SAMPLE Strengths & Needs for IEP... and School Safety Pl

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hemasinmoh
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06 Sep 2011, 11:09 pm

Thanks. It gives me an idea on planning for my children :)..



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09 Oct 2011, 12:25 pm

I'm new here and am very interested in this thread. We're in California USA.

My 4YO son has a diagnosed speech & language delay but not autism, although we're suspecting a 'strong' probability based on our observation of his behaviors that he's on the spectrum.

I have an IEP scheduled end of November. The goals have to change. I'm finding out now that whenever there is a goal about "based on teacher observations" you might as well regard it as the school can keep doing what its doing that's the easiest on resources and you can't prove otherwise. Now that I suspect our son may be on the spectrum, I'm waiting for a pediatrician appt (then referral out -- we have an HMO, which I constantly curse) to get a comprehensive psych eval.

I had also met with an educational advocate, ordered books from wrightslaw (including the IEP book), read the IEP document we have... and what frustrates me the most is that these IEP are written in a way that is at once vague and confusing, that most parents can't comprehend what it means when the objective is "met" versus "partially met" or "progressing". I have a science PhD and I'm confused by all this jargon!

If it helps I'll share my experience with the upcoming IEP. This time I'm not going to sign the document right there. I did that the 1st time because the school held the meeting the day before my son's 3rd birthday and I was afraid of interrupting services while we haggle the language. No more. I feel like I've already wasted a year of my kid's time and I want to do it right this time and hereafter.



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09 Oct 2011, 5:59 pm

jstriding wrote:
I'm new here and am very interested in this thread. We're in California USA.

My 4YO son has a diagnosed speech & language delay but not autism, although we're suspecting a 'strong' probability based on our observation of his behaviors that he's on the spectrum.

I have an IEP scheduled end of November. The goals have to change. I'm finding out now that whenever there is a goal about "based on teacher observations" you might as well regard it as the school can keep doing what its doing that's the easiest on resources and you can't prove otherwise. Now that I suspect our son may be on the spectrum, I'm waiting for a pediatrician appt (then referral out -- we have an HMO, which I constantly curse) to get a comprehensive psych eval.

I had also met with an educational advocate, ordered books from wrightslaw (including the IEP book), read the IEP document we have... and what frustrates me the most is that these IEP are written in a way that is at once vague and confusing, that most parents can't comprehend what it means when the objective is "met" versus "partially met" or "progressing". I have a science PhD and I'm confused by all this jargon!

If it helps I'll share my experience with the upcoming IEP. This time I'm not going to sign the document right there. I did that the 1st time because the school held the meeting the day before my son's 3rd birthday and I was afraid of interrupting services while we haggle the language. No more. I feel like I've already wasted a year of my kid's time and I want to do it right this time and hereafter.


My son is 22 now, but when he was your son's age, the California school system was the only place we got help. My son wasn't diagnosed until 18 with PDD-NOS. When he was 4, the school called him a reluctant talker and put him in preschool classes twice a week with 2 other little boys, one of whom was like my son - very shy, quiet, afraid of people, etc.
My experience has been that no matter what is in the IEP, the only thing that matters is the quality of the people who will be teaching or helping your child. He was very lucky to have had fantastic kindergarten and first grade teachers who did so much to help him. One thing that was very surprising to me was how nice the other kids were, even at that young age. They were almost protective of him. One popular boy became his best friend even though my son rarely talked. He would never talk when there was more than one person listening until he was 6.
When my son was in high school, we had a meeting with all of his teachers. We described the behavior to expect and what to do if it happened. It was all in the IEP. Some of the teachers were great and went out of their way, but others were horrible. Other than suing the school district, there was nothing we could do. One teacher was convinced that my son was doing these things on purpose to annoy him. One teacher flunked him when we had a two week period where he wouldn't go to school. The teacher wouldn't let him make up the work he had missed.
Good luck. My son has come so far since he left school. If you didn't know it, you might not even recognize that he is autistic now.



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12 Oct 2011, 2:33 pm

jstriding, it sounds like you've already started getting resources in place. In my experience, nothing much can be done without a complete assessment and official dx. After that, the school is under an obligation to make accomodations or modifications to the program on a regular basis. I wrote out a list of recommendations (some based on the ones in this thread, others found on the Internet or, once I got the hang of it, from my own trial and error). I have copied it for the Methods & Resource teacher who is responsible (with teachers' and parents' input) to make up the plan. He has it now. Since this is the first year since the diagnosis, the teachers seem to be trying my child on the regular program with some accomodations until they see how they have to modify it for her to complete the work. I'm pretty satisfied but eager for the next appointment, since I don't think a series of failed test and requests for her to come for extra help are very useful.

I wonder if you could do the same with the goals? Look at the previous goals, or these ones, on your own (not at the appointment) and make some suggestions about what you think your child could accomplish? You can think in terms of social and life skills goals: what do you see your child doing in the next few months? The academic ones are harder with a young child, I think.

Good luck with it. I do think we're lucky that awareness of what autism and Asperger's means is higher now than in the past, but school is still a struggle. (OTOH, it has been with my NT kids, too, so this is a difference in degree and not in nature.)

J.



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20 Oct 2011, 8:51 am

I'm new to all of this. I fail at the lingo and I'm sorry if I sound dumb. My son has not been diagnosed yet, but through some research (I'm not a doctor but it all makes sense) I believe my son may have Asperger's. He has an appointment approaching quickly and I'm eagerly awaiting some answers.

Lunch time is a HUGE deal for him (I saw it was a trigger in your plan), it is when his daycare/school has the most issues with him. I'm assuming because all the kids are gathered in the same place and it's noisey and overwhelming. Is this a correct assumption?
Is this common?



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04 Nov 2011, 11:36 am

earthmom wrote:
As a 47 year old Aspie who also had no help, and a mother of 2 Aspies who were mostly homeschooled and later went through high school with no special help, I have mixed feelings about these type of things.

On the one hand, if the child is finding school impossible then yes the parent needs to step in. But teaching the child that the world will change to adapt to him is the wrong message. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to spend time teaching workarounds and ways to adapt to the child? So many of the things on the "Needs" list are needed to be taught and helped with by parents, not necessarily the school district. They can't be in charge of raising our kids and teaching moral and life lessons as well as school work, IMO.

As for the lists of what the child needs, what is sad is that what you're saying is the child needs patience. Acceptance for who he is no matter who that may be, and some kindness. That's what all kids need. Aspies more than others at times maybe but still, if teachers/school administrators approached the whole thing from a kindess, helpful, patient outlook, there would be no need for parents to push for more specialized things most likely.

I never agree with fighting to change the school. If it's not working for you easily, leave it and homeschool. The child will be safer, and allowed to blossom in a safe, accepting environment. The school loses money for every person who leaves it and eventually they will get the message that way.


Though the above post is now kind of old, it's worth a few comments.

I agree with this poster to some extent, but have some things to add.

Quote:
If it's not working for you easily, leave it and homeschool.


Think about that for a moment. Rephrase that statement just a bit.

"If things get too hard for you, remove yourself from the situation. Quit trying to make it work for you, and go home."

What message might that send ti our kids? Really? Learning to fight to remain ourselves, by insisting we be accepted for who we are, while at the same time learning to develop skills to adapt to the world by remaining IN it, teaches kids early on the message that adaptation is a two-way street. Not only do we have to adapt, but because of certain aspects of our Autism, we also need to learn how to TEACH the world do adapt to US. That isn't going to happen if every time a kid has difficulties in school, they are removed and taught at home. If every Autistic kid were removed from school when it becomes difficult for them, they aren't going to learn these skills early enough, and won't be as prepared as they could be when they leave the home-schooling environment, and enter the working world.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT saying that home schooling should never be done. I actually did try home schooling for a while with one of my three Autistic boys. For him, it didn't work. He refused to cooperate at home even worse than when he was in school. It was a dead end in our case. I realize my situation is not the same as everyone's. Home schooling CAN work for many people, and does work for many. But it does not work for a great many of us. When it doesn't, and we don't have access to private schooling dedicated to Autism, our only option is public schooling. When it is the only option, we MUST fight to change things when they aren't working. We simply MUST.

Public schools are PUBLIC, and as such we ALL own the system. We ALL pay for it, whether our kids are participating in it or not. It BELONGS to us. It should work for ALL of us. Period. Things don't change when everyone simply shrugs their shoulders and says, "Oh well, that's just the way things are. Guess I better teach my kids at home." While there are plenty of great reasons to home-school, this is definitely NOT one of them. Even if you could make it work for your kid in public school, there may be other valid reasons for choosing to teach them at home. Maybe you have what it takes to home school in ways that promote socialization, integration and self esteem. Maybe you have religious reasons. But to simply pull them out because things are too tough, is I think sends the kids the absolute WRONG message. That, IMHO, teaches kids to quit trying when things get too hard in the real world.

What will these kids do as adults when the working environment gets too difficult? Quit, go home and do what? Start searching for home business opportunities on the Internet? Been there, done that, for four years. Do I need to tell you what came out of that?


Quote:
teaching the child that the world will change to adapt to him is the wrong message. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to spend time teaching workarounds and ways to adapt to the child?


Absolutely it is best to constantly teach ASD kids that "the world" will not adapt to them. However, schools are not "the world." Schools are a somewhat closed sub-world where the focus is to teach kids.

But I don't see how getting schools to change is "teaching the child that the world will change." It isn't the same thing at all. I fight to get the schools to change for my kids for a couple of very valid reasons.

First, it is their LEGAL responsibility to provide my child with Fair Access to Public Education. If not one iota of the methodology used by public schools is geared in a way that my kids can learn, they are being deprived of "FAPE."

Second, we all need to remember that spectrum kids take far longer to learn certain communicative processes. Once they do learn them, the process is often, if not usually, different from the processes their peers use, and is frequently a slower process even after we do learn it. This is not our fault. Look, do we have a problem with the fact that paraplegics are allowed privileged parking spaces that no one else can use? Why not? If we were to apply the philosophy that all those with disabilities should never expect "the world" to change for them, we would not have disability laws. The reason these laws exist is due to the fact that we all recognize that people are NOT at fault for being disabled. Thus, we as a society DO change for them. There is no reason society should not be expected to make allowances for Autistics as well. For society to NOT do it, is discrimination. Illegal discrimination.

Third, fighting for the schools to change is EXACTLY what we should be doing. It teaches our kids they have RIGHTS, and, especially if you are an ASD parent of ASD kids, it teaches them that we as parents will stand up for their rights, and sets the example for them to do the same. Aspies tend to already have problems with self-esteem. Teaching them to summarily accept that the world is not made for them, and there is nothing they can do about it, now THAT is the wrong message!

Quote:
The child will be safer, and allowed to blossom in a safe, accepting environment.


Perhaps. But not always. And even if they do, what sort of shock might they be in for when, ultimately, they still have to plunge into the very real and harsh world of WORK, but now at a later age? This may work well if you have a kid with the "right stuff," and the wherewithal yourself to teach them how to run their own business or to do something that gives them more control over their lives than simply being someone's employee. But what if you don't have the wherewithal, and/or the child does not have what it takes to be that independent? A great many Autistic kids simply do not possess what it takes to be that independent.

If the child does not already possess what it takes to be self-reliant, how is isolating them from the realities of society going to increase their opportunities to learn to deal with that reality and become more independent?


Quote:
The school loses money for every person who leaves it and eventually they will get the message that way.


:roll:

True, but nowhere NEAR as much is lost as what they must SPEND if the child stays in school, and parents FIGHT for what they rightfully deserve!

No, sorry, pulling them out of school will only send them the message that if they dig their heels in and refuse to do what the law requires of them, these "problem kids" will eventually just go away, and cease being their problem.

It cost them a whole lot more to deal with it than it does if you just pull them out.


It is the school district's JOB to deal with them fairly, but sometimes we have to FIGHT to make them do it.

FIGHT FOR YOUR KIDS!! !!


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28 Nov 2011, 8:27 pm

Hello, there seems to be a lot of good advice and varied opinions on the subject of IEP's. I would like to recommend a book. It may already be mentioned elsewhere, but please read it if you are having ANY difficulty with the IEP process.

It is called "How Well Does Your IEP Measure Up", by Diane Twachtman-Cullen and Jennifer Twachtman Reilly

This is a book specifically for children on the Autism Spectrum and talks about how and IEP should be written to ensure it will be what the school needs to deliver a better education. Now, I'm no dummy - it all depends on how good and motivated a teacher/aide/counselor the school has, but I CAN say it must make a difference when you do your homework ahead of time. Take the book into the meeting with you and put it in plain sight so they know that you did this work and know what you're talking about. Also, there are MANY support groups who can send an advocate with you or "parent mentor" to support you and make sure you are getting your point across.

I meet with the school tomorrow for a ETR meeting, then will be preparing for the IEP. But, through my book and the support group, I knew to ask for the Behavioral Analyst that works for my school district to observe my son and provide tips on how to prevent/quickly diffuse melt downs so that he is not a distraction to the other children.

Another point, is that there should be DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS. The IEP should clearly state which methods (methodology) will be used for your child even if they don't work and need changed. That way it provides the proper framework for CONSISTENCY which is so very important to our children on the spectrum. I hope this all helps. The book is ***AMAZING***! !!



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03 Dec 2011, 7:02 am

this is a great list of strengths and needs!! !! where can i find one for reasonable goals and objectives for a 13 y/o aspie? i have an upcoming iep meeting for his new school and would like to be able to have an active role providing for him in his iep.



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01 Feb 2012, 11:50 pm

SAMPLE Strengths & Needs for IEP & School Safety Plan threads have been combined together as they have similar content tht would be helpful together in planning for children's needs at school.


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02 Mar 2012, 9:26 am

I'm going to post a separate thread for this article, but I'm posting it here first in case people are looking: http://blog.friendshipcircle.org/2012/0 ... p-meeting/

What I love about this article is that not only does she list all the annoying things that IEP and school teams say to parents that aren't true, she also lists the corresponding law and resources to combat these statements. I hope this helps anyone who's struggling with their child's education (and I wish I could say that none of the comments applied to me)



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11 May 2012, 11:20 pm

Hello. I'm new to the site and am a parent of three children. I am exploring the possibility that my sons have been misdiagnosed with ADHD/dsypraxia/dsylexia (my 13 year old son) and with ADHD/depression (my 15 year old son), when in fact, they may have Asperger's. I have been trying to read as much as I can, and the more I read, the more the symptoms and the descriptions sound like my son. Is there a parental support group/informational gathering area for the Rochester, MN area?



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19 May 2012, 5:21 pm

an article that I ran across about addressing bullying in the IEP
http://www.specialeducationadvisor.com/bullying-and-the-iep/



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11 Jan 2013, 3:34 pm

Gonna add these in two places, but here are some resources I think are important

Glossary of terms in Special ED: http://www.disabilityrights.org/glossary.htm

Understanding the language of Special Ed: http://www.directionservice.org/cadre/e ... c%20Ed.pdf



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11 Feb 2013, 7:37 pm

If you're a new special needs parent, you will be crossing into some unfamiliar territory that your friends and peers may be ill equipped to help you with.

One specific item that is on my mind is the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. When you enroll your kids in school, you will be asked to sign and return a letter that outlines your rights as the parent of a special needs child and includes information about the IEP. You will also be given a copy for your records. It's important to read and understand this. If it is unclear, ask for clarification until it is crystal clear.

The IEP meeting revolves around Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), which is part of fulfilling the state's obligation and is required in the US. I personally take charge of this meeting. I control the direction it goes and get it back on track if it gets derailed. I also try to do it in the same order each time because I have found that I am less likely to forget or leave something out when it's standardized.

All of our experiences and our children needs are different, but I have a few recommendations to make the most of your meeting.

1. Be prepared. I make notes and determine what I want discussed prior to the meeting. While it may not sound like much, this is value-added homework. The problem is when parents and teachers get together, we begin telling stories. It's fun to talk about our kids, and it's especially fun to talk with someone else who knows them. Unfortunately, this is often how we lose track of time. If the meeting it kept on track, there will be time for telling war stories at the end, after all of the important points have been addressed. Having written notes and a plan prevents the meeting being derailed. It's pretty easy to point to your notes and explain the need for keeping the meeting moving. This method has yet to offend anyone I am aware of.

2. Take the meeting seriously. This might seem trivial but I advise that you start by dressing like you're attending a meeting, not like you just took a break from mowing the lawn or cleaning the house to attend. I think this helps the staff and others professionals in attendance take you seriously.

3. Make sure everyone who is needed is invited. You don't want to allow for unfinished business at the end of the meeting. The people who should attend, in my opinion, are:
· A representative of the administration who will be responsible for making sure you needs are funded and can clear any potential roadblocks.
· People who can commit to dates, tasks, and responsibilities. Otherwise you just wasted an hour of everyone's day.
· People in charge of the different disciplines involved. For example, speech pathologists and therapists.
· People tasked with assessing your child.
Typically the teacher will ask who you want to attend and make the invites. I don't typically invite aides. I work under the assumption that they are working closely with the teacher and that he/she can represent them.

4. Listen. God knows I am not the smartest fella in the world. These people are professionals who likely have some insights I did not consider.

5. Schedule enough time. The IEP meeting takes longer than a typical parent-teacher conference. You don't want to be rushed. I like to make it for an hour and prefer that it's the last meeting of the day for the school staff. That way if I go beyond the hour, I'm not infringing on someone else's meeting or getting rushed out of the room.

6. Determine who will record the meeting, then start with introductions. It's important to know who is around you.

7. Start off by discussing special needs. These are the things you believe are necessary for your child to receive a FAPE. Special needs are generally specific and to the point, which is why I like to start off meetings with them. They are also easy to forget if left to the end.

If you want something specific, this is the time to bring it up. Bring it up now and make sure it is included in the meeting minutes. If your child needs an aide for getting off the bus, going to lunch, being transported to or from therapy, constant supervision, etc., it must be included in the IEP plan or the school does not have to honor it. A special tray for eating or tactile seat for sitting needs to be in the plan.

If the school/attendees are unable or unwilling accommodate a need, it can be addressed either by appeal or other means. Make sure that everything is included in the minutes.

8. Cover goals next. Discuss the outcome of prior goals (all of them) then move on to new goals that are both achievable and challenging. I think it is helpful to complete the prior goals list first because it gives everyone time to digest the results before moving on to new goals.

I am not a big fan of making the next year's goals at the end of the year. I prefer to allow a week or so after the school year begins before setting goals for the new year. I do this because a lot can change in the summer, and things are forgotten. I like to give the teacher a little time to settle in too. We also do more than one IEP meeting (beginning, middle, and end of the year). The ongoing instruction from me is that if a goal is clearly not going to be met, I do not want to find out at the IEP. I want to know when they know a goal is in jeopardy. We can and will adjust a goal at any time.

Please make sure teachers understand that babysitting is not acceptable. I see this a lot in other schools.

9. When the meeting is over, read and sign off on the minutes. Usually a final draft is mailed later. I also kind of give a little pep talk where I sincerely congratulate people and thank them for the hard work. I also let them know I am excited about the plan we have chosen.

10. If time allows, indulge in war stories about the kids! I love them. Some bring tears to my eyes. I just love, love, love talking and listening to stories about my kids. If there isn't time for this, then at the very least try and end the meeting on a high note.