August 2018 SERC Scoop
- What is SERC?
- Give Parents Reasons to Trust You
- IEP Challenge: Will this goal allow the student to improve her coping skills?
- Restorative Practice in Special Education Dispute Resolution
- Help in Facilitating Discussion of Student Needs in Light of the Endrew Decision
- Art Cernosia Presents Updates on the IDEA
- Extra! AT Support Team Training Workshops
The Special Education Resolution Center of OSU (SERC) has been collaborating with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for over 10 years to help families and school district resolve conflicts at the earliest stage possible. SERC provides services for children from birth to 3 in SoonerStart and for students 3 through 21 in public schools.
What Does SERC provide to schools, SoonerStart sites and families at no cost…?
- …training on communication and collaboration skills to help prevent conflict,
- …an IEP Facilitator to manage conflict during contentious IEP meetings,
- …a Mediator to guide a structured process in which parents and school personnel can resolve specific issues related to special education,
- and a Due Process Hearing Officer at an administrative hearing to resolve legal issues that could not be resolved at an earlier stage. During the resolution time of the process, SERC can provide a facilitator to help the parties discuss the hearing issues in a safe and structured setting and try to resolve them if possible.
There's more to gaining parent trust and confidence than meets the eye. Earning both takes the proper attitude, the right words and decisive actions that speak for themselves. Although you may feel it should be, it isn't always automatic. Try this eight-point plan to get parents in your corner:
- Welcome Feedback. This is a golden opportunity to earn parent confidence. whether the parent is disappointed, furious, or just has a minor concern, you have this trust in your hands. Start off on the right foot with a positive firs response.
- Keep parents informed. Keep parents constantly updated as to the status of their child's progress, even if they don't ask for it. By taking the first step, you're indicating to the parents that you expect and welcome their involvement.
- Be clear and specific. Demonstrate commitment by providing parents with clear descriptions of problems. Instead of saying, "Johnny doesn't seem to be focusing in class," say, "Johnny has not completed the last three in-class assignments."
- Take personal responsibility. Never pass the buck or distance yourself from a challenge. Prove to parents that you are totally committed to their child's education by using one of two simple words: "personally" or "myself."
- Avoid road-blocking phrases. Always be aware of what you say to parents. Stop yourself from using negative language such as, "Unfortunately, that's not my responsibility." "I can't promise..." or, "The only thing I can do is..." Tell parents what you can do, what is possible, or what solutions you are able to offer.
- Set expectations. Use foreshadowing to help parents understand what lies ahead. This means painting a picture for the parent. Map out what he can expect to happen. When you explain the sequence of events, give time frames and names of any additional faculty involved. This determines the parent's expectations so confusion and unnecessary anxiety are avoided.
- Be on the same page as your parent. Before you end a conversation with a parent, take steps to ensure clarity and deepen the level of trust: 1) have a clear plan of action, such as who will do what and when; 2) obtain the parent's acceptance; 3) ask the parent if he has any questions; and 4) set a date for follow-up.
- Follow-up. Following up allows your professional commitment and trustworthiness to shine through
Quick Tip: Confidently yours...
Parents will have confidence in you if you demonstrate these professional qualities:
- Consistency - Treat all parents the same way each and every time- with honesty, sincerity, tactfulness, responsiveness and enthusiasm.
- Reliability - Keep the promises you make, and never promise things you can't deliver.
- Accessibility - Make yourself as available to parents as possible. *Competence - Look, sound and be knowledgeable and organized.
- Responsibility - Take ownership of your parents' needs, concerns and problems.
NOTES, COMMENTS, NAMES OF ATTACHMENTS
Learning to Work Together: An Educator's Guide to Communicating with Parents and Colleagues.
Tanya is an 18-year-old high school senior with an emotional disturbance and a history of trauma. Tanya loves writing, but she becomes anxious and abruptly leaves class when she has to do timed work such as essays,quizzes, and tests. She also has trouble handling when teachers or students raise their voices. But she is working on recognizing when her anxiety starts to build so she can use her coping strategies rather than leave. Tanya's IEP team discusses her present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. One of her coping strategies is to write in her journal for five minutes before beginning a timed task to calm down. She does this successfully 3 out of 5 times. Noting this and other data, the team believes she can improve her coping skill level in the coming school year.
The team writes this goal regarding Tanya's ability to use her coping skills:
GOAL: By the end of the school year, when presented with a situation Tanya knows triggers her anxiety,such as a timed activity or loud encounter, she will independently demonstrate an appropriate emotional response after using a coping strategy, such as asking for a break or writing in her journal, then return to the task at hand within three minutes as measured by teacher observation and student self-monitoring.
Tanya's teachers will use a behavioral data tracking sheet and Tanya's self-monitoring "think" sheet to measure her progress then share it with her mom every two months.
Is this goal sufficient?
Tanya is learning to improve her coping skills when certain situations trigger her anxiety.
The goal mentioned above for Tanya fails to specify in how many more situations she will be expected to use her coping strategies to calm down and return to learning.
A more appropriate goal in this hypothetical situation might be:
By the end of the school year, when presented with a situation Tanya knows triggers her anxiety, such as a timed activity or loud encounter, she will independently demonstrate an appropriate emotional response after using a coping strategy, such as asking to take a break or writing in her journal, then return to the task at hand within three minutes in 4 out of 5 instances as measured by teacher observation and self-monitoring.
Tanya's teachers will use a behavioral data tracking sheet and Tanya's self-monitoring think sheet to measure her progress, then share it with her mom every two months.
This goal is better suited to enable the team to properly measure Tanya's progress and regularly share that data with her parents.
Cara Nissman covers autism, school psychology, and IEP team issues for LRP Publications.
Her website: http://www.caranissman.com
As teams across the country struggle with implementing the new standard of FAPE from the Endrew case, here are some forms to aid parents and teachers in applying the new standard to student needs.
Art Cernosia Presents Updates on the IDEA
On Monday, October 15, 2018, Art Cernosia, renowned expert in the IDEA will be presenting legal updates on changes in the law during the last year. He presents his material in an entertaining format by telling the story of each case and the outcome. The presentation will be held at the Penn Campus of the Moore-Norman Tech Center. The South Penn campus is located at 13301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73170.
AT trainings are provided at no cost by Oklahoma ABLE Tech for Oklahoma educators and related service providers. The 2018-19 lineup includes a three-workshop series which will be offered in Owasso during the fall semester, and repeated in Lawton during the spring semester. We’re still firming up the arrangements for the spring location, but you can register now for our Owasso events. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered for OTs, PTs, and SLPs.