BBB AUTISM/AUTISM SOCIETY OF ONTARIO YORK REGION CHAPTER NEWSLETTER
Volume 2; Issue 1
September 8, 2001
Our Favorite Links
Please note: We have provided the following links below, but it is most important to note that the strategies, samples forms and letters etc. are only providing guidelines. You will have to customize all to fit your own child and/or situation. For more information, please read "A Notice to Our Readers".
Many thanks to Khris D. and Chris T. for help with the U.S. links. Additional thanks belong to Lynda B. and Verna S. for help with the Ontario information.
This issue is dedicated to all our contributors. It is a true testament to our philosophy regarding parental input and I am in your debt!
SAMPLE FORMS (US):
Find more of these forms by clicking here.
ASSORTED LINKS TO HELP EVERYONE
A SPOONFUL OF HUMOR....
Dr. Suess' IEP's
DR. SEUSS' IEP'S
Could you hear while
all speak out?
and Effective Parent Advocacy
I find that parents of children with special education needs come in several categories:
Which are you?
are not assertive if they:
What do you do?
Does this describe you?
Advocacy helps you get services for all special education children in the least restrictive environment. Then you can participate, plan for educational programs, and get legislation passed.
opens new doors so children may become part of the community.
Advocacy knocks down barriers and prepares children for
To meet others, you can
of this is easy but the rewards can be fantastic!
can make things better for the next generation without filing for
due process. How?
Now these things cannot occur overnight. But if a parent says to me, "What can I do? I'm only one person," I say, "You have no idea the power you have."
five years, our Chapter made local and state changes. None of our
parents felt alone.
I asking a lot? Yes, I am.
THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP) - A GUIDE FOR PARENTS
From the York Region District School Board
What is an IEP?
An IEP is a written plan. It is a working document which describes the strengths and needs of an individual exceptional pupil, the special education program and services established to meet that pupil's needs, and how the program and services will be delivered. It also describes the student's progress.
The IEP Summarizes the Following:
* student's strengths and needs
* medical/health information
* assessment data
* student's current level of achievement in each program area
* goals and specific expectations for the student
* program modifications (changes required to grade-level expectations in the Ontario Curriculum)
* accommodations (supports, services that will help your child access the curriculum and demonstrate learning)
* special education services provided to the student
* assessment strategies for reviewing the student's achievements and progress
* regular updates, showing dates, results and recommendations
* a Transition Plan (over age 14)
How Does an IEP Work?
An IEP outlines the special education programs and services your child will receive. There are five phases in the development of an IEP.
1. Gather information.
2. Set the direction.
3. Develop the plan.
4. Carry out the planned activities.
5. Review and update the IEP.
Contributions from as many sources as possible will benefit your child.
As the Parent, What Role Do I Play?
Parents play a powerful supporting role in the IEP process. It is important to understand and participate in the five phases of the IEP process. As well, be sure to ask for a copy of your child's IEP within 30 days, so that you can support the planned activities at home.
You know things about your child's approach to learning that no one else knows. Be sure to tell the teacher about your child's:
* likes, dislikes and interests;
* interest in extra-curricular activities;
* talents and abilities;
* family relationships and dynamics (including extended family and pets);
* peer relationships and dynamics; and
* family routines and schedules.
You may wish to consider making a 'portfolio' of this information for your child's teacher under the following headings:
ALL ABOUT ME:
Setting the Direction
Students are most successful when all team members work together towards achievable goals. As a parent:
* keep the focus on your child at all times;
* tell the teacher the hopes you have for your child's learning;
* bring ideas and information;
* ask questions; and
* value everyone's input.
Developing the IEP
How Can I Contribute to Planning Goals for My Child?
Beginning with your child's strengths and needs is an important first step. You can help by:
* including your child in the discussions; and
* telling the teacher what you hope your child will accomplish this year.
Carrying out the IEP
There are many things you can do at home to help your child to reach his/her goals.
1. Talk to the teacher about what s/he is trying to accomplish.
2. Do what you can at home to try to support your child's goals.
3. Take every opportunity to communicate with your child's teacher.
4. Provide additional insights and resources to the school.
5. Share significant personal/family events as relevant.
Review and Update the IEP
Your child's progress toward his/her goals will be reviewed. Then, the IEP will be updated to include different strategies, approaches and/or resources considered necessary to help the learning process.
* Talk to your child's teacher about the goals that have been set.
* Communicate regularly with your child's teacher regarding progress.
* Look for evidence of growth towards goals on your child's report card.
* Recommend changes in goals, strategies and/or resources or support where you see a need.
* Be actively involved in discussions at school when your child is changing grades, schools or moving into the workplace.
Many organizations are available to support you in understanding the IEP and/or to provide additional resources. Your school's principal can provide the names of the organizations that serve your area. This information is also available in the Special Education Advisory Committee's brochure, available at your local school.
OUR FAVORITE ARTICLE
...the good IEP!!
by Linsday Moir, Comhnadh Consultants
Advocating for Your Child - Getting Started (from Wrights Law)
Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools.
Who can be an advocate? Anyone can advocate for another person. Here is how the dictionary defines the term “advocate“:
– Verb, transitive. To speak, plead or argue in favor of.
One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender; an advocate of
...to read the rest of this article, click here.
Our IEP Experiences
by BBB Member Khris
Although my son is only 5 and just entering kindergarten, we have
been dealing with the School District for 2 years now and had more then
10 IEPs. I have learned a lot in the past 2 years. My son has gotten s
better and more individualized program than any other child in our
district that I have come in contact with. (His program this last year
included full inclusion with an aide, speech 2 times a week for one
hour, OT one hour a week, adapted PE small group one hour a week, 12 one
hour play therapy sessions, 12 one hour counseling sessions for the
family, 15 hours one on one with behavioral aide in the home, 3 hours
once a week from the behaviorist overseeing the home program, consult
hours with all of the therapists for both the classroom teachers and the
home program providers- and I never went to due process to get this) The
3 most important things in the IEP process, in my opinion, are:
IEP ADVICE FROM SUE
by BBB Member Sue
About IEPs... as in Intellectually Exasperating People you have to sit through meetings with once a year? Whadya wanna know, girlfriend? I'll do my best... just keep in mind that I might have been in one or a few too many, and have PTSD or something... could interfere with my usually utterly objective viewpoint.
I did resort to joining that Yahoo group a few months ago, when this teacher's IEP was giving me fits. It's http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IEP_guide . There are about 1200 members, and I suggest opening a whole new e-mail account just to handle this one very active group, as you get tons of attachments, along with the information and support. Lots of good stuff but it really is intensely overwhelming if one does not have good organizational skills and a lot of online time for sorting though this stuff.
The most important thing to remember about IEP meetings is that you should never, ever go alone. Always have a witness. Keep in mind that the people in this meeting usually do not have the child's best interests at heart, no matter what they say. If you happen to have a best friend who is either a member of the bar, or who is trained in hostage negotiation techniques, bring them. If you don't, find the most impressive person you can find to accompany you.
Looks count. You want someone who is intellectually, socially and/or economically intimidating. Brute strength usually doesn't work, so you can leave your biker buddies home.
There are people who are professional or lay advocates. Do check them out. Someone who actually understands the rules can be helpful. Beware of those who recommend "compromise with the schools". They are vampires at night, and will break your spirit and bleed you dry before the meeting begins.
In the meantime, (((Hugs)) from Cynical Sue
by BBB Member Gabrielle
Helpful hint for IEPs: Save all the old paperwork, especially evaluations!
They can save you someday. My son struggled for years with his motor skills, and spent quite a bit of time with the school OT. At the end of his kindergarten year, the OT decided that he was in the "normal" range, and didn't need her services anymore. Three years later he was re-evaluated, and was found to be in the "low-normal" range in the area of balance. I wanted him to receive OT services again, to get him caught up to his peers, but was unsuccessful...until I compared his old evaluation to the new one. The papers showed that his balance had gone from being a strength to a real hindrance. We got the OT services.
You don't have to be aggressive to get your point across. You do, however, have to stand and say "no" when it is needed. Nicely. Everybody is human, and everyone likes to be treated with respect and dignity. Cooperation can help strike a good balance for everyone.
Calling for Help
effective phone calls about your child
Identify yourself and specifically state the purpose of your call.
• Be prepared to offer basic
facts about your child which are relevant to the agency you are
• Have records available
(with identification numbers, dates, etc) and encourage immediate
• Be goal-orientated. Know
exactly what you want. Focus on your goal until it has been
Be direct and confident, yet positive and polite.
•If you are not satisfied,
ask who else you may speak to.
•Convey a sense of
cooperation. For example, "How can we work with each
Source: Based on an
article by Lynn Ziraldo in Parents as Partners from OAFCCD
• Identify yourself and specifically state the purpose of your call.
• Be prepared to offer basic facts about your child which are relevant to the agency you are calling.
• Have records available (with identification numbers, dates, etc) and encourage immediate action.
• Be goal-orientated. Know exactly what you want. Focus on your goal until it has been achieved.
• Be direct and confident, yet positive and polite.
•If you are not satisfied, ask who else you may speak to.
•Convey a sense of cooperation. For example, "How can we work with each other?"
Source: Based on an article by Lynn Ziraldo in Parents as Partners from OAFCCD
The IEP Process or more Appropriately Labeled Anxiety Exercises
by BBB Member Chris
As a 5 year IEP veteran, can clearly remember feeling as though I was entering at ground level, complete with a real life boot camp experience, separated by familiarity and faced with task upon task heaped on an exhausted mind. Being new to the experience, our first IEP was very school driven with a lot of compliance, fear, and disorientation by myself, the new recruit. I was already shell shocked and not really sure what we needed, but very sure the school did know. signed on the line, fought back tears and hoped for the best. As I learned more about autism, therapies and programming, while a good program, it was far from tailored to my sons' specific needs. I learned I needed to advance my rank and become an "Advocate".
That year I read and attended conferences and networked with other parents and professionals in order to get a clear understanding of what my son would need specifically and how to present that information at the next IEP to the "TEAM". I learned I didn't always have to be a player but could design my own plays and present them. A very helpful book I read was "Creating a "Win-Win IEP" for Students with Autism: A How-To Manual for Parents and Educators by Beth Fouse, Ph.D. It provides a road map through the process as well as sample letters, listings of state regulations with timelines, and checklists for parents through the process. It provided me the references I needed to advocate effectively.
All IEP's following have been much less anxiety-ridden as the recruit and handled by the "Advocate" with the newly earned knowledge, preparation, and tools to map our course.
Whether the school has contacted me or not, I provide them a month ahead of time my proposed IEP. They are able to know my direction and we can communicate prior to the actual meeting about issues. I even write the goals and objectives, and have also rejected a behavior plan and written my own that was implemented. I think it is crucial to assert yourself as a team member making clear your knowledge of autism and your IEP rights. A daily journal or checklist is also crucial to provide communication between home and school, and to identify triggers and patterns that may develop behaviorally that only a parent may recognize. I think it is crucial to have this written in the IEP. Our school has also implemented a "Passport" which is a list of modifications that travel with the student so a consistent environment can be maintained.
The IEP process need not be an exercise in anxiety. Being prepared, being open minded, and willing to compromise and recognize the most important elements and focus energies on these, can create the best educational opportunities for our children.
A Cute Story
by BBB Autism member Diana
We are still not sure what is happening about A. and an EA, so I have
been a bit distracted and not around here much....but, he has been
adjusting to the new school quite well.
Proudly Presented by Autism Society Ontario ~ York Region
Registration Required, Limited Enrollment. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
11181 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill
IF YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY A PAID-UP MEMBER OF AUTISM SOCIETY ONTARIO, MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT EACH WORKSHOP. PAID-UP MEMBERSHIP OF $30.00 ANNUALLY WILL IMMEDIATELY ENTITLE YOU TO THE MEMBERS’ RATE. FEES WILL BE COLLECTED AT THE DOOR, AND ARE ON A ‘COST-RECOVERY’ BASIS ONLY.
Strategies for Targeting Problem Behaviours in Autism
Tuesday September 25th , 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, 2nd Floor Boardroom
Visual communication materials to aid and facilitate learning and leisure by ‘Graduate Beginnings’ will be available for sale, and custom orders can be taken.
Advocacy & Case Management
Lyn Ziraldo, Executive Director, Learning
Disabilities Association York Region.
October 9th , 7:00
pm – 9:00 pm, room B13
Writing Effective Needs Statements - Lindsay Moir, Educational Consultant
October 23rd, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, 2nd Floor
Special education is a ‘needs’driven’ process and boards have a statutory obligation to MEET the needs of the exceptional pupil. As an arbitrator, Lindsay has often found that parents have difficulty in enunciating their child’s needs and the school often doesn’t know what the parents expect. Good programming starts with clear communication of the students’ needs.
Financial Concerns & Taxes presented by Morty Cohen, Chartered Accountant
November 6th, Room B13
Sensory Integration Make ‘n Take Workshop Instructor Shirley Sutton, Occupational Therapist
November 17th Room
B 13 9:30 a.m. –
Shirley’s specialty training areas include early
intervention and sensory integration. She brings more than 20 years’
extensive clinical experience from a wide variety of settings, including
consulting work with Geneva Centre, two private therapy centres, several
community living associations and early intervention programs. Shirley
co-authored the book ‘Building
Bridges Through Sensory Integration’ and the workbook ‘Learn to
Print and Draw: A Tactile-Kinesthetic Approach’.
Picture Exchange Communication System
"A Short Cut to PECS"
November 20th, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, 2nd Floor
Shana Elman, Speech & Language Pathologist with Bloorview MacMillan Centre. Visual communication materials to aid and facilitate learning and leisure by ‘Graduate Beginnings’ will be available for sale, and custom orders can be taken.
Care and Autism with
Dr. David Isen AT HIS OFFICE
Associates, 4800 LESLIE STREET SUITE 111, NORTH YORK
December 4th, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
With Asperger’s Syndrome. Gary
Waleski, An Adult With Asperger’s Talks About His Experiences
December 18th, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, 2nd Floor
Understanding how the disorder affects the child and tips on how to effectively deal with children in your care. To help parents, teacher and EAs better understand and help facilitate the child’s growth in school. Gary is totally independent, works fulltime, has further career goals, does frequent public speaking presentations on autism/PDD, and is newsletter editor for Autism Society Ontario – Halton Chapter. He has a large circle of friends, many hobbies & interests and leads a well balanced and fulfilling life.
Coming in the new year.....
Rose Ann Punnett – Kerry’s Place - “Asperger’s
Adrienne Perry – Autism
Allen and Liz Cohen –
Your Preschooler with Autism
* Special Children, Challenged Parents, Caring Professionals:
Building Links That Endure
* The Father Factor: Understanding the Special Needs of Fathers
· First Aid For Your Relationship: When You're Raising a Child With Special Needs
Busters: When Your Child Has Special Needs
Facing Siblings of Children with Disabilities
Robin Solnik – Solnik and Solnik – Wills
Therapy – Shelley Kavanagh Leaps
Deanna Pietramala – Leaps and Bounds -
Autism and Sexuality
Deanna Pietramala – Leaps and Bounds – Social
Lindsay Moir School
Discipline and the Exceptional Student
Deanna Pietramala – Leaps and Bounds – Behavior Management
Note: In Volume 1; Issue 6 "Back to School", IEP was referred to as "Individual Education Program" in an article from NICHCY. For those of you who contacted us asking if this was a misprint, I would like to thank you for your input, and to let you know that this article was cut and pasted (credits appear below it) verbatim, nothing was changed. Our policy has always been that we don't change wording on such articles.
Anyway, whether we call it a 'Plan' or a 'Program', we are all talking about the same thing! :-)