Understanding Your Child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan).

posted by: chau, time: 4 March 2014, 5:16 am

As a parent it’s important to be educated about your child’s rights under his/her IEP (Individual Education Plan). To fully understand the IEP which is often written in such a way that is complex, seek guidance from a professional if needed. Read through the draft of the IEP prior to attending the meeting and ask for as much time as needed to review the material prior to agreeing to any services.

Additionally, make sure your child has the needed accommodations or modifications written into your child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan). These changes should fit the student’s individual needs. It’s important to include the student, if appropriate, when discussing needed accommodations or modifications.

What is an accommodation? An accommodation allows a student to complete the same assignment or test as other students, but with a change in the timing, formatting, setting, scheduling, response and/or presentation. This accommodation does not alter in any significant way what the test or assignment measures. Examples of accommodations include a student who is blind taking a Braille version of a test or a student taking a test alone in a quiet room.

A modification is an adjustment to an assignment or a test that changes the standard or what the test or assignment is supposed to measure. Examples of possible modifications include a student completing work on part of a standard or a student completing an alternate assignment that is more easily achievable than the standard assignment.

By knowing your rights and understanding your child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) completely, your child will have a better chance in succeeding in school and will also increase his/her self-esteem.


6 Educational Tips From a Mother Who Learned How to Advocate for Her Son.

posted by: chau, time: 12 April 2013, 6:25 am

My son struggled in school from the very beginning of kindergarten. His teacher suggested that he be retained in kindergarten. She said he was having much difficulty learning his letters and sounds. Since we were going to move to another school, she mentioned that it would not be such a change for him to be in kindergarten for the second time. What did I know about the signs of learning difficulties or disabilities?

He continued to struggle in school and I tried to get him tested for Special Education when he was in the second grade but he did not qualify at that time. It was his 6th grade Language Arts teacher who said that he was struggling and mentioned that he should get tested again for Special Ed. This time around he qualified since he was so far behind academically.

Does this sound so familar to you? Don’t let this happen to your child! Be Proactive! If you see your child struggle in school, don’t wait for a teacher to tell you that your child should be retained in school. Here are some helpful tips to help your child in school.


  • Learn the developmental stages of children.

Children develop and grow at different rates. Their pathways may differ through childhood but most will pass a set of predictable milestones along the way. The University of Michigan has a website on the developmental milestones and delayed development of children. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/devmile.htm

Another great website is Zero To Three. This website has free brochures and guides that you can download. http://www.zerotothree.org/about-us/areas-of-expertise/free-parent-brochures-and-guides/


  •  Look out for some common signs of learning disabilities.

Learn some of the characteristics that point to a learning disability. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait! LD Online has a guide “Taking the First Step” that you can download. http://www.ldonline.org/ldbasics/signs


  • Learn the California Curriculum State Standards for English language arts and Math for kindergarten through high school.

In 1997, California adopted its first set of content standards in English language arts and Math. These educational standards provide clear goals for student learning and helped teachers determine the knowledge and skills needed for students to be successful in school and careers. In 2010, California State Board of Education adopted new Common Core Standards (CCS), with California additions in English language arts and Math. This a link  from the California Department of Education for the standards.



  • Request that your school test your child as soon as possible.

You have the right to request that your child get tested by the school they attend. Schools are required to identify and evaluate all children who may have a learning disability under the Child Find Mandate from birth through age 21. This also includes children in private and public schools. Below is a link from Wrightslaw.



  •  Know your legal rights to advocate for your child in school.

It is important for a parent to learn the Special Education laws when your child has been tested.  There are services or resources that are available for your child by being a vigilant advocate you can learn what they are. By preparing yourself prior to the IEP meeting and learning your legal rights, you can be ahead of the game. As parents, you have the right to be an active participant in the IEP decision making process. The Special Education process can be very overwhelming and the better prepared you are; the better your outcome will be. You can request to have an IEP meeting at any time if you are concerned about your child’s progress in school. Wrightslaw is a very good website from two parent lawyers who advocated for their children. I also have on my website an excellent book that I recommend to read.  The Complete IEP Guide:How to Avocate for your Special Ed Child.


  • IEE – What is an IEE?

An independent education evaluation (IEE) is defined by federal law “as an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the child in question.” 34 C.F.R. 300.503.

If you are not satisfied with the test results of your child from the school your child attends you can obtain an independent evaluation. Generally, parents are responsible for the costs of an IEE. However, in some circumstances the school district may be financially responsible.











What is an Educational Therapist?

posted by: chau, time: 19 November 2012, 4:22 am

Many people confuse the difference between what an educational therapist and a tutor does. So what’s the difference? A tutor generally focuses on teaching a specific subject matter, an educational therapist’s focus is broader.

An educational therapist collaborate with all the significant people concerned with the student’s learning. They focus on remediation, but also underlying learning skills to help clients become more self-aware, self-reliant, efficient learners. An educational therapist training is much more extensive than a tutor. For example, their training involves extensive training and experience in learning disabilities and intervention strategies specific to learning differences.

A tutor’s background does not necessarily include training in learning disabilities, specific syndromes, assessments, appropriate interventions, or case management. Tutors are generally skilled in a specific subject matter. Educational Therapists typically work in a private practice, reading clinics or in private schools with a small group of students and on an one-to-one basis with a student. They are also know as an Learning Specialist or Learning Coach.

Educational Therapists have specialized training in the following areas: administering formal and informal assessments, providing skill development and remediation, facilitating communication and coordinating services on behalf of clients, supporting collaboration among the members of the client’s learning community.

Educational therapists address academic, psycho-educational and socio-emotional aspects of learning. Academic areas include reading, writing, math, study skills, and critical thinking skills. Psycho-educational skills include strategic learning, analysis and problem solving, and self understanding.

The educational therapist fosters the development of self-advocacy skills in order to help clients succeed in multiple settings. An educational therapist addresses the interrelationship of emotions and learning by providing a safe environment in which the client may explore elements of the learning context. In addition, an educational therapist goals and strategies differ from a tutor by setting goals and developing an intervention plan that addresses not only academic difficulties but also psycho-educational and socio-emotional aspects of like-long learning through an eclectic combination of individualized intervention strategies. Referrals are made to specialists when needed.

A tutor frequently focuses on improving grades and commonly uses traditional teaching methods to reach academic goals. The services that an educational therapist provide are formal and informal assessments, utilizes specific, and when appropriate, alternative teaching strategies. Also, and ET provides case management by coordinating with the student’s team of teachers, parents, and allied professionals. A tutor provides individual assistance with homework or instruction in a specific subject matter.

What I have not mentioned in my website is that I was born and raised in Martinez, CA and have lived here for over 44 years. I’m familiar with all the schools in Martinez and in Contra Costa County.


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