Researching Special Education Schools for Your Child

Research on learning disabilities strongly supports early intervention in children who struggle academically. Children with a learning disability who receive proper attention and support to develop their weak areas are just as likely to be successful students as their peers without a disability, so long as their weaknesses are discovered early. Parents of students who need extra attention might want to consider special education schools. Learning about options in your area can help you select the right program.

The first place to start your search may be with an independent evaluation. A team of psychologists and social workers can evaluate your child to determine his or her eligibility. These learning experts may also recommend additional testing if they suspect that the student falls along the autism or language-based learning disabilities spectrum. Further evaluation may help pinpoint your child’s weakness or give some indication of the type of remediation that may be beneficial.

Once you have an idea of your child’s needs, start looking at the options your area. Making a list of priorities for your family can help narrow down your choices. Your list should include practical matters, such as location, transportation, availability of after-hours care and financial requirements are some examples.

Additionally, academic programs and resources should factor into your decision. Consider whether your student will benefit from tutors, assistive technology and smaller class size. Research the school’s policy on extended time or other accommodations for testing whether classes can be scheduled in a flexible manner. Many people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. Opportunities to participate in International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement courses or a gifted program may be an important consideration. On the other hand, others learn best in a non-competitive environment in which lessons are project- or theme-based.

Finally, take the campus facilities and culture into consideration. Participating in extracurricular programs and sports can teach teamwork and sportsmanship to students who have trouble with social interactions. Conflict-resolution programs or a firm discipline policy may benefit some students.

Parents should also visit special education schools before making a decision. During your visit, sit in on a class to make sure that students receive enough individual attention. If the special education school utilizes a particular curriculum with which you are unfamiliar, request information about the program’s philosophy and methods. Ask questions about how study periods or homework sessions are structured. Teachers and administrators should have a system for providing regular updates about your child’s progress, so be certain that you are satisfied with the level of communication you can expect. Finally, ask for phone numbers of parents with children enrolled in the school before ending your visit. Speaking with parents of students who currently attend the school is a great way to find out more about the program.

Parents are the best advocates for children with learning disabilities. Exploring the educational options available and selecting the most effective special education curriculum can help ensure his or her academic success.

Online Education Courses Learn to Do Anything

Online education courses are a great way to learn many things. With the sheer number of people today who have regular access to the Internet, the opportunities to learn these things are far greater than they were just a decade or two ago. Without online education, the only way to learn a new skill or take a class would be to physically attend that class or find someone who could teach you privately. Because of the technology of online education, there are literally thousands of things you can learn and many of them can be studied right from the privacy of your own home.

In many cases, the fact that you are learning from home can be a real benefit. Consider the privacy you have in your home. If you are learning something new, there’s no need for others to even know you are studying this particular subject. You may be embarrassed to let others know that you don’t already have this knowledge, or it might simply be in your best interest that others don’t know. For example, you may be seeking to gain a training certificate that will put you in line for a promotion. It might be politically incorrect in your current employment to be making this move. Your current supervisor might resent the fact that you want to move up. While secrecy is never a good thing, being discreet about your plans might be a wise move. You may even be looking for employment elsewhere and taking online education courses may be a stepping stone to that move. Again, letting your current employer know about your educational goals could be cause for tension in your current work environment.

It could also be that you just want to learn something new. You’ll find literally hundreds of online education courses available. Whether you’re wanting to learn to sew or you want to work on a degree, you can likely find an online education program that’s just right for you.

America’s Declining Education And Its Impact On Society

What does education mean to you? Let’s turn our attention to solving one of the nation’s most important problems, education. Education is one of the most important, if the not the most important foundation that needs to be instilled in today’s children. The fact is that it’s every parents dream to see their children choose and eventually accomplish a higher level of education. Are we being surpassed by other countries, are they quickly becoming the world’s leading authority and provider of higher education?

Its clear that we have a need of higher education. We are in an economy that is based on education, we have doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists and the list goes on. If we can’t hire the workers with the training and skills we require, major companies will find it necessary to move to those countries where the talent resides. To simply state the position simply as possible, we must hire the best work force in the world to stay competitive. We are outsourcing our needs because we don’t have the level of expertise that is required to maintain our own economy.

The need to outsource is only considered as a last resort because we can’t keep up with the rest of the world. Many times we don’t have much of a choice; we need raw materials and advanced technology to compete and that only comes with an advanced education.

So, how do we maintain our education and not sacrifice our economy? First we must develop self discipline and give out teachers the tools needed so they can make a positive impact. We must do more to ensure teachers have the training to teach the subjects they’re presenting with a deeper understanding of the curriculum. The fact remains “the U.S. has the lowest high school graduation rate in the world”. If we are going to compete in a knowledge based economy we must devote more resources to our teachers. Teachers must reflect an increased focus on science and math to better prepare students and allow them to compete on a global based level.

While other countries are graduating scientists and engineers at an impressive rate our students are straying away from these fields. We have many students that are looking for a quick fix. They are not willing to put in the time and effort to really understand the curriculum. I witnessed this first hand when I was in high school and college. Many students that did their homework the night before, no research or real effort was put into their work. I remember many students that had a great memory and were able to retain just enough to get by.

Understanding is the key to success in anything you do, if we complete our work without a thorough understanding; we will not be prepared for higher “University” based education.

Our education level will play a major role, on whether or not our future will succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. If performance and test scores are declining, who needs to step in and take charge? Should it be our parents, our schools, our government, or a combination? The debate and dilemma will continue, until this growing problem is addressed.

Considerations in Distance Education for the Medical Assistant Instructor

Medical Assistant distance education is emerging to meet the demands of a new generation of students in the twenty first century. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. Distance education, particularly in its most recent form, online education, is being integrated into even the most cautious and conservative of educational institutions. Yet the impact of these alternative forms of teaching and learning on students, faculty, and institutions has yet to be broadly or deeply studied. New models such as that at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School are immerging. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School is available at: http://www.medicalassistant.us

Distance education is not new, and can be traced as far back as the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christian churches, instructing them from a distance (even when he was under ‘house arrest’ in Rome). This was probably the first type of ‘correspondence course’, which was the only method of learning at a distance until the advent of the telephone. Today, distance education and in particular online medical assistant instruction calls upon an impressive range of technologies to enable medical assistant instructor and the medical assistant student who are separated by distance to communicate with each other either in real time (synchronous) or delayed time (asynchronous). Currently and asynchronous model used at St. Augustine Medical Assistant School to instruct medical assistant students. This has proven to be a very effective model however the medical assistant program is currently investigating the benefits of synchronous online medical assistant instruction and the benefits it may have for the medical assistant student.

Medical Assistant distance learning epitomizes the move away from institute based learning to a more direct, student centered approach. As a concept, distance learning has existed for over a century, notably in the form of paper based correspondence courses including the less formal correspondence education for medical assistants. Now however, distance education is depending increasingly upon technology for its success and technological innovations ensure that distance learning for the medical assistant continues to evolve and grow as a valid and potent force in all forms of education for the medical assistant.

The task of the medical assistant distance educator is therefore to obviate these problems as much as possible by mixing and matching techniques, creating and maintaining a stimulating environment, and offering opportunities for medical assistant students to communicate with each other and with the medical assistant teaching staff on a regular basis. The medical assistant educators will also need to change their traditional role as well. Many remote medical assistant students need a great deal of social support, and medical assistant distance educators may find themselves spending more time offering one-to-one tutorials and less time lecturing. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School at http://www.MedicalAssistant.us is leading today’s technology in medical assistant education.

When designing medical assistant educational systems and materials for medical assistant distance in delivery the medical assistant teacher must consider not only learning outcomes, but also centered requirements and technical constraints for the medical assistant. Also to be considered are the needs, characteristics, and individual differences of both the students, the teachers and future medical assistants.

Medical assistant distance education for the medical assistant then, should not be viewed as a means of reducing costs, but as an opportunity to raise standards. It is also about providing quality medical assistant learning opportunities for those who, for one reason or another, have previously been excluded from this basic human right. Medical Assistant distance education will quickly become the norm and not the exception for the twenty first century medical assistant. St. Augustine Medical Assistant School distance education program for medical assistant presents a good model for this integration of technology with medical assistant education. The St. Augustine Medical Assistant model can be reviewed at: www.medicalassistant.us.

Navigating the Special Education Maze

As a school psychologist, as well as the mother of a child with a chronic health condition, I understand all too well the intimidation that accompanies entering the “bargaining” sessions of IEP meetings. There are ways, however, to stack the proverbial cards in your favor. Read on…

To begin with, be prepared for anything. Keep accurate documentation and note the dates and times that everything occurs. I am not exaggerating – EVERYTHING. Every phone call, every progress report, etc. Nothing is more intimidating to IEP teams than a parent who has prepared for their meeting. A parent with a Plan of their own is scary for us, because what if we look like idiots, or offend you? You have to come into meetings prepared for anything, almost as if you’re documenting for a Due Process hearing. You never know, you might have to “go there.”

Second, know your rights. Ask for a copy of your State’s Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE) for your review before you attend any meeting at all. You can find the PRISE for your State by entering a search on Google.

Third, know you are an active participant and that no one can force a program on you or your child. For example, some schools will hand you an IEP that they’ve already devised before you got there, with hopes that the meeting will go quickly and you will just sign and leave. But that is like going to an Italian restaurant and all that’s on the menu is spaghetti. Your child is unique and to truly devise an individualized plan, all of those involved should plan on spending at least one hour talking through the parts of the plan that are going to affect the child academically and socio-emotionally.

Know what you want before you go in there. Have a Mission in mind, know your goals, and outline your strategies before you even step foot in that room. For example, you will need goals for your child. Make sure you’ve broken them down to the smallest components before you ask for them – you will be surprised how much more you get out of your request.

I.e., Goal: I want my child to be able to get – and hold – a job when they graduate.

Well, that is plain, isn’t it? If you broke it down, however, you would have:

I want my child to learn:

How to respect authority;

How to type;

How to honor time commitments;

How to respectfully interact with peers;

Etc.

Now, doesn’t that look more like what you were thinking?

You may not get all of them, but you will get some – and that is way more specific than “get a job,” so there will be a bit more work required of your Team. Good.

Third, know you will run into snags. There will be red tape you will have to circumvent; you will meet people whose goal it is to keep children from receiving services (yes, after all of those years of education, you would think we’re all in this for the children. Yet some of our colleagues are actually naysayers); you will hear all about how “this is not how we operate” when you present documentation proving otherwise; etc. You will certainly learn a lesson in frustration tolerance.

If you are lucky, you won’t have to deal with any of the above. But I doubt it.

Fourth, learn from the negatives and appreciate the positives. You will also learn some positive things, such as knowing when to give up. By this I don’t mean walking out on your plan, but knowing when to compromise.

Fifth, know your child is entitled to individuality. If you look at evaluations, they might all seem the same. You don’t want your child’s IEP to be just like everyone else’s, or they will be ignored. Trust me on this one. I have seen 1,000’s of IEPs and rarely does the school hold itself responsible for child failure. It is always “Johnny X” or “Johnny’s mom Y.” Make sure your child’s IEP delineates what has NOT been done for him – not just what has been.

“You just want us to fix what you’ve done wrong.”

Did that statement infuriate you? It is what most school staff thinks when you demand fair treatment.

My advice? Listen more than you speak and ask very specific questions – questions that merit elaboration on the part of your Team. Most of all, remain respectful. No one likes a bully, or someone who blames everything on everyone else.

Oh, and smile graciously as you lay your tape recorder on the conference table… 😉