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/

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A New School Year

A new school year already! This can bring feelings of excitement as well as anxiety.  One thing you can to do prepare for the new school year is to begin communicating with your child’s teacher.  Who else knows him or her like you do? Communication is a critical piece in your partnership with your child’s school. We recommend writing an e-mail or a letter to your child’s new teacher telling them all about your child.  We previously wrote a post about this but feel it’s important to share again. You can find the past post here Communicating with Your Child’s Teacher which also includes a link for a template on how to write a letter and communicate.

As the year progresses, keep that communication line open.  Here is a  link to the Wrightslaw website on how to write an effective letter to your child’s school pertaining to any EC needs or concerns http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/letters.draft.htm

If you would like help on how to begin or tools for communicating with your child’s school, please reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

Cheers to the start of a fantastic year!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

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Child Find

Child Find is a legal requirement that schools “find” children (ages birth through 21) with disabilities who may need special education services.   If the school knows or suspects a child has a disability then, according to the law, it must agree to evaluations.  Here are some excellent resources detailing Child Find:

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/child-find-what-it-is-and-how-it-works

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/project-child-find

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference

We wanted to share an opportunity that is coming up on March 13th in Greensboro.   We are both attending this conference to keep ourselves updated  on information  to better serve as advocates.  Please check out this amazing day training here http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/17.03.nc.htm

Let us know if you’re going and we’ll catch up with you there!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Resources

Good morning!  We wanted to share some websites that we either subscribe to or have read useful articles from.   If you have a favorite site, please share it with us in the comments or e-mail it to us! We love keeping up with new information.

The Wrightslaw website can be overwhelming, but there is a lot of useful and important information to be found here.  They also have the option to subscribe to their newsletter on their homepage.  Here is a link to their website http://wrightslaw.com

This website provides information for ADD/ADHD for parents and caregivers http://www.chadd.org

Autism Speaks and TEACCH is another excellent resource https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/teacch

You can visit the NC DPI website for Exceptional Children here http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov

We have shared ECAC’s website in the past and we wanted to make sure if you’re new to our website that you have this link as an available resource in our area http://www.ecac-parentcenter.org

This website not only gives information but links to other websites relevant to EC needs in North Carolina http://www.disabilityrightsnc.org/education-self-advocacy-resources

Here is a copy of the latest handbook on parent’s rights and responsiblities http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/ecparenthandbook.pdf

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Requesting an Evaluation

Previously, we wrote a couple of posts talking about what to do if your child is struggling in school What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling? and What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?

We wanted to specifically touch on the option of a parent requesting an evaluation.  According to IDEA,  you do have the right to request an evaluation from your child’s public school. This letter must be in writing. The public school is responsible for providing and paying for any evaluation for any child who may need special education services.  This link provides details http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/tests.evals.crabtree.htm.  Another good reference can be found here http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/

You also have an option of obtaining an outside evaluation and bringing it to your child’s school.  Public schools must consider all private evaluations as part of the fact finding process for your child. Here is a link that details your rights if you choose to have an independent evaluation performed outside of your child’s school http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm

We have prepared a simple letter requesting an evaluation to send to your child’s school.  The words in bold need to be changed to add specific details such as your child’s name, areas of concern, date, etc.  Remember, once you have officially requested an evaluation, your child’s school must contact you to set up a meeting to discuss your child’s strengths, areas of need/concern, interventions tried and the results of those interventions.  Here is a link to a past post about what type of meeting you will have Know Your Forms-Referral For Help

Here is the letter that you can download to request an evaluation:

letter-requesting-an-evaulation

Here is a copy of the letter if you would rather type it in a different format:

 

                                                                                                                                    DATE-month,day,year

 

Dear (preferably addressed to EC Teacher and/or principal),

 

I have concerns regarding (insert your child’s name) in (insert specific area such as reading, writing, math, social).   I have spoken with my child’s teacher, (name) and we have tried certain strategies to help him (or her). However, he (or she) continues to have difficulty in this area (or areas-be specific).

I would like to formally request an evaluation for my child to discuss his (or her) strengths and areas of needs in school. I would like to have a meeting within ten days of this letter to begin the process.

I can be reached at (e-mail address) or (phone number).

 

Thank you. I look forward to meeting and discussing how to help (your child’s name).

 

Sincerely,

                                                                             Your Name

 

 

As always, if you have any questions about this process, please send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Free Class on Understanding the Components to an IEP

Please join us on Wednesday, December 12 for a free parent/guardian class on understanding the components to an IEP.

9700 Research Dr., Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262

There will be two free sessions offered: 10:00-11:00 a.m. and 12:00-1:00.

We are able to host ten people per class.  Please RSVP to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com to let us know you are coming and which session you will attending.

We look forward to seeing you!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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My Child’s Team Doesn’t Agree on a Decision-Now What?

First, never forget you are part of your child’s team. Who Is On Your Child’s Team? When you walk into an IEP meeting about your child, it may not always feel that way. Sometimes, it may seem like everyone else on the team has had conversations about their expectations for the meeting and you are feeling less than confident in your knowledge. If a draft IEP was created for your child, those prior conversations are very necessary. The only problem is that often, the parent is left out of these conversations. As the meeting progresses, you realize that you wanted a service, or goal, or accommodation that others on the team did not. In an ideal world, everyone on the team would give input and a consensus would be reached. A consensus is when, after hearing all of the information, everyone re-adjusts what they think is best for the child and everyone comes to an agreement.  Please know there are people and places where this occurs. Where every adult puts their agenda to the side and really considers what is best for the child. However, more often, parents call us letting us know that a decision was made and they feel they had no input. We have even heard parents say that the other members of the team skipped entire sections of discussing their child’s IEP. If a decision was made with you in the meeting and you do not agree with it, you have several options.

Advocacy- If you know you are walking into a situation and you feel like you will not be heard or that you will not understand the lingo, bring an advocate. Someone who can listen to what is being said and help you navigate the meeting. This person should never make your decisions for you, but instead guides you and explains in parent friendly language what is being said.

Facilitated IEP- You can request a third, neutral party come to an IEP meeting. The school will fill out paperwork and submit it the state. A new IEP meeting will be scheduled and the facilitator will make sure the child is considered and not adult agendas. http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution/facilitation

Formal Written Complaint- You have the right to file a formal written complaint with the Department of Public Instruction. They will notify the school that you have done so. The investigator will encourage the school to come to a signed agreement with you. They will also conduct an investigation of all your complaints. The investigator will review all documentation regarding the complaint, hold interviews with those involved  and could do a site visit. If the school is found non-compliant, a corrective action plan will be established. The school will be required to follow the corrective action plan or could face further sanctions. http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution/formal-written-complaints

Mediation- Anyone on the team can request mediation. A mediator will be assigned and will work to make sure everyone feels heard. They will work towards a written agreement on which everyone agrees. This is an informal meeting where everyone has the chance to be heard regarding the child’s education. http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution/mediation

Due Process-You also have the right to file Due Process. This will initiate a hearing based on your complaints and the resolution you would like to see. Both sides will be allowed to present evidence to an administrative law judge. More details, including a time line can be found here  http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/parent-resources/dispute-resolution/due-process-hearings

If you do not agree with a decision being made and you decide to move forward with any of the formal due process options (mediation, formal written complaint, or due process) “stay put” is invoked. This means the decisions made prior to the point of complaint must be followed. For example, if the Team decided to change your child’s placement from regular education to a separate setting, and you disagreed and started a formal due process, then your child’s placement will continue to be “regular” education.

As you consider which approach is best for your child’s education, always try to keep the lines of communication open with your child’s school. The first avenue recommended is to have an open and honest discussion with your child’s educators. Sometimes, just feeling heard and hearing their thoughts and opinions is all that is necessary.  If you feel like you are not comfortable with the lingo, we recommend hiring an advocate to help you navigate the meeting.  We also recommend the book, “From Emotions to Advocacy” https://www.amazon.com/Wrightslaw-Emotions-Advocacy-Education-Survival/dp/1892320096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476899427&sr=8-1&keywords=from+emotions+to+advocacy

With Gratitude,

Wendy and Christina