Tag Archives: United States

Getting Started in the New School Year: Checklist for you…

16 Sep

An orange check mark.

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Ok…now it is week two. 

BE AN ADVOCATE.. and keep going…..

Your child in the new school has a counselor. Call that person who you got the name of during week one.

Follow up.  Check if they have that IEP. If they do not have the IEP with their school name on it then you will need to call your local school district and have them send it on.  Request a copy for yourself too. 

Ask to double check your child’s daily schedule – regardless of their age.  Are they getting the classes that they are supposed to be.  Are the preschool programs in sync with what you were told that they would be.  Just check.  If you are confused then ask now.

Try to get the name of the therapist who is going to work with your child.  Just work on getting a name at this point of the year.    

Get a composition book and proactively write “communication book” on the front of it.  This book should be given to your child’s teacher  or counselor with a request that it be given to the new therapist.

Write a note introducing yourself in the communication book and  ask for the new therapist’s name and phone number.  If the therapist has an email ask for that too.

Ask the therapist -in your introductory note, to connect with you when your child begins session and to give you their name.  Offer your contact information and keep a line of communication open.

Give the therapist a couple of weeks to respond to you.  It sometimes takes a little bit of time to get schedules together.  In the meantime – YOUR homework is to lay the groundwork for organizing communication between you and the school.  You should have the IEP at the school by the end of this coming week, if not earlier. 

BE PERSISTENT…. and KEEP GOING….

My child just got an IEP (individualized education plan) and is in a new school this year. What do i do???

4 Sep

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

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Is your child starting a new school?  If so, you most likely are feeling a certain amount of anxiety, as is your child if he or she is old enough to understand what this means for them.

BE AN ADVOCATE

Ensure that your child does not fall through the cracks….

You might think something like …what are the teachers going to be like?  will my child like his or her teacher and will they make friends at the school?  You are probably wondering when the services that are authorized will start.  Well – here is news for you they may not start on time unless you stay involved.  This is not to put down anyone who might an administrator or teacher in any one school – but things sometimes happen, especially in a large educational system – like the public school system.  You  a tremendous help and partner in making sure that your child gets help.  Here are some quick suggestions for you to keep in mind.

Having worked in schools; with the professional hat on (so to speak), i can give you some advice. Some schools do not see the paperwork for students who have an IEP (if it is a public school program, especially) until the school district sends them over.

It will be helpful if when you go to school – during the first week, stop by the main office and give the principal a copy personally.

Get the name of the director of special education services at the school. If that is not the exact title – just explain to the staff that your child receives services – he is mandated for — therapy (fill in the blank) and you would like to introduce yourself.  I believe that they will really appreciate this initiative on your part.  It also sends a very positive message to the school about YOU as a parent. 

Now that the school is aware of the fact that your child is to be receiving services….Make sure that your child is on the list of students who should be receiving services in the school. This is extremely important because sometimes not all the names have been sent over from the district office.

Inform your child’s classroom teacher and ask for the name of the person who will be providing services.  Get a phone number/extension for that person and an idea of when they will be in school. Be aware that sometimes related service providers/therapists might travel between different schools during any particular work week.

Ask the school in a few weeks to tell you of the schedule for therapy for your child.

Ask the therapist for a weekly report – bring in a composition book…put in your name and phone number and ask for theirs. 

Double check the number of sessions that your child can receive during the year.  With budget cuts impacting on services across the country and possibly, a limit on this should not be overlooked!

In October – we will revisit this topic for next steps.  Schedules may not necessarily be finalized until the first few weeks  into that month – but make a start to get involved in the process.  It will be appreciated and most important – will benefit both you and your child.

Considerations for Adoptive Parents…a personal and professional perspective

11 Aug

Sixteen years ago,  i was sitting in the library researching areas that i thought might be best to place ads geared towards biological parents who wanted to place their newborn in the hands of adoptive parents.  My now fifteen year old son’s father and i were anxious to find a newborn and worked with our attorney – placing advertisements in Texas publications.  As advised by our adoption parent committee mentors here in new york city we acquired an 800 number and ultimately received calls from a number of women, including a hopeful surrogate.  This was a path that we chose not to pursue.  We, created business cards and told many people that we were in this process.  My most important concern at the time was locating a healthy newborn.

Something now in retrospect strikes me as interesting,,,,,i have no recollection of having picked up a book such as “what to expect when you’re expecting”. The only book that i recall reading was one given to me by one of my brothers.  It pertained to care of a newborn.  Alone in San Antonio for ten days, my son’s father and I found this extremely useful.  Perhaps I am forgetting something; but, I do not recall any workshops at monthly meetings or annual adoption conferences in which this was discussed. 

At this point, i work with newborns and children in early childhood year as a speech-language pathologist, mostly in their homes.  Some of them have adopted children. In preparing this post, I reached out to my colleagues about what literature they may have come across related to this topic.  I started to realize that there are some professionals in my industry that actually specialize in working with these children  A new revelation.

I am working on gathering more material about adoption for upcoming posts.  There is a lot of information for just one post.  For the moment, I suggest that prospective adoptive parents remember to read books that discuss typical developmental skills that you would see in children. 

Resources:

“Parenting” sections in bookstores such as Barnes and Nobles

“Parenting and Families” section  of the Kindle Bookstore – if you have this e-reader and i assume that the other e-readers have a similar section in their respective “bookstore”

Bookstores of the American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association and American Speech-Language Hearing Association respectively, have books on their sites that you can consider

Parenting organizations in your area-check your phone books as they are also a great wealth  of information.

It Takes Two to Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Communicate by Ayala Manolson