We Would Love to Hear From You

We are deciding which post to write next and we would love to hear your opinion! Which one would you like to read next?

  1. What You Should Never Hear at an EC Meeting
  2. Common Accommodations for Classrooms
  3. A post about Executive Functioning Skills

 

Please write your choice either in the comment section below, the comment section on Facebook, or send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We’ll see which one gets the most responses and will write that blog next.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

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How You Can Help Your Child at Home

Homework, extra curricular activities, dinner, family time, baths, stories, bedtime. Once your child gets home from school it is a whirlwind. How is it possible for it all to be done? Especially if you have more than one child?  We don’t have a magic solution. Some days, at our houses, our children eat less than healthy dinners and skip bath times. Sometimes we send an email to the teacher and let them know why homework didn’t get done. Other days, we are having a glass of wine while we read Goodnight Moon for the 100th time.

However, I have found a solution that I like. I have created a schedule for my children which has helped them when they get home from school.  I write it on a white board which makes it easy to add or take away things as I need to.  I start with putting my children’s initials at the top of the white board and the rest looks something like this:

H                                   M                                     D

  1. Unpack you book-bag
  2. Put your shoes and socks away
  3. Put your lunchbox in the sink
  4. Do your homework
  5. Pack your lunch
  6. Lay out your clothes

Each child places a check next to the sentence under their initial after they finish . They have tried to say they’ve completed something when they didn’t, so I always make sure to go back through and check behind them. 🙂

When my children know what to expect, they are happier. They don’t have to guess what my expectations are and I’m consistent on what needs to happen. This structure is also teaching independence  in my children which makes them feel good. Some days,  I am able to  allow my children to choose the order they complete their chores. This enables them to have some control over their schedule which helps them gain ownership. Other days, it may be important to do them in a certain  order (mainly because of an extra curricular activity) so I add a note at the top that says, “please do them in this order”.   I also make sure I add the activities  each kid has that evening. This has helped my kids know how much time they can take on each task which is teaching time management. Here is a sample sheet that you can download and tweak for your family:

schedule

Good luck with your after school routine!  We would love to hear what works for you too! Please drop us a note at confidentsolutions7@gmailcom.

With Appreciation,

Wendy

Connections With Students

We feel that, as educators, once you take the time to make those honest connections with your students (whether they have exceptional needs or not),  your classroom will run smoother.  Teaching from your heart, truly seeing the kids individually–what are their worries, fears, wishes, dreams, struggles–is a bridge that connects the desire  for students to learn.  When your students know that you care for them and love them, we have seen children blossom, difficult behaviors grow soft (and even disappear), and classroom communities become more supportive and accepting of each other.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Resource for Schools

We both love organization and being able to find what we need quick and easily.  Especially when it comes to paperwork. We have created these forms for schools to use within EC files.  “Unit 1” will clip together a full set of paperwork for a child.  From there, you can divide the sets of paperwork with the cover sheet of Unit 2.  We have used these in the past and NCDPI has commented to us how helpful it was when going through EC files.  Once the paperwork is put in each child’s folder, you can put one of these cover sheets to divide each section.  You can print it on colored paper to see it clearly, or use a binder clip at the bottom to clip each section together.  We recommend having the newest paperwork on top and then progressing down from there.  Typically, your first unit will be at the bottom  of the file.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need help organizing your EC files in your school.

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

 

Sign Up for Social Skills Groups

 

 

Register for Social Skills Classes

Social Skills Classes

Six-week session-each Sunday- October 2nd-November 6th

K-2nd grade group meets from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

3rd-5th grade group meets from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

6th-8th grade group meets from 5:00-6:00 p.m.

All classes will be held at 8401 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 120, Charlotte, NC 28262

For some students, obtaining and utilizing good social skills does not come naturally.  They move through their environment having a difficult time communicating and understanding more than just direct language-based interactions.  For example, good social skills include sharing space with others and learning to regulate one’s own behavior to other people’s thoughts or expectations as well as using your whole body to understand what people are “saying” around you.  For some students, these skills need to be taught.

Following the Social Thinking model, we will be teaching a 6-week session on helping your child in learning these skills.  In turn, you will learn how to shift your thoughts and vocabulary while helping your child at home.

Your child does not need a diagnosis to attend.  However, this class is designed for students with Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, or any child needing to learn how to “think” about thinking as well as understand more about the complex social world in which we live.

 

For more information, please visit our website Confidentsolutions.wordpress.com

or

send us an e-mail at Confidentsolutions7@gmail.com

 

 

Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay”

We’re both special educators.  We’ve both worked in a variety of environments and in different roles with children with various disabilities.  We have collaborated and continue to collaborate with other professionals.  We get it.  We understand the paperwork, the state requirements, the long days.  However, we also are both moms to children with disabilities.  We continuously sit on both sides of the table.  We have sat and heard information about our children that hurts our heart.  We see where they’ve been excluded in a game or a social activity at school because of their differences. To their teachers, we promise to try to support you.  As moms with a background of knowledge, we do have times where we  feel frustration with the system, frustration of missed deadlines or IEPs not completely being followed.

With all of this being said, we would like to go back to one point in particular. As a teacher, please don’t say “it will be okay.” Those words stir up my insides. When I come to you to tell you about my child with a disability, please don’t tell me you’ve worked with “kids like him before”. You may have worked with a child with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, or another disability like my child’s, but you have not yet worked with MY child. He is unique and his triggers are different from the last child with whom you worked.   As parents, we often collaborate with other professionals to help our family and our children.  When we offer to share that information with you, it’s inviting you into our inner circle.  Please take our extended hand instead of saying you already know about this diagnosis and “it will be okay.”  We are asking for you to join us in collaborating for the highest benefit of our child. As parents, we will do our best to speak respectfully to you and help understand your views and perspective.  We ask for the same courtesy back. Parents know their children best.  We can share what our child’s fears are, what his/her dreams are, and what makes him/her happy and sad. Those things are unique to each child and go beyond a diagnosis.

We agree there are some generalizations we can make based on a specific diagnosis. Our children, however, are still unique. It is so important in our children’s lives that the adults   get to know them, just like you do with other children.  Taking the time to make those individual connections with our children will help with understanding what they need to be taught.  Often times, our children need to be taught skills that other children pick up naturally in their development.  Getting to know them personally and collaborating with parents and other professionals helps you stretch and grow as an educator and in return will help our children do the same.

Yes, we too believe that it can “be okay”. We also recognize that for this to even be a possibility, we ALL need to work together and do our best to hear the words that each of us has to offer. This is the reason why we created this company. Let us help by being the bridge that spans the gap. The only way that it can actually “be okay” is if we all learn how to work together for a common interest: the success of our children.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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IEP Snapshot

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We have created an IEP Snapshot for you to download and share with general education teachers. Please click on the blue link just above this paragraph. Whether you’re a special educator or a parent, it’s an easy tool that allows you to write the quick IEP essentials for the general education teacher.  Typically, we liked to fill in the details, slide them in a page protector,  and give them to the general education teachers (including the specials or connect teachers).  This way, they have a quick reference to remember those accommodations, modification, and goals that your team decided upon.  We hope you find it useful!

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We would like to thank Maria Hartemann for the use of her beautiful hummingbird zentangle for the IEP Snapshot.  If you would like to see more of her work, check out her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/joyfulmamadesigns

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Know Your Forms-IEPs

This is the last post in the “Know Your Forms” series.  It is a lengthy one, however, we feel it is important to understand all pieces of your child’s IEP (whether it’s your child’s first one or the annual review).  Your team should discuss each piece of the IEP during your meeting.

You’ve been through the process and you are FINALLY at the point where your child is eligible for an IEP. IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. The IEP meeting can be held at the same time as the eligibility meeting or it can be held up to 10 days after the eligibility meeting, but still within the 90 day deadline (Know Your Forms-Eligibility and  Know Your Forms-Referral For Help). After your initial IEP meeting, you will have this meeting annually to review your child’s progress and update his/her goals.

You should receive an invitation to the IEP meeting. You always have the right to ask for a different day or time. Your child’s team should be present for all special education meetings.  (Who Is On Your Child’s Team?).

The first section of the IEP reviews your child’s strengths, any progress he/she has made, and how your child performed on any assessments. This will be a summary of all the data that you have already discussed at the initial referral and eligibility meetings.   If it’s the annual review of your child’s IEP, it will be a summary of data on his/her goals, testing data, and progress from the year.

After this, you will be asked for any concerns you have for enhancing your child’s education and what your vision is for your child’s future.  Take your time here! Really think about your concerns regarding your child’s education. When considering your vision for your child’s future, you can consider the future to be tomorrow, the end of the school year, or even after your child has finished school.  This is something that you can prepare ahead of time and bring with you to your child’s IEP meeting.

Next, the special education teacher will ask if there are any upcoming transitions for your child as well as document any special factors ( such as deaf, blind, special communication needs, specially designed physical education, or limited English proficiency).

The next area is known as “PLOP”–Present Level of performance and written goals.  You will have a separate page for each area of your child’s needs.  For example, you could have a present level summary and goals for  math and another one for reading.  Measurable annual goals will be written to match your child’s present level of performance summary.  You may also have short term objectives or benchmarks written. This is required if your child is on extended standards. Some districts do not require objectives or benchmarks for annual goals if your child is following the standard course of study.  Each annual goal will align to the common core/ NC standard course of study for your child’s current grade level. At the bottom of  each present level and goals page, your special education teacher will document how he or she will gather data to track your child’s goals.  For example, it could be through anecdotal notes and student work samples.  It is ok to speak up here too. Make recommendations or express concerns. Don’t worry if you don’t know the verbage or how to fully express what you want. The team should help with this. During this time, the team will also decide if any related service your child qualified for should be integrated into this goal or if any assistive technology is needed.  What that means is, if your child is also going to receive speech language services or occupational therapy services, will those therapists also work on the same goal as the special education teacher?   Typically,  you will receive a progress report on your child’s IEP goals with each report card.

Accommodations and modifications, North Carolina testing, and least restrictive environment will be discussed next. Accommodations are a way the general education teacher (i.e.. classroom teacher) can help your child be more successful in his/her school day. For example, an accommodation may be that your child uses a slant board and a modified pencil during writing assignments. A modification is typically done by a special education teacher and related service providers but can be used in the regular education classroom. Modifications are specific strategies and tools that will help your child achieve their IEP goals. For the North Carolina testing program, your team will decide what accommodations or modifications are necessary for your child.  For example, your team may decide that your child needs extended time on tests or needs to be tested in a smaller group in a separate room. Any accommodations for any state test must be implemented throughout the year for classroom tests. Please remember that you can always make suggestions for accommodations that you have seen your child use successfully. You are a part of your child’s team.  Least restrictive environment (LRE) will be discussed and decided upon next. This will determine where your child will receive their special support within the general education classroom or the resource classroom. If the team decides that your child will be more successful within the resource classroom, a statement will be written justifying why the decision was made to pull them from the general education classroom.

Please note that this section of your child’s IEP could be “visually overwhelming”. It breaks down your child’s school day (including lunch, core academic subjects, and specials/connect classes) into sections where each accommodation is listed in detail. 

The team will then consider how much time is needed for specially designed instruction. Services will be broken down into how many times per week, month, or reporting period and for how many minutes per session. This includes times spent with the special education teacher as well as times with any related service providers.

Continuum of Placement should be considered next. This is the percentage of minutes your child spends away from their general education classroom. If your child attends a special education preschool or is served in a different setting (home, separate school, etc.) there is a box to be checked.

The last few boxes let you know how you will receive progress reports (typically sent with report cards). Extended School Year can be considered during this meeting, but typically is a separate meeting if your child is a candidate. Finally, everyone will sign the IEP. If this is your child’s first IEP, you will also sign a form called a DEC6. This simply is a form granting the school permission to serve your child in special education.  As always, you will also sign and receive the DEC 5 The Importance of a DEC5

A note for High School students: once your child is 14 years of age, he/she will be invited to attend the IEP meeting.

This meeting can be LONG. If you need a break, don’t hesitate to ask for one. This document is very important, but it’s also fluid. You or any other team member can call a meeting to reconsider any part of the IEP at any time.

Our intent with this post was to give you a general idea of what to expect during your child’s IEP meeting, understanding the IEP (which is also called a DEC 4),  and how to be prepared. This document is very detailed and lengthy. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email .

 

With appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

 

 

 

Registering for Upcoming Social Class

For some students, obtaining and utilizing good social skills do not come naturally.  They move through their environment having a difficult time communicating and understanding more than just direct language-based interactions.  For example, good social skills include sharing space with others and learning to regulate one’s own behavior to other people’s thoughts or expectations as well as using your whole body to understand what people are “saying” around you.  For some students, these skills need to be taught.

Following the Social Thinking model, we will be teaching a 6-week session on helping your child begin learning these skills.  In turn, you will learn how to shift your thoughts and vocabulary while helping your child at home.

Your child does not need a diagnosis to attend.  However,this class is designed for students with Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, or any child needing to learn how to “think” about thinking as well as understand more about the complex social world in which we live.  While times of movement will be available, students must be able to sit in a room with a small group for one hour.

This class will meet for a six-week period beginning on Sunday, October 2nd.  There will be three separate groups.  The Kindergarten-2nd grade group will meet from 2:00-3:00 p.m., the 3rd-5th grade group will meet from 3:30-4:30 and  the 6th-8th grade group will meet from  5:00-6:00 p.m.  Group sizes will be kept small with no more than eight to ten children in each group.  This six-week session will be held at 8401 Medical Plaza Drive, Suite 120, Charlotte, NC 28262.

The total cost for the six-week session plus materials is $200.00.  To keep names and information confidential, if you would like to register for this class, please fill out the attached document and e-mail it to us. If you are unable to open the document, please send us a note and we’ll be happy to e-mail you another one.  Within this week, we will then send you a pay PayPal link to your e-mail to complete your registration for the class.   Once you receive your PayPal link, please complete your nonrefundable payment within 48 hours to reserve your and your child’s spot in the class.  Once the class is full, your name will go on a waiting list and we will contact you if an availability opens.

Please fill out the attached document and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com  with your interest in registration for the class…social skills referral medical history-2

If you are interested in the class but have questions before deciding if this class is a good fit for your child, please reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We would be happy to answer your questions!

Upcoming News….

We are planning on having another, shorter session around the holidays (November through early December) to help assist students learn social behaviors and skills to utilize during these times.  This class will also have a parent participation group as well as a student group.  You do not need to attend this first session to attend the later session in November.  Please enter your e-mail in “follow our blog” on the home page to receive the latest information! We will send out information about that shorter session towards the end of October.

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy