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Don’t forget to find us on Facebook!  Not only do we share helpful resources, we do live videos of our upcoming events.  

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy 

October is ADHD Awareness Month

October is awareness month for ADHD. We wanted to share some resources for understanding ADHD whether it’s for yourself, for you to share with family members, or with your child’s school.  Having awareness and understanding is the first step in helping a child. 

Read here for understanding symptoms of ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD.aspx
Here it uncovers myths and misunderstandings about ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/Myths-and-Misunderstandings.aspx
The Science of ADHD:

http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/The-Science-of-ADHD.aspx

ADHD and Advocacy:

http://www.chadd.org/Advocacy.aspx
Can your child with ADHD receive an IEP or a 504 plan? 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/add.index.htm
For an excellent magazine on ADD, check out ADDitude:

https://www.additudemag.com
The three types of ADHD:

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/the-3-types-of-adhd
A fabulous website for information on learning and attention:

https://www.understood.org/en
A quick one minute video summarizing ADHD:

http://totallyadd.com/adhd-awareness-minute-no-music/

If you have questions about where to start or how to continue on your journey with ADD/ADHD, our door is always open! Please reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Please visit ADDitude’s website for more truths about ADHD. https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-is-not-fake/

Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes?

Every child, with his/her unique strengths,  learns in a different way. Some children excel at math, while others struggle. Some children learn to read with ease, while others find it to be frustrating and difficult. One child may learn the proper way to say /k/ while others need to be specifically taught place, manner, and voicing.  Social skills are no different.

Children who have difficulties understanding social situations often do not see the  “rules” on the playground. They are typically the children that have to “pull their clip”, “go below the line”, or get a letter or phone call home. Often times, these children need specific instruction to learn what their peers, parents, and teachers expect from them. To those of us who have never had trouble understanding social expectations, this may seem absurd.

What we know is every behavior happens for a reason. For example, one child hits another during recess. He/she may not intend to be mean but really is looking for a way to be part of the group.  Hitting has been a way this student has gotten a response in the past to get another  child’s attention. When we take the time to teach that child appropriate ways to enter and exit play with another  would help prevent him/her from hitting in the future. The child has now learned skills and has a “toolbox” to pull from instead of hitting.  Another example is for the child who consistently comes home with a “bad” report (clip pulling, red cards, etc.).  Why is this behavior happening and what skills need to be taught instead of “managed”? Usually the behavior happens because the child is receiving some type of feedback before, during, or after.  What would happen if we understood the behavior, taught them a new way to receive their feedback, and then offered positive reinforcement every single time we saw them do it?  When we help children learn these skills in a non-judgemental way, we begin to see an improvement in their behavior and an increase in self-awareness.

The process of teaching children how to think socially does not change behavior overnight. Instead, it is a slow and deep process that requires time and patience. It also requires a village. When a therapist, teacher, etc. is teaching a child social skills, it’s important to carry those skills into his/her other environments like school and home. Communication is key. Communicating with your child’s teacher and school and letting them know what he/she is learning and how they can help support your child during the school day is important. If you sign your child up for a social skills class, please ask how you can learn the vocabulary. Also ask how they communicate with your child’s teacher. When there is a lack of communication outside of the social skills group room,  then you will typically only see improvement within the social skill group but limited progress in other environments.   One sentence from the Social Thinking! curriculum really stood out to us.  It said “Generalization is not an endpoint; it is simply part of the journey.”   We need to make sure  the child has adults who support him/her on the journey in learning social skills.

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

Sign Up for Social Skills Groups

 

 

IEP Snapshot

iep-snapshot-cs

 

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!

hummingbird-zentangle

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.

Nature's Heart 1 wm quote

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Know Your Forms-Eligibility

After you’ve had your initial meeting (Know Your Forms-Referral For Help), the next meeting will be to discuss all the data and any new evaluations that have taken place since your last meeting.  There are  14 categories a child can qualify under in North Carolina.  They are the following: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Developmental Delay, Serious Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment including blindness.  Your child must meet at least one of these areas to qualify for special education in North Carolina. There are times where a student will meet two of the criteria and you can list a primary disability and a secondary disability on the eligibility form.

Each of the fourteen areas have their own worksheet with specific criteria for qualification.   Again, here is the link to a list of the worksheets and forms from NCDPI http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/forms/statewide-forms    Your team will meet to discuss the overall evaluations which were conducted and any new data as well as review which categories your child may fit best under.  Each worksheet for each possible category must be filled out and discussed at your child’s eligibility meeting. Remember, you are meeting as a team (Who Is On Your Child’s Team?).  If your child meets the criteria on at least one of the worksheets, the team can then decide that he/she qualifies for specialized education and you can then move on towards writing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The DEC 3 form will also be filled out and all members of the team will sign the form in agreement.  It is common to move directly into developing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).  To keep this post shorter and focused on the eligibility requirements, we are going to have a separate post this week regarding the IEP.

After this meeting, you will have a copy of the following forms: Invitation to the meeting, Eligibility Determination (also known as a DEC 3), the completed worksheets of the categories that were discussed at the meeting, and the DEC 5 (The Importance of a DEC5).

This determination is good for 3 years.  Every three years, your child’s special education teacher (0r case manager) will have a Reevaluation meeting (the form is called a DEC 7) to review your child’s data as a team.  The team will decide if he/she continues to meet the criteria for the disability and a new DEC 3 form as well as the qualifying worksheet(s) will once again be filled out and discussed.  It is a good idea to keep all of your copies of your child’s paperwork organized at home. It’s also a good idea to be aware of the last time your child had his/her Eligibility Evaluation meeting and when his/her three-year mark is up.

As always, your school should offer you a copy of the Parents Rights and Responsibilities Handbook in Special Education at each meeting.  Here is a link with the newest copy of the handbook: http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf

If you have any questions about a referral or eligibility meeting, drop us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. We love hearing from you!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Appreciation

Nature's Bouquet quote wm

Appreciating the unique needs of our children is important. We use the word “our” because it does take a team to help a child.  As teachers, find that connection with your child that has unique needs in your class.  When you recognize his/her gifts, we promise your heart will fill with gratitude.  All children have gifts and strengths.  When we take the time to notice those gifts in detail, we appreciate what they have to offer to us as educators and parents.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy