Accountability

We get a lot of calls asking who can be held accountable for parts of the IEP or 504. After asking a few questions, we realize parents are typically talking about the modifications/accommodations on their child’s IEP or 504. We have seen that a lot of IEPs or 504s have very vague descriptions written of these.  A good modification/accommodation will answer these questions “who” will do “what”, “when”, “where” and “how”.  For example, an accommodation of “modified assignments” would be written something like this:  ” the regular education teacher will provide (student’s name) with a math assignment with 20% of the math problems. These math problems will determine understanding of the math concept taught. The number of the math problems that (student’s name) should complete will be circled. The regular education teacher will ensure that Student understands which problems to complete.”

Another example is “modified seating” or “preferential seating”. This accommodation is on many IEPs. An example of a good accommodation would be “the regular education teacher will provide (student’s name) with a seat close to the front of the class during instruction so teacher can check for understanding”. Or instead of “check for understanding” it could be “to help student maintain attention/focus”. This could also be changed from “close to the front of the class” to “an area with minimal distractions”. Each accommodation on your child’s IEP should be specific to your child. There should be an adult responsible for providing this accommodation or modification. When we sit as advocates we commonly see that schools want to make the child the “who” in these accommodations. For example, if the child is allowed to have frequent breaks during assignments, we are seeing “student will request a break when he is feeling overwhelmed”. If this is an accommodation that is allowed, then the “who” needs to be an adult helping to facilitate these. If this is something the child is working to learn, then this needs to be a self-advocacy goal. A better way to write this accommodation would be “the teacher will allow (student’s name) to have a break when he is overwhelmed. Signs that “student” is overwhelmed include flapping, spinning, talking louder. If “student” does not initiate a break, the regular education teacher should discreetly ask/determine if “student” should have a break. “student” can be overwhelmed during assemblies, before a test, or when there is a change in his schedule.”

Take a look at your child’s IEP or 504 to see how his or her modifications/accommodations are stated.  They should be clearly written with answering all of the who,what, when, where, and how questions.  If you have missing pieces, we recommend asking for a meeting before school starts to clarify them.  This will help set your child up for success this coming school year.

We also offer a paperwork review in which we read through your paperwork thoroughly, and will write specific notes for you to ask your school to clarify.  We are always happy to answer any questions you have over the phone or through e-mail as well.  We have free IEP classes to empower you in how to better understand your child’s paperwork.  Please enter your e-mail on the home page to receive the latest updates!

With Gratitude,

Wendy and Christina

accountability road sign illustration design over a white background

Registration for School Age Social Skills Classes August 20th-October 1st

To register, please fill out this form and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com

Registration August 20-October 1 New Registration

 

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. We typically begin intuitively learning key social skills around age three through observation and parallel play.  When these skills are not intuitively understood, they can be taught cognitively. For example, good social skills include eye contact, conversational turn taking, and flexible thinking. For some students, these skills need to be taught and practiced in a non-judgmental environment.  Previous posts about Social Learning can be found here Social Learning and Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes?

Our six-week session begins on Sunday, August 20th.  There will be no classes on Sunday, September 3rd over Labor Day weekend.  We want to begin teaching these skills just before or as school is beginning so your child will have tools to begin the new school year.

We are offering three different sessions so please read the specifics below.  As always, reach out to us with questions at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.   We believe that empowering the parent/guardian is equally important in empowering the child. Please plan on staying for the parent session of your child’s class to learn what your child is learning and how to help your child at home. For session one and session two, teacher letters will be e-mailed weekly to each parent. This gives you the opportunity to share what your child is learning with his/her teacher so we can collectively help your child practice these skills within their different environments.  We encourage you to let your child’s teacher know that he or she can also reach out to us for extra support or questions for your child in the classroom.  We’re all here to help your child grow in his/her social learning.

All classes are held at 9700 Research Drive, Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262. The total cost for a six-week session is $225.00. To register, fill out the registration form found at the top and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. Each group will have no more than 5 students so we can practice “thinking” about thinking as well as individualize for each child.

 

Session 1:  Self-Awareness-Learning how to “think” about thinking socially Grades K-2nd

This is the perfect beginning class if you are new to our social skills groups. This six-week session lays a foundation of skills that your child can continue to build upon and grow his or her social thinking. During this session, children and parents will learn the differences between self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. Students will learn about “hidden” social expectations in different environments, how to make social observations to learn those “hidden” rules, how behaviors are connected to emotions, strengthen imitation skills, how to gain self-awareness with individual behaviors, move into self-monitoring tools for shifting negative behaviors into positive ones, how to identify if a problem is a big one or little one, and learn how to use your whole body to listen.   As we continue to teach these skills, the group will begin to understand that people have a perspective that is different from their own and how to navigate a social interaction using this knowledge.  Each child will choose a personal behavior goal and learn tools to help create a shift in awareness and behaviors.

This group meets every Sunday from 2:00-3:00

Session 2:  Self-Awareness-Learning how to “think” about thinking socially Grades 3rd-5th

This is the perfect beginning class if you are new to our social skills groups. This six-week session lays a foundation of skills that your child can continue to build upon and grow his or her social thinking. During this session, children and parents will learn the differences between self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. Students will learn about “hidden” social expectations in different environments, how to make social observations to learn those “hidden” rules, how behaviors are connected to emotions, strengthen imitation skills, how to gain self-awareness with individual behaviors, move into self-monitoring tools for shifting negative behaviors into positive ones, how to identify if a problem is a big one or little one, and learn how to use your whole body to listen.   As we continue to teach these skills, the group will begin to understand that people have a perspective that is different from their own and how to navigate a social interaction using this knowledge.  Each child will choose a personal behavior goal and learn tools to help create a shift in awareness and behaviors.

This group meets every Sunday from 3:00-4:00

 

Session 3: Practicing of Social Skills

This session is designed for open practice of the social skills that have previously been taught. We will create opportunities for the students to practice social thinking, Theory of Mind skills, and executive functioning skills in a play environment. This gives us the opportunity to help each child individually navigate a challenging social scenario using their tools and knowledge from previous groups. Due to the level of individualization, instead of a weekly teacher letter, we will give our contact information to your child’s teacher and can facilitate open communication on skills their student continues to strengthen as well as get feedback on what skills need continued practice in the school environment.

This group meets every Sunday from 4:00-5:00

 

If you’re not sure if our group is the right fit for your child or have any further questions, we would love to talk with you.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

Sunflower wm with quote

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

What is Speech-Language Therapy?

Typically, when we think of a Speech Language Pathologist, we think of someone who helps children master their “r” sound or “l” sound.  Speech-language therapy is so much more than that!

By definition, Speech-language therapy is an area of expertise whereby a speech-language pathologist  works to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults (http://asha.org).   Speech language therapy can target pragmatic language,which is the social language we use with others. This includes body position, turn taking, and perspective taking. This aspect also helps children with their individual social interactions such as knowing when it is there turn to talk and staying on topic.  Speech-language therapy also addresses expressive language (understanding what is being said to you), receptive language (being able to correctly express your thoughts to others), articulation (making correct speech sounds), phonological awareness (understanding and being able to manipulate each sound of the alphabet), and swallowing disorders.  This website gives more information about each of these areas: http://www.asha.org/Students/Speech-Language-Pathologists/  This link is a terrific resource for understanding milestones for children: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/

Therapy can take place any time of life from pediatrics to geriatrics in a private practice, in your home, a hospital, a school, rehabilitation facilities or long-term care facilitates.  Speech Pathologists begin with testing to determine the exact area of needs to address.  

I would love to connect with you to give you more information about what speech-language therapy would look like for your child.  After evaluating your child’s needs, we will sit down together and go over the results and answer all of your questions. I’ll show you the areas of needs that I can address through speech-language therapy and give you tips for helping your child at home.  Not sure if speech-language therapy is what your child needs or have further questions? Please reach out to me and we can schedule a time to talk on the phone to answer all of your questions.

You can contact me anytime at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. Please put Speech-language therapy in the subject line.  I look forward to talking with you!

With Gratitude,

Wendy

 

SLP 1

What Is Inside of my OG Bag?

My Orton-Gillingham bag is full of fantastic resources and tools to help a child read. It is quite heavy!  I  was looking for a large bag that would zip close.  I decided on this bag from Lands End because of the pockets on the inside and the heavy fabric.

OG Bag

OG Bag 2

Sitting right inside is my double blending board.  I found this one on Etsy.  It’s made in Colorado using blue stain pine.  Love it as much as i do? Check out their Etsy site here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/245551667/18-single-blending-board-with-blue-stain?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=blending%20board&ref=sc_gallery_3&plkey=f08b7dba599f0db574d5a0464f6715fba28101e6:245551667

Blending Board

I have two sets of the OG card packs. These are used during each session to review sounds, teach new sounds, and practice how they are spelled.  We than practice how to blend the sounds together on the board.

Blending Board 2

 

card deck

I found two perfectly sized containers at Target to hold my red and green crayons.  You can buy just red or green crayons straight from amazon. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=red+crayons

crayons

I have this little 31 tote bag inside that holds different sized sticky notes as well as extra colored index cards.  It’s important to be able to find what I need quickly in my bag when working with a child.

container

Those colored index cards make the vowel tents.  This is where we practice the open and closed sounds of the vowels not only in isolation but in words as well.

vowel tents 1

Flip those vowel tents inside out, prop them back up and you have the different sounds that -ed makes.

Vowel Tents 2

I love a good notebook! 🙂 I have a notebook for everything! Here is where I can quickly take notes on each student and later write it in their individual file.

notebook

No OG is complete without their multi-sensory sand. It has two different colors with two different grains.  When we pour it on a paper plate and the student spells the sound, the color pops through.

Sand

Here’s where the inside pockets of my large bag come in handy. I have three small containers.  One for glue sticks and tape, one for vowel intensive craft sticks, and one for highlighters and pens.  I also have individual pouches of pencils and my scissors.

boxes

Pencils Scissors

An important tool is the Recipe for Reading book. It has letter sounds, vowel digraphs, consonant blends, and spelling rules in a sequential cumulative order.

Recipe

Another 31 bag that I previously had sits at the bottom of my bag with all of my file folders.  I have an individual file folder for each student, assessments, literacy connection pieces, phonological awareness activities, encoding and decoding tools.

Folders

This is a wonderful tool for encoding phonetic words.

Finger Tapping.jpg

 

For decoding new words, students learn the different syllable division patterns. I personally love this activity. 🙂 The composition notebook is cut in half. After the student completes a decoding activity through syllable division, she/he glues it into their notebook to create an interactive colorful notebook with the syllable division rule. We also add vocabulary meanings when necessary.  We use the highlighters here which not only makes it colorful but easy to locate the individual rules.

Syllable Division.jpg

 

I stapled my baggies of felt to the inside of my Elkonin Boxes folders for students who need extra practice with Phonological Awareness.

Elkonin Boxes

This Phonological Awareness book creates practice of skills through fun and engaging games.

Phonological Games

A file folder with everything I need to teach a new red word.

Red Words

 

Another important piece is strengthening vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.  I have books and folders of reading passages that align with the lesson being learned that specifically work on each of those three areas.  I also have a file folder of different levels of reader’s theater for students to practice reading.

If you would like to receive updates to our website, please enter your e-mail address on our home page and connect with us on Facebook.

Check us out on Pinterest as well! We are finding some useful resources that we love sharing.

https://www.pinterest.com/confidentsoluti/boards/

 

If you’re interested in OG tutoring, or hearing more about Orton-Gillingham, please send me an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please put OG Tutoring in the subject line.

With Gratitude,

Christina

OG Tutoring

The Orton-Gillingham approach was originally used to teach people with dyslexia how to read.  However, this systematic, multi-sensory approach truly benefits all learners.  If your child is struggling to read, please contact me for further information about tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach.  Filling in the gaps and teaching necessary reading skills to your child will benefit him/her throughout their life.  Having the ability to pick up a book, read it and get lost in the story is a true gift.  I would love to help your child succeed! If you would like more information about tutoring or what the Orton-Gillingham approach is, you can reach me at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  Please put OG Tutoring in the subject line.

With Appreciation,

Christina

 

reading image

Employment Opportunities

We have a new heading on our website for employment opportunities! If you love making connections with families and helping children, please check out our open positions and send us your resume to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We are excited to grow our team!

With Gratitude,

Wendy and Christina

Organizing Your Paperwork

Summertime brings a perfect opportunity to get your child’s paperwork organized.  We have two forms that we use when organizing files.  You can download them here:

unit-1-cs  and following-units-2-cs

We recommend having an organizational system that works well with your style.  One typical system is to purchase a large 3-ring binder and insert the papers in order.  Make sure you have a tab for school communication and print your e-mails and document your phone conversations with your child’s school.  Christina has a 31 tote bag and keeps file folders organized by current IEPs, evaluations, and all pertinent documentation.  It’s easy to carry to a meeting and can quickly find the folder needed on a moment’s notice.

We have found a terrific resource in organizing your child’s paperwork from the Understood website.  You can find it here https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/how-to-organize-your-childs-iep-binder?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=understoodorg

You can also find resources through our Pinterest page here https://www.pinterest.com/confidentsoluti/boards/

Remember, all special education paperwork will be accompanied with its own DEC5. If you would like to refresh your knowledge each type of form, you can look through our archives on past posts or send us an e-mail with your question! We love connecting with you and helping in any way we are able!

Happy Summer!

With Gratitude,

Christina and Wendy

 

 

time

The Power of Empowerment

We’ve previously talked about what type of advocate we are.  Assume Positive Intent.  We  have sat on all sides of the “EC table”. Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay” We both are parents of children with special needs, we both have worked in the school system as EC coordinators, special education teachers, regular education teachers, speech/language therapist, and Dean of Students.  We know the EC paperwork, the laws, school, state, and federal policies.  We have sat as advocates for families, teaching them about the paperwork, EC processes, and where to find information.  So why tell you all of this?

We want you to know that all of this has been creating what type of advocate we are. We believe in collaboration with other professionals.  We have yet to find one person who knows everything regarding EC.  We have experienced how important it is to ask questions, be involved, and listen carefully to how and what people say.  We believe in empowering families to be advocates for their children. We want to teach and encourage parents first.  We will coach you, guide you, teach you what we know so you are knowledgable and ready to communicate with your child’s school.  We want to help bridge any gaps between a school and a family.  We believe in the focus being on the child.  This is what we always come back to.  What does the child need? How can we help? How can the parents help? How can the school help?  After empowering the family, if you need additional support from us, we’re there.  We can sit as advocates for your child at meetings and help bridge those gaps where needed.  We also try to have open communication and collaboration first.

Advocate-noun. One that supports or promotes the interests of another.

Empower-verb. To enable or permit.

Mindful-adjective. Attentive and aware.

We support the interest of the child by empowering families first.  We are attentive and aware of the way we communicate with schools, families, and other professionals.

empowerment

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Registration for Social Skills Classes April 23rd-May 28st

registration-for-social-skills-classes-april-23rd-may-28st-updated

Registration is now open for our last set of social skills classes before the Summer! 

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.

We are offering three different sessions, each with a specific focus. We believe that empowering the parent/guardian is equally important in teaching social skills to a child. Please plan on staying for the parent session of your child’s class to learn what your child is learning and how to help your child at home. For session one and session two, teacher letters will be e-mailed weekly to each parent. This gives you the opportunity to share what your child is learning with his/her teacher and helps connect what your child is learning to his/her school environment.

All classes are held at 9700 Research Drive, Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262. The total cost for a six-week session is $225.00. To register, fill out the registration form and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. Each group will have no more than 5 students so we can practice “thinking” about thinking as well as individualize for each child.

If you are new, we recommend beginning with the self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control class first. If you have questions about any classes, please feel free to e-mail us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  You may be interested in reading about who could benefit from a social skills class here Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes? and Social Learning

Session 1: Social Learning through Self-Awareness, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Control

Following the Think Social! model, children and parents will learn the differences between self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. Students will learn about “hidden” social expectations in different environments, how behaviors are connected to emotions, strengthen imitation skills, how to gain self-awareness with individual behaviors, move into self-monitoring tools for shifting negative behaviors into positive ones, how to identify if a problem is a big one or little one, and learn how to use your whole body to listen.  Each child will choose a personal behavior goal and learn tools to help create a shift in awareness and behaviors.

This group meets from 3:00-4:00

Session 2: Theory of Mind and Zones of Regulation

Theory of Mind is the way we understand and interpret our social world with knowing that other people have different thoughts, views, perspectives, and feelings.  Following the Theory of Mind philosophy and merging the Think Social! Zones of Regulation, students will learn how to be more mindful of other people in their social circles. They will begin to make a connection between their actions and how others are feeling. Zones of Regulation teaches children how to become aware of their emotional state and gives them tools to get back into the “green” zone.

This group meets from 4:00-5:00.

Session 3: Practicing of Social Skills

This session is designed for open practice of the social skills that have previously been taught.  We will create opportunities for the students to practice social thinking and executive functioning skills in a play environment.  This gives us the opportunity to help each child individually navigate a challenging social scenario using their tools and knowledge from previous groups.  Due to the level of individualization, instead of a weekly teacher letter, we will give our contact information to your child’s teacher and can facilitate open communication on skills their student continues to strengthen as well as get feedback on what skills need continued practice in the school environment.

This group meets from 5:00-6:00

 

Haley for website

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Gratitude

Happy Friday everyone! We wanted to talk, specifically, to all of you moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers this morning.  We know first hand how being a parent of a child with special needs goes hand in hand with receiving more negative comments, judgmental statements or feedback.  Sometimes those comments come from your child’s school.  Sometimes it comes from a neighbor.  Maybe it’s a look you get from a stranger while just trying to accomplish your grocery shopping.  At times, it’s delivered from a friend.  We do believe those negative comments are a reflection of where that person is in their lives; their own personal level of awareness.  Even when understanding this,  your heart doesn’t sting any less when being on the receiving end.

It’s so important to find the positive moments in each day and note them.  Write those moments of positivity down in a journal, state them out loud, or say them quietly to yourself. Even if you start with just one a day. There is always something positive to be found.  At first, you may have to look deeper.  For example, yesterday I said a moment of “thanks” for not having to drive on I-85 for the day.  This morning I said “thanks” for the amazing, wonderful and rare morning we all had before school.  What we can promise you is, once you start noticing a positive moment in your day, you begin to shift.  You begin to notice more of them and, over time, the negative comments do not sting or stick to you like they once did.

Give it a try.  Set a goal. For 30 days notice at least one positive thing in your day.

What are you thankful for today?

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

Grateful 2 wm 1