Special Education Director Nissan Bar-Lev recently shared three options with school districts that are being faced with a shortage of speech-language pathologists. Proposed by the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services, school districts struggling to provide services to students without an appropriate level of support from speech-language pathologists can consider everything from financial incentives, like reimbursement for American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) dues, tuition reimbursement programs, and student teaching opportunities. Forging strong partnerships with local universities and considering contracted services are also among the suggestions.

Friday, 31 October 2014 14:13

When (and How) to Create a Special Needs Trust

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A Special Needs Trust is one that is designed to supplement the government benefits that your disabled child receives. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as Supplemental Needs Trusts.

As a child grows up, a parent’s biggest financial concern might be saving for college. But it might be wise to look ahead even further to help ensure your son or daughter is financially prepared for their future.

As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child’s disability to affect his or her ability to succeed in the classroom. Along with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures that schools receiving or benefiting from federal funding support the educational needs of a student who may have a disability that affects one or more major life activities, including, but not limited to: learning, speaking and listening, concentration, reading and writing, personal care.

The “Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance,” or PLAAFP, is the first written statement in the IEP plan should document of a child's ability and current achievement at the time the IEP is written.

backToSchoolFor a few glorious weeks each year, classrooms are replaced with trips to the Shore, and your family’s summer vacation makes waiting for the school bus seem a distant memory. Yet, while it may feel like the year has just ended, it’s never too soon to start planning for your child’s successful return to school in September.

Of course, the most important resource you and your child’s teachers share is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. Provide a copy of the IEP to each new staff member who will come into contact with your child each day. This includes the teacher, the aide, and the school nurse.

Reviewing the IEP is important, but no one knows your child better than you do. The best thing you can do to create a successful new school year is to open up a line of communication with teachers and staff early on.

Over the summer, come up with a list of the twenty items you think your child’s new teachers need to know most. This might include your child’s triggers and what keeps him on track, social anxieties, and what kind of environment helps your child to do his best work.

The use of seclusion and restraint in schools for disciplinary and safety reasons is a difficult issue, especially in regards to severely disabled children. Part of the problem is that there is very little statutory or regulatory authority regarding what is permissible and what tools are available to educators in emergency situations. In fact, neither federal law nor the law of New Jersey contains guidance on this important issue.

The concept of “least restrictive environment” is a core element of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvements Act (IDEIA), and was a fairly revolutionary concept when embraced in its predecessor, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Stated simply, it is the idea that a child with a disability should receive as much of his or her education as possible in a typical classroom and should only be educated separately to the extent that his or her disabilities make it absolutely necessary.

Monday, 21 April 2014 00:00

Knowing When to Get Your Child the Help He or She Needs

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There is a wide range of severity among different childhood disabilities. Many conditions may not be readily apparent and may take years to identify and diagnose. But that does not make those disabilities any less challenging for the children and parents who live with them every day. Furthermore, it does not diminish the benefits a child living with a disability can receive from a free and appropriate public education.

Friday, 18 April 2014 00:00

Researchers Note Spike in U.S. Autism Diagnoses

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Autism has been a mysterious condition since it was first classified, and its cause remains largely unknown, even to this day. The fact that there is little to no consensus on the factors that can cause a child to develop autism has only added to the challenge of creating a reliable means of diagnosis and treatment. Recent figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have found that the rate of autism diagnoses in children in the United States has increased by 30 percent over the last two years.

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