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.
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.
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.