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Posted by on in Special Education


The little boy dropped his backpack on the kitchen floor and thrust his writing assignment at his mother. She could barely understand him through his sobs. “She didn’t even read it!” he shrieked. “I spent all night writing. She told us to write about what we know…and she didn’t even read it!!”

His mother wiped away his tears (and then her own) and put her arm around her son. She took the wrinkled paper and said, “Then I’ll read it.” 


Turtels are reptils that live on land and in water. Thay have hard shells that protect there sensativ bodys. Sometimes thay pull their bodys into there shells, espeshuley when thay are fritend.

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Tagged in: special education

Posted by on in Special Education

I Just finished teaching a class full of amazing parents, just like you, on Back to School Basics: successful year of 504 plans and IEPs.  The discussions and questions were always spinning back to, “I have so much to focus on where do I start?”.

Starting Out. What you can do for you.

Start with taking a breath. Take a moment to identify what do you need to do and what does your child need to do before school gets into full swing.  Observe what is going well, and keep doing it.  Put into action a plan.

Start with you- it’s the easiest. If you have time visit all websites and watch YouTube videos that tell you what you already know.  (Just in case you don’t I have added a few.)

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Posted by on in Special Education

Once in awhile we meet Henry. He may be your child. Henry inspires and teaches that we all belong together. Tonight I am writing about Inclusion, in particular, one young spirit who overcame many obstacles, and his devoted mother. Mama love. Get your tissues, this story is like Rudy, Rocky and every feel-good inspirational book and movie, ever. Be sure to watch Henry's last basketball game with someone you love.

Before I moved to Eugene to be with my kids, my husband and I had a historic home in the middle of nowhere, Northern California. There were a couple of towns nearby, but our house was a kind of hang-out, with a pond, barn, community gardens, wildllife and berries. I was teaching at nearby Chapman University, and tutoring a lot of kids at the property. One day Patricia Storrs brought Henry over to work in the garden and see the house. He had been reluctant, fearful of the 1858 ghosts, incuding Mark Twain. 

Henry stayed in the car for over an hour. Patti and I checked on him, let him garner courage, and then he walked the property, house and had a great time touring on his own. It was joyous seeing him emerge from that car and do his thing. I knew that day that Henry is special, in the very best way.

Henry is a hometown hero.

While Principal, we had the District LH class on our campus. First thing I did was move the kids from the trailer in the North Forty right into the middle of our campus. Our students were fully included, or nearly, most of the day and participated in every school project, club and activity. The class was in charge of the the wildlife compound outside their door. These kids were our Henry, believe me.

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Posted by on in Special Education

Special Ed

Demanding. Annoying. Angry. Unrealistic. Unreasonable. Every teacher, principal, and school district administrator knows *that* parent. In special education, there are much greater numbers of *that* parent, and I'm sure school systems feel irritated and challenged by the threats of law suits and seemingly endless fights over Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. But do they realize their role in creating *that* parent?

In an earlier post, I begged teachers not to force parents to become *that* parent, explaining that all parents, and especially those of children with special needs, want to be liked and work in partnership with their children's teachers. The incident I cited was the failure of a special education teacher to communicate with the parents of a non-verbal child, or even to answer their emails asking about the child spending time in a "quiet room" and the lack of a behavior plan for its use.

After five emails, the teacher responded and offered to meet. The meeting consisted of her pulling the child's mother aside during pick up time to reassure her that the room was actually more of a closet with a door that didn't lock, that the child chose to go to the room, and that it helped to regulate his behavior.

These parents are so polite and accommodating that they accepted the explanation and decided to wait a few days before requesting a more formal meeting. They had arranged for a visit from a specialist in teaching reading to non-verbal children, and she was coming that week to train the special education classroom teacher. These trainings were part of the child's IEP. Except the training didn't happen because the school failed to arrange for a sub. Instead, the school district special education department suggested a classroom aide could be trained. But it is not legal for anyone other then a special education teacher to carry out the instructional minutes mandated by the IEP. So no, that didn't happen.

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