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.

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.

Fast Track Ivy League Admissions Tips

The Ivy League is an athletic union of American educational institutes based in the north-east of The States including Harvard, Yale and Columbia University. Many people mistakenly believe MIT and Stanford are members of this union. While we reference these institutes in this article, they are not.

There are a series of factors that will determine your acceptance to the Ivy League or other elite institutes. Here we’ll analyse the best approach. Let’s begin with your GPA.

GPA Requirements

Of course, your GPA is a pillar of your application. But is your application a house of cards without it? Not necessarily. Why is it that some students with 4.0 GPA’s are rejected, while others with sub-3 GPA’s are accepted? Because the value of the courses you took is often of equal value to your result. Because your application needs to demonstrate extra-curricular pedigree.

Your record at school needs to display academic rigor – don’t opt for the easiest courses. A prescribed high school path featuring 4 years of the cornerstone subjects, English, Math and Science, are best complimented with 4 years dedicated to History and learning a foreign language.

That brings us on to Extra-Curriculars.

Those Darn Extra-Curriculars

Meet John. John has a 2.7 grade point average and equally unremarkable SAT results. Although John was never the best student, he excelled in sports, holding the post as captain for his Baseball, Basketball and Football teams, winning awards for his sporting ability. It’s these strengths that secured his place at Harvard. Meanwhile many thousands of students are rejected every year with outstanding academics.

Stories of a sub-3 GPA turned Harvard graduate are the exception, but there’s a moral to this tale. If two students are equal academically, universities like employers, will opt for the candidate who has held leadership roles or displayed an extra-curricular spike. Without these traits, your application will be lost.

Financial Aid

Unfortunately, you’ll have to factor cost into attending your dream school. Fortunately, though, the world’s most prestigious schools are often in possession of the largest financial aid endowments. Consider Harvard which has a financial aid budget of $172,000,000. This aid is reserved for students whose parents are earning under $60,000 per year. The net result means the cost of attending actually matches or bests 90% of other universities. Before preparing your FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’ll need to know where you stand.

What About Reach Schools?

Universities with low admissions rates, including Harvard and Yale are considered ‘Reach Schools’. A ‘Match School’ is one that has a high probability of acceptance. Identifying reach schools and match schools is smart forward planning.

Perhaps your heart is set on attending Yale. You may dream of being published in Yale Law Review before one day running for Congress. Students negotiate a path towards their dreams every year. Equally there are who students fail to reach the school of their dreams without Plan B. Identify other institutes with a prestigious record of graduating the finest minds in your field.

Post-Graduate Success

When creating a shortlist of schools, it’s wise to assess the post-graduate success student’s are likely to experience. Let’s take MIT. While the US economy struggles and jobs are scare, MIT bucks the trend. Studies demonstrate just 20% of students find employment on graduation. MIT students however, fare better than the national average with on-campus hiring still prevalent.

The idea that your post-graduate success is purely dependent on your education, however, is mistaken. History is shaped by those who defy the rules and define their own route. Be they a Harvard reject Warren Buffet or Princeton reject Ted Turner. So, you don’t need to graduate the Ivy League to be a success… But it helps.

Tips for Parents & Teachers: How to Criticize Kids Constructively

Criticism is one word that raises your eyebrows and sulks you down. Arguably, it has no positive connotation for most of us. So, it is never received in a healthy way either. So the matter of concern is, when we as adults can’t handle criticism, what about the kids, who are subject to severe and regular criticism. Everybody who is somebody in their life, comments and takes the liberty to pass judgement on their each and every act, unfortunately most of which is in critical form.

So how to safeguard them or how to prepare them so that this unwarranted criticism does more good than harm to them.

Criticism, or if they can be called Feedback, are both constructive and destructive. Receiving feedback is a skill, and like most skills, it requires practice, and a willingness to change and improve. Most children get plenty of practice. Ironically, adults need to help them make that practice count – by giving them feedback on how they handle criticism.

Feedback – both positive and negative – is challenging because it hits us in the vulnerable soft spot between our desire to grow and our deep need to be accepted and respected. The key to take a feedback in a positive manner, is to adopt a “growth mindset.” People with a growth mindset believe that effort and challenge make us better, stronger and smarter, while those with a “fixed mindset” believe that our inherent assets are static no matter what we do.

But, not all of the criticism kids face is constructive. Some of it is born out of ulterior motives or dark intentions, but the good news is that a growth mindset can protect kids from this sort of feedback as well.

A growth mindset is the best gift we can give our children. Thus armed, they can be brave in the face of constructive criticism, believing it can make them better, stronger and smarter. They won’t need us to safeguard their interest because, given a growth mindset, kids can handle the truth all by themselves.

So, what to do?

Don’t hesitate to criticize:

Many kids have trouble hearing feedback because they don’t experience it often enough. While it’s natural to want to protect children from pain, when we protect our kids from criticism or focus excessively on praise, we push them toward a fixed mindset.

Stop constant praise:

An effusive praise may encourage a fixed mindset and consequently discourage children from taking on new challenges. Worse, it can deflate, rather than shore up, self-esteem in some kids. Children need to get used to hearing constructive feedback, and it’s our job to teach them how.

Mind your body language:

Non-verbal communication is part of delivering feedback, and can help kids hear it more effectively. Uncross your arms, get down on kids’ level, smile and keep your face relaxed. If you are tense when you hand out criticism, they will be tense when they receive it.

Switch up your pronouns:

Instead of framing feedback in terms of “I’m so proud of you”, turn the statement and anchor feedback in the pronoun “you,” as in, “You should be proud of yourself,” or “What did you feel best about?” or “What one thing would you like to change?”

Empower for change:

Lessen your control and hand power over to the children and help them adjust their efforts to use feedback effectively. Ask, “Is that how you’d hoped this would turn out?” or “What would you do differently the next time?” Help them see the way forward with comments like, “How do you think you could take this project from good to awesome?”

Set new goals after a big failure. Once they have picked themselves up, help them pick some new goals based on what they have learned from the situation at hand. Their goals should be their own, devised by them, based on their experience.

Criticism comes to everyone, eventually. It’s inescapable, and more relevantly, it’s a necessary part of growing up. As we can’t protect children from it, the best we can do is ensure that they are equipped with the emotional fortitude and strength of character they will need to forge ahead, stronger, smarter and braver for the experience.

Preparation Tips for NISM Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Exam

NISM-Series-V A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination is one of the important exams, conducted by NISM (National Institute of Securities Market). It’s very helpful module for the peoples, those are willing to work in the field of mutual funds. The aim of this certification is to enhance the quality of sales, distribution and related support services in the mutual fund industry.

To clear NISM Series V A: M. F. D. Certification Exam, candidate should have knowledge of following things:

  1. Concept and role : Before attempting NISM V-A Certification Exam, you should have a clear picture of MF in your mind. In other words, we can say that how it works. So just try to know the concept and role model of a mutual fund. In this section, you have to learn lot of things like Advantages and limitations of a mutual fund, Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), Investment objectives, Fund running expenses and some of the others.
  2. Fund Structure and Constituents: In this, you need to learn the things about the Structure of MF in India and related regulations, Role of the sponsor and Role of other fund constituents and related regulations.
  3. Legal and Regulatory Environment: Know the Role and functions of SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) in regulating MF and take a look on investment restrictions and related regulations.

There are some other important sections in this module as: Offer Document, Fund Distribution and Sales Practices, Accounting, Valuation and Taxation, Investor Services, Risk, Return and Performance of Funds, Scheme Selection, Selecting the Right Investment products for Investors, Helping Investors with Financial Planning and Recommending Model Portfolios and Financial Plans.

Before attempting NISM Series V A Certification exam, you should have knowledge of above listed things. Now collect relevant information from your books or try to find out the things online. In modern age, it’s very easy to find out any of the informations online easily and quickly. You may also collect some information from the site of NISM.

So learning all of the above listed things will help you in clearing NISM-Series-V A: M. F. D. Certification Examination easily with high marks.

Other thing, you can find out the model paper of NISM series-V-A online for preparation. Take a mock test or practice test online for the module of NISM Series V A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Exam. Now you can also test yourself by giving NISM series V A mock test online.