12 Tips For Involving Parents in the IEP Process

As special education teachers one of our main responsibilities is to develop Individual Education Programs (IEP’s) along with a team of individuals including the child’s parents or caregivers. The process is very time consuming for Special Education teachers. It is not usual spend upwards to several hours just gathering information and getting ready to conduct the IEP meeting as well as write it. Some IEP’s are only a few pages long but others, especially for a child who needs many services, can be twenty or more pages.

The purpose of the IEP is for a team to develop goals and objectives as well as outlining services the child needs for the at least the next year. IEP’s are written annually and some require revising or writing more often.

Each individual on the team is supposed to have input into helping develop the IEP goals. The key term here is “supposed”. While some team members are more involved than others, the burden of producing and writing a correct IEP is on the Special Education teacher.

As often happens, the Spec. Ed. teacher arranges the meeting, sends out the needed notices to the participants and then will write the IEP. While the goals and objectives are usually written during the meeting itself, the Spec. Ed. teacher has a good idea as to what goals to include. She has also spent time writing the narratives for other parts of the IEP.

Team members who are invited to the meeting have little or no input into the process and will just show up to sign the document produced. Ideally, the team members who should have most of the input into the IEP are the Spec. Ed teacher, classroom teacher, key support personnel and the parents.

The struggle that most Spec. Ed. teachers face is how to get the parents to become more of a participant in the IEP. Parents along with their child are the key stake holders in developing an appropriate IEP. What can Spec. Ed teachers do to get parents more involved in the process?

Here are 12 tips for Special Ed teachers to get the parent involved in the process:

1. Prior to the IEP meeting, the Special Ed. teacher should interview the parent to see what their concerns are for their child and what goals and objectives they would like to see implemented in the IEP.

2. At least a week before the meeting, send home a list of possible goals and objectives for the parent to review and make additions to or corrections to them.

3. Probably the most important is to set a time for the meeting that is mutually agreeable to all but most especially the parent.

4. Be sure during the meeting to welcome comments and concern that the parent may have. Ask questions specifically addressed to them. Don’t let anyone interrupt them.

5. If a parent begins to speak, let them and be sure that others allow time for them to talk as well. If team members feel the need to talk among themselves while the parent is talking, ask them to go out of the room so that a parent does not have to compete with others attention.

6. Keep a steady flow of communication with the parents all the time – not just at the IEP meeting.

7. Keep the parent appraised of what is happening with their child. This means not just report card or parent conference time. This means at other times as well. This way the parent can know what is working and what isn’t working.

8. Let the parent know of successes their child has experienced as well as what things need to be done differently.

9. During the meeting be sure to acknowledge the parent as a part of the team and let the other members of the team know that what they are saying and discussing is important.

10. As teachers we get very attached to the children we work with, especially those that we work with for multiple years. It is important that we keep in mind that this child, for whom we are meeting, is not our child but belongs to the parent. We may not always agree with the parent but their wishes should be considered and acknowledged.

11. The most important skill we can develop as facilitators of meetings is to listen, listen and listen when the parent talks. This means active listening – with eyes and ears.

12. Lastly, let the parent know that you care about their child and about them as a family. Parents of children with Special Needs often need reassuring that their child is a part of the classroom, has friends and others who care for them.

Try these tips and see if they help to get parents more involved in the IEP process.

Top 5 Study Tips for the CPIM Exams

If the idea of getting ready for your CPIM exam takes you straight back to high school and the pre-finals jitters, relax. It’s okay. Taking an exam doesn’t have to be the nerve-curling, eyelid-twitching trial of yesteryear. And your first preparatory steps start before you so much as crack open a book.

First, let’s run through 3 bad habits to avoid: understudying, over-studying, and overconfidence. You need to study for this exam, but you need to do it right. Remember that guy in the back of the class who partied all night and was totally unable to so much as lift up a pencil on exam day? Don’t be that guy. Also, don’t be the gal in the front of the class who stayed up all night studying. Finally, don’t assume that, with all your professional experience, you’ll sail right through. These exams are meant for seasoned pros.

Five Study Tips for the CPIM Exams That Will Help You Conquer Exam Stress

These 5 tips aren’t rocket science, but they’ll definitely help you get the most from your studying. The first one seems as simple as taking an umbrella when it rains:

1. Get the Right Materials. At the very minimum, you should have the APICS CPIM Exam Content Manual and the APICS Dictionary. These absolutely indispensable references will give you an overview of the content covered on the exams and a definition of all the acronyms and terms you’re going to run across. However, stinting in the research department is like rowing a boat using only one paddle: you can do it, but it’s way more work to get where you are going. We recommend starting with any of our study program packages, such as our starter pack which has enough to get you headed in the right direction.

2. Keep Your Materials Together. We all know how distracting it can be to spend 15 minutes searching for the definition of some obscure acronym. Nix it with this simple step. It also signals your brain that this is dedicated study time.

3. Set a Schedule. Again, this is Study 101, but it’s very important. As many a reading list or chore list can attest, things simply will not get done unless you firmly schedule time to do them. For study, it’s best to set aside a certain time every day. Make it a habit, and you’ll not only find the time to do it, you’ll also combat the stress of studying with the comfort of routine.

4. Use the 20-Minute Rule. Did you know that many experts recommend limiting your active study time to about 20 minutes? Your brain can only handle so much new information in one go. Cramming and all-night study sessions just defeat the whole purpose of study. Use the rest of your time to review and apply what you already know, then take a break and come back for Round Two.

5. Practice Test-Taking Skills. Taking the sample tests does two things: it points out your weaknesses so that you can give them extra attention, and it cuts the potency of pre-exam nerves. That big, scary exam looming around the corner becomes not-so-bad when you’ve done the practice run a few times.

Is passing the CPIM exams difficult? Sure. But following these tips will help you minimize stress and maximize success.

5 Smart and Practical Studying Tips For The GED Exam

It can be crazy when you’re studying for the GED exam. Oftentimes, test takers get overwhelmed, and they don’t know where to start. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. What you have to do is to know effective studying tips for the GED exam so that you can better prepare for it. These 5 important tips can help you:

  • Watch relevant videos and take down useful notes. Watching educational videos is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to study for the GED. How do you make this study method effectual? Watch the videos more than once. The first time that you observe the video, just simply watch it. While doing so, do your best to derive valuable information as you can. On the second time of watching it, write down notes, particularly main words and phrases. When watching the video on the third time, note down the significant details that fall under those main words and phrases. By deliberately watching videos, your brain can take time to better process new and fresh information.
  • Rest and relax on the night before your exam- avoid over-studying. You’ve probably been studying for days and weeks, so take it easy. On the night before your exam, you should give your brain ample rest. It may be tempting to cram until the late hours, but hold on! Instead of doing thus, eat a healthy meal and head on to bed early. You’ll want to wake up feeling refreshed, relaxed and composed, ready to ace your GED exam.
  • Make bits and pieces of flashcards. What difficult words have you encountered while studying for your exam? Make a compilation of each of them in flashcards and note down their meanings. A fantastic advantage of flashcards is that they’re handy and you can take them with you anywhere you go. So whether you’re on the bus or having your break at work, you can pull them out and read them. It’s a smart way to maximize your GED test prep. This way, you can easily master the definitions of basic phrases and words.
  • Focus on studying one subject at a time. Don’t overwhelm your mind by gorgingly studying for all the GED subjects at one time. Give your mind a breather by first noting down your study goals. What are your goals for a particular study session? Concentrate on learning about one topic for that time. Limit the amount of topics that you are studying about so that you can effectively master them.
  • Monitor your progress with the help of an accountability buddy. Your accountability buddy is a crucial partner to the success of your GED test prep. He or she will encourage you to regularly study. That person will monitor your progress by calling you to make sure that you are doing your tasks according to your study schedule. They will remind you to hang in there when your test prep going gets tough. As a positive force in your life, your accountability buddy will help you do away with hindrances and distractions in your GED test prep.

These 5 effective studying tips for the GED exam is a significant method that can rally you round in acing your test and be one step nearer to achieving your academic, career and personal goals.

USMLE Step 1 Exam Prep – 4 High-Yield Brachial Plexus Tips For The Step 1 Exam

While many people preparing for their USMLE Step 1 exams tend to focus on the tougher subjects like Pathology and Pharmacology, it is imperative that you do a good review of your Anatomy material because you are guaranteed to get a few really easy questions. If you take just a little bit of time to go through the high-yield anatomy notes from your review books or course, you are going to get an easy 5-7 points on your exam, which as you may know can be the difference between a sub-200 score and an above-200 score.

In order to make this process as easy for you as possible, I am going to outline five common injuries that are related to the brachial plexus, which is a very high-yield USMLE topic.

Here we go:

Median Nerve Injury – this commonly results from an injury to the supracondyle of the humerus, and results in a loss of the following:

– forearm pronation

– wrist flexion

– finger flexion

– thumb movement

And it also results in a loss of sensation to the thumb, lateral aspect of the palm, and the first 2.5 fingers.

Radial Nerve Injury – this occurs commonly when there is an injury to the shaft of the humerus, and results in the following:

– loss of triceps reflex

– loss of brachioradialis reflex

– loss of carpi radialis longus

These symptoms lead to the commonly known “wrist drop”, as well as a loss of sensation to the posterior antebrachial cutaneous and the posterior brachial cutaneous nerves.

Ulnar Nerve Injury – this occurs with injury to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, and causes the following problems:

– impaired flexion and adduction of the wrist

– impaired adduction of the ulnar two fingers and the thumb

There is also a loss of sensation to the medial aspect of the palm, as well as loss of sensation to the medial half of the ring finger and the pinky.

Axillary Nerve Injury – occurs as a result of injury to the surgical neck of the humerus and/or an anterior dislocation of the shoulder, resulting in the following:

– complete loss of deltoid movement

– loss of sensation over the deltoid muscle as well as the skin covering the inferior aspect of the deltoid

These are four common brachial plexus related injuries, and are very likely to present themselves on your USMLE Step 1 and/or Step 2 CK exams. Be aware that they will be disguised as clinical vignettes, but also refer back to your basic knowledge in order to choose the most accurate answer.