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With Back to School on the minds of many of us, So are IEP's and thoughts and prayers for a Successful school year for our children are foremost In our minds.
I have two IEP's yet to do before school starts and For those of you who also have IEP's yet to attend Be sure to make yourself familiar with the Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997. Parents and students both Have rights under this act so do your homework BEFORE you show up at the IEP. Take the time to Visit www.house.gov/eeo/ideaparent.htm
It's always a good idea to know what your Rights are And what the responsibilities are of the School. Educate Yourself and learn how to handle yourself appropriately When dealing with School officials. The Special Ed Advocate is an excellent source for this. You Will find their website at www.wrightslaw.com/ And it is loaded with useful information on special Education law, a free newsletter and other Resources including how to write letters and deal with Hearings.
Another good article to read on Back to School Is located at www.enteract.com/~peregrin/add/back.txt Lots of usual tips for parents on how to prepare their child For the new school year and gives one food for thought When planning for the new year.
Another website to keep in touch with is the www.house.gov/eeo/ The Home Page for the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the United States House of Representatives. You will find information about current issues, Committee Members, and the Committee's structure. You will find information Press releases, workforce issues, schedules and meetings and more.
For those of you involved with the Feingold Association or interested In diet and nutrition, the Feingold Association is asking for your help.
Dear Members and Interested Friends,
If any of you buy your groceries at Shop-Rite and could spend some time at the store looking for Shop-Rite brand products, please e-mail Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to update our information on these products. We will be looking to see if certain Shop-Rite products still exist, and what their ingredients are. And, if you see new Shop-Rite products that look like possibilities, we would like to get them researched so they can be added to our Foodlist.
Please help us make your Foodlist grow!
**- Dr. Dave's AddVice -**
With school about to begin, I though it would be a good time to review information on the educational rights that are guaranteed by law for children with ADHD. Being aware of what your child's rights are, and making sure that he or she is receiving the services to which he or she is entitled, is one of the most important things that parents can do to help their child succeed.
Prior to 1991, children with ADHD were not eligible to receive special educational services unless they were determined to have some other disability (e.g. a specific learning disability). Lobbying efforts to rectify this situation were successful, however, and children with ADHD who require special assistance must now receive access to special education and/or related services according to two federal laws.
Children with ADHD may be eligible for special services under Part B of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This would apply when a child's ADHD is determined to be a "chronic or acute health problem which adversely affects educational performance." When this condition is true - as it will be for many children with ADHD - the child can be classified as "Other Health Impaired" (OHI), and the school must develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that is designed to meet the child's unique educational needs.
Special services for children with ADHD may also be obtained under Section 504, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Like IDEA, Section 504 requires schools to provide children who have disabilities with a free and appropriate public education. Unlike IDEA, however, which stipulates that a child has disabilities that require special education services, Section 504 identifies a qualified person as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as learning. This means that children who do not require special education are still guaranteed access to related services under Section 504, and the school must try to adapt instructional methods to the needs of children with ADHD.
Section 504 would apply when a child with ADHD is doing well academically, and thus does not warrant the "other health impaired" classification or require special educational services, and yet would still benefit from certain classroom modifications. Such modifications might include reducing the length of homework assignments, simplifying instructions about assignments, providing specific assistance with planning and organizational skills, or using behavioral management techniques in the classroom. This means that for children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, schools and teachers are obliged to cooperate by providing the modifications that maybe necessary to help ensure the success of a child with ADHD.
- Obtaining Services for your child -
If you believe that your child may require special educational services at school, it is important to know how to obtain them. I will try to provide a general idea of this process by outlining the procedures that apply to my home state of North Carolina. It is important to realize that procedures in other parts of the country may be somewhat different.
Before any child is eligible to receive special services, an evaluation is required. For a child who is suspected of having ADHD, the evaluation process will often include having parents and teachers complete standardized behavior rating scales, classroom observations, intellectual and achievement testing, and a medical exam. Because ADHD is considered a medical condition, most states require the diagnosis to be formally made by a physician, although other individuals are often involved in the evaluation process. Evaluations can be done privately, or can be completed by the school system. If you elect to have your child evaluated privately, it is a good idea to check with the school to learn about any special requirements they have.
Parents can request that their child be evaluated by the school at any time. The initial request can be made to your child's teacher, the school guidance counselor, or school principal. When parents initiate a request, it is a good idea to do this in writing and to retain a dated copy. It is * very important * to try and learn what the exact sequence of events will be after you initiate your request, and what is reasonable to expect in terms of a time line. The evaluation process is generally coordinated by an individual or group of individuals at the school who are responsible for making determinations about the need for special educational services. Where I live, this group is often referred to as the "Student Assistance Team".
The initial stages of a school based evaluation are often called the "pre-referral screening phase". Information collected during this phase may include a combination of classroom observations, achievement testing, and specific educational interventions that are implemented to enhance a child's behavioral functioning and academic performance. An important goal of this stage is to determine whether a child's needs can be adequately met in the regular classroom without any special educational services being required. This phase will often take at least a month, and can sometimes take considerably longer. If parents believe this is taking too long, it is important to discuss your concerns with the Assistance Team.
Information collected during this stage is evaluated by the Assistance Team to determine whether a full psychoeducational evaluation appears warranted. (This would be the case if the interventions attempted to enhance the child's success in the classroom were not sufficient.) The psychological evaluation will generally consist of an individually administered IQ and achievement test, along with other procedures that are deemed important. If the Assistance Team determines that a full evaluation is necessary, parents will be asked to sign a consent form to allow this to occur. If the Assistance Team decides that a full evaluation is not necessary, but you disagree, you have the right to appeal the decision. The school is required to provide you with information about appeal procedures.
Federal guidelines stipulate that the evaluation, which includes all necessary testing and the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP), must be completed within 90 days of when the consent form is signed. This 90 day clock does not stop when school ends for the summer, and the evaluation can be completed during the summer when required.
After the evaluation is complete, the information gathered will be used to determine a child's eligibility for special services, which will often include specialized, individual or small group instruction in academic areas that are especially difficult for the child. There should generally be agreement between parents and the school about what services are necessary, but parents have the right to appeal any decisions they disagree with.
When the consensus is that special educational services are required, an IEP will be developed. An IEP is a plan to educate your child based on your child's individual needs. Ideally, the IEP should take into account a child's unique abilities and disabilities, and identify specific educational goals for the child, procedures for attaining those goals, and methods to evaluate whether the goals are being met. In the best circumstances, the plan is developed in a collaborative meeting involving parents, teachers, and other school personnel (i.e. guidance counselor, school psychologist, etc.) Parents are also free to bring along anyone (e.g. child psychologist) that they feel would be helpful to have at the meeting. As described above, the IEP is a document that spells out educational goals for your child, procedures to attain those goals, and methods for evaluating their attainment. The IEP is a legal document, and once it's contents have been agreed on, it can not be changed without your permission. Either you or the school can request that changes be made at any time, however. Your child's IEP should be reviewed each year so that it's continued appropriateness can be reviewed, and any necessary modifications can be made.
If you believe that your child requires and would benefit from special services at school, I would encourage you to learn as much as you can about the specific procedures in your school system. Getting through this process can be very frustrating and can often feel as though it is draggingon forever. The more you know about what your child's rights are, however, the better able you will be to function as an effective advocate and secure the help that your child may require.
Before ending this month's column, I'd like to let you know about two resources I provide that I think you would find helpful. The first is an electronic newsletter I publish called ADHD RESEARCH UPDATE. This newsletter will keep you informed about new research on ADHD/ADD, and how new findings can be applied to help your child. To receive sample issues to review, click on this link: email@example.com and type "sample issues" in the subject line.
I have also developed a simple and effective procedure to help you carefully monitor how well your child's symptoms are being managed at school. You can learn about this at www.svr.com/addhelp/monitor.htm. Please check this out - I know you will find it to be quite helpful.
Finally, Concerned Counseling www.concernedcounseling.com has invited me to be their guest on August 19th at 9:00 PM EST for an on-line conference about school issues and ADHD. Please participate if you have the time. You can get the details at their web site.
I hope your child's school year gets off to a great start!
David Rabiner, PhD
by Bob Seay
The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree
We know that there is a STRONG genetic connection - upwards of at least 75% or greater - for ADD in families.(Biederman, et al) If a child is diagnosed as ADD, then most likely one of the parents will exhibit ADD symptoms as well.
Let's just say the odds are much better than you get when you play Powerball.
With such a strong connection, it is inevitable that many ADDults will find themselves raising an ADD/ADHD child - a intimidating task for any parent, but especially for one who is dealing with his or her own ADD as well. Also, consider this: most of these ADD parents raising these ADD kids were themselves raised by an .... ADD parent. Given the state of the art at the time the baby boomers were growing up, it is most likely that these ADD Grandparents were undiagnosed and untreated.
The cycle goes in BOTH directions.
ADD families have higher rates of domestic violence, higher divorce rates, higher child abuse rates and so on. When you think about this long parade of untreated ADD ancestors, is it any wonder we have trouble as parents? People parent as they were parented, unless they have a compelling reason to do otherwise. Even now, I find myself speaking to my sons exactly as my father spoke to me, with just about the same result:
Nothing....only I am supposed to know better!
HOW DO I IMPROVE THIS?
FIRST, Realize how ADD affects parenting.
The fact that ADD children do best in a structured environment is totally opposed to my nature as ADDult to be unstructured. This lack of structure does not help my child. What I may regard as spontaneity, the child will probably interpret as uncertainty... or worse.
The same goes for my natural Implusivity. Because I am impulsive, because I tend to over react, my child may feel that he cannot depend on my for support.
ADD Children need stability, structure and support. Without these things, they will almost certainly fail, no matter how much Ritalin we pump into them. ADDults, on the other hand, have difficulty providing any of these things. It is important to remember that YOU are the adult in this relationship, and as such, the responsibility to change must begin with you. Children are more reactive than proactive - many of the problems that we face as parents are brought on by the child's reaction to something we have done.
This does not mean that you roll over, play dead and take no active role in discipline or other parenting duties. What it means is that you take that role with the understanding of your own ADD related problems.
SECOND: Think about what works and what doesn't
Does yelling at the child really work? Or, do we yell because we were yelled at by our parents?
If it doesn't work, then why continue to yell?
Again, the natural ADD trait is to blow up in an uncontrolled hyperactive rage, and then to cool down and say something profound, like "OK, at least the cat survived. Now, let's see how we can extract him from the agitator motor in the washing machine". Unfortunately, the child seldom hears these profundities. By the time the ADDult has once again become a rational person, the child has long since tuned them out.
THIRD: Thing of ways to change.
I no longer speak to my sons when I am angry. If they do something incredibly enraging, such as put a golf ball through the picture window because "Well, Dad, I had to try out this new 5 wood." (quote - my 9 year old - the jock. I am a musician... how did I come to have a jock for a son? I don't deserve this), I withdraw from the situation. I send them to their room, and I wait until I have finished the explosion process before I talk to them.
This deferred punishment technique has had some interesting effects at our home. It used to be that my kids would gauge how angry I was by how loudly I yelled. Now, they have learned to gauge the degree of silence and length of cool down time I employ. I can now scare the pants off my child without saying a word. I walk into the room, and the apologies flow like water, whereas before, all I got were denials.
It has also allowed me to think of more effective consequences.
Example - the above mentioned broken window.
When this happened before, with a baseball, not a golf ball, I blew up and decreed that he would "Learn to fix the window". This was not a good idea. A (then) eight year old boy has no idea how to repair a window. This thing ended up looking like something from a playdough commercial. I was so entirely irrational at this point that I insisted he completed the job, even though it meant that I had to come back and completely redo it later. Again, not real bright - you reach a point of diminishing returns real fast in these cases. I'm screaming, the kid's crying, my wife is yelling, the dog is howling.. and the window is still broken.
This time - I sent Matthew to his room.
First reaction - Loud screams: "He is going to fix this window." , among other descriptive phrases.
Remember what had happened before... ok, not a good idea.
Second reaction - "He is going to pay to have this window fixed". I devise all kinds of cruel and unusual tasks which would probably violate child labor laws even in countries that use sweat shops.
Sounds good initially, but is it realistic? I'll just have to come up with some kind of bogus jobs for him to do so I can pay him, then he will pay me. Besides, what connection is there to a broken window and his hand waxing my car, no matter how many coats I require? I'm still screwed.
Third try - I will fix the window with Matthew. He will do most of the work. I will assist, rather than supervise (criticize is more accurate) as before.
This provides an action based consequence. It provides a learning experience and good "quality time" with my son. It gets the window fixed. More important, my wife and I are still speaking to each other once it is finished.
So, the trick that I have learned is to STOP and think before I do the parenting thing.
Come to think of it, if I had STOPPED TO THINK about 10 years ago, I wouldn't be in this predicament in the first place.
Oh well... I didn't say I wanted to stop ALL spontaneity in my life!
By "Dr. Steve"
Why Is Coaching So Important?
What Are Some Of The First Steps?
Childhood follows the example set by the computer: it keeps being reinvented. Advancements are continuously introduced that raise standards and improve quality but these ultimately lead to more complex problems in function. Today's world offers children the richest opportunities for intellectual growth while undervaluing the need for informed and involved parenting. Children turn to "popular" peers, media icons, and commercial trends as their "behavior guides." Deficits in social and emotional skills are the result. The sensational news stories of child violence are just the tip of the iceberg. Examples of emotional immaturity, poor judgment calls, and other social handicaps are in evidence in the home, school, mall, and most places kids are found.
The typical unevenness between children's intellect and their social/emotional functioning is traceable to technological, cultural, familial, and economic factors, among others. The "guardians" of childhood, parents and teachers in particular, point the finger of blame at one another, reflecting mutual feelings of powerlessness. There is no doubt that teachers can make a pivotal impact on the non-academic growth of their students, but the parent's role is most critical. Without the appropriate guidance of parents, children are in a far more vulnerable position to contend with the pressures of our "advanced" world. The involved guidance of parents and teachers can make the difference between a child caving in to a provocative peer's pressure and retrieving the skills to retain self-control and clear thinking when faced with a difficult situation.
Coaching offers children an internal safety net of social and emotional skills to help them cope with the circumstances of their lives. Children's lives are filled with compelling encounters that can quickly escalate to trouble. Common encounters include conflict with peers, requests by authority figures, and the presence of tempting stimuli, such as drugs, risky opportunities, or the annoying behavior of others. These moments in time can serve as triggering events, activating a maladaptive reaction in the child, leading to actions and statements with lasting negative consequences. Conversely, these moments may simply pass without much significance if a child possesses the skills for self-management of potential triggers. In this case, there are no external consequences, no shattered self-esteem, and no accompanying threat to others. In fact, proper management of trying circumstances can lead to enhanced self-esteem and peer admiration.
Emotional self-management results from developing a repertoire of skills that children mentally retrieve when circumstances demand. This requires preparation, practice and above all, the coaching of caring and informed adults. One of the first steps is for adults to help individual children identify their own personal triggers that often lead to troubling reactions. It can be helpful to speak with children about typical "triggers to trouble" or give them a list of examples to help them reflect upon their behaviors. Coaches might pick items from the following series when talking to individuals or to groups of children:
CHECK OFF YOUR TRIGGERS TO TROUBLE
In addition to these examples, parents can add others to the list or invite children to offer their own personal triggers. It's okay to gently suggest certain items to your child, but be ready to withdraw an offer if your child rejects the idea. The goal is not to get your child to agree with you, but to continue to build upon his/her ability to reflect upon their behavior. Unfortunately, many parents defeat their own purpose during this fragile point in the communication process by imposing judgments of where children go wrong. Parents must also not be too quick to suggest solutions or "quick fixes" to a child. This sends the message that you don't understand how hard it is for children to change behavior patterns. Impulsive behaviors, such as hasty decisions and rash actions, are caused, in part, by children's lack of experience with rational thinking within emotionally charged situations. Yet, by discussing triggers you are beginning to help them carve out a rational thinking path that can be accessed when the stakes are high.
The importance of coaching your child in how to think rationally can not be overestimated. Children's thoughts are tilted in the direction of wishes, memories, current and upcoming events, and other assorted news of the day. Yet, the world is filled with many examples of people's successes and failures when rational thinking is put to the test. Many of these examples can be found in your children's own life or peer group, while others can be referenced within your own childhood experiences. Make use of these real life instances of how thinking skills solve difficult situations or prevent things from getting worse.
One example comes from a mother who spent time preparing her daughter, Josie, for the triggers she would confront during a week of overnight camp. She knew of Josie's tendency to "come on too strong" with new girls, and suspected that she might be teased for her annoying behavior. Despite her mother's coaching, Josie found herself being teased. But rather than escalating the problem with more inappropriate behavior, she remembered her mother's coaching advice: "when you take responsibility for your behavior you demonstrate maturity, or the opposite of what you are being teased for." Josie's step toward maturity took the form of a letter she left for several kids who had made fun of her the night before:
Dear Jenny, Alison, Chris and people who slept in the courtyard:
I heard all the things that you said about me last night, and I'm sorry I act the way I do. I guess your friendship with me wasn't meant to work out. I really wanted to be your friend and I tried. But I kinda got a bit excited. That's why I acted the way I did. I'm sorry.
Your used to be friend,
We are really sorry about the stuff we said about you. It was wrong. We got carried away. Josie, thank you for telling us and letting us realize what we did wrong. Sorry. You have every reason to be mad at us and we understand.
I accept the apology and thanks for saying what you meant. I really appreciate it! Are we friends again?
Thanks for taking our apology in. Get some sleep, please.
This reconciliation would never have taken place if Josie had been unable to use her thinking skills to heal her hurt feelings. The simple, but often missing, gesture of taking responsibility for her error, made all the difference to those children who had mocked her the night before. Without her mother's astute pre-camp coaching advice, Josie would have fallen into the trap of "blaming the other" for "making" her feel so bad. Her mother was very aware that one of her daughter's key triggers to trouble were those circumstances where she meets a large number of new kids and wants desperately to feel accepted within their ranks. Fortunately for Josie, the preparation paid off, and she became even more aware of how her style of approaching new social situations needed to be changed.
Josie's apt management of the circumstances bolstered her social skills and left a lasting feeling of accomplishment. Just as important, it increased her awareness into the ways other children view her behavior. The coaching lesson," Don't push kids away by trying too hard to make friends," was reinforced by this real life example. Her mother helped her link this lesson with other circumstances where things didn't turn out as well. Before Josie faces similar circumstances, such as at the start of school, she can pull out the notes that had been passed back and forth with the "outdoor people", and prepare herself to use her improved skills. In time, Josie will be able to remove "meeting new people" from her "triggers to trouble" list.
Dr. Steven Richfield
**"Correcting Learning/Behavioral Disorders Naturally!"**
Before I get into the article further, I want to ask the readers if any of them have headaches, mood swings, bloating, fatigue, irritability, muscle pain, memory loss, nervousness, weakness, noise sensitivity, appetite loss, depression, and I'm sure I could go on...
Please write to me immediately if you are perfect, because I certainly am not!
Now, that we all realize that we all have things to improve on we can now look at our situations more objectively and without saying not me, etc.
I realize that there are some of you who will want to try a more natural approach and others who are satisfied with prescription drugs. My plan is to implement natural into your existing programs. It is no mystery that our bodies need vitamins, minerals, and a balanced diet.
Let's begin with Vitamin C and how it relates to learning and behavioral disorders. Many with disorders are often plagued with allergies, hyperactivity, and irritability. The Vitamin C in larger dosages works similar to ritalin in that it works opposite and reduces hyperactivity. (Those who do not exhibit the hyperactivity but lack drive will benefit with an increase in vitality and not work opposite.) It also boosts allergens in our bodies that enable our bodies to combat the allergies that have plagued us by reducing the symptoms and sometimes eliminating them all together. Irritability is reduced because our bodies are being fed what it is deficient of.
Prescription drugs are not feeding the body what it needs so consider including this vitamin as desert or implement more fresh fruits, spinach, broccoli, and other veggies into your diet. By doing this, you will be boosting your immune system. My son and I haven't gone to a doctor in years.
The key to success is to start with lower milligrams and increase. It took time for the body to become deficient and it'll take time to see results. It's well worth the effort and also will pay off financially with less doctor visits.
My son is on 2,000 mg of Vitamin C and so am I. On other vitamins our needs are different and are addressed in accordance to need.
Always consult a physician or health expert before starting a program or implementing into your existing program. Each individual is different and has different needs.
To order Michelle's book, contact her at Michelle Davis P.O. Box 10757 Prescott, AZ 86304-0757 $25.95 7.5% tax $3.00 s&h
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Copyright 1998 Brandi Valentine. All rights reserved. This Newsletter is copyrighted by the authors and/or publisher. ADDed Attractions may be used for non-commercial purposes only and may not be redistributed for commercial purposes without the express written consent of Brandi Valentine.
Appropriate credit should be given to this resource and it's authors if It is reproduced in any form. Brandi Valentine
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