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

Sunflower wm with quote

 

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

accountability road sign illustration design over a white background

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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Tips for Having Effective Meetings

There are a couple of important tips to help have effective meetings with your child’s school.  First, communicate.  E-mail and discuss your concerns and your questions with your child’s regular education and special education teachers.  Hear what they have to say and ask for clarification on any points that you are unsure about.  Always document your conversations in a notebook with whom you communicated with and what the answers were.  If you have an e-mail, you can easily print the e-mail and put it in your notebook.  When meeting, make sure you are aware of what the agenda is and ask questions beforehand if you are unsure.

During meetings, practice active listening.  Hear what teachers, administrators, and other professionals have to say.  Write it down.  You can repeat it back for full understanding by stating, “What I heard you say was….”  Practice asking Who, What, When, Why, and Where questions.  If you are uncertain, ask, “Can you explain?”  Write it down, repeat it back to make sure you fully understand what they are saying.  Some points of clarification may be important to add to the DEC5 at the end of the meeting The Importance of a DEC5 and Who Is On Your Child’s Team?

 

With Appreciation,

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