Archive for the ‘Students Progress’ Category

Special Education Questions Answered

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Those of you who attended the Transition Workshop, you had the opportunity to ask Brice Palmer questions regarding Special Education.  Those of you who didn’t attend missed a wonderful opportunity to gain a new perspective to the madness we lovingly refer to as Special Education.  Now everyone has the opportunity to ask questions.

The Mulberry Bush is an opportunity for you to gain insight that has just the right mix of humor and common sense! So go ahead, ask the question!


URGENT REMINDER: NH Special Education Rules Being Revised – Time Sensitive Alert

Monday, November 30th, 2009

by Theresa Kraft, Esq.
The New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities are in the Rule Making stage which requires an opportunity for public comment. A meeting is scheduled for December 9, 2009 at 12:30 at the NH Department of Education on Pleasant Street in Concord, New Hampshire.

This is an opportunity for all who have an interest in the proposed changes to let your voice be heard. Bonnie Dunham, of Parent Information Center, has developed a short “unofficial” summary document of the changes that are being proposed. Ms. Dunham has also developed a sample letter to follow to provide written input.

Plan to attend the public session on December 9, 2009 at 12:30 to let the Department of Education receive your input to these important changes to the NH Special Education Rules.

This post can be found on Attorney Kraft’s website as well.

Transition Planning for Special Education Students

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Theresa Kraft, Esq.

Transition services, like most services provided under an IEP, are individualized to a particular student and are based on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal vision for post-secondary opportunities.  Transition services for a student with significant cognitive disabilities will be very different for the student with ADHD.  And when the transition services start should be based on the student’s needs.

The IDEA requires that beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16 or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include–

(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and

(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.

NH rules require that an IEP include a statement of transition services that meets the requirements of 34 CFR 300.43 and 34 CFR 300.320(b), with the exception that a plan for each student with a disability beginning at age 14 or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team, shall include a statement of the transition service needs of the student under the applicable components of the student’s IEP that focuses on the student’s courses of study such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education.

Transition services are designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment); continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Although NH IEPs have a section entitled Transition Plan, the IEP is viewed as a whole document and services which fulfill the requirements of Transition services can appear anywhere in the IEP.

For more information regarding Transition Planning visit NHEdLaw and Parent Information Center.

Attorney Theresa Kraft guides parents of children with disabilities through the special education process.  This article also appears on Attorney Kraft’s website.

Definition of Child with a Disability under IDEA

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By Theresa Kraft, Esq.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the NH Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities have defined a child with a disability as:

• a child evaluated in accordance with IDEA as having
o mental retardation,
o a hearing impairment (including deafness),
o a speech or language impairment,
o a visual impairment (including blindness),
o a serious emotional disturbance (referred to in this part as “emotional disturbance”),
o an orthopedic impairment,
o autism,
o traumatic brain injury,
o an other health impairment,
o a specific learning disability,
o deaf-blindness, or
o multiple disabilities,
• and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

The disability categories are also defined within the law and in most cases the educational definition is not the same as a medical diagnosis.

For example the evaluations considering eligibility under Emotional Disturbance would not include diagnoses from the DSM-IV, but rather
• a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
o An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
o An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
o Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
o A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
o A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
Notice there is no need for an underlying diagnosis such as depression or mood disorder.

It is important to remember that a medical diagnosis does not automatically qualify a child for special education. Even if a child has a medical diagnosis, the evaluations and team have to determine that because of the disability the child requires special education and related services. Special education is defined as specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children.

Attorney Theresa Kraft guides parents of children with disabilities through the special education process. This article also appears on Attorney Kraft’s website.

Progress reports are out soon what must we do?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Progress reports are due and students find out just how well they are doing and not doing. How well the school is providing the service that was outlined in the IEP’s, 504 plans. Do our Teachers get it when it comes to special education or IEP’s, 504 plans? What must we do to help the students become more successful, building confidence, self esteem and motivation? Success That is all we are asking.

If the student is not doing well, call for a meeting.

1. Don’t delay!

2. Ask that the teacher to be present at the meeting.

3. Ask what is needed, and what help should be giving to that student.

4. Communicate with the student on what he/she would like to see happen. If they don’t know lets give cues!

Search what works for him/her.

1. Don’t assume anything when it comes to our students on an IEP’s, 504′ plans

2. Don’t assume that they are not doing their work, or they don’t want to do it. Find out why?

There is a reason behind it all. Ask them, do they understand what is being asked of them. Identify  the problems, work as a team to help the student problem solve.

TEAM is the Key word and we need to work together. Amend the IEP’s as needed, it is a working document and can be changed at any time. Not eatched in stone, Fluent ongoing document.