Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
July 16, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue . . .


Join a Parent Support Group or a FETA Group

Organize Your Child's File

Measure Your Child's Educational Progress

Chart Out Your Child's Test Scores

Learn About Your Rights & Responsibilities

Learn to Touch Type

Attend a Wrightslaw Advocacy Training Program (KS, PA, VA, NC, MS, NY)

Managing Your Subscription

Subscription & Contact Info
 

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School is stressful for many kids, especially kids with disabilities. Parents feel the stress too. By spring, many parents and children are counting the days until school ends for the year.

School pressure is off. Maybe things will be better next year. Not yet! Here is your Summer To Do List.


1. Join a Parent Support Group or a FETA Study Group

When you join a parent support group, you meet other parents who can provide emotional support and teach you the rules of the game. Learn from them.

As you look for a parent group, think about your interests and needs.

Do you want emotional support?
Do you want to meet other families who have a child with a disability?
Do you want advocacy training?
Do you want to learn more about your child’s disability?
Do you want to learn about special education issues?
Do you want to get involved in school reform issues?

Your answers to these questions will help you decide what type of group to join.

Look for an active parent group that meets the needs of their members. You may find groups that were established to meet the needs of children who have different disabilities than your child. Don't rule these groups out. Parents of children with all disabilities share common interests and want to get good special education services for their children.

To find support groups, check your State Yellow Pages - http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Start or Join a FETA Study Group

In FETA study groups,
parents gain knowledge and skills to be effective advocates for their children.

Learn more about FETA Study Groups - http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.feta.groups.htm


2. Organize Your Child's File

If you are like most parents, you do not have a complete copy of your child's file. Because special education generates so much paper, parents toss documents into cardboard boxes or bags. If you do this, you will not be able to find what you need.

Get copies of all evaluations, IEPs, correspondence, medical reports, and other information about your child.

Organize the documents in your child's' file in chronological order. File all documents in reverse order. When you finish, the oldest document will be on top, most recent document will be at the end.

Read How to Organize Your Child's File. http://www.fetaweb.com/03/organize.file.htm

Note: You are entitled to a complete copy of your child's file from the school. The school may charge a "reasonable" photocopying fee.


3. Measure Your Child's Educational Progress

Is your child making progress? Is the child falling further behind? Do you have objective evidence to support your position?

Read our article, Understanding Tests and Measurements.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html

To master this information, you should expect to read this article several times.
Our book, From Emotions to Advocacy, includes two chapters about how to measure educational progress.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/feta/feta.htm

Please visit the Advocacy page for dozens of articles, free books and newsletters and other resources.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/advo.index.htm


4. Chart Out Your Child's Test Scores

You need to learn how chart out your child's test scores. If you use a software program like Excel, Word or Access, this is easy. After you plug in your child's test scores, the program will make charts of your child's progress or lack of progress.

Here is a short slide show that will show you how to chart educational progress.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/slideindex.htm

Tip: The chart Wizard in your software program will help you create educational progress graphs.


5. Learn About Your Rights and Responsibilities

Read the special education law and regulations. Portions of the IDEA statute with Pete's comments are available on the Wrightslaw site. http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/code_regs/20USC1400MyOverview.html

Click here for the "IDEA Regs Page"

Our book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, includes the full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and implementing regulations, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and FERPA and implementing regs.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/lawbk/spedlaw.htm

Tip: Use a highlighter when you read the law. You should expect to read and re-read the law several times.

What do you know about the No Child Left Behind Act?

No Child Left Behind has many benefits for children who attend schools that receive Title I funds. If your child attends a "needs improvement" school, your child may be able to transfer to a better school or receive free supplemental educational services, including tutoring and after school programs.

Read A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind
by Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.parent.guide.heath.htm


Learn about NCLB
: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/nclb.index.htm



6. Learn to Touch-Type

A neurologist told us that writing is the most complicated neurological process that human beings must perform. The process of writing by hand (handwriting) is extremely difficult for most children with disabilities. Your child needs to learn to touch type.

Children learn from their parents. If you "hunt and peck," will your child want to learn how to touch type? Probably not. But, if you use a typing software program like Mavis Beacon Teaching Typing for 10 minutes three times a day, you will be typing 30 words a minute in no time.

Your goal is to touch type at a rate of 30 wpm or more by the end of the summer. If you are learning to touch type, you can expect and require your children to learn too. After a week or two, they will begin to compete with you - and will try to increase their speed over yours.

Your children will thank you for being such a great role model - in about 10 years!


7. Sign up for a Wrightslaw Advocacy Training Program

This fall, Pete and Pam Wright will do advocacy training programs in Wichita KS, Pittsburgh PA, Northern Virginia, Charlotte NC, Jackson MS, and Syracuse NY. Programs are scheduled in other parts of the country in 2004. Full schedule
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Wrightslaw seminars and training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.

August 25-26: Wichita KS (Boot Camp)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.08.ks.htm

September 20: Pittsburgh PA
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.pa.htm

September 23: Annandale VA (Northern Virginia/DC area)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.va.htm

September 26: Charlotte NC
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.09.nc.htm

November 7-8: Jackson MS (Boot Camp)
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.11.ms.htm

November 15: Syracuse NY
http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/03.11.ny.htm

For information about other Wrightslaw training programs that are scheduled for the 2003-2004 year, please check our Seminars & Training page: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

If you are interested in learning how to bring Pete & Pam to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/faqs.htm

"I have never learned so much useful information at a workshop - thank you for having a heart for kids and the head for the Law." - Susan from Texas


8. Managing Your Newsletter Subscription

Publishing The Special Ed Advocate often is a big job that takes a great deal of time. We need your help!

Some Internet Providers (including AOL, Earthlink and Juno) block Wrightslaw newsletters as sp*m because we publish newsletters to nearly 50,000 subscribers. If this happens several times, our newsletter delivery system automatically unsubscribes those email addresses. If you stop receiving newsletters from Wrightslaw, you need to re-subscribe. http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Please empty your email box often. The newsletter system deletes subscribers who are consistently over their message quota. If you stop using an account, please unsubscribe that old account.

With several hundred emails a day, we cannot personally respond to every message. If you send a question or request for help, you will receive an "auto-responder" message that we wrote to answer frequently asked questions. We appreciate your help and understanding.


9. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.

Law Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/law.htm

Advocacy Library - http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc.htm

Free Newsletter - http://www.wrightslaw.com/subscribe.htm

Newsletter Archives - http://www.wrightslaw.com/archives.htm

Seminars & Training - http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/index.htm

Yellow Pages for Kids - http://www.fetaweb.com/help/states.htm

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 10s08
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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