLOP | Examples | Checklist

IEP Present Levels of Performance PLOP | Examples | Checklist

IEP Present Levels Ask almost any Special Education Advocate, and they’ll tell you that Present Levels is the most important section of the IEP. Present Levels has several corresponding Special Education Acronyms, depending on what your school or state uses. PL Present Levels PLOP Present Levels of Performance PLP Present Levels of Performance PLAAFP Present…

What’s the Difference Between an IEP and a 504 Plan?
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What’s the Difference Between an IEP and a 504 Plan?

504 Plan vs IEP Quite often, parents in our Facebook group will ask what is the difference between an IEP and a 504? Some schools will try to push the family toward a 504 plan instead of an IEP, some will even suggest that the student get both an IEP and a 504. So what…

504 Accommodations for ADHD | Or should you get an IEP for ADHD?

504 Accommodations for ADHD | Or should you get an IEP for ADHD?

504 Plan ADHD It is estimated that 5-12% of all American kids have some type of ADHD. If you found this Accommodations Guide, chances are you have a child or student with ADHD. So I’m not going to go into the different types of ADHD and all that. This is going to focus on understanding…

Why a Doctor’s Note is not the IEP Slam Dunk you Think it is.

Why a Doctor’s Note is not the IEP Slam Dunk you Think it is.

Do IEP Teams have to honor Doctors’ Notes? I won’t ever forget the interaction I had with one of Kevin’s neurologists. We had a regular appointment/checkup. And he was a baby, like 2 years old. We knew he was autistic and I wanted him in an ABA program. The neurologist said to me, “Just tell…

Teacher Shortages 2022 | How the Staffing Crisis is affecting your IEP | What to Do

Teacher Shortages 2022 | How the Staffing Crisis is affecting your IEP | What to Do

Teacher Shortages I genuinely cannot believe that this story is not getting more press coverage. I just happened upon it while doing research for another project. According to my state’s Dept of Ed website, in 2010, the state was certifying about 17,000 teachers each year. For the 2016/17 school year, that number has plummeted to…

Inference for Kids | Definition |  IEP Goals and Objectives | Resources

Inference for Kids | Definition | IEP Goals and Objectives | Resources

Inference Definition for Kids “Mommy, is that Lady Gaga?” When my youngest was a toddler, he LOVED Lady Gaga. I have no idea why or where it came from, but he did. He would ask me to put videos of her on my computer. So, when we were watching the Super Bowl one year, the…

Can Schools Only Offer a Virtual IEP Meeting instead of In Person? | Sample Virtual IEP Meeting Agenda

Can Schools Only Offer a Virtual IEP Meeting instead of In Person? | Sample Virtual IEP Meeting Agenda

Virtual IEP Meetings In the first quarter of 2020, we had no idea how much our lives were going to change. Not just for the next couple of years, but forever in some instances. I mean, will you ever eat birthday cake that someone blew on? Eeeuwww, I won’t. Restaurants got better at takeout and…

What Are the 14 IDEA Disability Categories? Does it Matter Which Box is Checked?

What Are the 14 IDEA Disability Categories? Does it Matter Which Box is Checked?

14 Categories of Disabilities in IDEA There are 14 categories of disabilities listed in IDEA. Autism Deaf-blindness Deafness Developmental delay (DD) Emotional disturbance (ED) Hearing impairment Intellectual disability Multiple disabilities (MDS) Orthopedic impairment Other health impairment (OHI) Specific learning disability (SLD) Speech or language impairment Traumatic brain injury (TBI) Visual impairment, including blindness I can’t…

What is Phonemic Awareness? | IEP Assessments | 5 Fun Effective Strategies for Parents

What is Phonemic Awareness? | IEP Assessments | 5 Fun Effective Strategies for Parents

Phonemic Awareness The other day, my 13-year-old sports son fan and I had a short but confusing discussion. I knew he was looking at a sports-something on Instagram, and it was the first day of NBA free agency. “Mom, what does resigned mean?” I explained to him that it means to quit, as in quitting…

How to Build a Meaningful IEP for Autism | Autism IEP Goals | Sample IEP for Autism

How to Build a Meaningful IEP for Autism | Autism IEP Goals | Sample IEP for Autism

IEP for Autism For almost 10 years, readers have been asking me questions about an IEP and autism. It’s quite common in our Facebook group to have a Mom pop in and say “We were just told we were getting an IEP for autism, what should I ask for?” For 10 years, I have resisted…

10 Common Q&A about Private Schools and IEPs | Special Education

10 Common Q&A about Private Schools and IEPs | Special Education

Private Schools and IEPs This topic makes me sad. Because it’s so super deflating for parents. Many times, attending a private school is a tradition for families. Then, they have a child who requires an IEP. That brings on their private school reality check, as far as private schools and IEPs and special education. So…

Due Process Hearing in Special Education | 6 Tips from a Hearing Officer

Due Process Hearing in Special Education | 6 Tips from a Hearing Officer

Can you Win a Due Process Hearing without a lawyer? We’d do anything for our kids. Anything. And since some of us have been dealt a less than a favorable hand, that can mean doing battle with your school district over what type of education your child receives. And sometimes that battle leaves us no…

How to Get a 1:1 Aide/Para added to your child’s IEP.

How to Get a 1:1 Aide/Para added to your child’s IEP.

Guidelines and Justification for a 1:1 Aide/Para on an IEP. Some schools call them 1:1 aides, some call them paraprofessionals. Here in my state, we call them PCAs. Yes, another special education acronym. But, regardless of what your state calls it, you landed here because you think that your child needs a 1:1 during the…

40 IEP Transition Goals for Students on the Path to Postsecondary | Jobs

40 IEP Transition Goals for Students on the Path to Postsecondary | Jobs

IEP Transition Goals for Postsecondary or Job I was leery of how I could use the word “postsecondary” and not create any confusion. To be clear, there are no IEPs in college. A student can get a 504 plan, but is not entitled to special education in college. But, it certainly is a realistic goal…

30 IEP Goals Addressing Sexual Relationships

30 IEP Goals Addressing Sexual Relationships

Sexual Relationship IEP Goals Sexual relationships are a part of every adult’s life. Whether or not we want to think about it or talk about it, we must. If you are expecting that your disabled child will live independently, this is something they likely will encounter–sexual urges and the opportunity to act upon them. Have…

50 IEP Goals for Safety and Community Participation

50 IEP Goals for Safety and Community Participation

Personal Safety and Community Participation Originally, I had this giant article with a list of over 300 independent living skills. Many of you, teachers and parents, said it was too overwhelming. So, I’m breaking it down. This way, teachers and parents can use it as a guide for what their child needs to be independent…

42 IEP Goals for Personal Hygiene and Medications | Menstruation

42 IEP Goals for Personal Hygiene and Medications | Menstruation

Personal Hygiene IEP Goals Personal hygiene skills is something that many of us take for granted. If you do not pick up on social cues, and your interoception is different because of your neurodivergence, you may not notice these things. But, others will! That’s for sure. And some things, like managing your medication, can be…

41 Independent Living Skills and IEP Goals | Shopping and Banking

41 Independent Living Skills and IEP Goals | Shopping and Banking

Shopping and Banking Independent Living Skills Originally, I had this giant article with a list of over 300 independent living skills. Many of you, teachers and parents, said it was too overwhelming. So, I’m breaking it down. This way, teachers and parents can use it as a guide for what their child needs to be…

50 IEP Goals for Independent Living Skills | Transportation | Renting

50 IEP Goals for Independent Living Skills | Transportation | Renting

Transition IEP Goals We all want our kids to live as independently as possible. Sometimes when I think about it, I kinda can’t believe that my Dad just dropped me off somewhere 150 miles away and expected me to figure it out. They never gave me any instruction, just expected me to learn by watching….

100 Functional Life Skills IEP Goals | Independent Functioning

100 Functional Life Skills IEP Goals | Independent Functioning

Independent Functioning IEP Goals for Life Skills Before I get started with this list of Life Skills Functional Goals for an IEP, I want to make one thing clear. That is, remember, IEPs are all about the “I.” Any student who has life skills listed as an area of need can have life skills IEP…

What is a Life Skills Classroom? Is it the Same as a Resource Room?

What is a Life Skills Classroom? Is it the Same as a Resource Room?

Life Skills Classroom | Special Education Resource Room I really hate the term life skills. I mean, after all, we ALL need life skills. It’s just that what each person needs to be taught varies greatly. But, if your child has an IEP, and depending on their skill set, a “life skills classroom” or “life…

55 Functional Money Skills and IEP Goals | Modern Money Skills

55 Functional Money Skills and IEP Goals | Modern Money Skills

Functional Money Skills Remember when we were little, and we thought nickels were worth more than dimes, just because they were bigger? Ah, those were the days. As part of adulting, we need to teach our kids practical money skills. Money as a topic usually falls under functional math. However, for kids with IEPs, it…

Emotional Self Regulation | IEP Goals | Development

Emotional Self Regulation | IEP Goals | Development

What is Self Regulation? Emotional self regulation and the ability to self regulate is an invisible skill and is considered one of the executive functions. It is a huge problem area for IEP students, in my experience. Because, when a child lacks self regulation skills, negative behaviors often result. And, too often, the adults in…

6 Must Do First Week of School Activities for Special Education | Teachers and Parents

6 Must Do First Week of School Activities for Special Education | Teachers and Parents

First Week of Special Education I’m a crazy over planner. While everyone is just trying to get through to the end of a school year, I’m already planning for the first week of school activities in special education for next year. I know, it’s a bit over the top. But here’s the thing. By the…

What to Do About IEP Retaliation Including When They Call CPS.

What to Do About IEP Retaliation Including When They Call CPS.

The school called CPS on me! Sometimes I hear the stories and think “How, how did we get here?” And, many times I’ve seen a parent seek assistance and many parents chime in, “That’s illegal, they can’t do that!” Sigh. I wish it was that simple. Yes, it is illegal. But IEP retaliation happens. School…

Due Process Special Education | 6 Critical Points to Consider Before Filing

Due Process Special Education | 6 Critical Points to Consider Before Filing

Due Process Special Education Should I file for special education due process? Special Education Due Process is one of a parent’s rights in Procedural Safeguards. It is very serious, and in my opinion, should only be done as a last resort. This means that you have exhausted all other means of the IEP process including…

Auditory Processing Disorder | APD | IEP Goals | Accommodations

Auditory Processing Disorder | APD | IEP Goals | Accommodations

Auditory Processing Disorder The other day, my younger son and I were on my tablet. We were choosing team gear to purchase for his new AAU basketball team. I was looking at the website and he was on his phone, and he was describing things to me and asking me questions (what size do I…

Elopement and Autism | Causes | Solutions | IEP Goals

Elopement and Autism | Causes | Solutions | IEP Goals

Autism and Elopement One concept or behavior that you may be exposed to as an IEP parent is elopement. Unfortunately, I am not talking about the fun kind of elopement. The kind where you run off to Vegas or some tropical island and marry your love. This is the type where your child is so…

How to Have Meaningful Parent Participation in the IEP Process

How to Have Meaningful Parent Participation in the IEP Process

IEP Parent Participation Nothing disappoints me more than when I hear about a parent not learning the IEP process and maximizing their rights in the process. Look, not judging here. Mostly. Ok, so I am getting a little judgy here. But here’s the thing. Not knowing and using your IDEA given rights is detrimental to…

43 Accommodations for Anxiety and Depression | 504 Plan | IEP | PDF List

43 Accommodations for Anxiety and Depression | 504 Plan | IEP | PDF List

504 Plan Accommodations for Anxiety Do you have a worrier? I am a worrier and I have a worrier. So far we’ve been able to manage his anxiety without too much intervention or a 504 plan. This one is requested so often in our Facebook group. I’m sorry that it has taken me so long…

Working Memory IEP Goals | Examples | Accommodations

Working Memory IEP Goals | Examples | Accommodations

Working Memory IEP goals Does your child struggle with Working Memory issues, and you want them added to the IEP? Have you heard parents talk about working memory skills, but you’re not sure what they are? Ok, remember these? I’m dating myself a bit, I know. But these are a great example of how we…

IEP Goal Considerations for Middle School and High School Students | Accommodations

IEP Goal Considerations for Middle School and High School Students | Accommodations

Middle School and High School IEPs Before we get started on things to think about for your middle school IEP or high school IEP, there are a few things parents should know. First, middle school or high school is not a concept addressed in IDEA. IDEA does not require nor call for anything special to…

History of Special Education in USA | Timeline

History of Special Education in USA | Timeline

When was IDEA passed? IDEA was first passed in 1975 as Federal legislation. However, its history began much before that. The history of special education and learning disabilities is an interesting one. It was activists and allies who paved the way, and we must soldier on for them. While I don’t excuse anyone’s behavior or…

The Many Flaws of School FBAs and Behavior Plans

The Many Flaws of School FBAs and Behavior Plans

FBAs and Behavior Plans FBAs and Behavior Plans are a common component of IEPs. And, after 12 years of advocacy, I’m seeing the same issues over and over. Most importantly–they often don’t work. The same kids are being suspended, failing grades, and being ostracized by both peers and staff. I’m going to outline some common…

Special Education Terms and Terminology | PDF | IEP Terms to Know

Special Education Terms and Terminology | PDF | IEP Terms to Know

Special Education Terms Look, since this is a monster of an article, I’ll be brief. I’ve been sitting on this for literally years–years ago someone asked if I would publish it on my site. I am just now getting around to this giant PDF list of special education terms. Not all IEP terms and acronyms…

How to Hire an IEP Attorney for Your Special Education Dispute

How to Hire an IEP Attorney for Your Special Education Dispute

IEP Attorney For many families, there comes a time in your IEP journey that you and the school reach an impasse. You’ve gone back and forth and had many meetings over many months. Now, you’re staring down an IEP that you don’t think is sufficient for your child. Or, maybe there was one egregious incident–either…

Assistive Technology AAC and your IEP | Goals | Examples

Assistive Technology AAC and your IEP | Goals | Examples

Assistive Technology AAC Questions about Assistive Technology are some of the most common ones that we receive as advocates. How do I get an AT device? How do I know which AAC or Assistive Technology device to choose? Who pays for assistive technology? Assistive Technology is a support or service that has many names. Many…

The Ultimate List of Executive Functioning Skills and Tasks | 2022

The Ultimate List of Executive Functioning Skills and Tasks | 2022

Executive Functioning Checklist While we have come a long way in recognizing and supporting skill deficits in kids, when it comes to learning disabilities, I find that when it comes to executive functioning issues are too often thought of as “won’t” instead of “can’t.” Executive functioning skills rule our daily lives. And when a child…

Maybe the Most Important IEP–>Preschool IEP to Kindergarten IEP.

Maybe the Most Important IEP–>Preschool IEP to Kindergarten IEP.

Special Education Kindergarten When you hear most special ed parents discussing “transition,” most of the time they are talking about the older transition when the child is either graduating or aging out of the system. But, the kindergarten transition is important and so often overlooked. I’m not scolding parents, I get it. Many times we…

Executive Functioning Tests | What IEP Assessments to Look For.

Executive Functioning Tests | What IEP Assessments to Look For.

Which IEP Tests will look for Executive Functioning Deficits? Executive functioning skills have been quite a buzzword and trend in special education over the past decade. When a student lacks executive functioning skills, both parents and teachers can identify the behavior. We know what it “looks like” when a child cannot organize themselves, manage time…

What is a Frayer Model? | Example | Blank Template

What is a Frayer Model? | Example | Blank Template

What is a Frayer Model? A FRAYER MODEL is a graphic organizer that helps students clarify the meaning of vocabulary words they encounter while listening, reading, and viewing texts. They can be used before reading to activate background knowledge, during reading to monitor vocabulary, or after reading to assess vocabulary. The Frayer Model is a…

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling | Can I Get an IEP if I Homeschool?

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling | Can I Get an IEP if I Homeschool?

Pros and Cons of Homeschooling In recent years, many of us were thrown into some version of homeschooling that we never planned on. Those experiences have caused many parents to reevaluate their IEP situation, their family situation and wonder…should I just homeschool my child? Making the decision to homeschool your child is huge and one…

Executive Functioning Skills | IEP Goals, Objectives, Accommodations

Executive Functioning Skills | IEP Goals, Objectives, Accommodations

Executive Functioning IEP Goals Executive function is an umbrella term for cognitive processes such as planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, multi-tasking, initiation, and monitoring of actions. Executive functioning describes a set of mental processes that helps people to connect past experience with present action. Wikipedia If your child or…

15 Super Relatable IEP Memes for Moms | IEP Meeting Memes

15 Super Relatable IEP Memes for Moms | IEP Meeting Memes

IEP Memes One of the greatest things to come out of the internet and social media is memes. And the IEP process gives us no shortage of ways to laugh at ourselves. I mean, we must have a sense of humor about these things, right? So, with that in mind, I looked at my Facebook…

IEP Vision Statement Examples | Samples | Free Workbook

IEP Vision Statement Examples | Samples | Free Workbook

Why your IEP needs a Vision Statement It’s called the Black Hole of 21. Once you are comfortably settled into the IEP world and get to know other moms, you’ll hear complaining and worrying about “transition.” Transition means many things, but in our world, it means the time period when the child is completing 12th…

Can a School or IEP Team Demand Access to Medical Records or Information?

Can a School or IEP Team Demand Access to Medical Records or Information?

Can a School Demand Medical Information? I can’t believe that I am even doing a blog post on this topic. But it’s only Tuesday and it has already come up three times in our Facebook group. We’ve had several situations where a school or IEP team member has asked or demanded medical information or access…

The Secret that will have you Stop Stressing over IEP Meetings. Yes, really.

The Secret that will have you Stop Stressing over IEP Meetings. Yes, really.

How to Stop Stressing over IEP Meetings I was waiting in the lobby. Mom pulled into the parking lot, made her way towards me. “I’m so nervous!” she whispered. “Don’t be. We got this.” And we did. My mind drifted to other parents in our Facebook group who often express similar sentiments before a meeting….

35 Common IEP Meeting Questions {answered by a Special Ed Advocate!)

35 Common IEP Meeting Questions {answered by a Special Ed Advocate!)

IEP Meeting Questions Over the past decade, I have attended hundreds of IEP meetings and met with hundreds of families. And, with the large Facebook group, the other admins and I have answered literally thousands of questions about IEP meetings. Sure, the I is for Individual. Still, I see a lot of commonalities. Common IEP…

What is an IRLP? Individual Remote Learning Plans, explained.

What is an IRLP? Individual Remote Learning Plans, explained.

IRLP Individual Remote Learning Plan Yesterday a blog reader asked if I could further explain IRLP. IRLP stands for Individual Remote Learning Plan. It’s a new concept and document as a result of the pandemic. And, I am going to explain what an IRLP is, however, I do so with great hesitation. And that is…

Can IEP Assessments and Evaluations be Done Virtually? | What is a REED?

Can IEP Assessments and Evaluations be Done Virtually? | What is a REED?

Online IEP Assessments This issue has been coming up in the Facebook Group often. I guess this pandemic is going on longer than any of us had hoped, and this is an issue that many families are dealing with. Your child is due for IEP assessments and either you or the school want to do…

Fine Motor IEP Goals | 50 Fine Motor Goals for All Ages

Fine Motor IEP Goals | 50 Fine Motor Goals for All Ages

Fine Motor Skills on your IEP Remember this? Did you know that way back when…when Tupperware invented this toy, that you were using fine motor skills to play with it? If you’re a Gen X’er like me, you definitely remember this Tupperware toy. When I was young enough to play with this toy, IEPs didn’t…

Epilepsy IEP and 504 Plans | Accommodations | Examples

Epilepsy IEP and 504 Plans | Accommodations | Examples

Seizure Action Plan I could handle the not talking. I could handle the stimming. I could handle the developmental delays. And the picky eating, and the clumsiness due to poor motor planning, and the meltdowns. But seizures might break me. I have PTSD from watching him have so many seizures. When he has a bad…

Retaking Tests | Why IEP Teams Should Rethink this Accommodation

Retaking Tests | Why IEP Teams Should Rethink this Accommodation

Retaking Tests Accommodation Allowing a student to retake a test is a very common IEP accommodation. And, at first glance, it seems like a reasonable one. Reasonable? Sure. Helpful….mmm, not so sure. Last week I completed a post about extended time on tests. This accommodation goes with that one, and both are seen together, frequently,…

IEP and 504 Accommodations for Distance and Online Learning.

IEP and 504 Accommodations for Distance and Online Learning.

Online and Virtual Learning Accommodations Some kids really struggle with online distance learning, and need some accommodation ideas. Particularly those with attention, sensory, and other related issues. And, there are a lot of kids out there who loathe Zoom and online classes. Some love it, others not so much. But, even as kids return to…

Can a School Deny an IEP Evaluation? | Next Steps for Parents

Can a School Deny an IEP Evaluation? | Next Steps for Parents

Refused IEP Evaluations Let me be blunt–If your child’s IEP evaluations suck, the rest of your IEP will be garbage. Without good evals, the IEP present levels, the eligibility, the goals, the baselines, supports and services–all of it will be worthless. That’s why it’s so essential that you pay close attention to this part of…

How do I get Shortened School Days with an IEP or 504 plan?

How do I get Shortened School Days with an IEP or 504 plan?

Modified School Days and IEPs If your child has an IEP or 504, can they get a shortened school day or modified school schedule as an accommodation? The short answer is yes. But, it’s not a simple yes/no question. There are many considerations for the IEP team to discuss to ensure that your child still…

Removing IEP Services | 5 Red Flags from Your Team + How to Prevent

Removing IEP Services | 5 Red Flags from Your Team + How to Prevent

Can the School Remove Supports and Services from the IEP? This is probably the number one reason that parents dread IEP meetings. Right? For the most part, we expect to be told “No” when we ask for something to be added, even if we have the data. But the school removing items…yikes! It’s a major…

IEP School Refusal | Goals and Accommodations for School Avoidance

IEP School Refusal | Goals and Accommodations for School Avoidance

School Refusal and Avoidance Think about this for a minute. What is the worst job you ever had? The job you hated more than anything? It was so bad that at night you had trouble sleeping because you were already stressed about going in the morning. Or, you hated getting up in the morning to…

IEP Compensatory Education | Compensatory Services | Definition | How to Request

IEP Compensatory Education | Compensatory Services | Definition | How to Request

Compensatory Education and Compensatory Services If your school district does not give your child the special education services they are supposed to, you may be able to get what is known as compensatory education. AKA Comp Ed, for short. The pandemic has schools engaging in many more comp ed and comp services discussions than ever…

Yes, your child can be tested for Dyscalculia | List of Dyscalculia Tests

Yes, your child can be tested for Dyscalculia | List of Dyscalculia Tests

Is there a Dyscalculia Test? This is a scenario that has been coming up more frequently lately. As parents become more informed, we are better able to advocate for our kids. If you go back even 10-20 years, not many parents had even heard of learning disabilities like dyscalculia. Thanks largely in part to the…

What are Social Awareness Skills? | Definition | Examples | EQ

What are Social Awareness Skills? | Definition | Examples | EQ

Social Awareness You know how when we were little, and you wanted a sleepover with a friend, and one of our parents would come home, and we’d know instantly if we could ask for that sleepover we wanted or not. Right? Just the way your dad put his keys down, or your mom sighed, you…

How to Request IEP Evaluations | 25 IEP Request Letter Samples

How to Request IEP Evaluations | 25 IEP Request Letter Samples

Sample Letter to Request IEP Evaluations You will definitely want to bookmark or pin this post. I have often said that one of the biggest IEP mistakes that parents make is not doing everything in writing. The worst case scenario is that you end up in a Due Process Hearing. And then, what will matter…

IEP Testing and Evaluations | What IEP Tests should I ask for?

IEP Testing and Evaluations | What IEP Tests should I ask for?

IEP Evaluations Different variations of questions come up about IEP evaluations all the time. Parents are unclear about timelines, what tests to ask for and sometimes get confused with the IEP re-evaluation process. As a result, after 8 years of this blog, at one point I had a dozen posts about IEP evaluations, IEP re-evaluations,…

IEP Re-Evaluations | What Parents Need to Know | Timelines

IEP Re-Evaluations | What Parents Need to Know | Timelines

IEP Re-evaluations Ok, so here we go. I used to have IEP re-evaluation information in my post about IEP evaluations. But, I’ve since decided that IEP re-evals are worthy of their own post. Initial evals are sort of their own beast, since that is what gets the IEP process started. But, with re-evaluations, parents have…

Can I See the School’s Video of an Incident with my Child? | Your Rights Explained.

Can I See the School’s Video of an Incident with my Child? | Your Rights Explained.

Watching a School’s CCTV of your Child If you ask the average American, they will tell you that their activities are captured by a video camera approximately 10x per day. But the actual number? Closer to 75, according to IPVM. Technology has advanced so much in recent years, that installing, recording and storing this video…

IEP Advocate | Should You Hire One? Where to Find One.

IEP Advocate | Should You Hire One? Where to Find One.

IEP Advocate “$2000?!?!” my husband exclaimed. “Do we really need this for him?” “Become an IEP/Special Education Advocate!” the flyer said. We were looking at a brochure that my son’s preschool had sent home to parents. It was a 12-week course on how to become a Special Education Advocate. It looked thorough. And, Kevin was…

37 Measurable Social Skills IEP Goals | Social Emotional IEP Goals

37 Measurable Social Skills IEP Goals | Social Emotional IEP Goals

Social Skills IEP Goals It’s no secret that many kids with disabilities struggle socially and struggle to build and maintain friendships. When Brian tells me stories of kids at school who sound like they have a disability of some kind, I always encourage (read: nag!) him to go the extra step. I encourage him to…

How to Become a Special Education Advocate in 2022 | IEP Advocacy Training

How to Become a Special Education Advocate in 2022 | IEP Advocacy Training

Become an IEP Special Education Advocate I never intended to become a Special Education Advocate. I took some IEP training because my disabled son was a toddler and I thought that the information would be good to have. Then, the 2008 recession hit, and I found myself unemployed. For me, it definitely was one of…

What is Specially Designed Instruction in Special Education? | Examples | SDIs

What is Specially Designed Instruction in Special Education? | Examples | SDIs

Specially Designed Instruction Specially Designed Instruction, or SDIs, is actually one of my favorite things to talk about when it comes to IEPs. The name itself turns people off, I mean, it’s a weird phrase. But it’s so super important. And, I can’t even tell you how many IEPs that I encounter that have NO…

IEP Goal Bank | 500+ Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives

IEP Goal Bank | 500+ Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives

IEP Goal Bank A well written IEP goal is essential to the IEP and special education. How can you monitor progress if you don’t know what you are aiming at? I often am asked, “Can you put together an IEP goal bank?” The number of possible IEP goals is infinite. The list could go on…

50 Kindergarten IEP Goals | Reading | Math | Writing

50 Kindergarten IEP Goals | Reading | Math | Writing

Kindergarten IEP Goals and Objectives So, there’s a reason why I am now just doing this post after the blog is more than 10 years old. I am philosophically opposed to this list. It doesn’t make sense to make a list of kindergarten IEP goals. No, really, stay with me here. Remember, IEPs are needs-driven….

IEP Goal Tracking, Simplified | IEP Goal Tracker Sheets | IEP Progress Monitoring

IEP Goal Tracking, Simplified | IEP Goal Tracker Sheets | IEP Progress Monitoring

IEP Data Tracking IEP data tracking and progress monitoring in special education is one of the most important things about an IEP. And yet tracking IEP goals is one area that I find parents cannot wrap their head around it, so it gets neglected. I am eternally grateful for admin Michelle and what she has…

Redshirting Your Kindergartener | Pros and Cons with an IEP

Redshirting Your Kindergartener | Pros and Cons with an IEP

Delaying your Child’s Kindergarten One popular theme among parents is redshirting your kindergartener. That is, the practice of not enrolling them in kindergarten the year that they are able to attend, but waiting a year so that they enter older. The thinking is that the child will have an extra year to develop, mature, learn…

35 Self Advocacy IEP Goals | Self Determination | PDF | Examples

35 Self Advocacy IEP Goals | Self Determination | PDF | Examples

Self-Advocacy IEP Goals We do so much for our kids, and we mean well. But time marches on whether we want it to or not. We have to prepare our kids for independence and life on their own. As scary a thought as that is sometimes. Every person, not just IEP students, should have self…

500 Accommodations for a 504 Plan | Sensory | IEP | PDF List

500 Accommodations for a 504 Plan | Sensory | IEP | PDF List

504 Plan Accommodations List You want ideas to submit to the IEP team, but you just don’t know where to start. Well, here you go! You asked for it, you got it! I’ve received many reader requests for a list of SDIs or strategies. I hope this list of SDIs, strategies, and accommodations for an…

What to Do When your School Keeps Calling You to Come Get Your Child.

What to Do When your School Keeps Calling You to Come Get Your Child.

My son keeps getting sent home from school! We all know the feeling. Your phone rings. You look. It’s the school phone number. A zillion thoughts run through your head as you answer. “Hi, Mrs. Smith? This is ‘school personnel’ and we need you to come pick up Jacob. Yes, he had quite a tantrum…

What is an IEP? Explained by a Parent Advocate.

What is an IEP? Explained by a Parent Advocate.

IEP For as much time as I spending talking and teaching parents about IEPs, I don’t think I’ve ever actually explained what an IEP and FAPE is. If your child is struggling at school (and not just academics!) then perhaps someone has suggested that you pursue an IEP for your child. The IEP process itself…

How to Stay Positive when you Hate IEP Meetings | IEP Gossip

How to Stay Positive when you Hate IEP Meetings | IEP Gossip

IEP Negativity Recently there was a lively discussion in our Facebook group. A teacher said something inappropriate to a student. Not sexual or anything like that, just unprofessional. But I took a lot of grief from members because I presented the teacher’s side. After all, she had been criticized on social media by the parents….

Can we make up missed therapy? | 5 Tips for Handling Missed Therapy Time at School

Can we make up missed therapy? | 5 Tips for Handling Missed Therapy Time at School

What can I do about missed therapy hours at school? I hear this question a lot. And this is an area where there is a huge amount of misinformation. No, they do not have to pay you. The district also does not have to arrange for private outside therapy. I mean, if you get that…

7 Red Flags that your IEP is Garbage. {and what to do about it!}

7 Red Flags that your IEP is Garbage. {and what to do about it!}

How to tell when you have a crappy IEP. I’ve attended more IEP meetings than I can count. Or even care to count. I get it–parents only call in a Special Education Advocate when there’s trouble. If you were happy with things, you wouldn’t need help, right? But what that means is that as an…

How to Understand your Child’s IEP Evaluations | Preparing for an IEP Eligibility Meeting

How to Understand your Child’s IEP Evaluations | Preparing for an IEP Eligibility Meeting

Interpreting IEP Evaluations For me, both as a Special Education Advocate and a Parent, I find the hardest part of the IEP process to be the IEP eligibility evaluations. For each re-evaluation, my son (or my clients) may receive upward of 10-12 assessments. That’s a dozen protocols I have to look up, read and understand….

What is Written Expression?

What is Written Expression?

Written Expression Writing is not a simple task. It involves a complex process of using and coordinating various cognitive processes. Thus, a lot of students, especially those with disabilities, find the task challenging. Writing proficiency is vital for success both inside and outside the classroom. It is crucial to identify classroom practices and writing instructions…

Do IEPs Transfer? Can We Stay In The Same School If We Move? FAQs About School And Moving

Do IEPs Transfer? Can We Stay In The Same School If We Move? FAQs About School And Moving

School, IEPs And Moving To A Different School/State Families move. It happens. Jobs, marriage, divorce, lots of reasons. The most important takeaways from this article are: Just because a child moves, does not mean that their needs have changed. So why should their IEP change? The new school district MUST PROVIDE you with any proposed…

How to Get Started with an IEP For Your Child.

How to Get Started with an IEP For Your Child.

Getting Started in the World of IEPs IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. It is just what it says. Children with disabilities are entitled to a “free and appropriate education” but what that looks like for each child is Individual. The concept of Special Education has only been around at the national level since 1975….

Advocate’s Tip: These Few Short Sentences on your Child’s IEP Could Prevent Suspensions.

Advocate’s Tip: These Few Short Sentences on your Child’s IEP Could Prevent Suspensions.

Important items that must be on your child’s IEP. “I got a call to pick up my daughter today because she put a child in a choke hold.” And of course this child with an IEP was on her way to a suspension. That’s what one of our group members posted recently. Sounds awful, right?…

30 IEP Goals for Handwriting | OT Goals | Fine Motor | Fluency

30 IEP Goals for Handwriting | OT Goals | Fine Motor | Fluency

Handwriting Skills for Students When a child lacks a skill, you either teach the skill or make accommodations for the lack of skill. Or, you can do both. Handwriting is a good example of this, but many schools and parents fail to realize this. Handwriting does not have to be ‘either, or.’ In that the…

What is An IEP Vocational Assessment | An Important Part of IEP Transition

What is An IEP Vocational Assessment | An Important Part of IEP Transition

IEP Vocational Assessment “She likes to braid hair.” Several years ago, I was an Educational Surrogate for a teen in a neighboring county. That sentence was her entire IEP transition plan. Seriously, that was it. And, she had been transition age for 2 years. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 only…

Following Directions and Learning Disabilities | Accommodations and Strategies for School and Home

Following Directions and Learning Disabilities | Accommodations and Strategies for School and Home

Following Directions Many people — kids and adults — have trouble following directions. They don’t seem to “listen” when they’re asked to do a task, whether it’s taking out the garbage or taking care of a pet. Even if there’s a negative consequence, they don’t do what they’ve been asked to do. Too often for learning disabled…

For Parents: Receptive Language vs Expressive Language Disorder | Receptive vs Express Language Skills and Strategies |  IEP Goals

For Parents: Receptive Language vs Expressive Language Disorder | Receptive vs Express Language Skills and Strategies | IEP Goals

Receptive vs Expressive Language If your child is being evaluated for Early Intervention or Special Education Services, you may be introduced to the terms ‘receptive language skills’ or ‘expressive language skills.’ As humans, we all have communication skills. Those skills are either expressive or receptive. If you do not struggle to understand incoming communication or…

Common Parent IEP Mistakes + How to Fix Them | IEP Tips for Parents

Common Parent IEP Mistakes + How to Fix Them | IEP Tips for Parents

IEP Tips for Parents Raise your hand if you just LOVE going to IEP meetings. (waits) No one? Raise your hand if you drink a bottle of wine the evening of an IEP meeting? A-ha! There, now I see some hands. I often say, “You don’t know what you don’t know” and the IEP meeting…

Gifted with an IEP | Understanding 2E Kids | Twice-Exceptional | Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities

Gifted with an IEP | Understanding 2E Kids | Twice-Exceptional | Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities

Understanding 2E Kids Twice-exceptional or 2E kids have both exceptional abilities and disabilities. In some ways, they are gifted. However, they may also face developmental or learning challenges. In my experience as an advocate (and in a state that requires GIEPs-gifted IEPs), I have come across two main recurring themes with gifted students. One is…

ESY | Extended School Year | ESY Eligibility Criteria | ESY Services

ESY | Extended School Year | ESY Eligibility Criteria | ESY Services

ESY Extended School Year What is ESY? ESY (extended school year) is anything that extends beyond the normal six hours a day, 180 days a year. It is a provision of IDEA and is not just summer school. See ESY booklet below, IDEA regs on page 4. It can be anything (as long as the…

SLD on your IEP | Understanding this Disability Category | Evaluations | Interventions | Goals

SLD on your IEP | Understanding this Disability Category | Evaluations | Interventions | Goals

What is SLD? Nearly half of all disabled children are in the category of SLD, per the US Department of Education. Yet, despite it being common, I find that the category itself is largely misunderstood by both parents and teachers. There are many myths and misinformation about the SLD category. Some of these examples: That…

IEP Advocacy: How to keep Your IEP Life Running Smoothly

IEP Advocacy: How to keep Your IEP Life Running Smoothly

New Beginnings I have this love-hate relationship with winter. I live in the mid-Atlantic and the weather here is less than desirable. Sure, we have some winter days with sunshine and temperatures in the 50s. But most of January through April is cold, gray and wet. But, I use the shorter, darker days and long,…

IEP Coach | Training | Certification | Why to Hire One Instead of an IEP Advocate

IEP Coach | Training | Certification | Why to Hire One Instead of an IEP Advocate

IEP Coach Lately I have started calling myself an IEP Coach instead of an IEP Advocate or Special Education Advocate. For me, it’s not just a matter of semantics. I am changing the entire structure of my business and business model. And, while I will still be an Advocate, I am much more looking forward…

When your child misses school because there is no nurse or aide | Action Steps for Parents

When your child misses school because there is no nurse or aide | Action Steps for Parents

When your Aide or Para is Absent This issue has me really ticked off lately. Mostly because of how often it is happening. “I’m so sorry {mom} but I still don’t have a nurse for Student for tomorrow, Fri 9/7. Please know I reached out to all of our nurses, as well as 6 sister…

How To Address Your School Board With IEP Concerns | 10 Tips For Parents

How To Address Your School Board With IEP Concerns | 10 Tips For Parents

Should you take your IEP issues to the school board? I was recently approached by a school board member. The school board wanted advice on how to improve the special education climate in their school. “We’re really in the dark as far as special ed,” they told me. “We see the director when he brings…

Is A Child With Passing Grades Eligible For Special Education Under Idea? | What To Do When “His Grades Are Fine!”

Is A Child With Passing Grades Eligible For Special Education Under Idea? | What To Do When “His Grades Are Fine!”

Denied an IEP or 504 because Grades are Good I had this client one time who has a phenomenal memory. I mean it, like nothing you’ve ever seen. His memory and recall were almost savant-like. In fact, he could memorize and recall so much information, he was tested and labeled as gifted at a young…

What Happens if Parents refuse to sign the IEP?

What Happens if Parents refuse to sign the IEP?

What happens if I don’t sign the IEP? Short answer: Nothing. In most cases. Only 2-3 states require a parent’s signature on the IEP to begin services. That is, after the first IEP. You usually have to sign that one to begin services. But I have heard this from more parents than I can count….

Do I have to tell the IEP team about my child’s medication? Can Schools Force Medication? | IEP and 504 Issues

Do I have to tell the IEP team about my child’s medication? Can Schools Force Medication? | IEP and 504 Issues

Can Schools Force or Recommend Medication? Can Schools force medication? Can a teacher ask a student if they took their medication? Can a school tell you to change your child’s medicine? Is it illegal for a school to recommend medication? Do I have to tell the school about my child’s medication? All of these questions…

What is RTI in School? What does it mean? RTI vs. MTSS

What is RTI in School? What does it mean? RTI vs. MTSS

RTI Response to Intervention | MTSS What is RTI at school? Who determines what RTI looks like for a kid? Can a parent refuse RTI? So, before you read this and say, “Hmph, you’re so negative! Not all schools do this!” let me save you the time and email. What’s the difference between RTI and…

Can a School Suspend a Student with an IEP? | 5 action steps, with or without an IEP or 504 Plan

Can a School Suspend a Student with an IEP? | 5 action steps, with or without an IEP or 504 Plan

Can you Suspend a Student with an IEP? It happened again. You were at work, in the middle of…working. And the phone rings again. You look and see the dreaded phone number-it’s the school. And you know what is ahead. You have to go pick up your child because they’ve been suspended. Again. Here is…

IEP Progress Monitoring with Accelerated Readers? | AR Books | Reading Levels

IEP Progress Monitoring with Accelerated Readers? | AR Books | Reading Levels

AR Reading Levels The other day I did a post on the OG Approach and I thought that talking about AR Reading Levels would be a good complement to that. Because, in my experience, AR is great and useful tool. However, much like Orton Gillingham, it is misunderstood and misused. I think Accelerated Reader is…

Your Child’s Strengths | 100 Example Statements to Swipe for your IEP

Your Child’s Strengths | 100 Example Statements to Swipe for your IEP

Your Child’s Strengths Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting our kids’ needs met, we forget to address their strengths. And, IDEA is pretty clear about this. It’s even first on the list! In some sections, IDEA lists ‘strengths of the child’ as the first item. But again, we often go into IEP meetings…

How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting | Checklist | Be a Better Advocate

How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting | Checklist | Be a Better Advocate

IEP Meetings This is a really old post that I have been meaning to update for ages. I see the image show up on Pinterest and I just cringe because I know that the information that is on this site now is just so much better than it was in 2013. The old post didn’t…

How Long Can a Child be on a School Bus? + Tips for IEP Issues.

How Long Can a Child be on a School Bus? + Tips for IEP Issues.

Maximum Length of School Bus Ride Did you know that some school students, particularly those in rural areas such as Reservations, may ride the school bus for over 2 hours one way? Not exactly rocket science to identify it as a contributing factor to absenteeism or drop out rates. Who wants to spend 4 or…

Manifestation Determination Meeting | What It Is | How to Prepare | Examples

Manifestation Determination Meeting | What It Is | How to Prepare | Examples

Manifestation Determination Speaking to you as a parent, I hope that you never have to know what a Manifestation Determination is. Or that you never have to request or attend a Manifestation Determination Review Meeting. But, here you are. You searched and found this article, so you need to know what a Manifestation Review is….

What are IEP Related Services in Special Education | Definition | Eligibility

What are IEP Related Services in Special Education | Definition | Eligibility

What are IEP Related Services? According to IDEA, these are the related services in Special Education. audiology counseling services early identification family training-counseling and home visits health services medical services nursing services nutrition services occupational therapy orientation and mobility services parent counseling and training physical therapy psychological services recreation and therapeutic recreation rehabilitative counseling services…

When your IEP Team says, “We don’t do that here.” | Next Steps for Parents

When your IEP Team says, “We don’t do that here.” | Next Steps for Parents

We don’t do that here. I got two inquiries recently that are very similar. Both parents asked for something on their child’s IEP and both were told, “We don’t do that here.” It happens often, actually. Can a school say that? Can they deny a service based on “we don’t offer that here?” Short answer,…

How Long Does the School Have to Respond to an IEP Meeting Request? What about an Emergency?

How Long Does the School Have to Respond to an IEP Meeting Request? What about an Emergency?

Parent Request for IEP Meeting Timeline IDEA does not define this. Some state special education regulations have set a time limit on how long the school has to respond to your request. You can read more on how to request an IEP meeting and what to do if it’s an emergency below. How often can…

Special Education Timelines | When Should the School Respond to IEP Requests or Evals?

Special Education Timelines | When Should the School Respond to IEP Requests or Evals?

IEP Timelines How long does a school have to: respond to IEP email? schedule an IEP meeting? evaluate my child? begin services in a new school year? send me the final draft of the IEP? All those questions and more are answered below. I’ve compiled the common questions that parents ask about IEP timelines below….

Requesting an IEP Meeting |  Who | How | Letter Templates

Requesting an IEP Meeting | Who | How | Letter Templates

How to Request an IEP Meeting This one should be filed under “blog posts I never thought I’d have to do.” I never realized how much misinformation there is surrounding asking for an IEP meeting. Who can request an IEP meeting? How do you request an IEP meeting? Can a parent request an IEP meeting…

What to Do if you Disagree with your IEP Team about Goals.

What to Do if you Disagree with your IEP Team about Goals.

I don’t want that IEP goal. I know I’ve told the story several times. The story of my first IEP meeting with my school district. Kevin was 4 and we were meeting about possible kindergarten transition. The overall meeting was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. So much wrong with it from start to…

Educational Autism | What’s the difference between a Medical and a School Diagnosis of Autism?

Educational Autism | What’s the difference between a Medical and a School Diagnosis of Autism?

Educational Autism I’m sure if this has happened to you, it sure felt like a gaslighting moment. You have a child. The child sees various doctors and specialists, some of whom have diagnosed the child with autism. Then, you go to the school to ask for assistance. And you’re told that your child does not…

4 Phrases that Create more Chaos than Cooperation in IEPs.

4 Phrases that Create more Chaos than Cooperation in IEPs.

Confusing Legal IEP Terms There are some words in the IEP process that seem to create more chaos than cooperation. And darnit parents, there are just some words that are toxic to the collaborative environment and I wish you’d stop using them. Read on…. Let me ask you, is your child’s education appropriate? What?!?! Unless…

57 Functional Communication IEP Goals | Transition | Vocation | Recreation

57 Functional Communication IEP Goals | Transition | Vocation | Recreation

Functional Communication Goals One of the biggest obstacles that some IEP students have is lack of appropriate, functional communication. A lack of functional communication is often one of the biggest barriers to independence. From as early as possible, these skills should be practiced and encouraged. I remember a few months ago, I was assisting Kevin…

Are You Being Gaslighted at School or IEP Meetings? {Spoiler Alert: Probably!}

Are You Being Gaslighted at School or IEP Meetings? {Spoiler Alert: Probably!}

Gaslighting at School I remember the first time I was gaslighted at an IEP meeting. It probably wasn’t the first time, but it was the first time that I remember. I was working in a local district, and I had been there a lot. This particular district had a horrible reputation as far as discipline…

{Study Skills} IEP Goals | Accommodations |  Note Taking

{Study Skills} IEP Goals | Accommodations | Note Taking

Organization/Study Skills IEP Goals I’m a good learner, but I’m terrible at studying. Always have been. Other than re-reading chapters and notes and rote memorization, I never knew what studying was. No one ever taught me study skills. It was just expected that all students knew how to study and learn. I think many students…

Special Education Classroom Observation: Rules for Parents Visiting Classrooms

Special Education Classroom Observation: Rules for Parents Visiting Classrooms

Special Education Classroom Observation “Can I observe my child’s classroom?” I’ve been hearing this one a lot lately. And unfortunately, this issue often brings out the pitchfork crowds and a plethora of bad IEP advice. So, rather than having parents pursue options that aren’t really options, I wanted to give you some clarity and options…

After School Meltdowns | Tips for Helping your Child | IEP Ideas

After School Meltdowns | Tips for Helping your Child | IEP Ideas

Managing After School Meltdowns Sometimes I marvel at the existence of my two boys. I look at them, and both of them are just oozing characteristics and traits of both me and my husband. And yet, at the same time, they are complete opposites in so many ways. My younger child–everything comes so easy to…

Toilet Training and Older Kids | IEP Goals | School Protocols |  Diaper Recommendations
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Toilet Training and Older Kids | IEP Goals | School Protocols | Diaper Recommendations

Toilet Training an Older Child I am wildly passionate about kids being toilet trained if it is a possibility. I never dreamed I would be a passionate advocate for toilet training. But, here I am. Lack of toileting skills is one functional IEP skill that really carries a serious stigma for our kids. It’s very…

When you Cannot Afford an IEP Special Education Advocate or Attorney | Tips for Parents

When you Cannot Afford an IEP Special Education Advocate or Attorney | Tips for Parents

Cost of IEP Advocates/Attorneys Your child is struggling. As a mom, you’re stressed and you’re frustrated. You want to hire an IEP advocate. Everyone keeps telling you “get a lawyer!” But, you’ve heard that they are expensive. How do you know? What do you do? What if you cannot afford a Special Education Attorney or…

Child Being Bullied at School? | Advocacy Tips | Legal Rights | Gebser Letter Example

Child Being Bullied at School? | Advocacy Tips | Legal Rights | Gebser Letter Example

Bullying at School Bullying at school. I hate it. It’s gross and happens everywhere-on the bus, at school. My standard disclaimer is that I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on the Internet. However, I do work as a Special Education Advocate so bullying is a problem I often help families with….

Parent-Teacher Conferences | What to Ask | Special Education | Distance Learning

Parent-Teacher Conferences | What to Ask | Special Education | Distance Learning

Parent-Teacher Conference Like other areas of our life, Parent-Teacher conferences can look different for a child with an IEP. A Parent-Teacher meeting can be stressful even in a normal year and now we have distance learning. Most schools only allow 15-20 minutes, so we’re rushed. Chances are you and your spouse had to split up…

Understanding the Emotional Disturbance IEP Category | Criteria | Accommodations | Strategies

Understanding the Emotional Disturbance IEP Category | Criteria | Accommodations | Strategies

Emotional Disturbance Emotional Disturbance Category on an IEP is one of the most misunderstood categories. In my professional opinion, it is one of the most overused and abused categories. I find that school staff often look to address Emotional Disturbance Disability with the mindset of “won’t” rather than “can’t.” Or, slap the ED label on…

Does my child have to ride the Special Ed Bus to get Transportation on our IEP or 504?

Does my child have to ride the Special Ed Bus to get Transportation on our IEP or 504?

Special Education Transportation “It’s the bus. It’s always the bus!” My former supervisor used to say that so often. So many issues around a school bus ride. Lots of kids, no seatbelts, unstructured time, no one watching them (because we want the driver watching the road, right?). And it goes on. This post is long…

IEP Cover Page | Double-Check This Item on the Front Page of your Child’s IEP.

IEP Cover Page | Double-Check This Item on the Front Page of your Child’s IEP.

IEP Cover Page Imagine for a moment that you are a teacher and it’s the first day of class. Every child is wearing a baseball cap. On the front of each hat is a phrase or two, such as: “has a lisp,” “allergic to peanuts,” “loves to read,” and you see one that says, “emotionally…

Juvenile Arthritis | 504 Plans and IEP Accommodation Ideas
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Juvenile Arthritis | 504 Plans and IEP Accommodation Ideas

Juvenile Arthritis | IEP | 504 According to the Arthritis Foundation, over 300,000 American children have Juvenile Arthritis. The most common type of arthritis in children is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (idiopathic means “from unknown causes”). There are several other forms of arthritis affecting children. Juvenile arthritis is a rheumatic disease or one that causes loss…

ABA Therapy in Public Schools | How to Get ABA Therapy in your IEP.

ABA Therapy in Public Schools | How to Get ABA Therapy in your IEP.

ABA Therapy in Schools “I want my child in an ABA program.” ABA therapies are very popular (and controversial). Many parents want their child in an ABA Therapy Program at school or to receive ABA therapy during school hours. It took us over a year to get my child into an ABA therapy program at…

Yes! Parental Consent is Required to Change an IEP.

Yes! Parental Consent is Required to Change an IEP.

Can an IEP be changed without parental consent? For the purposes of this post, it assumes that you (parent) already have an initial IEP in place. Your child went through the evaluation process, you had your IEP meeting and there is an agreed-upon IEP in place. And then the fun begins! (Seriously though, most of…

What is OHI on the IEP? | Understanding Other Health Impairments | ADHD

What is OHI on the IEP? | Understanding Other Health Impairments | ADHD

OHI on the IEP IDEA has 14 eligibility categories for an IEP. One of them is OHI. I find that OHI is one of the most frequently misunderstood one by parents, especially when it comes to ADHD. ADHD is, of course, a learning disability. Parents enter into the process fully expecting their child with ADHD…

What does LEA stand for in Special Education? Explained by an IEP Advocate.

What does LEA stand for in Special Education? Explained by an IEP Advocate.

What does LEA stand for? LEA is one of those special education acronyms that is more complex than it needs to be. The LEA is a largely misunderstood position or role at IEP meetings. Many times, parents want to exclude the LEA from their IEP meeting! In my professional opinion, that is not a good…

Parent Training on your IEP | Yes, it’s a thing!

Parent Training on your IEP | Yes, it’s a thing!

Parent Counseling and Training on an IEP One little-known feature of IDEA is the section on parent training. Parents are often unaware that they can ask for training and/or counseling as part of their child’s Special Education. Many parents are intimidated because school personnel may know more about pedagogy or curriculum. But, no need to…

Can I get an IEP in College? What to know about 504 Plan Accommodations.

Can I get an IEP in College? What to know about 504 Plan Accommodations.

IEP in College? No, there are no IEPs in college. That’s a statement of fear that I hear from a lot of parents. And, it’s true. There are no IEPs in college. The following is a guest post from my friend Lynn. You may recognize her from the Facebook group. Her son, who has autism,…

Building a Trauma-Informed IEP or 504 Plan | Goals | Accommodations

Building a Trauma-Informed IEP or 504 Plan | Goals | Accommodations

Trauma-Informed IEPs It’s amazing how we go through life, just doing what we do, not knowing what we don’t know. I was a victim of childhood trauma (several ACEs-Adverse Childhood Experiences). But, it was the 1970s and no one really did anything about it. I was just expected to “get over it.” Yes, I did…

Understanding Severe Discrepancy vs RTI Models, for Parents.

Understanding Severe Discrepancy vs RTI Models, for Parents.

Severe Discrepancy Model You can file this under “the knowledge base I wish I didn’t have to have.” But here we are. Understanding the Severe Discrepancy Model is one of those things that parents are actually often told. A school psychologist will often explain this during your child’s evaluation meeting. However, I find that many…

23 Accommodations to Include in your 504 Plan for Food Allergies.

23 Accommodations to Include in your 504 Plan for Food Allergies.

504 Plans for Food Allergies On this website, you will find many articles that discuss the overuse of 504 plans. They were never intended to be an “IEP Lite” and too often, they are used as a stalling tactic when the child truly needs an IEP. However, in the case of isolated food allergies, a…

40 Sample IEP Counseling Goals | IEP Counseling Related Services

40 Sample IEP Counseling Goals | IEP Counseling Related Services

Should your Child Have Counseling IEP Goals? Student counseling is listed as a Related Service in IDEA. Actually, Parent Counseling and Training is too. But that’s another post for another day. I have had a few clients over the years who received counseling, but all had it offered to them. Very few parents know that…

IEP Laws and Regulations for all 50 States | Spreadsheet with Links

IEP Laws and Regulations for all 50 States | Spreadsheet with Links

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Several years ago, I was at a fundraiser. It was for an agency that assists disabled people. So, naturally, they had a few people who used the agency speak and give testimonials about how much this agency means to them. I will never forget the story that this one…

How To Write a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP that Gets Noticed | Templates

How To Write a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP that Gets Noticed | Templates

How to Write IEP Parent Concerns. I’m going to wag my finger at you–from this day forward, you do a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP. Every.single.time. No more “Well I didn’t know…” or “I didn’t think I had to do one each time…” Now you know. Do one. This is one of the most…

How to Request Homebound Placement | Examples | Sentence Starters

How to Request Homebound Placement | Examples | Sentence Starters

Homebound Placement during the Pandemic Normally, I’m against homebound IEP placement for most students. After all, it is one of the most restrictive placement options. And, it often gets used and abused and IEP students are placed in this “no man’s land” and fall off the radar and get greatly reduced services. But, these are…

What does LRE stand for in Special Education? | Least Restrictive Environment Continuum, explained.

What does LRE stand for in Special Education? | Least Restrictive Environment Continuum, explained.

What is LRE Least Restrictive Environment? Students must be educated in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent possible, and cannot use budget issues as an excuse not to do it. From Ed.Gov/IDEA Have you heard of LRE or the Least Restrictive Environment continuum? Many parents are unaware of this right or principle of…

How to Write Meaningful and Measurable IEP Goals.

How to Write Meaningful and Measurable IEP Goals.

How to Write IEP Goals. IEP goals are the future. IEP Present Levels is where the child is now; goals are where we want them to be. Writing IEP goals, while based on data, is part art, part science. It’s also something I find that many educators are not prepared for or trained in. Colleges…

Can a Parent Record an IEP Meeting? | Recording Laws for 50 States

Can a Parent Record an IEP Meeting? | Recording Laws for 50 States

Recording School IEP Meetings Can you (audio) record your IEP meeting? It’s a question that I’ve seen parents and advocates discuss quite a bit. And like all the other parts of the IEP, there are no easy answers to the question. In deciding whether or not to record your child’s IEP meeting, there are many…

Why Your Child Should Attend (and maybe lead!) their IEP Meeting.

Why Your Child Should Attend (and maybe lead!) their IEP Meeting.

Yes, Your Child Should Run their IEP Meeting Should my child attend their IEP meeting? In a word? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! Self-advocacy and self-determination is always the ultimate goal! I am genuinely surprised at how many parents struggle with this question. The student is the main subject of any IEP meeting–their future is on the line. So…

Who is Required to attend an IEP meeting? Can I exclude people?

Who is Required to attend an IEP meeting? Can I exclude people?

Who Attends IEP Meetings I have a friend and there are 18 school staff people, and her, at her IEP meetings. I’ve mentioned many times before how large Kevin’s IEP team is, and even I don’t have meetings that large. One time with a client, I was attending a parent-requested IEP meeting. This particular school…

What is a 504 Plan? 6 Things a Parent Should Know | Protecting Disabled Students

What is a 504 Plan? 6 Things a Parent Should Know | Protecting Disabled Students

What is a Section 504 plan? Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted…

39 Behavior Goals for an IEP | Printable | Work/Task Completion

39 Behavior Goals for an IEP | Printable | Work/Task Completion

Behavior IEP Goals I can’t believe I haven’t tackled this topic before. Well, ok, I can. It’s an IEP subject area that is incredibly complex. It also is one that affects our kids day-to-day the most, and in my opinion, is usually handled the worst. I see horrible FBAs completed by well-intended staff who have…

10 Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives for Writing | Written Expression | Printable List

10 Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives for Writing | Written Expression | Printable List

IEP Goals for Writing Parents can certainly assist the IEP team with developing goals. One IEP area that I find parents and teachers struggle is to address the skill of writing. And by writing, I’m talking about content, not handwriting. If your child struggles with the actual task of handwriting, I would read this post…

Got IEP Violations? | State and Federal Complaint Options for Parents.

Got IEP Violations? | State and Federal Complaint Options for Parents.

IEP Complaint Options for Parents Another long overdue post. This comes up often in the group. “File a complaint!” And lately, we’ve been hearing a lot of “Call the state board of Nursing!” There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding IEP complaints. Again, deep breaths everyone. Yes, there are complaint options for parents….

40 IEP Goals for Reading |  Comprehension | Strategies | Evaluations

40 IEP Goals for Reading | Comprehension | Strategies | Evaluations

Reading: IEP Goals & Strategies Ways to improve Reading Comprehension: Use Visuals. Answer Questions. Predicting. Summarizing/Retelling. Identifying parts of story/text. Make a connection. Active readers. See below for further explanation, as well as links to assessments and other valuable information. If you are here, please make sure that you also read the blog posts about…

IDEA Procedural Safeguards | The IEP Parents’ Rights Document that most Parents never read.

IDEA Procedural Safeguards | The IEP Parents’ Rights Document that most Parents never read.

Special Education Procedural Safeguards Ok, finger-wagging time. Because I know that a very large percentage of parents are not reading your IEP Procedural Safeguards. I can tell by the questions you ask. Because many of the questions I am asked to answer (as an advocate) are very easily answered by looking at Procedural Safeguards. I’ve included…

3 Indications that You Have an Insufficient 504 Plan at School. (And How to Make it Right!)

3 Indications that You Have an Insufficient 504 Plan at School. (And How to Make it Right!)

Student 504 Plan 504 Plans certainly have their place in our education system. After all, they guarantee access to a student’s education, when a disability may be prohibiting access. What’s unfortunate is that I see too many 504 Plans being handed out to pacify parents and avoid IEP evaluations. Or, when a 504 plan is…

IEP Unilateral Placement | What is it? How do I do it?

IEP Unilateral Placement | What is it? How do I do it?

IEP Unilateral Placements One of the greatest IDEA misunderstandings among parents is the concept of Unilateral Placements. There is a lot of misinformation about them, how to do a unilateral placement and so on. A lot of this is due to IDEA itself. It doesn’t define this right much. Unilateral Placements are mentioned in the…

How to Help Kids with Dyslexia | Creating Meaningful, Measurable IEP Goals

How to Help Kids with Dyslexia | Creating Meaningful, Measurable IEP Goals

IEP for Dyslexia Dyslexia is a type of learning disability that is a language-based disorder characterized by problems learning to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols. According to LDRFA, Dyslexia is the most common learning disability among children. There are three other “D” in this family of learning disabilities: Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia….

Understanding IEP Eligibility | A Guide for Parents | Flowchart

Understanding IEP Eligibility | A Guide for Parents | Flowchart

IEP Eligibility Your child has an IEP. Or they do not. Perhaps they were found ineligible. Maybe you were offered a 504 or RTI instead of an IEP. Or, maybe nothing at all. You were just informed that your child does not qualify for special education and that’s it. In this post, I’m going to…

What happens after an IEP Meeting? And what to do next.

What happens after an IEP Meeting? And what to do next.

AFTER the IEP Meeting It seems that many parents anticipate and prepare for an IEP meeting and then that’s it. Often, it’s very anti-climatic, all that preparing and worrying. And then what? Are you left with this feeling of not being resolved, or not knowing what to expect? Sound familiar? Let’s go over what happens…

What can I ask for on my child’s IEP? And how do I get my team to agree?

What can I ask for on my child’s IEP? And how do I get my team to agree?

What to Ask for on your IEP “I don’t know what to ask for on my IEP!” That question comes up often in our Facebook group. And, I can tell a lot about a parent who asks that question. It tells me that you are either a newbie or you don’t know the IEP process…

IEE Independent Education Evaluations | When, Why and How to Request One.

IEE Independent Education Evaluations | When, Why and How to Request One.

IEE Independent Education Evaluations IEE stands for Independent Education Evaluation. It is a provision of IDEA, listed in the Parents’ Rights Booklet, or Procedural Safeguards. This will explain what an IEE is, how to obtain one, who pays for the IEE and what happens with the Evaluation Report from an Independent Evaluator. Last week I…

Should you Move to a Better School District for your Child’s IEP?

Should you Move to a Better School District for your Child’s IEP?

Should you move to a more IEP friendly school district? It’s not a very popular trend, but this does happen occasionally. Families who move from one school district to another due to their frustration with their current district and the IEP process. But before you say “hey, that’s a great idea!” and call the realtor,…

Section 504, IEPs and Sports | Extra-Curricular Activities | What to Know for Inclusion.

Section 504, IEPs and Sports | Extra-Curricular Activities | What to Know for Inclusion.

Section 504 and Extracurricular Activities The short answer is yes. “Participation in extracurricular athletics can be a critical part of a student’s overall educational experience. Schools must ensure equal access to that rewarding experience for students with disabilities.” Seth Galanter, acting assistant secretary for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) But implementation is not always…

Divorce, Custody and Your IEP | What to do when you and the Ex don’t agree.

Divorce, Custody and Your IEP | What to do when you and the Ex don’t agree.

IEPs and Divorce Sometimes the ‘happily ever after’ just isn’t. Things change and you find yourself divorcing, and rebuilding a life you thought was forever. It’s traumatic for both kids and parents. To make a complex situation even more complicated, if your child has an IEP, there are extra considerations in a divorce. Who gets…

My child has an IEP Behavior Plan. He’s still getting in trouble.

My child has an IEP Behavior Plan. He’s still getting in trouble.

IEP Behavior Plans: Not Working This is coming up more frequently in the Facebook group. Your child had an FBA, they have a behavior plan in place, and behaviors are still occurring. Sometimes repeated suspensions are still happening. So what do you do? I have a whole separate post, written by a BSC, that explains…

How to Get an Effective Behavior Plan on your IEP | FBA

How to Get an Effective Behavior Plan on your IEP | FBA

Functional Behavior Assessments FBA In the IEP process, there is little that bothers me more than when I hear about one of our kids repeatedly being suspended, and the group will ask, “Does he have an FBA and behavior plan?” To which the parent responds “What’s an FBA?” Mind you, I’m not mad at the…

Why More Parents Should Consider Facilitated IEP Meetings.

Why More Parents Should Consider Facilitated IEP Meetings.

Facilitated IEP Meetings My very first experience with a facilitated IEP meeting was not a good one. Things were very tense between the parents and the school. The parent hired me, the situation began to escalate. So I suggested a facilitated IEP meeting. We scheduled the meeting and the facilitator (more on how to do…

Parents, You are the IEP Police. Yes, you!

Parents, You are the IEP Police. Yes, you!

IEP Parent Participation This is a concept that I really need parents to grab on to and internalize. I hope that this brings you that “a-ha!” moment in IEPs. Because I get the feeling that many parents do not fully grasp the enormous responsibility of parent participation in the IEP process. Because parents are the…

Walking at Graduation when you’re Not Graduating (because of an IEP 13th year).

Walking at Graduation when you’re Not Graduating (because of an IEP 13th year).

Can you walk at graduation without graduating from high school? As one of my attorney friends put it, “This question seems to come up every spring for the past 20 years.” A student wants to walk with her class, but doesn’t complete her requirements until the summer. District says it’s policy that students can’t walk…

What’s the Difference between IEP Accommodations and Modifications? | Examples

What’s the Difference between IEP Accommodations and Modifications? | Examples

Special Education Accommodations Special Education Accommodations, Modifications and Supports/Services: All three of those are a huge concern for parents. I know this because it’s often one of the first sections you turn to when you are handed a new draft IEP. On most IEPs, you will find this section after the IEP goals section. On…

Special Factors in the IEP | Parent and Team Considerations

Special Factors in the IEP | Parent and Team Considerations

Special Factors in the IEP Most of the questions that we receive as educational advocates are about the implementation of the IEP. Let’s face it. It is not an easy document to understand at times because of it’s length and format. But there are the special factors on an IEP that you should be considering…

How to get an IEP for your Child, explained by a Special Education Advocate.

How to get an IEP for your Child, explained by a Special Education Advocate.

How to get an IEP. Gather your thoughts about your child and their struggles at school. Decide if meeting with the teacher is appropriate to discuss these concerns. Formalize those concerns into a letter to the school. Write a letter to your school (teacher and principal) asking that your child be evaluated for Special Education…

Why IEP Parents Should Never Agree to the “Let’s just Wait and See.”

Why IEP Parents Should Never Agree to the “Let’s just Wait and See.”

Let’s Just Wait and See. I’d be willing to be my house and my car that 99% of all IEP parents have experienced the “Let’s just wait and see.” It’s one of the most common and most effective stall or delaying tactics when a parent asks for something on the IEP. It goes like this….

Can a Parent Refuse Special Education Services? What happens next?

Can a Parent Refuse Special Education Services? What happens next?

It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but this Special Education Stigma scenario still happens. It goes like this: Parent recognizes that their child is struggling at school. They reach out and ask for help. The school agrees and draws up the IEP. Parent waffles and does not want to accept the IEP…

How to get Meaningful IEP Data | Examples | Collection | Sheets

How to get Meaningful IEP Data | Examples | Collection | Sheets

IEP Data Collection A few weeks ago, Michelle wrote a post about IEP Progress Monitoring. In that post, she references “collecting data” several times. And, in our Facebook group, you will often hear one of us ask a parent, “What does your data say?” IEP data collection is one of the most difficult concepts that…

Homework and IEPs | Accommodations and Tips for parents.

Homework and IEPs | Accommodations and Tips for parents.

Can you get homework accommodations on an IEP? Short answer: YES! I know many families who are tired of the tears, the battles and the general unpleasantness that is homework. Especially if your child has an IEP. So, here are some things to think about, things to look at in your specific situation and accommodations…

From Mom to Advocate: 15 Moms share their “A-ha!” Moments in the IEP process.

From Mom to Advocate: 15 Moms share their “A-ha!” Moments in the IEP process.

IEP Mom Advocates IEP Moms are just the greatest. I’ve found that if you talk to Mom-Advocates, who I define as being pretty well versed in the IEP process, most can describe an exact moment when they realized that they couldn’t just be “Mom” anymore. That they had to become an assertive advocate. I thought…

What to do if your School or Teacher is Violating the 504 Plan | 8 Action Items for Parents

What to do if your School or Teacher is Violating the 504 Plan | 8 Action Items for Parents

Not Following 504 Plan Ok, your child has a 504 Plan. You provided the necessary documentation and they drew it up. You think it’s pretty good and will help your child. Then, you hear anecdotes from your child that your school is not following the 504 Plan. The protections of a 504 plan are fewer…