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We are going through IEP testing for my daughter and we discovered she is gifted but also has a learning disability which is causing her reading fluency and comprehension to falter. I was given the name of twice exceptional from the school. As I read more about twice exceptional children, I am realizing that these children are super special and the parents of these children are too!

These children endure so much… here’s a few places you can go to learn more about twice exceptional children:

I hope this helps others!

I am finding as a parent, spelling is just a subject that causes my children’s anxiety to go skyrocketing…

Spelling is a really tough area for ADD/ADHD, Dyslexic and Vision Impaired children.  As a parent you have to be creative and look for ways that might help a child grasp spelling.  Here’s a few places to go for ideas:

Please leave a comment and let us know what works for you regarding spelling!

With Section 504 – there are a few “grey” areas that occur when your child has a low profile disability such as ADHD, Low Vision, Diabetes, Comprehension/LD issues.  These types of issues are not visually seen and at times a teacher (without proper education and training) might not understand what is needed from an accommodation standpoint to help your child.  Often schools will request that you as a parent allow the teacher time to bond with your child who is mainstreamed in a normal classroom.

As a parent, the first thing that comes to mind is no – why should I have my child suffer because the teacher simply won’t follow the 504, won’t slow down or simply makes comments to your child that are indeed hurtful.  Be very careful about making the assumption that the teacher does not want to help – many times it is simply a matter of coaching the teacher a bit and you should be fine.

If additional services are needed in the classroom – you need to understand the difference between aid and aide.  For IEP students, the school can have the ability to get an aide (person) in the classroom, for Section 504 students – the schoool can have the ability to get assitive aids (items/accommodations that help the child) in the classroom.  There is a difference and you need to understand that.

Here’s a few places you can research Section 504 and FAPE:

Also the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) should be able to guide you as a parent as to what is allowed in situations where the teacher cannot meet the needs of your Section 504 special needs child.

The Smart Board – Ingenius!

Well… sometimes I just wish I could go back to my childhood with one of these!  Oh the things you could do as a student and as a teacher!

This is a really cool piece of technology that kinda combines a big whiteboard with a twist – you can plug your laptop into the board and display on the board!  Some of the smart boards even have touch screens…how cool is this?

To have a student be able to walk up to the board and move windows/pictures around and really get the tactille learning they crave…

The SMART Board interactive whiteboard is a touch-sensitive display that connects to your computer and digital projector. Using a finger, you can control computer applications, write notes, pull up charts and images, search the Internet, play videos and save your work.

The SMART Board interactive whiteboard has the flexibility to engage all learning styles.

  • Visual learners can easily see colorful, movable images and diagrams that the interactive whiteboard displays, even from the back of the classroom
  • Kinesthetic learners can interact and explore by moving letters, numbers, words and pictures with the touch of a finger
  • Auditory learners can be immersed in a complete multimedia experience using optional USB speakers or SMART Audio

Here’s a few sites that will really open your eyes as to how far you can take this into your classrooms:

Post a comment and tell us how you are using your Smartboard for Special Education needs!

Well… yes!  But… it depends on which state and school district you live in… so contact your school district’s special education office first and find out if they support IEP/Section 504s for gifted/talented children and then if your district does not support IEP/Section 504s for gifted/talented than contact your state department of education (DOE).  It is easier to get the IEP or Section 504 on attention issues or behavior issues (since boredom will result if the curriculum is easy for your child), but with a little research and preparation, you should be able to get your child on at least a Section 504 or IEP depending on their needs.

Here’s a couple of places to help you get started:

Across the board, a relatively small group of states–Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, and West Virginia–has binding frameworks that approximate the full individualized and legalized model of the IDEA. Of this group, only Tennessee treats gifted students as a subgroup of students with disabilities, but the majority provides only limited separation and customization. Pennsylvania, which remains by far in the leading position in terms of the frequency of litigation, changed to a differentiated approach approximately 3 years ago by dropping selected features of the IDEA model, such as the manifestation determination requirement for placement changes and state complaint resolution mechanism for alternative enforcement. However, like the provisions in Alabama and Florida, the Pennsylvania “law” is in the form of regulations, which are easier to change and weaker than legislation.

I have even seen North Carolina have an IEP for gifted students…

Did you know that not all Web Browsers are the same?  With schools posting homework assignments, research websites and study guides on the school’s internet website – what’s a parent to do when they have a special needs child – especially one who has a vision disability…

There are web browsers out there that can, for no cost, read the web page to your child, allow your child to write email and chat with other students and teachers…  here’s a few websites to get you started…

Note: This software works with quite a few operating systems including macintosh and windows which most schools/homes have…

Once you have installed the Opera Software – go to the preferences menu option under tools. You should see the preferences window show with a few tabs on it.  Click on the tab labeled Advanced and click the box that has the label enable voice-controlled browsing.  There should be a checkbox in the box and you should see the following message – click yes and Opera will download the voice software for the browser (again this is free!):

Once you have loaded the voice software onto your computer,  you can also setup if you want a male or female voice to read to you and a few other voice preferences.  Simply click on the details button under the Advanced tab.  You should see a screen pop up like this:

Once you have setup your preferences (I setup the scroll lock key as my activate/deactivate reading button)… you can now enjoy having your web page read to you!  The really neat thing about this browser is you can setup profiles for different people – so the browsing experience is uniquely tailored to you.  For more information on Opera Voice – go here:

The neat thing about this browser is that you do not have to have a microphone to use the voice features.  You can use keyboard shortcuts to perform the same voice commands.  If you are using a microphone – make sure that you have installed the microphone correctly and it is turned on.  For my laptop – a Gateway W6501 – it has a built in microphone – I had to go to the control panel settings for microphone and turn it one for the voice commands to work. 

Common Voice Commands:

  • Say “Opera Speak” – this command will read to you a piece of highlighted text
  • Say “Opera Reload” – refreshes the browser page
  • Say “Opera Voice Commands” – displays the common voice commands for Opera ( you need a microphone with this)

Common Opera Keyboard Shortcut Commands:

  • Opera Keyboard Shortcuts Commands – you do not need to have the microphone with these…

Now your vision impaired child can enjoy the internet just like their friends.  Don’t forget to get them a facebook account – a lot of junior high school and high school children are using this to communicate with each other – it is much much safer and (verbage wise cleaner) than myspace.com website (which I do not recommend for any student)…
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500 Words Can Win You a $20,000 Cash Grant Plus $30,000 in Software and Professional Development! We’re Not Kidding.

What kind of program could you build to change the lives of your struggling students?

If you had $20,000 in seed money for a new initiative, plus $30,000 worth of research-based software and professional development to support it, how would you improve student performance in one of your schools? Tell us in 500 words or less and you could win the second annual District Administration X-Factor Student Achievement Grant. Click here for more details:

This is an exiciting grant offered by District Administration Magazine.  The essay is due October 15…

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