Oct 15, 2019
Here’s a little something special for their 100th episode!
Amanda and Vickie decided to go live on Facebook and Instagram to
answer some of your questions. Tune in for a potpourri of
information, including some tips on how to best communicate with
- Q: Can I ask for a weekly phone call from my child’s regular
and special education teacher? My daughter can’t tell me all the
things that happened to her during the day and I have no idea what
happens from drop off to pick up.
- A: Short answer: it depends on the circumstances. There’s
nothing in the law that says you can’t ask, but you need to be
practical. When there’s a lot of things going on, you can request a
communication log. There should be times when regular and special
education teachers talk together. In the events of safety or
extreme behavior, then this request would be warranted. Weekly
communication is practical, but not necessarily in the form of a
- Tip: We bombard our children with so many questions, they can
easily become overwhelmed. Many times, children think there is a
right way and a wrong way to answer a question, and they don’t want
to get it wrong. One way to get answers from them about how their
day went is to share something from your day first. Another way to
take the pressure off is to make an observation about their day
that can open up a conversation.
- Tip: It’s ok to not know everything that is going on in the
classroom, as long as your child is happy, safe, and learning. That
takes pressure off the parent, who often stress over every little
thing that happens during their child’s day.
- Q: Can I be in my child’s classroom to help out each week?
- A: The IEP is the district’s promise that we’re going to work
on these goals in this classroom setting and we’re providing these
services. There are a number of things you can put in the IEP, but
trying to force the district to have you in the classroom on a
weekly basis is probably not feasible. There are actually liability
issues and safety concerns related to this.
- Tip: If your classroom or school has a policy that volunteers
are allowed to do certain things, then absolutely volunteer for
that. If there are no policies in place, there may be certain
restrictions in terms of how often that can be. Distraction is one
scenario where this might apply.
- Q: What are the options for my child after high school?
- A: Some questions to consider: Is your student on a Diploma
track or a Certificate of Completion track? Students do have until
the age of 22 to do the Vocational Life Skills, self-help skills,
and academics if needed. After the student has received either the
Diploma or Certificate of Completion, there are other options. More
and more 4-year colleges are coming up with programs for students
with intellectual disabilities or on the autistic spectrum. Some
community colleges are in partnership with school districts and
offer vocational programs.
- Tip: Once you turn 18, technically the Americans with
Disabilities Act kicks in, and you can find college campuses with
disability rights centers that can help provide accommodations. The
burden has shifted: from K-12, the burden is on the school district
to plan out, implement, and provide. In college, however, this
burden has shifted to the student to provide the school with need
and the request for accommodations.
- Q: What does the law say regarding being in classes with
same-age peers? What if a school is only offering inclusion time
for a 6th-grader with 8th-graders because of scheduling
- A: To the extent that a certain mainstream inclusion is
appropriate, this is ok. If you have a child who socially and
emotionally is below their same-age peers, and academically the
same (but they haven’t been retained), they may benefit from
mainstreaming say, 3rd and 4th grade in a 2nd-grade classroom
because they don’t require the content to be modified. However, if
a student stands out and their maturity is either above or below
the age of that class, that’s not appropriate.
- Takeaway: Putting the 6th grader in with 8th graders is not
appropriate, age-wise and ability-wise if the school is saying
that’s the only class they have available. Additionally, they would
just be sticking the child in a program that already exists,
instead of creating one that meets his individual needs.
- Tip: Mainstreaming is about role-modeling, being with their
peers, and learning what their peers are learning.
- Q: What happens when the child doesn’t have a good rapport with
the paraprofessional? What if there are complaints?
- A: Keep in mind that aides are often hourly employees, usually
college students, and there’s often a lot of turnover, with
differing levels of abilities. As soon as you’re made aware of the
situation, talk to the IEP team about it, because a service is only
working if the student is benefitting from it.
- Tip: It’s possible that the paraprofessional could benefit from