JKP special education authors present at the “Making a Difference” conference

Judith Canty Graves and Carson Graves, authors of Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work: An Insider Guide, gave a presentation at the “Making a Difference” Conference in Marlboro, Massachusetts recently.

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“Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work” on sale at the “Making a Difference” conference

The conference was organized by the Recruitment, Training, and Support Center of the Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston, Massachusetts. The RTSC provides services and supports for foster, adoptive, and special education surrogate parents who make educational decisions for children in the care of the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts. Many of these children have experienced adverse conditions and trauma. The RTSC supports and trains volunteers who can help them.

The Graves had a meaningful experience preparing for this conference. They said, “We learned a lot about children who have had difficult experiences in their lives and how they can act out in school as a result. The Federation asked us to give a presentation, ‘Writing Effective IEP Goals,’ to help children who have behavior problems. Our emphasis in this presentation was to analyze the language in goals and include details about who will help the child in school. We also emphasized the importance of basing an IEP goal on objective data through evaluations, not just on subjective anecdotes and grades. This data is the foundation for writing an effective goal. We also emphasized other parts of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that can help create a stronger goal.”

They added, “We used much of the material from Chapter 7 in our book, ‘Writing Effective IEP Goals,’ and expanded upon it to include goals to help a student socially and emotionally. We admire the work that special education surrogate parents, adoptive, and foster parents do and we are glad we could support them with our talk. We’d also like to thank Jane Crecco, Training and Support Specialist of the RTSC, for inviting us to speak at this conference.” You can see slides of their presentation here: http://fcsn.org/rtsc/conference-2015/conference-handouts-2016/.

After lunch there was a book signing, where the Graves met many wonderful parents and friends from the Federation.

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Carson Graves and Judith Canty Graves with Richard Robison, Executive Director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Federation for Children with Special Needs provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities in order to encourage full participation in community life for all, especially those with disabilities. The Federation believes in the power of parents helping other parents!

The Graves’ book, Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work, cuts through the jargon to provide other parents with a no-nonsense road map full of valuable first-hand insights and tried-and-tested advice. In it, the authors clearly describe the special education process, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), when and how to seek legal advice, establishing a ‘paper trail,’ and transition planning. Demonstrating that parents really do have the power to make special education work for their child, this empowering guide is essential reading for parents of children with special ed needs who are new to the special education system in the US, as well as those who feel frustrated with the system. You can learn more about the book here.

Please visit the Graves’ website at www.MakeSpecialEducationWork.com or their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/MakeSpecialEducationWork for more information on special education.

Speech therapy and LEGO® bricks – Dawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester

speech therapyDawn Ralph and Jacqui Rochester, co-authors of Building Language Using LEGO® Bricks, discuss the use of LEGO® as a powerful and fun intervention tool for helping children and adults with severe speech, language and communication disorders, often related to autism and other special educational needs.

This intervention has been used with a range of children and adults.  As most of our clinical experience has been with children we have referred to participants in this article as ‘the child’ or ‘children’.  However, we have trained professionals who have used this approach with adults.

Building Language using LEGO® Bricks– a practical guide evolved from our attempts to implement LEGO-Based Therapy (LeGoff et al 2014) with children and young people with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).  We soon discovered that we needed to make significant adaptions to allow this client group to access it successfully.  Dr LeGoff, in his original research, invited extensions of his approach.  We decided to take up the challenge. Continue reading

Ten teacher tips to keep a student with ADHD on track in class

ADHDDiana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, looks at the common challenges that children with ADHD may present in the classroom, and suggests ways that teachers can help them to stay focused and get the most out of their lessons. 

Sensitive teachers can make a huge difference to the happiness, confidence and academic success of children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Continue reading

Parents can play a vital role in supporting their child with dyslexia – Veronica Bidwell

Bidwell_Parents-Guide-t_978-1-78592-040-0_colourjpg-printIn this chapter from The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, Veronica Bidwell looks at the important role parents can play in supporting the learning of their child with dyslexia. Looking at the kind of difficulties typically experienced at different ages and stages of development, she provides some very reassuring and useful advice.

Click here to download the extract

Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty. Veronica is an Educational Psychologist with expert knowledge of Specific Learning Difficulties.  She has been involved in education for over 30 years working with mainstream and special schools.  She has run a leading independent Educational Psychology Service and has assessed many hundreds of pupils and provided advice and support to pupils, parents and teachers. Click here to find out more about her book.

Dyslexia, a disability or an ability to think differently? – Veronica Bidwell

dyslexiaIn this article Veronica Bidwell, author of The Parents’ Guide to Specific Learning Difficulties, explains the numerous ways that teachers and parents can support the learning of children with dyslexia.  She suggests adopting a holistic approach that engages all the body’s senses, examining the bigger picture before delving into the subject matter and recapping little and often with the aid of memory gadgets.  Packed full of advice and practical strategies for parents and educators, her book is a one-stop-shop for supporting children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), ranging from poor working memory, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, through to ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Specific Language Impairment and Visual Processing Difficulty. 

In an interview on Woman’s Hour this week Jo Malone, the brilliant fragrance queen, talked about her life and how she built and sold a multi-million pound company, battled cancer and then built up her new company, Jo Loves.

Jo mentioned her failure to succeed in school and the fact that she had left with no qualifications whatsoever. This, happily for the rest of us, did not deter the entrepreneur. Her fragrant oils, creams, candles, colognes and perfumes are loved and have made her a household name.

Continue reading

Teacher tips for supporting children with dyslexia – Diana Hudson

In this chapter taken from dyslexiaSpecific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know, Diana Hudson gives practical advice to busy teachers who have a student with dyslexia. She provides simple but effective tips to improve their learning, organisation and memory processing skills, whilst describing indicators to help them spot a student who has not yet been diagnosed.

Click here to download the extract

Specific Learning Difficulties – What Teachers Need to Know is a straight-talking guide to supporting students with Specific Learning Difficulties. It provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of students with commonly encountered SpLDs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and OCD, and suggests ways of modifying teaching materials to make learning more enjoyable for them.

Diana Hudson is a tutor and mentor to students with SpLDs. She has been a subject classroom teacher (biology), a learning support teacher and a SENCO. She has a diagnosis of dyslexia and is a parent to four children, three of whom have been diagnosed with SpLDs.

Click here to find out more about Diana Hudson’s book.

Dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success – Margaret Rooke

rooke-creative-successful-dyslexicMargaret Rooke, author of Creative, Successful, Dyslexic, explains the journey she went through in writing this book. Compelled as a mother to help her daughter, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a teenager, Margaret set about using her 20 years’ experience as a writer on national newspapers and magazines to approach the 23 high achievers with dyslexia whose stories form the book.  Its aim, she says, is “to reassure anyone with dyslexia and their loved ones – together with any others who do not seem to shine naturally at school in these results-driven days.”

When I found out my 13-year-old daughter was dyslexic, my first response was shock. She had ticked all the educational boxes at primary school very happily.

She stopped learning as soon as she arrived at secondary school and we spent a couple of years working out why this was. Was it the school? Was she on some kind of strike? Was she simply unhappy? Continue reading

Read Brian Conley’s story from Creative, Successful, Dyslexic – out now in paperback

Rooke_Creative-Succes_978-1-84905-653-3_colourjpg-printEntertainer, actor and singer Brian Conley reveals the difficulties that dyslexia presented him with at school growing up, and how he channelled his dyslexia to work out what he was good at. Harnessing the ‘visual’ way of thinking that comes with it, he now looks on his dyslexia ‘as a total gift’.

Click here to download his story

Filled with first-person stories contributed by well-known people from the arts, sports and business worlds, this inspiring book proves that dyslexia doesn’t have to be a barrier to success. Indeed, it can bring with it the determination, creativity and outlook needed to achieve all we want in life.

Darcey Bussell CBE, Eddie Izzard, Sir Richard Branson, Zoe Wanamaker CBE, Mollie King, Benjamin Zephaniah, Steven Naismith, Lynda La Plante CBE, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, Chris Robshaw and others share their stories and advice. A percentage of profit from the book is donated to Dyslexia Action. To find out more about Creative, Successful, Dyslexic click here.

Your Role as Your Child’s Advocate

Judith Canty Graves and Carson Graves are co-authors of Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work: An Insider Guide, and are the parents of a son with learning disabilities who is about to graduate from college. They live in Massachusetts.

As the parent of a child with special needs, one of your most9781849059701 important jobs is to be an advocate for your child in the school setting. You are vital to the success of your child’s education. You cannot be a passive observer; you need to be involved.

Here are some reasons why:

You Are the Only Permanent Member of Your Child’s Team

You are the only permanent member of the Team that decides what services and accommodations go into your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). New people who do not know you or your child will join the Team each fall and leave it the following spring. Occasionally a Team member might stay on for more than one school year, but most do not.

Schools Think Short Term, You Think Long Term

You and the school see your child’s education from different perspectives. In a way, this is natural since school personnel are focused on the current school year. You, on the other hand, are looking ahead to when your child becomes an adult. These different timelines can result in a source of conflict as you may want services that will help your child acquire skills needed in later years, but the school may only want to provide services that will meet more immediate needs.

As an example, students today are not given much instruction in handwriting and instead are taught keyboarding. But functional handwriting has not disappeared from the adult world. Our adult children will still have to fill out job applications or medical forms legibly by hand. Most of us are aware of other basic skills that may not have an immediate application in the classroom but which we know our children will need in later life. We have to be patient but persistent advocates for teaching these skills.

Skills Not Learned in School Have a Lasting Effect

Take the role as your child’s advocate seriously, because eventually your child will leave the public school. If he or she does not receive an appropriate education, who will help your child in a post-high school setting to balance a checkbook or fill out a job application? Many children who do not receive an appropriate education will need to take remedial courses after high school to learn skills they missed when they were younger.

What Parents Can Do

To become a better advocate for your child’s education, we recommend the following:

  • Periodically study your child’s special education documents in chronological order to better understand the progression of your child’s education. Trends will become apparent as you study the details and analyze the data over time. You must do this since Team members are transient and they don’t see the “big picture” that you can see. This exercise will show you the areas where your child has made progress or areas where he or she hasn’t.
  • Compare your child’s goals from year to year. If some goals never change, that means that either the goals aren’t appropriate or that your child isn’t making effective progress. Also compare the service delivery grid for each goal. Are the frequency and duration of services adequate to achieve the goal? If you notice that services are being decreased and the goal hasn’t been accomplished, you will want to discuss this with your Team.
  • Keep a notebook in which you record the important details of conversations you have with school personnel. If there are any action items, make them the subject of a follow-up letter or email to that person. If there are any misunderstandings about what was agreed to, this will help correct them before too much time and too many opportunities have passed. This improves positive communication with the school.
  • Keep a parent journal of your observations of your child’s experience. Record details about progress or lack of progress, and be sure to date your entries. Write in this journal on a regular basis and review it periodically. Progress almost always happens gradually, and you will only begin to see it when reviewing entries from past weeks, months, or even years.
  • Review your child’s IEP progress reports as you receive them. Compare the reports with the IEP goals and make sure these progress reports reflect your own observations as recorded in your parent journal. If these reports do not accurately describe your own observations, be sure to question these reports in writing to your child’s special education liaison. This will document your concerns.
  • Realize that every year of your child’s education matters. Time is essential in special education. If there are too many delays getting services, your child may fall behind. Each new year builds on the skills learned the previous year. It is remarkable how quickly a school year can go by and how the academic demands intensify as students advance in the grades.

Being your child’s special education advocate is an additional job for you on top of all the other things you are already doing. But it can be one of the most rewarding jobs you will ever have. Giving your child an appropriate education is an essential foundation for a productive future.

Learn more strategies for success in the Graves’ book, Parents Have the Power to Make Special Education Work: An Insider Guide. You can also discover more resources and check out their blog at their website.

Call for Comic and Graphic novel submissions

Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Singing Dragon (an imprint of JKP) have recently started developing an exciting new line of comics and graphics novels and we are now open for submissions.

At JKP we are committed to publishing books that make a difference. Our range of subjects includes autism, dementia, social work, art therapies, mental health, counselling, palliative care and practical theology. Have a look on www.jkp.com for our full range of titles.

Singing Dragon publishes authoritative books on all aspects of Chinese medicine, yoga therapy, aromatherapy, massage, Qigong and complementary and alternative health more generally, as well as Oriental martial arts. Find out more on www.singingdragon.com

If you have an idea that you think would work well as a graphic book, or are an artist interested in working with us, here is what we are looking for:

Graphic novel or comic – Long form

We are looking for book proposals that are between 100 and 200 pages, black and white or colour, and explore the topics listed above or another subject that would fit into the JKP/Singing Dragon list. Specifically we are hoping to develop more personal autobiographical stories.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the plot/outline of the book, as well as short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Character sketches of the main characters with descriptions.
  3. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 5 to 10 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  4. Solo writers will need to submit 10 to 20 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

Comic – Short form

We have some shorter comic projects underway and are looking to expand the range of topics covered. These books can run from 20 to 40 pages, black and white or colour, with dimensions of 170x230mm. We are mainly looking for comics that provide ideas and information for both professionals and general readers.

For example, the first in this series, published by Singing Dragon, is a book exploring the latest developments in chronic pain research.

Here are the guidelines for submission:

  1. A one-page written synopsis detailing the narrative style and subject matter to be explored in the book. Also include short bios of all the creators involved.
  2. Solo artist/writers or writer and artist teams should submit 3 to 5 completed pages to allow us to get a sense of the pace, art style and writing.
  3. Solo writers will need to submit 5 to 10 pages of script as well as the one-page synopsis from point 1.

When submitting please provide low-res images and send them, along with everything else, to Mike Medaglia at mike.medaglia@jkp.com

If you have any other ideas that don’t directly relate to the subjects described above but you feel might still fit into the JKP or Singing Dragon list, please feel free to get in touch with ideas and enquiries on the email above.