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Posts Tagged ‘special education’

In the social media world, you can make many friends. Our list of Tweeps, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn folks is growing every day. Recently, we met a blogger who is a great resource for families in the special education world. Her website is The Special Education Advisor and her name is Dennise Goldberg. You can follow her on Twitter @SpecialEdAdvice. (If all of the social media is confusing to you, we wrote about how Twitter can help you.You can read it here.)

Dennise asked us to write something for her website and, well, since it is IEP season, we thought a great piece on IEP minutes would be helpful for readers.

So, instead of reading our post on our site, hop on over to hers to read it there. Look around her website and check out the resources she has available.

Thanks for having us Dennise!

Also, we linked our blog from Monday up with Bruna over at Bees with Honey. Hop on over there and see what all of her friends have to say. It is another way to meet other bloggers and blog readers.

Bees With Honey

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We posted an answer to a question yesterday. As a result, we have been contacted with additional questions leading us to realize that many of our readers are in the dark about special education services. We thought we would provide readers with some background information as well as some additional resources to put in your tool chests.

Eligibility for Special Education Services

If an individual between age 3 and 21 years of age has one of 14 diagnosed disabilities and that disability impacts that person’s ability to benefit from education, he or she may be eligible for special education services from the Local Education Agency (LEA–usually the school district).

The 14 conditions include Autism, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Hearing impairment, Mental retardation, Multiple disabilities, Orthopedic impairments, Other health impaired (which includes ADD and ADHD), Emotional disturbance, Specific learning disability, Speech or language impairment, Traumatic brain injury, Visual impairment, including blindness, or Developmental Delay (but only up to age 9).

Developing the IEP

Once the child has been determined eligible for services, the team (including the parent/guardian) work collaboratively to develop a plan for services. This plan is called the Individualized Educational Program (IEP).

The IEP is made up of several important parts including goals and objectives, type and amount of special education services, need for assistive technology, need for behavior support, and list of related services including type and amount.

Related Services

As we discussed yesterday, the federal law lists a number of possible related services. These services include: Audiology, Counseling, Early Identification and Assessment, Medical Services, Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT), Orientation and Mobility, Parent Counseling and Training, Psychological, Recreation, Rehabilitation, School Health, Social Work, Speech Pathology, Transportation, Interpreters, and Assistive Technology.

It is important to note that the federal law specifically states that the services include those listed but that services are not limited to those listed. What does that mean…Not limited to?

Well, that means that your child may receive other services under Related Services. As we mentioned yesterday, the services are determined based on your child’s needs. Thus, the IEP should carefully document what your child needs in order to benefit from education. Some examples of other related services include:

  • Nutrition
  • Medical services that are not limited to an MD
  • Music therapy

ABA as a Related Service

And of course, our favorite related service is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Yes, ABA may be listed in your child’s IEP as a related service. In fact, so many children in Connecticut have ABA as a service that the state actually has a law that will go in to effect this year related to who must supervise the individuals providing the ABA services to children with IEPs.

As we approach IEP season, make time to participate actively in the development of your child’s IEP. Work diligently to ensure that the document carefully reflects all of your child’s needs. Make certain that your child receives all of the related services that he/she (or you) need in order to benefit from education.

If you like the information here, you may find other resources on this same topic to be helpful.

 

Let's BEE Friends

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to email questions from readers who have questions about behavior. Today’s question comes from an anonymous writer who recently learned about services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). Individuals who are eligible for services under the IDEIA, may receive a variety of services including but not limited to:

  • Audiology
  • Counseling
  • Early Identification and Assessment
  • Medical Services
  • OT and PT
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Parent Counseling and Training
  • Psychological
  • Recreation
  • Rehabilitation
  • School Health
  • Social Work
  • Speech Pathology
  • Transportation
  • Interpreters
  • Assistive Technology

The anonymous reader asked, “Parents can receive services under parent counseling and training? Do schools have to teach ABA to parents?”

The short answer to these questions: yes and yes.

The long answer is a bit more complicated.

The IEP and IFSP Drive Services

The document that is developed is incredibly important. The document, whether it is the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), determines what services are needed. Take extra care when developing your child’s IEP or IFSP.

Parent Counseling and Training Defined

The IDEIA has defined parent counseling and training. Specifically, parent counseling and training is for assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child, providing parents with information about child development, and helping parents learn the skills that will help them carry out their child’s IEP or IFSP.

Thus, if you need to learn ABA in order to carry out your child’s IEP or IFSP, then by all means, the agency must provide you with training on ABA.

Treat the IEP and IFSP as a Contract

We cannot stress enough the importance of carefully developing your child’s IEP or IFSP. Read over every single detail before agreeing to its implementation. The signed document is your child’s contract with the agency until the next IEP or IFSP is developed.

If you have questions about behavior, email Missy at askmissy at appliedbehavioralstrategies dot com.

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An elementary school has come under fire in Connecticut for using “Scream Rooms” as a method of discipline. If you haven’t heard, you may learn more about it here, here, and here.

What is a Scream Room

According to reports, parents described the rooms as 6-by-4-foot spaces with concrete walls used to isolate students with special needs who are disruptive in the classroom. As best as we can tell, Scream Rooms is simply another name for a Time Out Room or more specifically, a Seclusionary Time Out Room.

So what is a time out room? Let us first define time out.

  • A time out is a period of time when opportunities to access reinforcement are prevented.
  • Most people think of a time out as sitting in a chair and not being able to play.
  • Time out may also be missing recess for 5 minutes.
  • Time out may also include losing TV time after dinner.

Time out may be administered within a classroom so that the student does not lose instructional time. For example, the child may be asked to sit at the back of the class where she can still hear instruction but where she may not interact with others. This type of time out is called inclusionary time out.

Seclusionary time out is when the student is removed from the instructional setting and placed in isolation so that minimal or no interaction with others is allowed.

Thus, a time out room or a seclusionary time out room is a room where someone might go so that no other forms of reinforcement may be accessed (e.g., no social interaction, no music, no toys).

What is the Purpose of a Scream Room or Time Out Room?

Historically, time out has been used as a consequence to challenging or disruptive behavior as a type of punishment. The underlying philosophy is that if the child is engaging in behavior to gain attention, placing the child in isolation for brief periods of time immediately after the challenging or disruptive behavior will teach the child that acting out will not result in attention.

While this method has been supported with substantial research, the technique is often used incorrectly. Before a time out may be planned as part of an intervention for a student, a behavior analyst must first assess the behavior and determine why the child is mis-behaving. This is called a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and we have talked about it here, here, and here.

Once the assessment is completed, an intervention is developed based on the assessment results. If the child engaged in challenging behavior to gain attention, a time out from attention following challenging behavior may be part of the behavior plan. If the child engaged in the challenging behavior to gain access to preferred items such as computer time or television time, then a time out from computers or television following challenging behavior may be part of the plan. If a child is engaging in challenging behavior as a way to get out of non-preferred activities such as school work or home work, time out from school work would be inappropriate and ineffective.

When time out is used as part of a treatment plan, its use must be carefully monitored with data collection and ongoing analysis to verify if the intervention is working as planned. All staff who use time out as part of a treatment plan must be trained to use the procedure. Additionally, the time out procedure must be supervised to ensure that staff are implementing it correctly.

Sadly, it does not appear that time out is being used in this way in this particular school. Based on the reports we have read, it seems as if staff sent children to these rooms to “calm down”. Based on the reports we have read, staff were not following carefully developed behavior plans. Instead, teachers appeared to be sending children to these rooms when teachers became frustrated with student behavior.

Rules for Restraint and Time Out

Currently, no federal legislation exists preventing schools from using seclusionary time out or time out rooms. However, federal legislation has been proposed. We used Wright’s Law(a helpful website for parents and teachers alike) to find additional information about seclusionary time out rules in each state. Many states have specific rules so parents, teachers, and behavior analysts should become familiar with the rules in their states. These states include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

Connecticut has specific rules regarding the use of seclusionary time out. You may read the rules here.

The rule states that “no provider shall involuntarily place a person at risk in seclusion (there are two exceptions). This means that a child may not be placed there against his/her will (with those exceptions).

The state went on to define seclusion as the confinement of a person in a room, whether alone or with staff supervision, in a manner that prevents the person from leaving.

Seclusion may be used in an emergency. But remember, an emergency does not happen daily as described in these news reports. The rules also state that if seclusion is used, “it must be part of the IEP of that person AND that other less restrictive, positive behavior interventions appropriate to the behavior exhibited by the person at risk have been implemented but were ineffective.”

The rules also state that if seclusion as a behavior intervention is repeated more than two times in any school quarter, the IEP team must meet to review the use of seclusion, consider additional evaluations or assessments, and may even revise the child’s IEP.

Most importantly, when a student is placed in seclusion, school staff must attempt to notify the parents on the same day or within 24 hours. They may use phone, email, or a note home. Parents must receive a copy of the incident report within 2 days. The state even provides a sample of the incident report form that could be used.

And finally, the rule states that any staff who uses seclusion must be trained in that technique.

Please note that this rule applies only to students who have an IEP. Students who do not have identified disabilities do not have the same rights.

What Should Parents Do to Prevent the Use of Scream Rooms/Time Out Rooms?

If your child does not have a disability, then you should meet with your principal to discuss the use of such procedures. Again, your child does not have the same rights as children with IEPs.

If your child has an IEP, then you should:

  1. Learn your state’s rules about seclusionary time out
  2. Review your child’s IEP to be certain that it does not include seclusionary time out
  3. If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, you should request the IEP team to complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)

We hope that none of your children have experienced these rooms. We also hope that we have helped you prevent the use of these rooms on your child.

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