Friday, June 28, 2013

Need help with topics

I am drawing a blank this week on what to post about.  Does anyone have any ideas, questions, or suggestions for future posts?  I appreciate it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What is the best accommodation

  1. Extended time
  2. Modified Assignments
  3. Scribe
  4. Reader

If you could leave feedback as to what accommodations you think is the best that would be fantastic.  Personally I think that modified assignments help the students the most because it eliminates some useless verb age in a test or a quiz.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Special Olympics Autism

I have been involved in the Special Olympics for several years now and it is one of the most amazing originations out there.  I work with what is called Unified Sports and it takes students without disabilities and pairs them up with students with disabilities with sports such as Bocce, Tennis and Track.  This allows the students to meet new people and interact with people they may never have met before.  These students become instant friends and recognize them in the hallways, invite them to their lunch table or become friends on facebook.  I have truly seen students come out of their shell in interact as they never have before.  This also teaches the students how to work hard and about teamwork which is huge if these students want to join the workforce eventually.  Sports teaches student with and without disabilities a whole lot and should not be passed up by anybody.

As allows leave feedback on what you would like to see in future posts?

Monday, June 24, 2013

If you like to read vampires or paranormal stories read on., if not just delete

So, my wife and I challenged each other to start something new this summer and mine was this blog and hers was to write her own book.  So, if you like vampires and have a kindle you may like this book here is the link (I know this has nothing to do with Autism, but I am just supporting my wife).

Goodwill creating jobs, not the right way, but trying

I was watching 60 minutes  the other night and they were investigating Goodwill corporation.  60 minutes was ripping apart Goodwill for not paying their employees with disabilities at least minimum wage.  Now by no means do I agree that these workers should be paid below minimum wage, but what about these other businesses that are not hiring those with disabilities?  At least Goodwill is teaching them a trade and providing them some financial means at the job.  This is by no means slave labor, these workers are sorting clothes running a register with another employee close by or putting clothes on a rack.  What about the GAP or Burger King just to name a few hiring those with disabilities?  Why isnt 60 minutes investigating these companies that are not even hiring those with disabilities?  Again I do think that these employees should be paid minimum wage, but at least Goodwill provides jobs for those with disabilities.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Vocational IEP Goals, Non-contract goals for students with Autism

As many of you know there are different levels of Autism from high functioning to low functioning.  Now there are programs after high school for low functioning students that helps them work on job skills and continue their IEP's with vocational goals.  Now these goals are completely different from a math goal or English goal.  The most important objective in righting these goals is to involve the supervisor at the students work to be involved in these goals.  The main reason is because the manager has expectations for their worker.  An example of these goals would be to be able to clock in and out in 3 out of 4 scenarios on their own.  Most of these students have job coaches which will help them in the beginning, but there are simple goals and objectives in the beginning of the job for the student.  Just to provide one other example of an IEP goal would be to deposit their paycheck into their account without assistance in 3 out of 4 situations. 

Now if you have a high functioning student who might enter the work force right out of high school should make goals for themselves or with their parents that are not part of an IEP, but written very similar.  One goal could be:  On the employees quarterly evaluation the student will receive an 80% or above on all graded areas in their evaluation.  Now of course there could be objectives to be written below this, but this is just a basic idea.  Another example could be for the employee if they are looking a job to:  Successfully fill out 5 applications per week until a job is acquired.

Now these are just some simple examples, but if you would like to know more please ask.

As always leave feedback or ideas for future posts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Autism, Girlfriends/Boyfriends, video games

I think that student that have Autism should be encouraged to have a significant other.  These students have the same needs and wants as any other student.  The dates that the students go on could all be practice and might help the student come out of their social shell.  Now some students may not want anything to do with the opposite sex, then the other options are to get them involved in another social activity.

Now some parents think that a student playing video games are wasting their time.  With video games nowadays there is communication whether orally or typing.  Why not use this communication as a learning skill?  This way the teenager is playing something they like, while working on social skills.  I think this is really the wave of the future.

Whether it is boyfriend, girlfriend, social clubs it is important for your children to get involved.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Transition for a student with Autism

I personally think that we begin the transition process way to early.  As Special Education Teachers we need to conduct a transition interview by the time student turns 14 and half the time they do not know what they want to be or they want to be an actress or rock star.  I personally feel the transition should begin when the student is a sophomore in high school.  This allows the students to mature and have a better idea of what they would like to be.  I think that transition is important and must be done at a calculated age.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How do I help my child with Autism during the summer?

Some students with Autism have a great memory and can pick up in the fall were they left off in the spring.  Then there are students that need to continue to be educated in order to have a leg up.  Some options are the following:

  1. ESY (Extended School Year) it is like summer school, but it is for student that need that continued learning environment.
  2. General summer school, I personally have many students that attend sumer school just to get ahead in the next school year. 
  3. Parents need to know their childs IEP goals, so that the parents can work on them during the summer.
  4. Private tutor just a couple hours of the week to work on math and reading.
  5. Summer camp for your child who might be shy to work on their social skills.

Now these are just a few options, but it is something to help you get started.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Social Media and Autism

We all know the negative effects of social media, where our kids are exposed to things we do not want them exposed to.  The kids might establish relationships we do not want them to establish.  We could keep going about the negatives with social media, but what are the positives?  Can social media help teenage boys with Autism work on their social skills?  The simple answer is yes.
Teenage boys are going through so many things socially and physically, and when you put Autism on top of that there is a lot to handle.  Each teenage boy is different, just like each student with Autism is different, you may have a child who is mute and you may have a child that loves to talk.  Social media can help in both cases.

If you have a teenage boy who is mute with Autism it makes it very difficult to make friends at school.  If this student is able to have a Facebook he may realize he is not the only one like himself out there.  The student will be able to express their thoughts and feelings without having to speak.  This will hopefully lead to confidence, thus making them more sociable in the classroom, especially if they can establish a relationship online with a classmate.   Not only will they establish relationships, but Facebook has support groups for the students to try new strategies if they are uncomfortable with speaking in front of someone.  This is just the tip of how social media might help this particular student.

Now you have a teenage boy who has Autism that speaks, but has poor social skills.  With Face time, and Facebook these students will post what is on their mind and may realize they cannot just say whatever is on their mind.  There are boundaries when you speak in public, which relate to manners.  With Face time the student will be able to interact with someone that may have gone through the same situation and how they worked on their manners when speaking in public. 

These are one extreme to the other when it comes to Autism, but even if you have a student that has some signs of both, social media can really build confidence, which will let their personality shine!  It is important that other people know their personality because this may establish lifelong friendships.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

FAPE, parental rights

I had a request by a viewer to talk about if they do not think their child is receiving the appropriate schooling at their current school.  It all goes back to Free Appropriate Public Education, this a federal law as far as I am concerned.  Now the following is according to Maryland, but there should be somewhat similar to your state. 


Public agency made a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available and
the parent chose to place their child in a private school.
IDEA does not require a public agency to pay for the cost of education, including special education
and related services, of a child with a disability at a private school if the public agency made a free
appropriate public education (FAPE) available and the parents chose to place their child in a private
school. However, the public agency shall include the child in the population of children placed in
private schools by their parents, in accordance with the federal regulations. Disagreements between
the parents and the public agency regarding the availability of FAPE and financial responsibility are
subject to due process complaint procedures under IDEA. Please refer to “Resolving
Disagreements” for more specific information.Parental Rights - Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice - Infants and Toddlers/Preschool Special Education and Special Education
Revised January 2010_FINAL
Effective February 1, 2010
If a child with a disability had previously received special education and related services under the
authority of a public agency, and the parents enroll their child in a private preschool, elementary, or
secondary school without the consent or referral of the public agency, an ALJ or a court, may
require the public agency to reimburse parents for the cost of that enrollment if an ALJ or a court
finds that the public agency had not made FAPE available to the child in a timely manner prior to
that enrollment, and that the private placement is appropriate.  An ALJ or a court may find your
parental placement to be appropriate even if it does not meet the State standards that apply to
education provided by public agencies

Limitation on Reimbursement:
Reimbursement may be reduced or denied by an ALJ or a court if:
• At the most recent IEP team meeting parents attended prior to removing their child from the
public school, parents did not inform the IEP team that they were rejecting the placement
proposed by the public agency to provide FAPE, including stating their concerns and their
intent to enroll their child in a private school at public expense; or
• At least ten (10) business days (including any business days that occur on a holiday) prior to
the parents removal of their child from the public school, parents did not give the public
agency written notice of their intent to remove their child, including their concerns regarding
their child’s public placement; or
• If prior to the parents removal of their child from the public school, the public agency
informed the parents, through the prior written notice requirements of its intent to evaluate
their child (including a statement of the purpose of the evaluation that was appropriate and
reasonable), but the parents did not make their child available for the evaluation; or
• Upon a judicial finding of unreasonableness with respect to the parents actions.
Notwithstanding the notice requirements described above, the cost of reimbursement:
• Shall not be reduced or denied for the parents failure to provide such notice, if:
o The public agency prevented the parents from providing notice,
o The parents had not received written notice, under the IDEA notice requirements
described above,
o Compliance with the notice requirements would likely result in physical harm to the
child, and
• May, at the discretion of a court or an ALJ, not be reduced or denied for failure to provide
such notice if:
o The parents are not literate and cannot write in English, or
o Compliance with the notice as described above would likely result in serious emotional
harm to the child.

The following procedures describe the processes available to parents and public agencies for
resolving disagreements regarding a child's early intervention or special education program
and related services.  These options include mediation, State complaint, and due process
Mediation is a process that may be used to resolve disagreements between the parents of a child
with a disability and the public agency responsible for the education of the child.
An employee of the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) who is qualified and trained in
effective mediation techniques conducts the mediation.  The individual selected by OAH will not
have a personal or professional conflict of interest.
• Mediation is at no cost to the parent or public agency responsible for the child's early
intervention or education, including the cost of a meeting with parents to encourage
• A request for mediation is made to the public agency responsible for the early intervention
or education of the child and the OAH. To assist parents with filing a request for mediation a
form is available from the public agency and on the MSDE website at  For further assistance, contact the public agency’s Parental Rights - Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice - Infants and Toddlers/Preschool Special Education.

 Parents or the public agency may be accompanied and advised by counsel during mediation.
• A mediation session will generally occur within 20 days of the receipt of a written request at
a location convenient to parents and the public agency.
• Mediation sessions are closed proceedings. Discussions that occur during mediation must be
confidential and cannot be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil
action.  Parents or the public agency may be asked to sign a confidentiality pledge before the
start of the mediation.
• An agreement reached by the parties in the mediation must be set forth in a written
agreement that is enforceable in any State Court that has the authority to hear this type of
case or in a federal district court.
• A public agency may not use mediation to deny or delay the parent’s right to a hearing on
the parent's due process complain

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A-U-T-I-S-M Acronym

A- America
U- Understands
T- Teaching
I- Individuals
S- Should
M- Matter

I am not sure if this makes since to everyone, but I was trying to think of a cool Acronym on my own and wanted to you know what you thought or if you could think of your own Acronym?  Any feedback or suggestions for future post is greatly appreciated.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Motivating A Special Needs Student

If you are in the field of education you have heard it a million times "Why do I have to learn this?", "When am I ever going to use this?"  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons why regular education students do not want to do their work.  Then you have a student with Autism who lacks motivation and really does not see a purpose in some subjects.  This is where you have to be ready and give them real reasons as to why they might need certain subjects.  Here is a list of some counter arguments.

  1. Math (Balance a check book, how much you might need to save up for an Xbox, in order to live on your own, advance their career, for computer programs.)
  2. English (To be able to communicate, to find new words to ask a girl or boy out, to go to college, to speak intelligently.)
  3. History (To know what not to do again, further your education, to compete on jeopardy.)
This is just a small does of what you may counter the students argument with.

As always please leave suggestions for future post. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Federal Codes

I just wanted this to be more of an informative post and I wanted to post the 15 current Federal Census Codes that go on a IEP.

  1. Intellectual Disability
  2. Hearing Impaired
  3. Deafness
  4. Speech/Language Impaired
  5. Visual Impairment
  6. Emotional Disturbance
  7. Orthopedic Impaired
  8. Other Health Impaired 
  9. Specific Learning Disability
  10. Multiple Disabilities
  11. Child in Need of Assessment
  12. Deaf/Blind
  13. Traumatic Brain Injury
  14. Autism
  15. Developmental Delay

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

helicopter parents

There are believe it or not positive and negatives to helicopter parents.  Now by no means are these parents the best, but I just wanted to try and cover both sides and look for comments.

  • At least these parents try to come and look like they care, these parents could just not show up at all.  
  • They are also at least trying to do what they think is best for their child, even though they may not know what is best.  


  • The parents do not really know their child or their needs.  
  • The parents are also not there when the child really needs them.
  • The parents may not know the student as well as the teacher does.
  • The child needs their parents there 24/7 not when their is just an emergency.
These are just a couple of positives and negatives, but if a child has a disability the worst thing in the world may be a helicopter parent.

Please leave feedback and you suggestions. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Is there a thing such as to much improvement? appeal, parental rights.

I received recently a comment about how a parent is worried that their child might show to much improvement.  As a teacher and special educator I do not think that their is such a thing as to much improvement.  We are never going to create a perfect student no matter how much we improve.  The key is once they accomplished one academic goal, we then shift our focus to the other ones or we work on behavioral goals.  It is important to always to keep moving forward and if you are not getting the answers you want then appeal the IEP decision.

At every IEP meeting parents should receive a "Parental Rights Packet."  In this packet it goes over all of the rights you have as a parent and if you are not happy with the decisions that are made at the IEP meeting, then you have the right to appeal, just like you would at a courthouse trial, when a verdict is reached that you do not like.  It is important that every parent is educated on their rights and what they need to do if they feel their child is not getting the IEP they deserve.  

As always please leave feedback and helpful hints about future posts.