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Tips for Understanding Your Child’s IEP

Tips for Understanding Your Child’s IEP | Special Education | Scoop.it
IEP is an abbreviated term for Individualized Education […]
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This post provided insight and suggestions for parents of children with disabilities regarding an IEP. IEP stands for individualized education plan.  This document and process was created in the American with Disabilities Act (or ADA).  With this, it was stated public schools must provide service in the suitable environment that meets the needs of the student with disabilities. An IEP is a written document that is composed of specific accommodations, supports, and services the school must provide for the student. An IEP is created at a meeting with a number of individuals including teachers, specialists, therapists, administrators, and a parent. A mother who now homeschools her child but had her in public school receiving speech services for a year provided the tips. In the article the mother provides four main tips: prepare for the meeting, advocate for your child, set goals for your child, and keep your own records.

 

Whenever I discuss IEPs as a special education major, I like to explain it as leveling the playing field.  IEPs allow students to get the extra support they need to reach their full academic success. One of the most crucial aspects of an IEP is they are individualized for every student.  Therefore, no two IEPs will ever look alike.  This is key because this is what allows each student to succeed. I think the one thing to take away from this article is sadly parents are misinformed.  Before going into meetings, as stated in the article, parents must do research and find out what the IEP is all about. For example, most parents probably don’t know they can bring another individual with them. That individual can be a relative, a neighbor, a therapist, a lawyer, just someone who will strongly advocate for your child. There are so many components to an IEP and they can be very complex and confusing (and I’m a special education major). For the child’s success, it is essential their parent’s are their advocates and paly a large role in the IEP process.

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Argument Against Inclusion in the Classroom

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 This Scoop.It post is a Prezi created by three special education teachers from the elementary, middle school, and high school level. First, the presentation trys to explain inclusion by defining vocabulary words such as mainstreaming, inclusion, and full inclusion. They then go on to opening state they do not agree with inclusion because they feel it is not fit for every student. To support their claim, they then go on to explain on the different types of support students with disabilities may need. They also use a number of case studies, an applied behavior analysis, and a video.

 

In my Introduction to Special Education class I was assigned to the against-inclusion side of a debate during a project.  Because of this I am very familiar with the components of this argument.  One aspect that I found very interesting in this Prezi was they both voiced the concerns for special education students and general education students.  For example, in terms of time, many argue children with disabilities in special education classrooms do not get the same one on one treatment (an argument touched on in this Prezi as well). But, this argument also highlights the disadvantages general education students face from inclusion.  For example, the presenters in this Prezi state, “Time is taken away from the regular education students, More time must be spent on the concepts when the class is ready to move on.” I found this component of their presentation strengthening their argument as they had more evidence how inclusion hinders the education process for all students. Not just student with disabilities. But, throughout the presentation there are question terms used such as “regular education students” which makes me question the legitimacy of this presentation. As an aspiring special educator, I would never refer to a student as a “regular education student” because it implies that students with disabilities are “irregular”, therefore further the stigma already associated with disabilities.  Therefore, I would refer to them as “general education students” or “students without disabilities”.

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Bianca Lea Iacono's curator insight, December 16, 2013 8:33 PM

Before reviewing the “Argument Against Inclusion in the Classroom” presentation, I was already forming my argument against the presentation in my head. After researching and hearing about inclusion, I thought it was a fantastic way to help kids with disabilities, assimilate into normal classrooms. However, after reading through the Prezi and considering the other opinion, I actually find myself agreeing with a lot of the points mentioned. Some of the concerns the presentation listed about inclusion are:

1.classrooms do not have the resources, training and support necessary to teach students with disabilities

2. The disabled children are not getting appropriate, specialized attention and care

3. General education student’s education is constantly disrupted

4. General education student’s get less attention

5. The range of student’s levels in classrooms makes it impossible for one teacher to adequately teach

6. Stress of the regular education teacher

7. Violent classroom environments

The presentation goes on to list more points and gives examples of how normal classrooms would run if inclusion were to be implemented. Although I think some of the points presented are valid, I also believe that they are being presented using the worst-case scenario. There are children with disabilities that don’t need constant attention, that don’t have violent outbursts and that can assimilate to normal classrooms. When I was in my junior year of high school, I took a cooking class as one of my electives and there were two special education children in my class. While Elyse needed a little more attention from an aid, Andrew was able to function as any normal child and participate in all activities and discussions. Although inclusion may not be the best solution for students with major disabilities, I believe it can be extremely beneficial for students that are able to handle being in a normal classroom. 

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Maryland Learning Links

Maryland Learning Links | Special Education | Scoop.it
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Maryland Learning Links is  a website for both teachers and parents in Maryland to turn to about issues regarding early intervention and special education.  The website provides insight and resources to create an educational environment for individual students to succeed. The resources on the website are from families, practitioners, researchers, and experts.  The website is easy to navigate and provides endless resources. For example, “mATch up” is a wheel that allows you to click on a type of assistance technology you may need.  It then lists all the AT, no tech, low tech, and high tech, that could help that specific individual.

 

I love this website because it gives teachers the tools to explore concepts they may be unfamiliar with, such as differentiated learning and response to intervention.  More and more today, we see children with disabilities getting pushed into general education classrooms with general education teacher.  Although this is not a bad thing, it is concerning that the teachers may not have the training to help these individual students.  But, with Maryland Learning Links, teachers can utilize the free resources available to them to assist individual students. Even as an aspiring special educator, I think this website provides opportunities for me to explore material I may have forgotten or am not familiar with.  It is also a great way to connect with parents as you can both find resources relevant to a student. It's a wonderful way to enpower parents and get them involved in the education process.

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Special ed teachers find Common Core a challenge - RiverdalePress.com

As Common Core shifts into high gear in public schools, the new curriculum poses unique challenges for teachers in District 75, which serves students with high-spectrum autism and other major …
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This article from The Riverdale Press explores the effect of the new Common Core Standards on special education.  Teachers in a district that only serves students with high-spectrum autism and other low-incident disabilities are finding it alarmingly difficult. Common Core Standards is also connected to “The Shared Path to Success”, a program that aims to close the achievement gap between special education students and general education students. One teacher explained that it is simply interfering with her method to teacher and is setting up unrealistic standards for her students. Other teachers went on to label the CCS “impractical” for students with autism. This teacher harped on the idea that these standards do not address the skills these specific students need to learn to function in the world. Another teacher said, “It doesn’t enhance his quality of life, it ignores his actual needs.” Before the CCS these teachers used to be able to use their own personal judgment for their students learning, whereas now they are bound to state mandated lessons.

 

While reading this article I immediately thought of the “Say Yes to Inclusion Campaign” because it ties into the point about teaching students functional skills they need to be members of society.  In the campaign, we see advocates pushing for students to have the access to education where they learn these skills. Here, we see it being taken away from these students and being replaced with a system they believe will bring them “up to speed”. What I find most interesting about this article is how the teachers do not have a say in what they think is realistic for their students.  Who do you think knows these students and their abilities better, the developers of CCS and state officials, or their own teachers? I find is bewildering to see these teachers have no say about realistic expectations or curriculums for these students.  After reading this article from the perspective of a special educator using CCS I am a little worried about entering the field and being able to make CCS successful in my classroom.  I am interested over the next few years to see where CCS have taken special education. 

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Bianca Lea Iacono's curator insight, December 16, 2013 7:47 PM

“Special ed teachers find Common Core a challenge” is an article written by Shant Shahrigian exposing some teacher’s opinions on involving students with disabilities in common core. The new curriculum that goes along with common core poses many challenges for teachers who serve students with major disabilities. Teacher’s in District 75 said that, “common core interferes with their teaching methods and imposes improbably high expectations on their students.” However, education professionals share a different view; they believe that common core’s focus on subjects could benefit special education students that have difficulty carrying out tasks. The department of education is trying to close the achievement gap between special education students and students without disabilities. A teacher from district 75 revealed a statement that said, “it seems like an impossible task, its very unrealistic, the expectation for a special ed population. Its unfortunate that the students are at such a loss.” This teacher has to use a program called the Unique Learning System that includes special education lesson plans that are tied to rigorous new state standards. I don’t agree with common core in the first place. I have a lot of problems with the program and its expectations for kids without disabilities because I feel it sets standards that are way too high. If kids without disabilities are struggling with this program, how are kids in special education supposed to adjust to it? I believe teachers should have the freedom to teach their students at a reasonable pace without specific lesson plans that tell them exactly what to do. I especially think teachers who deal with children with disabilities should have the ability to go at a pace that caters to the students in their classrooms. I think that special education students will fall behind instead of closing the achievement gap. The department of education needs to come up with a different program that involves the same material but allows teachers to teach with freedom. 

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Everybody Loves "Glee" (Except the Disability Community and People With Asperger's)

Everybody Loves "Glee" (Except the Disability Community and People With Asperger's) | Special Education | Scoop.it
So much teaching going on, and no learning.
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Although this article does not directly relate to special education, I think it’s important to focus on how the disability community is viewed in society because it does effect education and the schools. In article in this post starts off my stated he hates Glee and goes on to explain how the show does a horrible job of depicting the minority characters such as Artie, Mercedes, and Tina. The writers of the show did no research, did not consult people of the community, and did not respond to critics’ responses. The author points out that Glee has been criticized intensely by the disability community. The first issue that angered the community was the actor who plays Artie, the character in the wheelchair, is a not disabled. The horrors continued as they play on stereotypes and “dehumanize” this character. Unfortunately, because there is a character in a wheelchair, people expect the community to be ecstatic. But this is not the case, as the audience can name episode after episode when disabled characters are viewed sad and easy to make fun of.

 

As a fan huge fan of Glee I found this article extremely disheartening. Being an outsider, I was one of the many who thought the disabled community would be happy that a character like Artie was on the show. But, after reading this post and the numerous examples of where the show has failed, I can see why it has been viewed as extremely offensive. In terms of special education, I think this article can connect to this because the setting of this show is an inclusive high school. But as seen in Glee, it’s not so as inclusive as we liked to think. I find the most concerning part of this post to be that various people have reached out to the writers, and still nothing as changed. I hope in the future either Glee changes or a new show does a better job.

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Say Yes To Inclusion

Congratulations and thanks to everybody! We have cracked the 15.000!!! Actually we already have 15.318 YES's from 62 countries! Thank you all for making this...
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This video explains the global campaign started last February titled, “Say Yes to Inclusion”. The video begins by explain how every 7th person in the world has a disability and everyday these people face barriers in accessing education, health, and employment. This then in turn excludes them from our society and leads them to poverty. In order to end this we need to grant them accessibility and say yes to inclusion. In order to promote inclusion, people from around the globe send in a photo or video saying yes in their local sign language to show their support for inclusion.  Since last February, the campaign has already received 15,000 photos and videos from 62 countries.

 

When I first clicked on this video, I thought it would be about inclusion in the classroom because that’s what most people think when they think of inclusion and special education. When they began to talk about accessibility I thought they would discuss handicap buttons on doors and brail in elevators. However, this video really opened my eyes and made me realize inclusion and accessibility are a lot larger then just those small things. When people with disabilities end up in poverty it only furthers the stereotypes and stigmatisms already associated with people with disabilities.  In order to stop this trend, we need to empower these individuals and welcome them into our society. One example of that is providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  This ties back to special education because as adults with severe disabilities get older, it is important to focus on shifting their education to independent living and employment.  In order for people with disabilities to be successful in society, we need to tailor their education to cover topics that will be useful for them in the real world.

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Bianca Lea Iacono's curator insight, December 16, 2013 7:09 PM

“Say Yes To Inclusion” is a worldwide campaign that calls for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the fight against poverty. The video starts out with a shocking statistic, “Over a billion people live with some form of disability. That’s every 7th person on this planet. In some countries its even every fifth.” People with disabilities face many problems and barriers in their access to employment, health and education. In turn, this leads to their exclusion from society and unfortunately can keep them in poverty. The video suggests that we help with ensuring participation of persons with disabilities in all planning processes and development programs. In addition, we should make development co-operation inclusive of persons with disabilities. Say “Yes” has been an extremely successful movement and campaign. People send photos and videos of themselves while making the “yes” sign in their local sign language. Since the campaign started, they have received 15,000 photos and videos of people all around the world. I found this video to be very inspirational. I am completely in favor of inclusion and think it should be implemented in schools all throughout the world. I think its imperative that people with disabilities feel included in everyday classroom activities and are able to socialize with kids that don’t have disabilities. After watching this video, I was surprised at how successful the movement has become and excited that people in 62 different countries are all in support of this campaign. I hope that when I am a teacher, my school is in support of inclusion and I have the incredible opportunity to teach all different kids of students. 

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Raising awareness about intellectual disability - General - New Straits Times

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On October 25 and 26, the International Special Education Conference 2013 was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to raise awareness about children with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Kuala Lumpur executive committee head Nur Azida Daud said there is a lack of awareness about this type of disability and it raises concerns with parents who have children with ID.  Because of this, the theme of the conference was “Education for All”. There are about 800,000 children with intellectual disabilities in the country, but many of them are confined to their homes without access to medical assistance, proper training, or education. In Malaysia many parents are ashamed of their children with ID while others regard it as a taboo topic. Nur Azida believes children with ID need to have access to education in order to avoid later social problems.  With the conference, Nur Azida hoped to engage parents to come out and register their children for the Special Olympics and raise their self-confidence through sports. 

 

I found this article very interesting because I have never really looked at special education from an international standpoint.  After reading this article it appears the United States is actually extremely progressive in regards to the education and rights of people with disabilities.  It is scary to think and reflect that the United States was at one time very similar to this. After reading this article I wondered if all people with disabilities were viewed this way or if it was just people with ID.  After reading this article regarding how people with disabilities are viewed in the Middle East, I am eager to learn more about how they are viewed in other areas around the globe such as Asia and South America.  I believe this article relates to the “Say Yes to Inclusion” Campaign because it talks about individuals with ID not only being excluded from education, but also access to medial treatment and proper training (employment).  Unfortunately, these individuals do not have much freedom as their parents restrict them to their homes due to shame.  But, if given the access to society I believe these children’s parents would be shocked by what their children can do.

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