When The Parent Disagrees

Based on my experience, teachers do a great job of identifying students that are not performing at grade level in their classes. As a guidance counselor, I am the teacher’s first contact to ask if those students have an IEP or 504 plan. Often, it is the new students to the school. In some cases the parent has moved from one district to another and doesn’t tell the registrar that they have a special needs student or a student that is struggling.

The more difficult situation is when the parent will not agree to any type of classification that will allow the school to provide accommodations and modifications. In at least one case that I am familiar with, the student has failed every class in the regular education setting for three straight years. The only way for the school to actually correct this is to charge the parent with educational neglect and have the student potential placed in the correct programs.

This creates an antagonistic relationship that is almost certainly headed for disaster. Any thoughts??

Who gets to pick the special education placement of a down syndrome student?

When a special education student is placed in a specific class, who makes that decision? Is it the school, the parent, the teacher or is it a group decision. Like everything, it depends. Recently, the parents of a down syndrome student met with teachers, case manager and guidance counselor because the teachers believed that the student wasn’t benefiting from the regular education inclusion class. The teachers believed that they couldn’t make enough modification in their classrooms to make this placement work.

The parents heard that the teachers wouldn’t make the necessary modifications. They believe that the benefits of being in the same classroom with regular education students far out weigh the concerns that the student wasn’t able to complete the majority of the work. They also believed that the “learning disabled” class would have behavior problems and didn’t want their child in that environment.

I did get a chance to follow-up with the teachers and they weren’t trying to get the student out of the class, but strongly believed that the “learning disabled” class would provide more benefits. The class was much smaller and the range of abilities were closer to the student’s levels. The student would probably still have the lowest skill levels in the new class, but the pace and ability to provide more specific assistance and modifications would more specifically address her needs. They also indicated that the behavior of the other students would not be an issue and the student would benefit socially as well as educationally.

Any thoughts? I am still working out the “bugs”, but please try to leave a comment. If that doesn’t work, leave me an e-mail fhentz@hotmail.com.

Upcoming Events

Darryl’s Wheels 2018 Deck Party

Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 6:00 – 10:00 PM @ JG Cook’s Riverview Inn

60 Main Street, Pennsville, NJ; Tickets $35 / person

14th Annual Disability Awareness Day

Thursday, October 11, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM @ The Grove @ Centerton, Pilesgrove, NJ

To register for this free event, call the Salem County Office on Aging and Disabilities call 856 339 8622  

Autism Goes to the Movies
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 from 7:00 PM @ Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill NJ 08003
Transition Planning Workshop Series: Transition and the IEP
Part 1 of a 5 part series providing guidance to families of teens and young adults with special needs. Learn about the transition process from school to adult life and options after school. Tuesday, October 23, 2018 from 7:00 PM @ Katz JCC

1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill NJ 08003
The biggest problem that has been identified by members of our advisory board is that the community doesn’t know about the programs for the disabled and the activities / programs that are planned. It isn’t that there aren’t websites or activities, but how do we spread the word? How do we get the information?
How can you help? Send anything that you think might be relevant to my e-mail (fhentz@hotmail.com), send a comment to this blog or send information directly to the Office: disabilities@salemcountynj.gov or call at 856 935 7510 X 8449.





Resources for Independent Living

Last night I attended my first advisory board meeting at the Salem County location (Pennsville, NJ) and was impressed with all of the programs that they have. They are a community based program that is open to all people with disabilities, their able-bodied friends and supporters. The board members and their executive director, Lisa Killion-Smith, are very enthusiastic and creative in providing programs and services.

Their core services include independent living skills training, information and referral services, transitions, peer support and advocacy. They promote personal growth and empowerment through choice, self-determination and by participation in their programs which provide information, education, skills development and networking opportunities.

Their regular and on-going events are free to their consumers and becoming a consumer is free of charge by calling their offices to register for their events. I would encourage the reader to go to their website at rilnj.org or send them an email at inforilnj.org to get more information. As a quick overview, they have the following on-going activities and events: Choice Support Group, Lego Therapy, Art and Music Therapy, Yoga and Computer Lab. Please contact them directly because they have other services and I don’t want to leave out something because I am still learning about their organization.





What’s Next

I have been talking to my friends, family and anyone that will listen to get the word out that I have created this blog. Paul, at Blogfinger.net (who I consider a mentor and has a very successful blog) told me that I need to send out the address of the blog to everyone I know and ask them to share it with others and send me their thoughts. I am not looking for positive comments about the blog because it is still developing and it has a long way to go. The blog will grow and develop when others participate, send comments, add activities and events, pose questions and volunteer to provide their own experiences.

Please feel free to send this to anyone that you know and send me your comments and activities / events. All the best to everyone.