Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 25, 2003


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ISSN: 1538-3202
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In this Issue


Using Tests & Measurements to Measure Progress and FAPE

Doing Your Homework: My Child Can't Read - Mom Needs Help

We Can Train Shamu but We Can't Teach a Child to Read?

Parents, Kids, and IEPs: The Lighter Side of Special Ed

Free Wrightslaw Advocacy Training (OK); Winter Schedule

Need Help? Visit Yellow Pages for Kids

EducationNews!

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In this issue, we share some of our favorite articles and wish you a safe, happy Thanksgiving.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John Kennedy

Highlights: Tests and measurements for parents, teachers, advocates and attorneys; child can't read so mom needs help; we can train Shamu but we can't teach a child to read?; parents, kids, and IEPs - the lighter side of special ed; free Wrightslaw advocacy program in OK; help from Yellow Pages for Kids; EducationNews!

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and colleagues so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help! Download newsletter


1. Using Tests & Measurements to Measure Educational Progress - and FAPE

Assume a child began receiving special education services three years ago. Is the child making progress? Is the child catching up with the peer group? Is the child falling further behind? Is the child receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

How do you know?

What are standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents?

Parents, teachers, and advocates must learn how to measure educational progress. If you do not know how to use information from tests to track your child's progress, you will not be able to play an active role in planning your child's special education program.

Read Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney- not once, not twice, but three times. Use a highlighter. Make margin notes.

Tip: Print the article from the screen so you have all the graphics.

Next, dig out evaluations and tests on your child. Compare tests that have been administered more than once.
What's the verdict? Is the child learning and making acceptable progress?

Read more articles.

Note: This information is so important that we included two chapters about Tests & Measurements in Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy (in addition to several "Homework Assignments" that will help you master the information).


2. Doing Your Homework: My Child Can't Read - Mom Needs Help

"My nine-year-old son was diagnosed as a high functioning autistic with A.D.H.D., dyslexia, depression, language problems, and a few other things. He is in a third grade regular education classroom. He has an IEP and receives extra help for speech, reading and math."

"The real problem is that my child cannot read. The teachers and principal at his school are wonderful. They want him to have an aide but the school board will not approve it. He will be in fourth grade soon, and is running out of time. I need help from an advocacy group."

Sue Heath, co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, answers this mom's questions and offers a a game plan.

Read My Child Can't Read - Mom Needs Help.

Read more creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework.


3. We Can Train Shamu But We Can't Teach a Child to Read? by Bill Matthew, Ph.D.

Dr. Bill Matthew, director of special education in Delano, California, offers a memorable description of educational decision-making and effective educational programs:

"We can train Shamu, but we can't train a kid to be compliant or to read? Give me a break!"

"Educational decision-making should be empirically driven - not driven by intuition (or tarot card reading), which is part and parcel of much psychology, especially assessment."

Dr. Matthew offers advice about tests & testing:

* Age & grade equivalents
* Subtest scatter
* Inappropriate use of projective tests
* Use of psychometrically sound tests

Dr. Matthew expresses concerns about education, treatment and advocacy for kids with emotional disorders. Read "We Can Train Shamu! Effective Educational Programs, Testing, and Advocacy" by Bill Matthew.

Read more questions and answers.


4. Parents, Kids & IEPs: The Lighter Side of Special Education by Aimee Gilman

"A good education is the next best thing to a pushy mother." - Charles Schulz, cartoonist

Don't say we didn't warn you. As Aimee Gilman says, "If you are among those humor- challenged individuals who believe THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT DISABILITIES, I urge you to stop now and go back to biting your nails down to your elbows. I understand how you feel."

Aimee Gilman is an Ohio attorney who represents kids with disabilities and the parent of a child with a disability. She is also very funny. Read Aimee's thoughts about "The Lighter Side of Special Education" -

About Parents & Kids

About the IEP


5. Advocacy Training in Oklahoma - Free to OK Parents & Caregivers!

"What a marvelous conference! I often leave sped presentations angry and/or guilty because of all the things that have been done or not done. This time I left encouraged, inspired and armed!"

This Wrightslaw program will be held at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma on Saturday, December 6, 2003. For more information, please visit the Oklahoma conference page.

Registrants will also receive two books - Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy (value: $59.90). This is also the first time Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind will be available at a conference.

Approved for 7 CLE credits.

Download Registration Form (pdf)

Questions? Please call the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. In Oklahoma City dialing area: (405) 525-7755 v/tdd. Outside OKC dialing area: (800) 880-7755 v/tdd. In Tulsa dialing area: (743) 6220 v/tdd. Outside Tulsa dialing area: (800) 226-5883 v/tdd

Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Advocacy Training Programs in FL, MO, IL, IN, MI, NH

Our Winter schedule includes programs in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Jefferson City, MO, Skokie IL, Indianapolis, IN, Troy, MI, and Manchester, NH. For information about these and other programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page.

If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.


6. Need Help? Visit the Yellow Pages for Kids

We built the Yellow Pages for Kids site so so you can find information and help in one place. When you visit your state Yellow Pages, you will find many different resources - government programs, grassroots organizations, and support groups. You will also find evaluators, therapists, tutors, special ed schools, and parent support groups.

To get the word out about the state Yellow Pages for Kids , we designed flyers for each state. The State Yellow Pages flyers are printer-friendly - great handouts at meetings and conferences.

Read Using Flyers to Educate Others (includes huge list of informational flyers).

Strategies: Ask your school, public library, day care center, and support group to post your state flyers on their bulletin boards and websites.

Ask your PTA or SEPTA to distribute the flyer. State Yellow Pages Flyers are great to distribute at conferences, seminars, training programs, and workshops.
Forward flyers to your friends and family members who live in other states. Access all state flyers.


7.  EducationNews!

Are you interested in education and special education? We encourage you to subscribe to EducationNews!

If you read recent issues of EducationNews, you learned about about the baffling rise in autism, the "myth of the bad kid," promising practices in gifted education, and oral reading strategies for struggling readers.

You learned about the characteristics of high performing urban high schools and a virtual high school in Michigan that has the second highest enrollment in the country.

You learned that FCAT scores are improving in Florida, that Utah claims it cannot meet NCLB accountability rules, and about Texas education scandals. You learned that the New York Education Department will require principals to sign a certificate that students weren't helped to cheat.

You learned about a television special, "Breaking Point," that attempts to answer questions about "Who is really to blame for our broken education system?"

EducationNews is a remarkable resource!

EducationNews provides links to education news around the world. Nationally recognized experts provide commentaries on various aspects of education. EducationNews.org staff writers cover the latest education issues and bring you a thorough, complete analysis of events, policies, and situations which affect education today.

Read Daily News.

Subscribe to EducationNews.

Please help others learn about special education law and advocacy. Download and distribute our Free Newsletters Flyer (2 pages, pdf).


8. 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.yellowpagesforkids.com

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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