Special Education Process: Step 3-Eligibility

With school starting back up, I have seen an increase in posts on various support group pages from parents who state that their child’s school district did not find their child with X disability to be eligible for special education services. Many times there are several responses such as if your child has a disability they automatically qualify for special education services.  A school district cannot deny your child special education services.  Continue reading

Toolbox Tips for Parents #8: Back-To-School

back-to-schoolI was in Wal-Mart earlier this week and noticed that school supplies are already making their way into the shopping carts of parents.  I thought now would be a good time to give some back-to-school tips to help parents be prepared for the upcoming school year. Continue reading

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD



According to a press release  from the U.S. Department of Education’s  Office of Civil Rights (OCR) The guidanceContinue reading

Q&A: Section 504


Today, I am going to address three frequently asked questions regarding Section 504 services.

The school says that my child must be failing to be considered for §504 Services.

Your child does not need to be failing his or her classes in order to be considered for eligibility for services under §504. 34 C.F.R. §104.34(c) states that schools should draw upon a variety of sources including “aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior.” Continue reading

Toolbox Tips for Parents #5: The Texas Legal Framework website

tips-for-parents #5
The Legal Framework is a joint project between the Texas Education Agency and Region 18 Education Service Center.  The website contains links to both Texas Special Education law and Federal Special Education law.  You can search the law by topic (i.e. Evaluations).  Some of the other information contained on this site:

  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards (both in English and Spanish)
  • Admission, Review and Dismissal Guide (both in English and Spanish)

You can enter the district in which your child attends and pull up board policies for your district that pertain to the topic or area of law you are researching.

The Legal Framework

Dear Colleague Letter Re: Speech and Language Services for Kids with Autism

In a letter to states, the US DOE reminds schools to include speech and language evaluations when evaluating children with autism and to make sure they are receiving speech and language services if needed.  States are told “when conducting evaluations under Part C of the IDEA, the evaluation must identify the child’s level of functioning in each of the following developmental areas:  cognitive development; physical development, including vision and hearing; communication development; social or emotional development; and adaptive development.”

Accommodations: Executive Functioning Issues

Executive Functioning Accom.
Today’s post in the last in the series on accommodations.  Today’s post focuses on accommodations for Executive Functioning Issues.

Again this list is general in nature and does not cover all possible accommodations for Executive Functioning Issues.

  • Step by step instructions
  • Provide outlines of lessons
  • Have a daily routine
  • Give a short review before teaching new skills
  • Check frequently for understanding
  • Say directions, assignments, and schedules out loud
  • Written directions very simple and concrete
  • Highlight key words and ideas on worksheets
  • Checklist for daily assignments
  • Assignment notebook/planner
  • Extra set of materials for home
  • Chunk assignments
  • Break down big projects into smaller pieces with more deadlines
  • Provide extra supplies (pens, pencils)
  • Color code materials
  • Time at the end of class/day to back and organize homework materials
  • Organizational coach
  • Faxing or e-mailing homework
  • Have student send home an e-mail with their assignments listed

More Information:

Accommodations: Visual Impairments

Visual Impairments
We are continuing with our series on accommodations.  Today’s post focuses on accommodations for Visual Impairments.

Again this list is general in nature and does not cover all possible accommodations for Visual Impairments.

  • Braille
  • Written and oral instructions
  • Learning Ally or Bookshare
  • Recorded books
  • Larger font print
  • Clear directions
  • Note taker
  • Copy of lecture notes/outline
  • Study guide
  • Extra time to respond
  • Extra time to complete assignments
  • Oral description or narration
  • Verbalization of writing
  • Tactile graphics
  • Electronic access to material
  • JAWS or other screen reader
  • Book/place markers
  • Dictate answers
  • Typed answers
  • Keyboard
  • Preferential seating
  • Clear path for movement around room
  • Mobility tools
  • Large fonts on power points
  • Do not use red ink
  • Avoid glares on working surfaces
  • Avoid using red/orange/yellow on Smartboards
  • Worksheets/test should be dark and clear

More Information:

Accommodations: Speech/Language Impairment

We are down to our last three posts in our series on accommodations.  Today’s post focuses on accommodations for Speech/Language Impairments.

Again this list is general in nature and does not cover all possible accommodations for Speech/Language Impairments.

  • Substitute oral assignments with written assignments
  • Allow student time to express themselves
  • Provide SLP with spelling/vocabulary list
  • Minimize classroom noise/distractions
  • Give assignments orally and written
  • Simple one step directions
  • Cooperative learning
  • Study buddy
  • Extra time for assignments/tests
  • Alternative test setting
  • Spell checker
  • Calculator
  • Pre-teach
  • Avoid correcting grammatical errors
  • Use vocabulary flashcards
  • Provide visual cues
  • Repeat important words
  • One-on-one assistance
  • Teach Semantics and syntax concepts
  • Break concepts into small steps
  • Don’t penalize for spelling errors
  • Provide copy of notes
  • Reinforce communication attempts
  • Use linguistic scaffolding techniques that involve a series of questions
  • Use language for social interaction and to resolve conflicts
  • Use tactile and visual cues
  • Be aware of the student’s functioning level in auditory skills, semantics, word recall, syntax, phonology, and pragmatics (and how they affect academic performance)
  • Consult a SLP concerning assignments and activities.  Be aware that student may require another form of communication.
  • Model correct speech patterns and avoid correcting speech difficulties

More Information:

Accommodations: Sensory Processing Disorder

We are continuing with our series on accommodations.  Today’s post focuses on accommodations for Sensory Processing Disorder.

Again this list is general in nature and does not cover all possible accommodations for Sensory Processing Disorder.

  • Preferential seating
  • Sensory Diet
  • Provide calming manipulatives:
    • Clay
    • Stress ball
    • Music/IPOD
    • Doodle pad
  • Noise canceling headphones
  • Opportunities for movement:
    • Sit and wobble on inflatable do-nut ring
    • Doodle
    • Bend pipe cleaner or paper clip
    • Rub hands on Velcro on underside of desk
    • Pacing at the back of the room
  • Objects for chewing:
    • ChewEase
    • Chewable jewelry
    • Gum
  • Push-ups and jumping jacks
  • Stretching
  • Appropriate demand of eye contact
  • Prepare for intense sensory experiences
  • Special place in line
  • Time timer
  • Weighted lap pad
  • Alternate testing setting
  • Leave class early to avoid crowded noisy halls
  • Specific number of walking passes:
    • Sharpening pencils
    • Drinks of water
    • Erasing board
    • Distributing/collecting materials
    • Running errands
  • Standing random drills
  • Graph paper
  • Proper height of table and chairs
  • Reduce/eliminate auditory and visual distractions
  • Allow for water bottles at desk
  • Pushing/carrying heavy objects
  • Weighted back packs
  • Bean bag for sitting on
  • Reduce glare from fluorescent lighting
  • Non glossy paper

More Information: