Special Education Planning for 2013-2024 School Year

Well, the 2012-2013 school is  over – at least in Georgia – and you are planning for your child with special needs 2013-2014 school year.  (For those in the northeast and elsewhere,  the 2012-2013 school year will not end until sometime in June but you do not begin the next school year until around Labor Day).  What can you do to plan for next school year.  These are just a few suggestions for you.ear is

First, if your child is receiving extended school year program programming this summer, then be sure to monitor your child’s educational progress and secure data or other objective proof that you child is making progress on specific IEP goals and objectives. Depending upon your child’s disability, extended school year programming or ESYP can consist of different approaches, services, and instruction. A child with a severe mental intellectual disability, for example, may work on self-help skills, independent living skills, and other functional skills to maintain those skills during the summer months. A child with a severe intellectual disability is much more likely to require constant repetition to maintain functional skills to avoid regression during the summer. A child with dyslexia, however, may require a different approach with certain instruction and services.  A child with dyslexia may need continuance of a multi-sensory program during the summer such as Orton Gillingham, Lindamood Bell, Wilson, and Hermann to reinforce emerging skills such as reading, reading comprehension, written expression, and phonemic awareness.   If your child, however, did not qualify for ESYP this summer, then you want to monitor and collect data yourself, if possible, if your child regresses educationally and then requires a long period (e.g. 2-3 months) after school begins to recoup his skills that he had at the end of last school year. Although regression-recoupment are important components of determining whether your child should receive ESYP, they are not the only ones that should be considered. A child with a serious emotional disturbance, for example, will need constant reinforcement of positive behavior supports and interventions during the summer to maintain positive behavior. Without such support, interventions and strategies, a child with a serious emotional disturbance will likely increase aberrant behavior and will not likely transition smoothly to the next school year. This child is likely to be charged with violation of a school rule or code of student conduct at the beginning of the year and be suspended.

Another idea is to prepare for the 2013-2014  school year is to visiting your child’s new school if he is moving to kindergarten, middle or high school.  Children with disabilities often have more difficult transitioning to a new school than non-disabled peers. That is not say that all children with disabilities have transition issues.  Children with autism, intellectual disabilities, and traumatic brain injury are more likely to experience transition issues because of the nature of their disability.   You may be able to arrange for your child to visit his or her new school so reduce any anxiety or lack of familiarity that he or she may experience at the beginning of the school year. You may also want to meet with your child’s new teachers before school starts in August 2013.  By establishing a positive and open relationship with your child’s new teachers, this may be help in building positive and constructive communicating with those teachers.   Personal relationships are very important in all areas of life and particularly with your child’s teachers.

These are just a few ideas for consideration for parents for the 2013-2014 school year. Each school year brings new challenges for parents of children with disabilities. Hopefully, the 2013-2014 school year will be better for you and your child.