Nov 142013

Parent Support: The Story

It happened again today. I always attribute it to God putting me in the right place at the right time to provide parent support to desperate moms.

I was out running errands, and I had not intended to, but I decided to stop and grab lunch on my way home since I have a busy afternoon ahead.

My lunch arrived and I had just begun eating when a woman walked in the restaurant and asks the first person she sees, “Is that your green car out there?” I knew instantly, she was looking for me.

The woman glanced around quickly, identified me as another likely candidate and asked me, “Is that your green car out there?”

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

I’m often thankful for my green car. Not only is it a great car (Honda CR-V), but it is also distinct because of its color. That aspect was not a consideration when I bought the car–I just liked the green color.

“Tell me about your parent support,” the woman says, “I saw it on your car.” She wasn’t crying yet, but I could tell there was an urgency in her voice.

I knew exactly what she meant. The back window of my car has the logo for “Learning Abled Kids” on it. I proceeded to tell her that I helped support parents of learning abled kids in figuring out how to meet their child’s educational needs. I told her we have an online parent support group where everyone helps each other.”

“That’s good because..” and she started telling me her story. It was similar to many stories I’ve heard, and yet distinct with its own little nuances and a slightly different flavor.

Nevertheless, there it was–another Learning Abled Kid whose education was wasting away in public school.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cry on you,” she said.

“That’s TOTALLY okay. I’ve been right where you are. I understand completely,” I said nearly in tears myself. It is always heart-breaking that this scenario takes place in school after school, year after year, and I wonder if it will ever stop.

We talked more about how remiss public schools are in meeting the needs of kids with reading-based learning disabilities. We talked a little bit about schooling options and I gave her my business card. She thanked me for my time and started to leave..

I called out to her, “Chin Up. It’ll be okay because you care!” And so it will be.

And so, once again I had a conversation over lunch with a crying stranger, but it was meant to be. I always want to give HUGE hugs, and tell the mom. “Thank You!” on behalf of her child.

For any parent who seeks solutions, and asks questions, answers shall come your way. Whether by me, by the Learning Abled Kids’ parent support group, or by some other knowledgeable source. Just keep asking, keep seeking, and you shall find educational solutions for your child.

As long as you don’t give up on your child, seek answers and solutions, and put the solutions in place, your child will be alright.

Your child is already well ahead of many kids because he has a mom who cares enough to go into a restaurant to seek an unknown, total stranger that drives a green car.

As a Seeker Mom, YOU ROCK!

Aug 282013

WHO needs to meet your child’s special needs when it comes to education?

Help Child failing to make educational progress

“My child is failing because the school isn’t doing their job,” parents often say.

Do you think teachers consider it YOUR fault when your child fails to make academic progress?

Guess WHAT? School administrators and teachers blame parents when a child doesn’t learn (seriously, they do)!

Many schools fail to meet the special needs of learning abled kids, then they blame the parents for poor educational outcomes.

Ultimately, I think parents have to take responsibility for their child’s learning because the schools won’t. I don’t think it is your “fault” when your child isn’t making progress, but it is your obligation to advocate for your child. Your child can’t advocate for his own special needs. Therefore, you have to insure your child obtains an adequate education.

Is There Evidence Your School Isn’t Meeting the Special Needs of Your Child?

Any school worth attending knows that early intervention equals better educational outcomes. However, schools OFTEN delay testing a child for learning disabilities (repeatedly).  Schools also delay early intervention by retaining a child, which is proven by research to be an ineffective strategy.

If your school is giving you the run around about testing, suggested retention as a strategy, or put off early intervention by waiting for your child to get “far enough” behind, or worse yet–to fail, then your school isn’t meeting the needs of your child. Period. Sadly, it is an antiquated form of educational neglect practiced by schools across America!

Many schools do not act in the best interest of children with special needs or learning disabilities. They THINK they are, but they fail to implement research-based practices. They FIGHT against parents in IEP meetings. They’re really good at making the parents think they know best.. seeing as how they’re “trained.” They will delay helping a child until he is well behind his peers, suffering from low self-esteem, or until the child’s parents demand a change or hire an advocate/attorney. Again, it is an antiquated form of educational neglect practiced by schools.

If your school is playing games with you, your otherwise intelligent child may be more than two years behind before you figure out your child isn’t making adequate educational progress.  It may take a couple more years before you figure out the school isn’t ever going to step up to the plate. They may never provide an appropriate education for your child.

As soon as you realize your child’s special needs are not being met, you need to step in to save your child from the school’s apathy.

Ultimately, the lives of the teachers are not affected if your child fails to make adequate educational progress.  Next year, the teacher has a new set of kids. Your child is no longer her concern.

You will be affected for a lifetime by poor outcomes for your child.   Sadly, it will be your child who ultimately suffers the most if you do not take action.

Your child is counting on you to be an action-taking parent.

What actions should a parent take?

If you’ve been to your child’s conferences, been to IEP meetings, and/or communicated concerns to your child’s teacher repeatedly, but you’re seeing little or no meaningful action by the school, then you need to begin researching other options.

If your child’s school isn’t meeting his special needs, do one of the following:

  1. Get Legal Help from a lawyer or special education advocate to force the school to educate your child properly;
  2. Find a better school, whether private or online; or
  3. Take complete control of your child’s education by homeschooling your child and outsourcing to private providers wherever neededspecial needs.

If you do nothing, one thing is certain: your child will not achieve at his level of academic and/or creative potential.  Your child will flounder for years. Who knows what will become of his life?  Your child needs YOU to advocate or educate him… NOW.

With heartfelt sincerity, I implore you: Whatever you do, if your child’s education is not adequate, please DO SOMETHING to change your child’s education for the better. Visit the Special Education Guidebook (free online) to determine where you are along the path of meeting your child’s educational special needs.

Still don’t know what to do? Have Questions? Come and ask them on Learning Abled Kids’ Facebook Page.  Either myself or another member of our community will help answer your questions. Together, we can help you find direction and help you help your child.

Those of us who’ve chosen homeschooling as our learning solution find support and answers to our questions in the Learning Abled Kids’ Support Group as well as on the Facebook page.

We’re ordinary moms helping our kids. Many of our kids are making unexpected educational gains. Check out our Inspirational Stories for encouragement. Please join us one place or another. Learn more about how to help your child learn by meeting his special needs head-on!

Aug 032013

IEP Placement Decisions – The Least Restrictive Environment:

least restrictive environment advocacy
Placement – [n] the act of putting something in a certain place or location (WordNet Dictionary @

In regard to IEPs, “placement” is where your child will be, or go, when receiving instruction.

The “Least Restrictive Environment” for any child is considered to be in the child’s neighborhood school in the general education classroom. That placement is the same as every other child, so there are no restrictions.

When your child is placed in any class other than the regular classroom, then he is “restricted” more than other kids to some degree. Special education laws (IDEA) require children to be placed in the LEAST restrictive environment where that child can be taught and learn effectively.

Least Restrictive Environment Placements (in order of restriction may include):

General education classroom with no supports.
General education classroom with a personal aid.
Pull-out program for 30 minutes of speech, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.
Pull-out program for Reading, Writing, or Math Resource (ranging up to 2 or 3 hours per day).
Small, special education classroom (generally 6-10 students).
Very small special education classroom (2-5 students).
One-on-one instruction (rare, but does happen in some exceptional schools).
Home-bound, one-on-one instruction (when a child cannot attend school).

Placement can be any place within the school, within the community, and even at home. Placement may be in a private school. Instruction may be provided at a private practitioner’s location. The least restrictive environment is in the regular classroom, but it may be in specialized classrooms, or any other place where instruction may be provided.

IDEA code section §300.115 Continuum of alternative placements states: “Each public agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.” The continuum must— (1) Include the alternative placements listed under §300.26 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and (2) Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.”.

Least Restrictive Environment placement continuum:

So what, exactly, is a “continuum”? According to the WordNet Dictionary @ it is: “a continuous non-spatial whole or extent or succession in which no part or portion is distinct of distinguishable from adjacent parts.”

In relation to “placement”, this means a child can have any form of instruction she needs. Instruction can be one-on-one instruction, before or after school tutoring, small group instruction in one or more subjects, complete inclusion in the regular classroom with significant supports and services, etc. Whatever placement a child needs should be provided.

Quiz Question

Which placement must a school have available?
Private school placement.
Home-based education with tutoring services.
Regular classroom with supports and services.
All of the above.

Answer: D

backward in iep training

forward in iep training
Aug 032013

Components of an IEP – What should be in your child’s IEP?

As a parent, it’s important for you to know what is SUPPOSED to be in your child’s IEP. School’s often bypass certain requirements such as transition planning (from high school to adult life), assistive technology or accommodations, measurable criteria for your child’s goals, and more.

Therefore, knowing the components of an IEP that are supposed to be included will help you keep your child’s IEP team and education on track.

Below, you’ll find the legal requirements for IEPs taken directly from the Federal IDEA regulations. On the pages of this tutorial that follow, I’ll explain which components of an IEP are required to be in each section of the IEP. You can navigate to using the “Forward” Button at the bottom of each page.

The required components of an IEP, as defined in IDEA §300.347(a) “Content of IEP” are—

(1) A statement of the child’s present levels of educational performance,

(2) A statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short term objectives,

(3) A statement of special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child,

(4) An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will NOT participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the activities described,

(5) A statement of any individual modifications in the administration of State or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the child to participate in the assessment,

(6) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications, and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications, and

(7) A statement of how the child’s progress toward the annual goals will be measured and how the child’s parents will be regularly informed of the child’s progress.

(b) Transition planning —beginning at age 14 .

These are the basic requirements for the components of an IEP. Reading this list may make your eyes glaze over. To clear the fog, please continue through this tutorial by pressing the “Forward” button. In the upcoming pages, I’ll explain each of the components of an IEP in greater detail. I’ll tell you what is required to be in the section and how to approach writing that section of your child’s IEP.

components of an IEP

components of an IEP training
Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: My child recently started school and has been struggling. His teacher thinks he should be evaluated for learning problems. She is having difficulty providing the help he needs. Should I continue to send my child to our public school or do kids get better special education in private schools?

Answer about special education in private schools:

Whether your child will get “better” special education in private schools depends on how readily your public school provides special services and how good those services are.

Some public schools provide excellent remediation programs and do a great job. If your school is willing and provides the needed services, I’d say it would be worthwhile to see if they can help.

If, on the other hand, you have to battle to get services, then you probably won’t get the highly effective instruction your child needs. Services vary widely even when it comes to special education in private schools, so you have to evaluate what your child needs. Then see who will be most likely to provide the services your child needs.

Even with special education services specified in your child’s IEP, he may not get what the school says he will. For example, our child would go to the reading program and watch baseball, play games, or cut out snowflakes. Our school’s personnel just didn’t seem to get it or didn’t want to get it.

We tried being nice and they patted us on our heads and acted like we were idiots in regard to our son’s educational needs. After years of battling, our son was STILL reading on a first grade level even with their “special” services.  Thus, we removed our boys from public school. I don’t regret the removal one bit because dealing with *our* public school was a nightmare.

When starting out, you might want to go with the public school for a time and see if your school turns out to be one of the good ones. If they are, it could be great!!

However, I recommend keeping a close watch on your child’s progress. YOU should monitor your child’s progress. Don’t just go by what the school says.  If your child struggles, but the school says he’s doing GREAT, he may not really be progressing. It always pays to keep an independent eye on your child’s educational progress.

I think it’s important for you to know that there is no obligation to provide special education in private schools. It’s not unusual for a private school to offer no individual special instruction. They often expect the child to attain the same level of academic progress as all of the other students.

The main exception is private schools which specifically cater to children with specific learning disabilities.  If you have a specialized private school nearby that serves children with learning disabilities and you can afford the tuition, it could be your best option.

homeschool instead of special education in private schools

You may find it beneficial to look at the Pros and Cons chart regarding educational alternatives. It’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

Best Wishes to you.. It isn’t an easy road, but if your child gets what he needs.. It is AMAZING how wonderful these special minds can be!! 😀


Return to Questions

Aug 022013

Have questions about homeschooling?

Questions About Homeschooling

I hope these FAQs will help answer YOUR questions about homeschooling.

If you don’t see your questions about homeschooling listed here, I’ve also written a book with the answers to 75 of the most frequently asked questions about homeschooling. They’re questions I’ve received many times over the past decade. You can look in the Table of Contents of my book to see if your questions about homeschooling are answered in the book. My book is called, “How-To Homeschool Your Learning Abled Kid: 75 Questions Answered.” It’s available on Amazon. You can search the title there.

Between these two resources, I hope you can get answers to ALL of your questions about homeschooling!

List of Questions About Homeschooling :

Q: I don’t want my child ‘labeled’. Why should I have learning disabilities testing? Answer

Q: How do you help your child if she has severe problems with memory and information recall? How can I teach my child how to memorize? Answer

Q: I need information on adequate yearly progress (AYP). My child’s teacher is giving my son good grades, but I am not seeing the progress. I don’t think he’s making AYP. What can I do? Answer

Q: My child can read, but has difficulty writing. Is it possible my child has a writing disability or dysgraphia? Answer

Q: My child can sound out words, but she has to sound them out every single time even though she’s just read the word. She has some reversals of b’s and d’s too. Do you think she is showing signs of dyslexia? Answer

Q: Is vision therapy valid or does my child need vision therapy? Any advice/experience is appreciated.. My child is six and struggling with reading. Would you get an exam? Answer

Q: Please give me your opinion about using any of these services:

1) Neuropsychological Testing through the school system
2) Pediatrician
3) Neurodevelopment Training Answer

Q: How much should I worry about reading speed? Is there a reading fluency program out there that you’d recommend? Or, do you know of any methods to use on a daily basis to slowly improve speed? Answer

Q: I’ve heard the Lindamood Bell is good, but it is so expensive. Is it worth the money? Can you provide a Lindamood Bell review? Answer

Q: We just moved. My child had a 504 plan in school. Where can I find information about 504 plan requirements in my new state? Answer

Q: My child recently started school and has been struggling. His teacher thinks he should be evaluated for learning problems. She is having difficulty providing the help he needs. Should I continue to send my child to our public school or do kids get better special education in private schools? Answer

Q: Our school system says dyslexia is not a valid classification for receiving services for 504. What is a 504 plan and are they just for medical conditions? Answer

Q: I have had to battle my school system for Special Ed Services for my first child. Now my second child is struggling even more. Will it be easier to get special ed services for my second child? Answer

Q: Could you please tell me more about this Davis method? I would like to learn more about it. Can you give a Ron Davis Dyslexia Program Review? Answer

Q: My child struggles with writing, and math, and has trouble remembering symbols. Because he reverses symbols, I am wondering if he has dyslexia, but he can read. Is it possible that he has dyslexia and can you recommend a curriculum? Answer

Q: Our school system says our child doesn’t qualify for special services because they think he has a behavior problem, not a learning disability. I think it’s a learning issue. What do I do? Answer

Q: My school says they won’t test my child because she is making passing grades. We think our child needs help. What are the rules for special education eligibility? Answer

Q: My child’s teacher says if they provide *any* modifications for my child, she won’t be able to graduate with a regular diploma. Is this true? Answer

Q: Our child is struggling with reading. We suspect dyslexia. Our school administrators say they can’t diagnose dyslexia in children. Is this true? Answer

Q: We are moving a child with an IEP to a new school. The new school system says our child doesn’t qualify for special services here. Can they just stop special education services? Answer

If you still have questions about homeschooling, you may want to join one of the Learning Abled Kids’ support groups:

You can ask your questions about homeschooling in the Learning Abled Kids’ YAHOO Support Group.
– OR –
You can ask your questions about homeschooling on the Learning Abled Kids’ Facebook Page.
– OR-
You can join the Learning Abled Kids’ private Facebook Group and ask your questions about homeschooling in there.

We have a lot of great homeschooling moms who are willing to answer questions about homeschooling. They know a LOT about a wide variety of subjects!