Pilot Program Supports First-Year Special Education Teachers

RICHMOND, Va. — Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni today announced a pilot program to provide resources and professional development opportunities for first-year special education teachers. The program is the result of a partnership between the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), a non-profit professional association dedicated to improving outcomes for students with disabilities. “Special education is consistently the number-one critical shortage area […]

My Tips for Homeschooling a Child with Autism

Education can be a challenge for any child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In response, there are many parents who turn to homeschooling1 rather than traditional education means. However, to unlock your child’s full potential, you have to make the most of your homeschooling lessons. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the ways that you can help your child thrive in their early education and beyond. With these […]

Homeschool Students with Special Needs Options

Creating a calm homeschool environment focused on your special needs child is very different from the effort required to establish a basic homeschool classroom.  Teaching students with learning, behavioral, mental health, medical, or intellectual disabilities requires attention to a level of detail far beyond anything that might be created for a basic K-12 homeschool experience.  Important factors to consider might include: Does your classroom set-up provide the right kind of environment for your special needs […]

Sexual Health Education for Young People with Disabilities

Research and Resources for Parents/Guardians In recent years, important changes in public policies and attitudes have resulted in improved opportunities for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Unfortunately, societal attitudes have changed less in regard to sexuality and disability. Even today, many people do not acknowledge that most people experience sexual feelings, needs, and desires, regardless of their abilities. As a result, many young people, including those with disabilities, receive little or no formal sexual […]

18 Tips for Getting Quality Special Education Services for Your Child

Before the IEP(1) Meeting 1. Request Needed Assessments in Writing or Get Independent Assessments Your child can be assessed in any area of suspected disability and for any services needed for him to benefit from school. For example: assessments may be done of reading or math levels; on the modifications needed to fully include your child; for therapy services (OT, PT, speech, mental health) and to identify assistive technology like a communication device. If you […]

How to Obtain an Independent Educational Evaluation at Public Expense

–        Are you dissatisfied with your child’s most recent special education assessment? –        Is the School District denying your child special education eligibility or a necessary service or support based on the recommendations of a poorly-done assessment? –        Have you asked for an independent assessment of your child and been ignored by the School District or just flat out told “No!”? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to know […]

Would your child benefit from Assistive Technology in the classroom?

Assistive Technology in the Classroom by Tara Peifer, DRT Advocate Many children experience difficulties in the school setting, but for those children who have disabilities their obstacles can be more pronounced. In some cases, a student needs an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to provide internal supports within the classroom. One of the supports that may be necessary is Assistive Technology (AT). What is Assistive Technology? Assistive technology (AT) describes various auxiliary aids which help support […]

Ready, set, go! 5 steps for parents to participate in the IEP process

Understanding the laws and principles of special education can help parents get ready to dive into the details of how to participate on IEP teams. Getting organized with school work, contacts, calendar details and concerns and questions will help. Here’s the basic 5-step process: ScheduleEvaluation is the testing that a school completes to determine if a student meets the requirements for an IEP. A teacher, administrator or parent can refer a student for an educational […]

Creating a Classroom Culture of Acceptance of Individual Differences

A culture of acceptance is one that welcomes and includes all children. Acceptance goes beyond providing access to an early learning setting. It means being included both physically and socially as a part of the group. A culture of acceptance occurs when each child is accepted and welcomed for who they are. Inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a “sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, […]

Addressing the Academic Needs of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Secondary Education

As the number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in secondary school settings grows, many educators are not prepared to adapt their instruction to meet state standards and the diverse needs of the full spectrum of adolescents with ASD. Yet, academic achievement in high school plays a critical role in students’ future education and career outcomes. In addition, greater demand for a technologically advanced workforce makes academic skills more essential for high school graduates. […]