Why Natural Consequences Don’t Always Work

I recently read a parenting article talking about how, as a mom, I should stop doing certain things for my kids. I liked the article and may have even shared it. As I thought of two of my children while reading it, I said, “Yes! Of course that makes so much sense”. But as I thought of my third child I felt my hesitation about the advice I received. Most of that advice would NEVER work for him because he needs to be taught in a systematic and cognitive way specific skills that other kids learn intuitively. For example, although many middle schoolers are messy, my middle schooler is messy and unorganized. However, he has a desire to be tidy and organized. The more I allow him to learn from his mistakes of unorganization, the more frustrated he gets which results in the more unorganized he gets. Eventually, he gives up all hope of ever being organized and this unorganization carries over from his binder, to his room, then his brain, and finally his emotions. It will affect him in every way. But if I (or another adult) offer an organizational method in a slow and systematic way, he learns it. Once he learns it without prompting or cues, he uses it. And while it may not be the way I envisioned it in my head, he uses it in a way that makes sense to him. Now he is ready to learn from the mistake of not using it. This process can take a week, a month, a quarter, or even a full year. No matter how long it takes, it’s important to realize what skills we can step away from and which ones need to be taught slowly and systematically which will give our children chances for more success.  

With Appreciation,

Wendy

Free Parent Class on How to Effectively Communicate With Your Child’s School

Communication between you and your child’s school is a key piece to building a working relationship.  As you strengthen communication, your meetings often run more smoothly.  Please join us on Wednesday, October 4th from 12:00-1:00 as we discuss effective communication techniques. Some of the topics we will discuss are: what to include in your email communication; how to know who to include in your email; how do you clearly state your intent; and how to organize and keep track of your communications.

This class is created from questions that we receive on a daily basis. It will provide you with useful tools that you can incorporate throughout the school year.

Please e-mail us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com to let us know you’re coming!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy


What Information Would You Like?

Happy Thursday everyone! We would love to hear from you on what kind of information you would like to have.  Send us an e-mail with your thoughts at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com, leave a comment here on our website, or on our Facebook page.

Would you like to know more about Orton-Gillingham tutoring or speech language therapy or evaluations?  Would information about paperwork or communicating with your child’s school be helpful? Maybe advocacy tips for navigating a meeting at your child’s school?  Tips for teaching social skills to your children?  Resources in a specific area?  Specific special education laws and resources?

We have a lot of information between the two of us and would love to hear from you on what would be most helpful!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Differences Between Social Skills Group and Middle School Group

Good morning! We have made a lot of posts this week with our fall schedule and registrations.  We wanted to let you know the differences between the two groups that we recently posted.

The social skills groups are for elementary aged children.  They are working and building upon specific social skills.  The children meet as a group while the parents meet as a separate group.  This session runs for six weeks and registration is due by August 19th.  Please click here for the full details Registration for School Age Social Skills Classes August 20th-October 1st

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Our middle school group typically meets two Friday evenings a month and you can register for all the open Fridays or you can register the week the group meets.  This group consists of no more than 10 students with grades ranging from 6th-9th.  This is more of a relaxed group than our elementary aged group because it’s more of an organic environment where the students hang out, we play games, and we teach mini-lessons during the group.  Please click here for the full details Middle School OTB Group-Fall Semester

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If you have any questions about our groups, please contact us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

We will be posting details about a homeschool fall schedule as well as our upcoming free IEP classes for parents and guardians soon.

With Gratitude,

Christina and Wendy

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

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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 University Ridge Office Center, 1905 JN Pease Place, Suite 201, 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.

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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

 

 

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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