Thursday, February 16, 2012

Magic words

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 I have some magic words to share with you: Proven Framework for Mainstreaming.
That is the phrase I used in my emails and when talking with administrators while we were choosing a placement for SensiGirl's kindergarten.  I knew from her last IEP meeting that they only thought she could handle up to a maximum of 20% of her day in a regular education classroom, (if that.)  I knew it was important for her to go to a school that knew how to make the transition from a special education classroom to a regular education/inclusion classroom sometime in the future when she was ready.
The words came to me and I knew I had the concept I was trying to articulate when I was feeling dismayed at the other school choices I had.

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Sometimes you can research the words into concepts, sometimes you have to sit with them and put them together yourself. The important thing is you find a way to convey what you want for your child.  When talking about extended school year be sure to mention regression and recoupment in the Fall, as well as "window of of opportunity" for educating your special needs child.

When discussing behavior issues involving your child with sensory processing disorder make sure to mention that what looks like bad behavior could be due to involuntary reactions to sensory overload.

When talking about classrooms or school, use the word appropriate, as in free appropriate public education (FAPE,) and a certain class room setting that is appropriate for a child with your child's disabilities.

It is helpful to be familiar with the terms already in use to be able to use them for your child's benefit.  Here is a handy glossary of the terms used in discussing special education.

Here is a link to Pennsylvania's Department of Education's pamphlet for understanding the language of special education. It has helpful sections on disabilities and behaviors, and educational terms.
Understanding the Language of Special Education: A Glossary for Parents and Educators

It can be tricky when you see or know of something you don't want for your child. You must find a way to frame or express what you DO want for your child. Many schools have policies about not reqesting a specific teacher by name for your child. I always make sure I express in Random Guy's IEP what kind of classroom and teaching style is helpful for him to make progress.
Use the magic words and you may find you get exactly what you want.

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