Friday, October 29, 2004

Articles on managing children with emotional and behavioral disorders

Meet Dr. Bruce Perry

This web site focuses on traumatized children, primarily abused and neglected children. One might think it's not relevant to most children with cognitive and behavioral disorders (autism, ADHD, CDD, etc), but the articles outline a series of techniques that may be considered for all fragile kids. The target group is teachers.

For example, here are the suggested techniques for supporting "self-regulation"
* Model self-control and self-regulation in your words and actions when you are frustrated with a classroom situation.

* Provide structure and predictability. Children with self-regulation problems are internally "unstructured." The more freedom and flexibility they have, the more likely they are to demonstrate uncontrolled behaviors.

* Anticipate transitions and announce changes in classroom schedules.
* Reward children with good self-regulation capabilities with freedom and flexibility that will offer them opportunities for spontaneous, creative play and learning.
* Try to identify the most "reactive" and impulsive children and keep them apart from each other. Pairing children who face these challenges can escalate the problem.
* Remember that impulsive and aggressive children can create an atmosphere of chaos and fear that inhibit the capacity of other children to learn. Don't be afraid to immediately re-direct inappropriate words and actions. Your actions will make the rest of the children feel safer.
* Seek help. Don't be afraid to point out a child's self-regulation problems with parents or other school personnel. Early identification and intervention can save the child and family years of failure and pain.
The author speaks with more confidence than science supports, but that's fairly typical of this genre. As usual one must review the suggestions and figure out which make sense for an individual child. Some may be counter-productive. In some circumstances and settings it may be helpful to pair impulsive children, for example.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Special Education News and Links: Principals: Mandates hurt special-education students

Stacy Weiss summarizes: "Local principals concerned about pushing special-education students too hard to meet federal No Child Left Behind mandates were rebuffed yesterday by a senior federal education official."

The official goes on to say: "We had lost confidence in our own kids," said Simon, a former Arkansas education official. "All kids can be at grade level - should be at grade level - in reading and math."

If he wasn't misguoted, he's a flaming idiot. Heck, all kids should be concert pianists and I should speak five languages. Arghh.

There has to be some kind of rational compromise between setting impossible goals and setting no goals at all. I think that used to be thought of as good teaching.

I used to be in favor of "standards". The problem isn't the idea -- it's the execution. It's the kind of policy that only works with a balanced, rational and funded implementation with constant monitoring and feedback. In retrospect it's a policy far beyond the capabilities of our government.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Techniques: managing transitions TO a behavior or action with a countdown timer

I think some of the autism-family/CDD disorders are characterized by a primary dysfunction of time estimation. We've used timers to countdown to the END of an activity, but this has limited success. Meltdowns are still very common.

On the other hand we've had very good success with countdowns to the START of an activity -- where failure to meet the countdown will result in LOSS of the activity. Of course this only works where:

1. The activity itself is desired OR
2. There is a reward associated with completion of the activity.


1. 3 minute countdown to bathtime (rewards is kookaid at bedtime -- so long teethies)
2. 3 minute countdown to getting out of house so can get siblings ready without fights/trauma (rewards is a swim outing).

In order to make this work, of course, one has to be quite ready to cancel the activity on failure to initiate it prior to the alarm. We've cancelled twice but succeeded more than 90% of the time.

When the setup can be well staged, and the subject knows the threat is not idle, this has been a proven technique. (Of course in this world one NEVER makes an idle threat.)

NYT: An overview of the family experience of autism

The New York Times > Health > For Families of Autistic, the Fight for Ordinary

Emphases mine.
October 22, 2004

... Ms. Krieger's planning made possible what most parents take for granted: a child's participation in family activities and community events like a meal in a restaurant, a trip to Disney World or a movie. None of these come naturally to children with autism, a mysterious brain disorder that affects the ability to communicate, form relationships, tolerate change and otherwise respond appropriately to the outside world.

Exposing Gina to these experiences would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but more and more families with autistic children are finding that techniques that have proved successful in the classroom - behavioral methods that evolved from the psychologist B. F. Skinner, visual instruction and adaptations of the environment - can be tried at home not only to maximize learning for an autistic child but also to improve the quality of life for the rest of the family.

If the skills and behavior of the autistic child improve, experts say, parents and siblings have more choices of leisure and other activities, and less sense of stigma and isolation.

"It doesn't matter if a kid can read and write and do algebra if he can't go out to dinner with his family," said Bridget Taylor, co-founder of the Alpine Learning Group in Paramus, N.J., a school for autistic children that was the model for the neighboring EPIC school, which Gina attends. "To me, half the battle of autism is getting these kids to be active, functional members of their families - and getting the families themselves active and functional."

... Except for guidance from educators, organized resources for these families are scarce. In New York, there is a support group for siblings on the Upper West Side and religious instruction for autistic children at a few Westchester synagogues. There is also a new Web site from the Autism Society of America and home visits by therapists from special schools.

Parents with fortitude, time and money have an edge. Ilene Lainer, for instance, had the luxury of leaving her job as a labor lawyer when autism was diagnosed in her second son, Ari, 8. Now she is a fulltime autism mom, prepared to spend as long as it takes to teach her son, who cannot speak, how to live in the world. Take haircuts. First Ms. Lainer took Ari to the barber, as she had her 10-year-old son, Max. The result was a "hysterical, screaming child," she said, and rude comments - "Can't you control your kid?" - from other customers who could not see that the boy was disabled, as they would have if he had been in a wheelchair.

So, with guidance from Ari's teachers at EPIC, or Educational Partnership for Instructing Children, Ms. Lainer tried a step-by-step approach. She trimmed the boy's bangs, one snip at a time, until he could tolerate that sensation. Then she moved on to a daily spritz of water on Ari's face. Finally, she let small bits of hair land on his skin. Eventually, he was back in the barber's chair, even if sometimes in the lap of his mother or father, Steven Kantor.

... Any excursion away from their Upper West Side home causes Ms. Lainer to "hold my breath that something doesn't go wrong." Dinner at a friend's house is usually fine if Ari can watch a favorite video.

... Meltdowns are routine to these families. Marjorie Madfis of White Plains, for one, knows how easily a plan can veer off course. Wanting her 8-year-old daughter, Isabelle, exposed to Judaism, she enrolled her in special classes and also joined a synagogue. Isabelle did well at a family Shabbos dinner, so Ms. Madfis confidently brought her to a short children's service on Yom Kippur.

Isabelle brought her favorite American Girl doll, and somewhere between the house and the synagogue one shoe fell off. Ms. Madfis and her husband assured Isabelle that they would find it or buy a new one. "But she couldn't let go of it and bounce back," Ms. Madfis said. "We had to take her home."

Autism symptoms vary widely, and the disorder is sometimes coupled with retardation, which makes most teaching techniques ineffective. So Isabelle is considered lucky. In the past year, Ms. Madfis, a marketing manager at I.B.M., enrolled her in a mainstream ballet class and soccer program, sending along a description of Isabelle's strengths and weaknesses and 10 suggestions for avoiding disruptive or ritualistic behavior, which generally occurs when a child cannot follow what is going on.

Ballet was successful; soccer was a disaster. Isabelle could not tolerate the noise and bustle at a game. First she retreated, picking flowers and looking up at the sky while the game swirled around her. Finally, hands over her ears, she walked off the field.

Isabelle's soccer coach, Angel Tinnirello, said her behavior was not that unusual among second-graders on a team that is recreational, rather than highly competitive. The other children readily accepted Ms. Tinnirello's explanation that "it got too noisy" for Isabelle, so "she went over there where it's a little quieter." The referees, she said, required more education. They asked, "Why isn't that kid listening?" when Isabelle took off down the field in the wrong direction. "Just remind her to run with the purple shirts," Ms. Tinnirello said.

Sometimes the very rewards that prevent a tantrum one day can cause one the next if they are withdrawn. One Westchester mother survived a 90-minute drive to her mother-in-law's home with her autistic son by promising him a swim in the local pool and then French fries at McDonald's when they arrived. But, the pool she had been told would open at 10 was closed until noon, and McDonald's would not serve fries until 11.

The child, 7 years old and capable of speaking only a few words, tried to climb the fence at the pool in his fury. At the fast food restaurant, at 20 minutes to 11, he threw himself on the counter when no amount of pleading, or a $10 bribe, would get anyone to serve French fries ahead of schedule.

... A year ago, her goal was to teach Jami to take a shower, a requirement for her to spend three weeks at a sleepaway camp for children with special needs. Jami's speech is largely unintelligible, but she can read. So Ms. Saril posted a laminated instruction sheet in the shower, body part by body part, and Jami mastered it. Still, friends and relatives worried that Jami was too impaired to be away from home for so long.

Ms. Saril batted away their criticism. She had a hunch. And in snapshot after snapshot from Camp Ramapo in Rhinebeck, Jami is smiling. Ms. Saril, more inclined to irony than pathos, cannot look at the pictures without crying.

"It was mostly for Jami, and she had an amazing time," Ms. Saril said. "She swam in a lake, did the color war thing. She dressed herself, even if her socks were inside out. She ate new food.

"But there was a second reason I sent her. I did it for the rest of us. I'm on duty 24-7. I have a husband. I have another child. I have a business. I needed some time for all that. For three weeks, we got to be a normal family. We got to pretend."

This is a really remarkable article. I've excerpted a fair bit of it. In a relatively small amount of space the journalist managed to convey:

- men are mostly lazy scum sunny day fathers (I don't dare ask if I'm in any way an exception)
- the meltdowns, the extraordinary rigidity, the tiresome training, the ubiquitous routines
- the stress and social isolation, the complexity of disabilities that are emotional, behavioral, cognitive and invisible
- the odd range of ability -- a child with unintelligible speech who can nonetheless read
- the primacy of educators in the management of autism (vs. health care professionals)
- the history of operant conditioning and desensitization interventions (frankly, to me, the most effective interventions remind me a great deal of how we trained our doggie)
- the extraordinary resources required to apply these methods (so what happens to autistic children in families that lack those resources? Our ignorance is as vast as our research and funding are modest)

This is an article worth printing out and distributing to family and teachers. I think it's appropriate for all children who have difficulties with flexibility, environmental stimulation and variety, transitions, forming and maintaining friendships and explosive meltdowns -- whether or not they carry the ill-defined (and probably transitional pending functional PET scans) label of "autism".

The Autism Coalition and expertFind

The Autism Coalition

This looks like a monster site for finding autism resources and support. It is, unfortunately, very IE specific. The animated GIFs on the search page slowed my iBook to a crawl -- I don't know how they affect Firefox. I've asked them to rethink their site policies.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Kurzweil 3000 - Assistive Technology Software for learning disabilities (including reading disorders)

Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh Overview - Assistive Technology Software for learning disabilities
Kurzweil 3000 is the premier reading, writing and learning software for struggling students. Because it is also content-independent, teachers in elementary, middle and secondary schools alike use it to help students succeed in the classroom regardless of their curriculum. Kurzweil 3000 is widely recognized as the most comprehensive and integrated solution for addressing language and literacy difficulties. The simple, streamlined Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh product design appeals to a wide and flexible population of users.

The software presents printed or electronic text on the computer screen with added visual and audible accessibilities. Kurzweil 3000 incorporates powerful features including decoding, study skills, writing and test taking tools designed to adapt to each individual’s learning style and to expand independence for both the learner and educator. All of the features of Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh described below are designed to extend the essential learning process.

There's a PC version as well. This caught my eye -- Kurzweil the person made his first fortune on screen readers and voice recognition. This is a complex product intended for use by schools with older children. There is, however, a $400 personal version which is suited to a single workstation. It's hard to figure out what this is and how to use from the web site descriptions. I think one would need to see it in use.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Amazon Books for Children: Grades 4-6 Action/Adventure (Boys) Books Search Results: Children: Grades 4-6 Action/Adventure

Amazon allows one to combine grade levels with themes. This search returns 2819 books. Surely some are of interest to boys!

Books for Boys - A Theme to Come

Google Search: reading boys

This Google search is remarkable for the crummy resulst. I'm sure I'll find something sooner or later, but at the moment pickings are slim. One web site that sounded potentially interesting uses a bizarre Flash interface. Another site uses the Columbine massacre as a reason why one should not resort to action oriented books for boys disinterested in relationship oriented texts.



Many boys, and some girls, just aren't interested in books about animals, or profound relationships, or natural wisdom. They want what I wanted, books about action, adventure, challenges, struggle, conquest, passion. Books about trucks and sports and scuba gear and how to put handle a bow.

These boys and girls want comic books with the Fantastic Four battling furiously against Dr. Doom. They want Tom Swift conquering the stars. They want to read about Achilles and Hector, Zeus and Hercules, Potter and the Enemy, Aragorn and Sauron, Doc Savage and Tarzan (the original). Not every boy will read through full translations of mythic battles, but they may read a reading-age appropriate adaptation.

Most special education student are boys, and most have great difficulty learning to read. For many it's tiring, discouraging, depressing labor to try to read -- an endless reminder of personal inadequacy. The rewards most be commensurate to the struggle; and even then success is not guaranteed. For many of these children, books about how friends form just doesn't cut it.

Forty years ago we had more choices. Now, when I go to a bookstore, I struggle to find anything I'd enjoy reading as a boy. (There's lots of stuff for grown-up boys, but not for early readers.) I know the material is out there, but it takes work to locate it. I'll be posting on what I find on this blog.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Helping children respond to the (unfortunately) human world - adoptism, racism and bullying in schools

This essay was sent to an email list. The topic is "adoptism" -- but fundamentally it's about the cruel things people do to people and children do to children.

In this case the "assailant" child treated the "victims" adoptive status as a stigma. In another instance it might be obesity or mental illness or physical disability or low IQ or a learning disability or a scarred face or a stutter or a lisp or dark skin or being Jewish or being "other" ....

In all of these instances an "assailant" child may be reflecting what they hear at home or sense in their cultural milieu. It is worth remembering that in some cultures adoption is considered a fate worse than death, and that it is a common practice in all cultures to treat "victims" as though they were in part the "perpetrator". I cannot say if this is "guilt by association" or a visceral response to the presence of a living manifestation of an unwanted truth. Perhaps both. I think it is the same response that causes some people to be disgusted by physical deformity or injury, and to shun the "non-normal" as though they were both sinful and contagious. (Indeed in some fundamentalist "Christian" faiths disfigurement or deformation is a sign of God's displeasure -- and thus an indication that the person should be shunned.)

The hard part of being a parent is teaching a child that there is a great deal of cruelty in the human world, and that it often starts in 2nd grade. I wish we were a better species, but we are what we are. (Barring upgrades.)

Overall the recommendations of this letter are good -- but as always every child is somewhat unique. Adjust according to your child. Note also that many teachers will also suffer from adoptism, racism, etc. They are human too. I think that's why the author emphasizes that one may need to push this higher and harder as needed.
From: Jane Brown To: Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 12:41 PM Subject: Re: [raising-adopted-boys] simular situation anyone?

At 5:02 AM -0700 10/13/04, kidbest wrote:
>My son and daughter, both adopted are now school age 5 and 6.While
>playing at recess, a little boy said "I am not playing with you two
>because you are Adopted."

>Needless to say both kids came home down in the mouth. I tried to
>tell them to be proud of their heritage but I think I failed. Any

Hi Kimber and All,

We can be SO hard on ourselves, as adoptive parents! When we attempt to listen to our children and help them with a problem they are having, but don't quite make the difference we had hoped to, we tend to feel as though we have failed. Instead, I would encourage you to see this as a learning opportunity that will serve you and your children well for the future.

When our children are teased or singled out as being different from their peers in some way, they often feel hurt, embarrassed, put-down, ashamed, self-conscious, and devalued. They want, at every age, to be able to fit in and to be perceived as having equal worth in every way. They learn all too quickly that Society does not perceive adoption as an equally authentic way to be part of a family, and that there is some stigma attached to having had one's first parents make the decision not to raise you-- and this is usually delivered by their peers. Most started school full of the glowing views their adoptive parents have about being part of an adoptive family and that being adopted and from another country/culture is "special," so running headlong into totally opposite views is shocking and undermining-- to say the least.

We, as parents, have to take stock of what we having been telling our youngsters and whether that is going to continue to be adequate and appropriate. We have to evolve in our thinking about what our children are encountering and what they need from us. That doesn't mean that we were "wrong" to have filled them with positive ideas about what it means to have been adopted or what they can proudly claim about their original heritage or how worthwhile ALL people are no matter what their racial and cultural differences are. It is just that we have to face squarely that not everyone thinks this way and our children need to be armed to defend themselves when someone suggests that the way that they came to be part of their family is second-best and inferior. Or that they are not really American" (US brand of American). Or that it is better to be white.

What we have to do, I think-- and this is based on what I have learned in working directly with adopted youngsters-- is to figure out how to listen to what they ARE encountering, how to validate what they feel when they do, and how to help them stand up to others wrongful and hurtful words and attitudes. The first step, though, MUST be pitching the glossed-over views we've expressed in favor of real discussion of societal myths, negative attitudes, racism, and adoptism.

Its helpful to remember that as we evolve ourselves as adoptive parents, making mistakes and omissions, failing to convey exactly what we think and feel, moments when we freeze and don't have a clue as to how to respond are all in the range of normal! We can always go back and raise whatever we said or did, whatever we failed to notice or say with our children. "You know, I've been thinking about the conversation we had the other day, and I am thinking that I missed something (or I wish I had said some things differently; or I wish I had listened to you more carefully-- I am not sure I really "got it" at first") are ways to rehash the issue and try again when we think we blew it. The double benefit of this is that A) we get to refine or change what we said/did and B) we get to demonstrate to our children that it is normal and OK to make a mistake/ommission or fine-tune something that we have already done.

One possibility to consider is that our children need for us to demonstrate that we are capable of listening to and understanding their feelings, since being adopted is not something we know from the inside-out (unless we are adoptees-- and even then, if our child was internationally and/or transracially adopted there will be major difference in experiences/feelings). Try to picture yourself as a mirror who can reflect back to your child what you think he/she is feeling-- and say so in a tentative way. (tentative because you might be wrong or your child may not feel comfortable imagining that you can see into his Feelings Compartment. Mind reader-parents are not appreciated!)

Only after children have been able to discharge some of their strong feelings and feel that someone is trying to understand, are they willing, usually to do some problem solving. So, stay with discussions about feelings till you sense that your child's feelings are all out on the table.

Children like to give their opinions (don't we all). Asking them for THEIR ideas first, is a good start. "I'm thinking that you probably have some good ideas about what you can do if this happens again or about what you want to do now since that boy said that to you. I'm hoping you can give me some of your ideas." Consider writing them down and helping your child decide which are really those he would be interested in trying out. Ask what grown-ups could do to help (including you). If your child is adament that he doesn't want you or any other grown-up involved, try to explore why. What could be the worst thing that might happen if grown-ups got involved?

Emphasize that THE most important thing is that your child, himself, understands that what was said was unfair and wrong. However, that he has every right to stop that child from saying the same thing again. He may want to try out some of the possible solutions you worked out together to try TO get him to stop. And you want him to come and talk over how that worked out or didn't, because its lonely and hard to feel that you can't stop meanie things from happening.

If your child does try out some of the solutions (and telling him to ignore it most likely WON'T work-- doesn't feel like an acceptable solution to most), then it is time for the grown-ups TO get involved. Make a plan for what you are going to say, how you are going to ask the adults at school to help stop this, be willing to be part of the fix-it team, make sure you have discharged some of your own feelings so that you do not approach a teacher/administrator in an angry confrontational way, and then go for it! Do NOT leave your child to take this without intervening, no matter how much he begs you not to get involved. You can and should, though, assure him that he will know, in advance, how things are going to be handled and that steps will be taken so that the other child doesn't retaliate because he reported what is going on. We MUST hold schools accountable for making the learning environment an emotionally-safe one for ALL children. Just telling kids to walk away and ignore too-many-nosy questions or bullying/teasing is NOT acceptable.

You may find that you will have to find just the right grown-up at school to help-- that the first one may not be as helpful as you would hope. That you may need to go so far as to state that since the learning environment, as it stands with other youngsters able to bully and undermine your child's psychological health, you will be bringing him back ONLY when there is a workable plan in place-- and not a moment before. That you will be holding the school accountable for living up to their mission-- to educate every child and allow for no discrimination.

All of us as adoptive parents need to learn how to do this (so do parents of the non-adopted). We usually find, however, that the incidents involving adoptism and racism mean that we have to be in the schools more often and that we have to learn to be assertive if this is an area of difficulty for us. Our kids will learn valuable lessons for conflict resolution from watching us as their models for that.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Special Education News and Links: The News-Press: Education - Basic schools all but empty

Special Education News and Links: The News-Press: Education - Basic schools all but empty

Stacy Weiss reports on yet another experiment with attempts to manage children who aren't succeeding in the no-child left behind world. The "basic schools" sound like someone's nostalgic recreation of a mythic 19th century environment.

American education is a bazillion dollar enterprise run on very little data. Knowledge-based decision making is hard enough in healthcare, but in education it seems to be almost unknown.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Google Ads on this page

Welcome to AdWords

I've added Google AdWords to this site. I get some pittance each time someone clicks on them, but I don't expect that to be worth much. The reason I added them is that I'm hoping they'll be interesting and will highlight local services. Oddly enough Google forbids me to click on them! (You'd think they'd simply not count my clicks in their payment schemes.)

If you're a local service provider (legal services, tutoring, education, counseling, etc) you might consider following the above link and signing up for Google AdWords. You only pay when people visit your site, and given the topic it's likely that anyone visiting will be very interested. I don't think you get to choose where your ads show up, but chances are if they're related to special needs and special education services in the twin cities they'd show up here as well as many other places.

Update 5/23/06: The Ads I was getting were mostly for fraudulent therapies. I removed the AdWords feature.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Special Education Inclusion: an extensive NYT Magazine article

The New York Times Magazine > The Lessons of Classroom 506 Sept 2004
"Inclusion'' is the latest in a series of evolving strategies for special-needs education. Though the definition of the word varies, inclusion, as used by educators, generally means making a child with a disability a full part of the class. Instead of merely placing that child in a standard classroom for part or even most of the day and expecting him to keep up (a strategy often known as ''mainstreaming''), inclusion involves rearranging the class -- both the physical space and the curriculum -- to include him. Ideally, once an inclusive classroom is rethought and reconfigured, it will serve clusters of children with special needs, not just one, so that impaired and nonimpaired children can come to see one another as peers. Proponents of inclusion say that it is the best way to prepare all children for the real world; skeptics contend that it too often gives teachers responsibility for impaired students without giving them sufficient training and resources, resulting in children with special needs getting improper attention and children without special needs not getting enough attention -- a poor-quality education for everyone in the class...

...Thomas did not belong in District 75, the city's classification for programs serving students who are severely disabled, because, they reasoned, he might get lost in a system that included so many children who were cognitively as well as physically impaired. Thomas might be a better fit in a school designed just for children with an array of physical problems, but they feared that that experience would not prepare him to interact in the real world. And while they could mainstream him into a standard public- or private-school classroom, that would present the opposite problem: he would not interact with anyone else like him.

A VERY long article. I've barely started it.

It's amazing what wealthy, brilliant, tireless and well connected people can achieve. The story exposes a fault line in special education -- between the cognitively and physically impaired. In this world, the cognitively impaired are a lower caste.

I think they're on the right track. I think our son would be happiest and most successful with children who are more like him, in a setting where he could learn without being confronted with how much further behind he's falling. This can only be cost effective if a number of similar children can be taught together ...

Special Education News and Links

Special Education News and Links

Another blog on special education topics, also created using Blogger (but hosted on a personal server). I'll add this one to my template. Books: Teach Them All to Read: Catching the Kids Who Fall Through the Cracks

ATeach Them All to Read: Catching the Kids Who Fall Through the Cracks by Elaine K. McEwan

Pretty good Amazon review. I've ordered it. The book is searchable and it does mention use of earobics.

Earobics -- free online game version

GameGoo - Learning that Sticks!

Earobics sells software and training materials for teaching reading. Some of our local special education reading programs are using the earobics material. I can't speak for the research behind it; there's very little funding for research in this area and well designed intervention trials are very, very expensive.

Here they're offering free "Flash" based phonetic and reading oriented games. Because they use Macromedia Flash they run very well on both Mac and PC. They don't demand a lot of processor power. Quite impressive!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Center for Education Law: Legal Tips for Effective Education Advocacy

Updated 3/2010

Back in 2004 the center for education law wrote ...
Put everything in writing and keep a copy for your records. Write a letter to school personnel when they deny you or your child some educational opportunity. Always think that this letter may one day be read by a neutral third party so make sure you are very clear about the facts and be very polite. Also make sure the letter has the name and address of the person you are sending the letter to, the date you are sending the letter, your name and address, and your signature. Make sure to make a copy of the letter for your records
Now they're the "School Law Center" but I don't see any advice on their current web site.

Google local search: Special Education Attorney (lawyer) for Saint Paul

Google Search: lawyer special education near 1661 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105

Google's local search is impressive. Saint Paul area educational lawyers.

Special education law: New Jersey


This firm owns the domain "", and probably a few variants thereof. They specialize in special-ed law in New Jersey because a senior partner's child was disabled. I suspect that's not an atypical story.

The links they provide on this page are (largely) not specific to New Jersey.

It's probably not a great idea to start IEP discussions with a lawyer at one's side. On the other hand, periodic consultations may be valuable. Just remember to use your own judgment!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Web forum posting on Earobics and Fast For Words

15 yr old with expressive language disorder and auditory processing problems

FFW, Earobics and "Rosetta Stone" turn up in web discussions. Of these FFW seems to be favored by therapists, but it's quite expensive. Earobics comes in a "home version" for $60.

LD OnLine - How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

LD OnLine - How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Child's Teacher

Reasonably practical advice. Unlike the same site's homework advice, which was written by someone who's never fought over homework.