A Loss

It’s different when you’ve gone through it enough times. I’ve worked in a few commercial farms, so I know what it’s like to lose a horse. It’s harder when you don’t know it’s coming. When they’re young and the accident is unexpected. By that token, it means it’s easier when you know it’s coming, like when they’re old. We lost Blaze. He belongs to my friend, and he would have been 32 years old this spring. He has had arthritis for many years. His owner on the flipside, his owner is one of the most remarkable caregivers for a geriatric horse I’ve ever seen in my life. He had a standing appointment with the chiropractor, and specialty treatment for his body. What made it so difficult, as when he stopped being able to get up himself. After more than one week, with multiple warnings of us trying to stand him up, and succeeding with great effort, enough is enough.

We Accidentally Got Goats

Yes. The title is correct. We accidentally got goats. I can’t even make this up.

A friend works at a gymnastics gym. Lots of kids and they were in an industrial park. She calls and asks me to come and get them. She wants them ok and wants some. She even offered her SUV if we’d just come catch them.

There were 7, a mix of Boer, Nigerian dwarf, and maybe Pygmy. They are adorable, and we agreed because we can hold them for a bit. Except the part where I was accepted as new mom and they don’t want to stay in the fence.

The horses chased them which made me nervous, and with them getting into neighbors yard they were housed with the ducks.

Hopefully friend will be coming back for them. Honestly, I wish we were set up for them, because they are really friendly.

You Want How Much?

It isn’t a secret that our property has been a work in progress, to put it mildly, but we have made some good strides lately. We now have a pole barn (yes, pictures will come) but the horses don’t yet have access. It isn’t doing us much good right now. So, the obvious question, why don’t they have access?

We had a ton of young trees, no more than 7 or 8 years blocking the barn to the pasture. We found some general labor to work on that and the fencing since Michael and I simply can’t do everything while working full time. He cut down the trees, but then went poof. Seriously, finding good help is a bugger.

Anyway, so we now have all these trees on the ground, and the horses still don’t have access. Obviously, the trees gotta go. We band together with a friend and her husband who keep her horse on the property. After several hours of hard work we have a giant pile of boughs.

I went to get a quote for removing them and some other trash, nothing difficult, from the property. It was already piled. They wanted $1100! Y’all, have I gone into the wrong industry? I’m thinking its possible. In the mean time, we did not go with that route. Instead, a giant bonfire. We invited a ton of friends to keep it safe, and it was awesome. The old man horse, I need to add him to the about us page, was sneakily enjoying some heat I think, and our friends got to come and see the property. Win Win, but seriously y’all, who knew the garbage industry was making bank?!

Now What Part 3

There is a document we hand to parents at the beginning of a meeting. It is rarely read. It is called procedural safeguards, or parental rights. This document outlines what expectations there are for a student with a disability.

Why does it go unread? It is long, includes legal jargon and is difficult to understand. It matters, because there will likely come a time when you as the parent the are your child’s best advocate. Most teachers will be wonderful, but maybe not all.

Your rights are numerous, but here are the big ones you need to get.

1) Your child has the right to be served in the least restrictive appropriate environment. Meaning, they should spend as much time as possible in the general education setting as possible based on what is appropriate for their goals.

2) You have a right to attend meetings. Meaning, at least 3 attempts for 3 different dates must be made before a meeting can be held without your presence/consent

3) If you disagree with a decision made by the team you gave the right to challenge this decision in due process hearings.

Now What? Part 2

In my last post I discussed what the different types of eligibility is mean. When your child is found eligible there are 1 million different questions, and 100 things to try and learn about. So I’m going to try and break these post down into one chunk at a time. Today’s post is going to be about the different settings. When your child is found eligible there is a full spectrum of services available to help them.

Self-Contained/Separate class- this is the most restrictive environment, but don’t let that scare you because it’s also the most supportive. It’s not always appropriate though. Children who are acquiring enough of the curriculum have been found in research to grow more when spending the most possible time in the general education classroom. On the flipside, students with severe disabilities whether that is cognitive, meaning lower IQs and adaptive scores, or intense behavioral needs can benefit greatly from self contained because it allows more time with the teacher, lower student to teacher ratio’s, and the opportunity for that special education teacher to better control their environment and a way to benefit the students.

Resource/small group/ pull-out- This setting involves the student being in a general education classroom for part of the day, and getting called out to a small group for another part of the day. This can be customized for each student. For example if a student excels in math but struggles in reading, they would likely only be pulled for the segments where they needed it. Each school varies how long these segments are. This is a good fit for student whose needs are inconsistent, like many students with learning disabilities. Students with learning disabilities have an area of strength and areas of weakness. Their services can vary greatly as we customize what they need. Resources for all types of students however, not just students with learning disabilities.

Coteach/collab- in this model, a special education teacher will push into the general education classroom. They teach the class with the general education teacher, as a partner not an assistant. This model can benefit many types of students, but particularly those who are near a grade level standards. The teacher works with the entire room not just their students so that their students are not highly noticeable.

Consultation- this model is where the special education teacher will specifically check in with the student, and their teachers. The student is with a general education teacher all day and follows a normal schedule. The special education teacher works with the general education teacher to make appropriate accommodations and differentiation to help a student. Consultation is great for students who Need limited assistance. This is for the students who may be transitioning out of needing an individualized education plan, or those who are just performing very well or close to grade level. Behaviorally, the student may have forgotten learning his coping skills and may just need support from the sped teacher that way.

An IEP may contain just one of these, or a combination. Again, kindly, feel free to ask your child case manager, I’ll go over all the roles in my next post, if you are not sure of the setting. Unfortunately as teachers we are very often used to negative interactions, so as a parent the best way to build that relationship is to come at teachers like people, calmly, and openly. Once that relationship is there, real discussions about settings are very valuable for your child. As teachers we worry about your students on our off time, when were teaching, and all because we want them to be successful. That also means that sometimes you might push them early or hold onto them to Long in hopes of trying to help them be successful. As the parent, you have an insight that we don’t, and brought you bring something valuable to the table. Don’t be afraid to ask once that relationship is there, real discussions about settings are very valuable for your child. As teachers we worry about your students on our off time, when were teaching, and all because we want them to be successful. That also means that sometimes you might push them early or hold onto them to Long in hopes of trying to help them be successful. As the parent, you have an insight that we don’t, and brought you bring something valuable to the table. Don’t be afraid to ask, to talk

My Student Has a Disability- now what?

I imagine that my posts sometimes seem impersonal, because I fear sometimes that there is some risk of retaliation, if I say something that someone else wouldn’t like, but I find that is a poor reason not to share and help those who could use it. So, here goes, my first post using my expertise.

 

My student has a disability- now what?

The thing about this is that when a child is found eligible for an Individualized Education Plan many parents don’t know what to do. You are NOT alone! I’m going to do a series on this to help anyone out. I teach Special Education and have a Masters in it. So, lets start off.

If your student has just been found eligible you have likely sat through the eligibility meeting. It likely included your child’s normal teacher, a special education teacher, a school psychologist, a principal or county coordinator, and likely an additional teacher, though who that is is different for each person. I intend at some point to go over what to do/know going into those meetings, but for now, lets just focus on the point where many parents become stumped.

The first thing to know is what does that eligibility even mean?

SLD- Specific Learning Disability. This means your students has a clear pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Maybe they are a rock star at math, but reading is tough. This is your kiddo.

Significant Developmental Delay- This student is young, usually kindergarten or lower. They are typically immature for their age, and may have struggle with emotional regulation. Also, they may not be acquiring content at the expected rate. Some students will grow out of this eligibility. Some may instead develop into something more specific.

SLI- Speech or Language Impairment. This student is having difficulty with either articulation, forming the sounds, or they are not acquiring language/ utilizing it as typical. These can affect the academics as well.

OHI- Other health impairment. This eligibility is an option when we have documentation from the doctor of a health condition AND there is significant evidence showing that the condition is affecting the student at school and many interventions already tried have not worked. One common example is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder. More often than not this student was diagnosed by an outside doctor, however sometimes they can get an educational diagnosis at school. They may have academic struggles in one of several areas. Also, they are likely going to be struggling to thrive in their classroom with things such as making friends, adjusting to change, or sensory issues.

EBD- Emotion Behavior Disorder. These students are ones who struggle to re gulate their emotions and/or behavior. They are not students who just misbehave, which is a huge difference, as Conduct Disorder is NOT EBD. Students with EBD do not choose to make poor choices, they are often stuck in Fight or Flight or emotional states that cause them difficulty.

MID- Mild Intellectual Disability. This means the student has an IQ of 70 or lower, and also are struggling to adapt and thrive in their environment. They may be emotionally immature. They might struggle with change, forget where their classrooms are, or take longer to acquire new content.

MOID- Moderate intellectual disability. Most parents know this is their student before the school completes testing. Many students in this category have medical conditions such as Downs Syndrome.

SID/PID- Severe/Profound Intellectual Disability. These categories again, you likely are aware of before the school communicates anything as these students have the most severe needs. They are very developmentally delayed, and will struggle with communication, interactions, learning basic skills such as potty training, and typically have additional medical conditions.

VI- Visual Impairment

Deaf Hard of Hearing.

 

At the meeting you likely developed an individualized education plan. You probably didn’t say much because you got way too much information. It happens. Whats important now is to read over the IEP (it should be sent to you within 10 days of the meeting. If not, inquire at the school) and jot down any questions you have. It is your childs case manager’s job to explain these to you. Also, go over your procedural safeguards (parental rights) and again, jot down any questions. Make sure you know when you should be getting progress reports, and check those. If your case manager is doing their job, respectful questions should be appreciated. If they aren’t, point that out to them. Many sped teachers are overworked, with too many kids, and they may not realize they are not being their most gracious. If that doesn’t clear it up, contact their supervisor.

My Family Doesn’t Get It

Living on a farm is a unique experience. That might be the understatement of a lifetime. The thing is that most the time family not understanding how it works doesn’t really make a big wave or problem with the farm life. That changes when the holidays come around. See part of my family likes to go to the beach on Christmas. We begged them not to do that because that means we can’t really see the other part of my family without a lot of pain and suffering and flying on Christmas Day. They didn’t exactly mean to do it again this year, and they fixed it for next year. This year we are stuck though.

We are luckier than most who have a barn, because we are able to travel more than really any other people with a farm I know. We also unfortunately have to cash in on that luck at Christmas. I love this time of year, but this year I think the stress is causing me to have trouble enjoying it. Anyone with a farm can tell you it’s hard to leave with leaving your farm and someone else’s hands. This post seems to be going in circles, so maybe I should just stop. I hope all you guys out there have a wonderful holiday, and I’m going to try to focus on my blessings. Not many people with as many animals as we have can travel the way we do. Thankful for those who make it possible, hope for the future that maybe we can get slightly better timing. also I think I’m going to start doing summaries and Spanish at the bottom. I used to be near fluent, and I’m losing it because I’m not using it. Have no fear no details there that you were missing, but maybe sharing the story with more people now.

Hola! Está mi primero entrada en español, pero es un resumen de que es en inglés. Me encanta esta lengua, y no quiero perder el habilidad. Yo dijo que Navidad es mi favorito tiempo de año, pero es más difícil cuando tengo un granja. Tenemos muchos animales, y no tenemos muchas ayuda con estos. Voy a estar alegre porque tengo amigos que ayuda. Visitamos muchas país, y vida es buena.