Wednesday, May 30, 2007

IEP Goals for this year-INCLUSION!

“Only when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. . . .”

involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students). Full inclusion means that all students, regardless of handicapping condition or severity, will be in a regular classroom/program full time. All services must be taken to the child in that setting.

Those who support inclusion believe that the child always should begin in the regular environment and be removed only when appropriate services cannot be provided in the regular classroom.

In one manifestation of inclusion, the special education teachers would come into the mainstream classrooms and work with the students in that environment. Thus, there would not be elimination of special education services, but a change in the location of their delivery.

the selective placement of special education students in one or more "regular" education classes. Proponents of mainstreaming generally assume that a student must "earn" his or her opportunity to be placed in regular classes by demonstrating an ability to "keep up" with the work assigned by the regular classroom teacher.

Those who support the idea of mainstreaming believe that a child with disabilities first belongs in the special education environment and that the child must earn his/her way into the regular education environment.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 requires that a recipient of federal funds provide for the education of each qualified handicapped person in its jurisdiction with persons who are not handicapped to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person.
A recipient is required to place a handicapped child in the regular educational environment unless it is demonstrated by the recipient that the education in the regular environment with the use of supplementary aides and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

I believe that Ciarra's school should be able to design a much more inclusive program for her with assistance from professionals who have experience integrating children with disabilities in regular classes. She will require certain accommodations, including, perhaps: an itinerant teacher trained in aiding students with developmental disabilities, the assistance of an Inclusion Specialist to help facilitate her placement, modification of the regular curriculum to accommodate her needs, and special education training and consultation for the regular teacher (depending on placement, this step would be unnecessary, with a 3rd grade teacher who is also a spec ed teacher)
Supplementary Aides and Services may include:

Providing preferential seating/Reducing distractions
Providing quiet corner/room
Adapting writing utensils
Providing assistance in maintaining uncluttered space
Providing space for movement or breaks
Instructional modifications
Teaching to learning style
Modifying materials
Providing one to one instruction
Varying method of instruction/content of lesson
Providing alternative assignments
Providing extra visual and verbal cues and prompts
Providing study sheets
Conducting as assistive technology evaluation
Allowing use of computer and calculator
Allowing use of tape recorder
Providing textbooks for at home use
Providing teacher outlines, study guides
Modifying workload or length of assignments/tests
Modifying time demands
Allowing additional time for assignments and tests
Allowing answers to be dictated
Providing word bank
Providing hands-on activities
Providing highlighted materials
Allowing use of manipulatives
Giving no penalty for spelling errors, sloppy handwriting
Following routine or schedule
Teach management skills
Social/behavioral interventions/supports
Providing immediate feedback
Allowing rest breaks
Implementing POSITIVE behavior modification plan as needed
Developing crisis intervention plan
allow unfinished assignments to be completed at home
Using varied reinforcement system
Providing circle of friends/peer buddies
Provide counseling if necessary
Providing verbal and visual cues regarding transition/staying on task
Providing study skills instruction
Providing management skills instruction
Providing agenda book
Providing visual daily schedule
Adjusting assignment timelines
Providing checklists
Giving notice, warning before change in activities
Allowing daily check-in with case manager or special education teacher
Staff supports/collaboration
Providing one on one aide
Designating adult staff member to listen and provide support
Providing small group instruction
Using cooperative learning groups
Testing Accommodations
Allowing answers to be dictated
Allowing frequent rest breaks
Allowing additional time
Allowing oral testing
Giving no timed tests
Giving choice of test (multiple-choice, essay, true-false)
Accepting short answers
Allowing open book or open note tests/Shortening test
Reading test to student
Providing study guide prior to test
Highlighting key directions
Giving test in alternative site
Send home notification of upcoming tests at least two to three days in advance
Utilize a slant board as needed

1: Size
Modify the number of items she is required to complete or expected to produce. The school Neuropsychologist suggested that Ciarra could complete about 1/3 of the work her peers could do in a similar amount of time.
2: Input
Modify how information is delivered to her (visual cues, etc)
3: Time
Modify the number of minutes, hours, or days for completion or participation
4: Difficulty
Modify the level of difficulty of an assignment to fit Ciarra’s needs
i.e.: rather than labeling each body of water and the continents, have her color all of the water blue and all of the land green. Or label State names instead of names/capitols.
5: Output
Modify the way Ciarra must produce information, keeping in mind speech is difficult for her. She LOVES computers, and may be able to present better using a computer program such as Power Point, etc. (with adult help) or other less verbal methods.
6: Participation
Modify the amount of participation required of her in specific activities without excluding her from
those activities
7: Support
Provide additional support and prompts

Suggestions for Specific Modifications:

Community & Classroom:

-Place Ciarra in a small group of peers who are strong role models and empathetic

-Clearly answer questions about Ciarra only outside of her presence when asked by students. Feel free to discuss Down syndrome and its effect on her if they ask.

-An assignment book that clearly shows what she has to get done daily and also weekly, and a daily list of specific activities and responsibilities. Please include scheduled specials such as gym or art so she can plan ahead for clothing needs on those days. (i.e.: sneakers on gym days) She could keep a similar daily list taped to her desk right in front of her, so she knows what is expected of her. When she gets those things accomplished, she would earn points for the day which can be put towards a reward, the reward would be an activity she would choose, but would have educational merit. For instance a game played with a teacher/aide/other student, some time for coloring (which is a huge need for her) or computer or reading time for a few minutes.

-Use "first" and "then". "First" is usually the work/task she will have to accomplish, and the "then" is the reward that she is going to get. If it’s possible, you should set up her schedule so that she can see a bit of incentive. Ciarra will need support in transitioning, including countdowns or 5/2 minute reminders

- Ciarra will need support in developing relationships. The teacher can help by nurturing friendships that start within the classroom. If she has a friend in the class, she will find it easier to learn, and to help her to work more positively and productively. Social bonds she makes at school encourage her, and not having them makes her a reluctant learner. Sometimes it will be difficult to nurture her friendships. She has not learned how to be a GREAT friend yet. She needs direction and help opening the conversation, as though she were a much younger child.

- Have peer partners at recess for her for when she might require some extra help getting involved in play activities.

-Friendship groups will be INTEGRAL to Ciarra’s 3rd grade experience. She thrives when she has friends around. She has become somewhat shy this year, and much less secure in herself. Much of that is speech related. Smaller, quieter groups will help her feel successful.

- Communication notebook is VITAL. It is often the only thing I have to know about her day. She tells me VERY little, and often cannot remember things in any event. Having it in place helps me to know what is going on and not feel so lost when it comes to her education. It is more appreciated than you can imagine.

- Parent meetings help me to pre-teach things you will be working on, and to reinforce them at home as well. They also help me to talk with her about her days and reinforce things you are working on behavior or social wise. It would be very helpful to have such a meeting every 2-4 weeks to stay on top of things.

-Curriculum: I would like a copy of the curriculum (and modifications expected) if at all possible prior to each quarter. Again, it helps me pre-teach, as well as allows me time to purchase or borrow books that might help her to understand subjects better.

-we are using MathUSee at home, if you would like to learn about it, please just ask.

-use a lot of manipulatives

-allow use of a calculator

-In large group activities, include her by using a skill she does have, i.e. counting: (Make it so that the counting is part of the structure of what's going on rather than creating a special thing for her to do.) Make sure that she gets a role in the group where she’s doing something she can do versus leaving her out for not understanding it all.

- a simple modification would be giving Ciarra photocopied pages from the class textbook, if/when the students have to start copying from the textbook. Photocopying and enlarging the page will help her overcome the difficulty of copying problems or directions and of organizing her work as she follows along.

-A production or method sheet to help remind her how to use the format of the calculator…i.e.: 4+2=6 or 6-3=3, visual cues that can be taped to her desk as a reminder of the process used.

-Notes provided to Ciarra of what the teacher will be writing on the board, broken into explainable steps. (In hand prior to the lesson)

-fewer problems, simpler problems

-peer groups with patient, friendly, capable students.
- Provide individual math instruction daily during half of the regular math class, with the remaining half to participate with regular peers.

Reading & Spelling:

-photocopy any notes for her ahead of time

-other children might have to take a book or a paragraph of information and write a paragraph about it, you might give Ciarra a closed passage with the words underneath. That way she just has to pick the words to put in the right place.

-during silent reading...a better reader could sit quietly in back of the room and read aloud to/with her.

- take words off the main list that students are using, and modify those words by taking the root word or by taking several words off the list.

-Send home spelling words on the preceding Friday.

-let her work with a friendly peer, to give spelling tests to each other before the big day, to practice.

-do not over-correct for spelling, punctuation, or messiness.

-Ciarra LOVES to write, and is pretty good at it.

Social Studies/Science:

- get a book for Ciarra that is at her reading level, but that would be of high interest to her that deals with a topic being discussed in social studies or science. That way she could begin to understand the content of the book, plus the reading level would be a comfortable one for her. We can do a great deal of research at home, and have lots of manipulatives and CD ROMs if only we know what she is studying.

- photocopy any notes for her ahead of time.

- a simple modification would be giving Ciarra photocopied pages from the class textbook, if/when the students have to start copying from the textbook. It will save on exhaustion levels and stress.

-Ciarra is very very visual, if you can show her something, she will understand it better.

-allow Ciarra an alternative way of presenting for reports, etc. that does not rely too heavily on speech, which she struggles with


-Art has always been a comfort for Ciarra. It is something she loves, and something she spends a great deal of time doing. I have been told by several people that Ciarra gets frustrated and bored in Art class. For whatever reasons, her specials have not been modified. Art could easily be modified to be something she enjoys again. She will likely not be terribly interested in the history of art, but she can be involved in art in a way that suits her developmental ability. It is a time that could be very beneficial for her stress wise.

-Music is another favorite. What can be done here?

-PE Mr. Reed continues to find ways to modify his program and instruction to meet Ciarra where she is. My only concern is that her APE be structured at a time when it doesn’t cost her classroom time. Perhaps during recess if at all possible, would be better?

-Guidance Guidance class may well begin to be over Ciarra’s head soon. However, I also think that there is a great deal she can get from it. I suspect that with Ciarra’s development lately, the discussions about bodies changing will be happening just in time.

-Library I would ask that we continue using the library bag, and that Ciarra be reminded about her library responsibilities often. At one time, we had a photocopy of the books she brought home, together with the pink bag Mrs Ring gave her. Worked wonders!

BUS- I would like to see Ciarra’s IEP reflect some situations on the bus. Our driver this year has been Mr. Dean. He is a wonderful, loving man who genuinely likes Ciarra and Jesse. But as much as he tries, he cant seem to stop himself from over-protecting Ciarra. He often makes her sit towards the front, when same age peers (and her 2 best friends) are sitting nearer the back. She is fine. As far as I know, she is no more a behavioral concern than the other 2nd graders. I would like the bus company to be reminded that she deserves the same freedom to select her own seat as the other kids. She gets very angry when he makes her come back up front. And her brother gets quite defensive as well. He says “Mr. Dean treats her like a baby!” We appreciate his concern, but as in all things, we want her to be treated like a regular kid.

Some general suggestions:

I will work with you to achieve Ciarra’s goals. I want to be a partner in her education. She came into Kindergarten well-prepared, and that was due in large part to us being able to guide her education fully up until that point. We have lost that connection over the last several years, and are eager to regain it. We recognize that having Ciarra fully included is no easy task. In fact, it is downright scary to consider how badly it could go. But we have faith in you and in her. We know that someday she will have to live in the real world, not seperate, but equal, and we believe the best way to prepare her for that is to start now. We need you to believe in her, too.

If at all possible, having a set of text books at home would reduce the need for her to carry them back and forth. Her size would make doing so difficult, as well as her organizational abilities.

Goals and objectives for Ciarra should be agreed upon for each instructional unit before the unit is taught. Some of the goals will relate to the concepts and content of the unit. Some will relate to the strengths and needs that were identified by the team, and agreed upon as goals and objectives in the IEP. The teaching of the IEP objectives should be embedded in the regular lessons and routines of the classroom. They do not need to be taught at a separate time, in a separate place.

The indications of learning and growth may be different from those of the other children in the class, but they must be recognized by the teacher as valid. If the teacher values Ciarra’s progress and abilities, then the children in the class will also value them. Ciarra does not have to learn the SAME curriculum as the other children, just the same subject matter at her OWN level.

Outline the routines and lessons which the other children are engaged in on a typical day. List the outline for the day on one side of a flip chart, and then, on the other side, identify the supports or adaptations needed to include Ciarra.

There is often no need to make changes, especially to the regular routines. Only very specific areas of the curriculum will need modification.

Perhaps, a classmate might be asked to meet Ciarra at the school door to accompany her to the classroom. This would help her practice the route, and is an opportunity to build a friendship.

Consider whether adaptations or modifications need to be made to the information, the materials, and the instructional process. Decide whether Ciarra will require support to carry out some or all of a lesson or routine, and how the support will be provided.

Be sure Ciarra has a clearly defined role which truly contributes to the success of the group. She might make sure that all the members of the group are present before beginning, or bring materials to the group meetings. She might take photographs to add information to a final report, or take a turn as leader of the group

Write whatever instructional adaptations you plan to make into the daily lesson plans. This means including relevant information on the objectives, the adaptations to the tasks, and the materials needed for her to be able to participate in each lesson. If a substitute teacher or assistant is called to instruct the class, this information must be available.

Testing Accommodations

-Extended time to finish
-For tests requiring extended writing (essay) responses Double Time
-Separate setting
-Small group- quiet with limited visual distractions
-For tests longer than 40 minutes in length 10 minute break every 40 minutes


Oberti vs. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District

(3rd Circuit Court, 1993)
Upheld the right of Rafeal Oberti, a boy with Down syndrome, to receive his education in his neighborhood regular school with adequate and necessary supports, placing the burden of proof for compliance with IDEA's mainstreaming requirements on the school district and the state rather than on the family. The federal judge who decided the case endorsed full inclusion, he wrote "Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few".

The Oberti Court stated ...
"that education law requires school systems to supplement and realign their resources to move beyond those systems, structures and practices which tend to result in unnecessary segregation of children with disabilities.”

"We emphasize that the Act does not require states to offer the same educational experience to a child with disabilities as is generally provided for nondisabled children.... To the contrary, states must address the unique needs of a disabled child, recognizing that that child may benefit differently from education in the regular classroom than other students. .... In short, the fact that a child with disabilities will learn differently from his or her education within a regular classroom does not justify exclusion from that environment." "Indeed the Act's strong presumption in favor of mainstreaming...would be turned on its head if parents had to prove that their child was worthy of being included, rather than the school district having to justify a decision to exclude the child from the regular classroom."

In finding for the parents in Oberti, the court ruled in favor of a placement that was more inclusive than that provided by a self-contained placement. Specifically, the court ruled that three factors must be considered:
-The court should consider whether the district made reasonable efforts to accommodate the child in regular education. The school must "consider the whole range of supplemental aids and services..."
-The court should compare the educational benefits the child would receive in regular education (with supplemental aids and services) contrasted with the benefits in a special education classroom.
-The court should consider the effect the inclusion of the child with disabilities might have on the education of other children in the regular education classroom.

If, after considering these factors, the court determines that the child cannot be educated satisfactorily in a regular classroom, the court must consider whether the schools have included the child in school programs to the maximum extent appropriate.

[33] In Board of Educ. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 188-89, 102 S.Ct. 3034, 3042, 73 L.Ed.2d 690 (1982), the Supreme Court held that a "free appropriate public education" under the Act "consists of educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the handicapped child, supported by such services as are necessary to permit the child `to benefit' from the instruction." This court in turn interpreted Rowley to require the state to offer children with disabilities individualized education programs that provide more than a trivial or de minimis educational benefit.

Greer vs. Rome City School District (11th Circuit Court, 1992)
In this case, the court decided in favor of parents who objected to the placement of their daughter in a self-contained special education classroom. Specifically, the court said: "Before the school district may conclude that a handicapped child should be educated outside of the regular classroom it must consider whether supplemental aids and services would permit satisfactory education in the regular classroom."

The district had considered only three options for the child:

-The regular education classroom with no supplementary aids and services;
-The regular classroom with some speech therapy only;
-The self-contained special education classroom.

The district argued that the costs of providing services in the classroom would be too high. -However, the court said that the district cannot refuse to serve a child because of added cost.

On the other hand, the court also said that a district cannot be required to provide a child his/her own full-time teacher. As in many decisions of this type, no clear determination is made about when costs move from reasonable to excessive. The major message in this case is that all options must be considered before removing a child from the regular classroom.

Sacramento City Unified School District vs. Holland (9th Circuit Court, 1994)
In this case, the circuit court upheld the decision of the lower court in finding for the Holland family. The parents in this case challenged the district's decision to place their daughter half-time in a special education classroom and half-time in a regular education classroom. The parents wanted their daughter in the regular classroom full-time.

A number of issues were addressed in this decision. The court considered a 1989 case in Texas, (Daniel R.R.), which found that regular education placement is appropriate if a disabled child can receive a satisfactory education, even if it is not the best academic setting for the child. Non-academic benefits must also be considered.

In upholding the lower court decision, the 9th Circuit Court established a four-part balancing test to determine whether a school district is complying with IDEA.

The four factors were as follows:

-The educational benefits of placing the child in a full-time regular education program;
-The non-academic benefits of such a placement;
-The effect the child would have on the teacher and other students in the regular classroom;
-The costs associated with this placement.

As a result of applying these factors, the court found in favor of including the child.

Why Inclusion?:

A 1989 study found that over a fifteen year period, the employment rate for high school graduates with special needs who had been in segregated programs was 53%. But for special needs graduates from integrated programs the employment rate was 73%. Furthermore, the cost of educating students in segregated programs was double that for educating them in integrated programs (Piuma, 1989).

We expect Ciarra to grow up and get a job, maybe go on to a secondary education. More and more these days, that is not out of the question. It takes only the belief that kids like her have their own strengths and abilities, and that they deserve a chance to learn and grow like any other kid. She may never learn all of the things her peers will learn. But she will model their speech, and she will try her hardest to take whatever she can from the curriculum. Ciarra is not a behavioral concern, for the most part. Stubborn serves her well, even when it irritates us. The benefits of being taught alongside her peers are great. She is motivated by them, and in the right hands, that motivation is the key to her future.

Until a few years ago, I believed that what we had set up here for Ciarra was the best the world had to offer. In many ways, I was right. The people behind her are wonderful. But in other ways I was wrong. Time and perspective have shown me that she spends very little time in the classroom. Maybe we didn’t believe that she, or we, could pull it off. She can. And we can help her.

We, as a team, have NEVER placed Ciarra in a truly inclusive setting. We assumed, and that includes myself, for whatever reasons, that she couldn’t manage. We, as a team, have never made the effort to put into place supplementary aides and services to keep her in her classroom. It is scary, but I believe it can work. With the changes happening next year, by virtue of her moving to third grade, (new Special Ed room and teacher, new programming, new teachers, etc) it is the ideal time to change her placement.

Things I would like to see in place:

Tutoring- BS would like to work with Ciarra again this summer. Her Concept Development Therapy was a vital part of Ciarra’s preparedness for Kindergarten. She is willing to work with Ciarra several afternoons a week, and will be using the new math program MathUSee with her as well. We hope to have her on the way to catching up to her peers. Summer school has never worked for us. Ciarra is NOT a morning person.

A computer with writing program-Ciarra is beginning to use her home computer more and more as a word processor. She is very successful with it, and loves computers so much that writing stories etc seems like play versus work to her. Having a computer at school with a printer would make it much easier for her to write stories and assignments. The pc would stay at the school, and we would send assignments in on cd to transfer over.

Air conditioning in her classroom

A plan for Therapies- I would very much like to see Ciarra’s schedule done effectively and creatively. There are times and places in the third grade schedule that can be tweaked to better meet her needs. For instance, French. It makes no sense for Ciarra to be learning French. She needs to learn English first. The classroom time that is devoted to French class would be much better spent by her at Speech therapy. Mrs. Johnson has had remarkable success with her this year. Why couldn’t we plan ahead to have Ciarra go to speech while the other children go to French? It saves on her being pulled out during vital class time. If there are any other times that would be better suited to therapies, then OT is a consideration as well. If not, I would prefer that OT be pushed in.


I want to be ready to go with plans for a successful year already in place long before Ciarra walks through the door to begin third grade. That means knowing who her teacher will be, knowing that a team is in place to support her educationally, emotionally, and socially. We cannot afford to wait again next year to get started with Friendship Circles and other supports. Ciarra struggled this year, and we dropped the ball. Having a plan to use the biggest motivational factor we have…the other children…in place will give us the jump on her year. It will allow her to get excited again and want to be there. This year has been an exercise in begging and goading and bribing her into going to school. I wasn’t on the ball, and certain aspects of her program weren’t in place in time. I cannot let that happen again. The older she gets, the harder it will be to convince her that school is wonderful, if it is not.


I would like to address the yearly sleepover ahead of time this year. Last year, despite my wishes being made very clear, I was not called when Ciarra started to cry and in fact cried herself to sleep. No one called, and no adult was available to comfort her, despite Candace White being in the next room, and fully capable and willing to help make Ciarra comfortable.
As this is a school function made available to the entire class, Ciarra has a right and a definite need to have someone there to look after her. Children are not individually supervised for quite some time that night, with lots of running back and forth from classroom/lunchroom/gym. With Ciarra’s eye for wandering, this is an unsafe environment for her without someone whose job it is to keep her safe. As it is a school event made available to all the children, it is a legitimate expense to hire an aide specifically for her, given the inability of one aide to watch several very active children.

I recognize that Ciarra has missed quite a few days this year. We had hoped the surgery she had would correct the problem, unfortunately it did not resolve it. She is routinely on antibiotics. The plan now is to wait a few years and then go in and surgically enlarge her sinus cavity. It is a painful and dangerous surgery in a child with such small bone structure. Dr. Giebfried is being as cautious with this as he was with the tonsil surgery. In the meantime, we continue with antibiotics much too often. She is often exhausted from not sleeping well, between the sinus/throat infections and sleep apnea, she really struggles to breathe at night. We are trying to keep her healthy, but it is a hard road. Please be patient with her when she doesn’t feel well. She is a tough little kid, but this thing has really taken a toll on her. I think about years of being sick with this, constant antibiotics, and it makes me tired. I can only imagine how she feels.

Another aspect of Ciarra’s physical and emotional well-being has been her sadness this year. She suddenly knows she is different, and she feels it very strongly. She tells me often that she doesn’t have friends. She has several very good friends, but she craves the contact and social connections in school. The best motivation for Ciarra to get out of bed every day is the prospect that a friend can come over after school. Having that connection in school, having friends there and people who are happy to see her makes ALL the difference in the world. If we can foster a community for her there, she will want to come to school, and she WILL learn. Ciarra shines when she feels loved, and she slouches when she doesn’t. Her emotional well-being is vital to her success at school, and the other children are the key. If I could ask for one thing, it would be that you recognize the power that holds for her.

Aide: Not having an aide fulltime this year has been a bad thing for Ciarra. She NEEDS an aide if she is to succeed in the classroom, fulltime.

Thank you

I certainly know Ciarra is but one of many children whose lives you touch every day. But while she is yours for a year or two, she is mine forever. To me, she is everything. She is my baby, my last child. Her success is the difference between a fulfilling and promising life and one spent alone and lonely. The education you give her now will change everything about her future. Where she lives, HOW she lives, her ability to protect herself, and her ability to enjoy the things in life we so often take for granted, are being formed every day that she is with you. Will she read and enjoy the newspaper? Count change? Live alone or in a group home? Will she find her voice and be proud of who she is, or will she struggle and feel less than capable and give up easily?

This daughter of mine is a fighter. She is a lot like her mom, she doesn’t quit easily. This year has scared me, to tell you the truth. Some of her light has gone out, and I am desperate to rekindle it. She loves to learn, she loves to be successful. But so much depends on her happiness, and right now, that hinges so much on her friendships and relationships. She needs to believe in herself again. I know that for a child with Down syndrome, she is doing very well already. But like all moms, I want even more. I want every bit of life I can grab for her. I want to take every second of learning time and make it count. I want to give her every chance to have the life I have always dreamed for her. And sometimes that means I shoot for the moon.

No comments: