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Getting Ready for the 2021-22 School Year: FAQs about Testing Children with Disabilities

The 2020-21 school year was an unprecedented year with many districts implementing virtual learning, and with some districts moving back and forth between in-person and distance learning. Now, as children return to school in Fall 2021, it is critical that states and districts gather information on what children with disabilities have learned and where they need more support to meet standards-based learning goals. With this information, educators can make changes to current programs and to instruction to address children’s needs. Both formal and informal tests are important tools for gathering information.

This brief from NCEO answers frequently asked questions about whether (and how!) to test children with disabilities. The FAQ notes in particular that individualized education program (IEP) teams may need to revisit a child’s IEP before making test participation decisions. IEPs written before the COVID-19 pandemic may no longer address an individual child’s needs after the pandemic. For a list of the FAQs posed and to connect with the brief, read more here.

Supporting Students with the Most Intensive Needs | Videos

These three videos highlight key resources available to support families of students with the most intensive needs at home and as they transition to and from in-school services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The videos speak directly to parents and recommend that parents share the videos (and the highlighted resources) with the team of educators and other professionals working with their child.

Multiple TA&D Centers worked collaboratively to identify these resources and to create the videos that focus on addressing the academic needs, communication needs, and the behavior, transition, and mental health needs of students with significant disabilities. Watch the videos, and find out who the collaborating TA&D Centers were, what resources they have available, and strategies that both educators and parents can use to improve the learning of their children with disabilities.

PBIS State Coordinator Network

This helpful resource page from the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports offers information and links to each state’s PBIS coordinator. You can contact your state for technical support or questions concerning the implementation of PBIS. https://www.pbis.org/about/pbis-state-coordinators (Link updated, February 2021)

Guiding Questions for Youth Exiting from High School

(2020, July) | Useful for Parent Centers, schools, youth, and families involved in transition planning and students exiting high school   This 15-page resource is designed to help youth with disabilities take steps to transition from high school to adult life. It speaks directly to youth, moving through secondary transition considerations step by step, including: […]

Webinar | 1-2-3 Captions

(2020, May) | Useful to Parent Centers and others creating videos and captioning them for accessibility. This webinar was hosted by the AEM Center (National Center on Accessible Educational Materials) on May 18, 2020. Its full title is: 1-2-3 Captions: Workflows for Creating Accessible Video. The 1-hour webinar (archived now) focuses on three workflows for […]

Virtual IEP Meeting Tip Sheets

Meetings to write, review, or revise a child’s IEP typically bring together a team of people who meet in person at least once a year. Now, because of coronavirus, school closures, and social distancing, IEP teams are meeting virtually, either in conference calls or via the Internet. This collection of tip sheets on planning for and participating in virtual meetings was developed collaboratively by six OSEP-funded technical assistance centers, and includes an infographic about virtual IEP meetings (available in English and Spanish); a sample agenda (also available in English and Spanish); technology tips for all participants; suggestions for hosting a virtual meeting; and tips for those participating in a virtual meeting. Read more about (and download) the tip sheets here.

Supporting Your Child’s Learning at Home During COVID-19

As schools across the country and around the world are closed in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, parents everywhere are searching for reliable, easy-to-understand resources to support their children’s learning at home. The IRIS Center has created a new module specifically for parents to address this urgent and growing need. Parents: Supporting Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic offers practical tools and easy-to-implement strategies to help clarify what is and what is not a parent’s role during school shutdowns; support their child’s learning at home; promote the child’s social and emotional well-being; and support the child if he or she has a disability. Read more about and connect with this learning module here.

Supporting Families with PBIS at Home

(2020, March 31) | Useful for sharing with families to support positive behavior. This 8-page brief speaks directly to parents about how to use positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) at home, an approach used in over 25,000 schools as a highly effective way to build children’s social-emotional-behavioral skills and reduce challenging behaviors. The publication […]

Video | A Tale of Two Conversations

A Tale of Two Conversations is a two-part video showing actors playing a parent of a child with a disability and a school administrator. The meeting was requested by the parent and takes place in the administrator’s office. Take One shows the parent and administrator talking about the child’s special education program. They are talking, but not listening. Their communication is unproductive. Take Two shows each person using more effective communication skills.

Both video conversations are available for viewing online at CADRE, as is a companion Study Guidethat looks more deeply into the effective communication skills shown in the second video. Read more about and access the resources here.

Taking the Alternate Assessment Does NOT Mean Education in a Separate Setting!

This 4-page Parent Brief from the TIES Center focuses on alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. As the brief’s title indicates, the fact that a student will be taking the alternative assessment does not mean that he or she then needs to be educated in a separate, non-inclusive setting. The brief reviews IDEA’s least restrictive environment (LRE) provisions and other legal provisions that support inclusion in the regular classroom. It also provides guidance to parents on what to say and stress in the IEP meeting. The brief closes with “Next Steps for Parents” and a short list of additional resources.

Download the brief and find out more about the TIES Center’s other materials for parents.

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