A Call to Advocacy

August is upon us and before you know it school will be back in session.

Is your child ready? Do you know the services they should receive related to their disability? Are you worried about beginning another year of uncertainty, missed goals, and limited progress?

We can help you navigate those murky waters called “Special Ed.”

Call us today if…

  • You feel your child may have a learning disability
  • You don’t understand the ins and outs of the (IEP), Individualized Education Plan
  • You want to know your rights as a parent
  • Need help writing a letter to the school
  • Don’t understand the evaluations process, percentiles, outcomes etc…
  • Feel your child should be making more progress in academics
  • The school seems to be fluffing you off, saying she/he will catch up

Special Needs NJ has been providing families with “special needs” members for over 15 years in the areas of IEP interpretation, letter writing, IDEA law review, evaluation and assessment interpretation, understanding timelines, everything up to and including meeting attendance with your (CST) Child Study Team. Giving you the skills, techniques, and guidance to help you become the “BEST” advocate you can be for your child.

We understand ALL of the classifying categories; ALL of the related services, and most importantly How you can get the best possible program for your child to progress and become successful in their educational experience.

DON’T WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE….

CALL (973) 534-3402 and we will give you a free consultation.

Statistics show that children who get the proper services during the formative years of Kindergarten-3rd grade perform beyond their expected potential. Unfortunately we see most students because they are struggling and by 3rd grade they are 2-3 years behind, by 5th grade they are 3-5 years behind, and by 8th grade they are moving into high school with only a 5th grade reading level!

However, don’t despair if your child is already in this situation… it’s NEVER too late!

call, email, or fill out the service form right here on our page.

Our prices are conservative and very reasonable

Isn’t your child’s future worth it?

 

SNNJ also provides: Tutoring, Life Skills Coaching, Behavior Management

SUMMER TUTORING

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SPECIAL NEEDS NJ

Is booking now for summer tutoring

Academics, Social Skills, Behavior Management, Executive Functioning SkillsABA etc….

Call (973) 534-3402 or email to specialneedsnj@hotmail.com

for intake interview

SNNJ SUMMER 2015

Summer Programs at Special Needs NJ, LLP

Newton, NJ (Sussex County)

Providing Help to Students with IEP’s

Join “The Crew”    image3941

A Saturday work crew that helps keep things working,   repairs, clean ups, vehicle maintenance, painting, woodworking etc…. This group is for High School students to put their learned skills to real life practices. The aim of this group is to educate towards “un-entitlement!” Many of our youth have a sense of entitlement, they want what they want! In this Saturday work crew young men and women learn how to take care of things they “want” to have. We teach the use of measurement through building projects, how to do upkeep on a vehicles, cleaning of the pool, maintenance of gardens and paths, use of kitchen tools, budgeting, and much, much more.

Details page 2 click here for full newsletter

Parents support group: support for parents with classified children, forum for questions and advice, expert seminars & program presentation, or just a night of relaxing.

Special Back to School info August

More on page 2

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Tutoring clubs: These are tutoring sessions provided in our center for academics, ABA & IM therapy, and life skills practices to keep students with IEP’s from regressing in their skills.

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CLICK HERE FOR FULL NEWSLETTER

Teens & Tweens

SUMMER CAMPs

 2 week sessions starting June 15, 2015, held Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9am to 2pm. This group is for young men and young women grouped as 5-8th grade, and HS age with an IEP who wish to connect with other teens in the area.

Campers will learn many life skills such as making shopping lists, shopping, cooking, kitchen safety, working together with others, following directions, properly channeling anger, coping skills, how to make friends/ conversation skills, craft and woodworking projects, plus fun events; swimming, hiking, horseshoes, and games

Each camp will be limited to 8 students per session; lunch is included each day, and additional tutoring sessions available from 2:00-4:00 pm on Monday and Wednesdays.

Price: $650.00 per session covers supplies, food, transportation for outings, end of session pizza party & Bon fire etc… additional $100. to stay for tutoring M&W Requirements: must have IEP, and pre-camp interview

DATES:

1. June: 15-26 HS

2. July: 6-17 5-8th grade

3. July: 20-31 HS

4. Aug: 3-12 5-8th grade

5. August: 17-28 HS Camps may be cancelled if minimum of 4 students each is not met

CONTACT US NOW: (973) 940-6923

CLICK HERE FOR FULL NEWSLETTER

Hudson County Special Education Parent Leadership Round Table

Hudson County Round Table Feb 2015

Hudson County Special Education
Parent Leadership Round Table
This is an opportunity to meet face to face and exchange ideas around what works to enhance and sustain family engagement in schools to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. Strategies to start and run local special education parent groups/advisory groups will be discussed and shared. Come and network with other parent leaders in your county.
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 24th 2015
Time: 6:30pm-9:00pm (registration and networking 6:30PM-7PM)
Location: West New York Housing Authority Building
515 54th Street
West New York, NJ
Entrance to the building is on 52nd Street. Municipal parking across the street (on 52nd
Street)
Snow date: Tuesday, March 3rd (Same place and same time)
To register go to http://hudsoncospecialedroundtable.eventbrite.com or contact Myriam Alizo at malizo@spannj.org or 201-960-7159

Advocacy from a parents perspective

Why Do You Need an Advocate?

Authur: Dan Coggshall

My daughter’s first IEP meeting was a disaster. They sat my pregnant wife and I down in chairs made
for kindergarteners and began to tell us everything that was wrong with our amazing daughter. They
used terms like “z­score” and “standard deviation” and presented us a document full of acronyms, like
LRE and PO, and abbreviations like “grp” (because the two extra letters in group were apparently too
much to write).

I was confused and I was sad. They kept saying we were part of the team, but everything we said was
dismissed. They kept saying “IEP” which I knew meant individual education plan, but they were clearly
trying to put our daughter in the same program they put every other kid in.
My wife and I tried to explain where we were coming from. We tried to share our daughter’s unique
gifts and challenges. We tried to get her the program we knew was right for her. But, we didn’t speak
the language. We were too emotional. We were too angry. They had a rebuttal for everything we said.
They had wording that made them bulletproof. This was one of the most significant days of our lives.
This was a regular Tuesday for them.

I consider myself a pretty smart person. I went to college. I’ve worked in education. I’ve negotiated
contracts. I’ve made myself an expert on all the medical aspects of my daughter’s syndrome. But, I was
totally lost coming out of that first meeting.
I became determined that it would be different the next time. I read every book I could find. I poured
through websites. I joined support groups. I attended training’s. In this process, I realized two things:
1. Unless I devoted all my waking hours to it, I would never have time to learn everything there is
to know about educating children with disabilities.
2. I would never be able to turn off the emotions when it came to my own daughter.

I realized I needed help. I realized I needed an advocate.

Special Education law allows parents to include anyone with special knowledge of the child on the IEP
team that makes decisions about the child’s education. This could be a neighbor, a tutor, a volunteer
from nonprofit, or a professional advocate who makes his or her living helping parents of children with
disabilities navigate the special education system.
Unlike lawyers, who bring with them high fees, long delays, and opposing lawyers, advocates can sit at
the normal IEP table and work within the team to represent the needs of the child with disabilities.
Why did I need an advocate? Why do I think you need an advocate, regardless of your unique
situation? Here are five reasons:

1. You are outnumbered. At almost all meetings, the parents are outnumbered. It’s not unusual
for it to be one parent up against four or more people from the school district. Sure, everyone is
supposed to work as a team and I have heard some great stories of truly collaborative teams(just as I’ve heard stories about unicorns), but it’s usually you against them. One voice against
four is really hard.
A good advocate is an extra voice on your side in the meeting. A good advocate can bring
balance to a meeting and provide back­up. With an advocate present, the school personnel will
be far less likely to try to gang up on you or take advantage of you.

2. The people from the school know more than you. This is their job. They know the
acronyms and the policies. They almost always write the documents you are reviewing. They
talk about things before the meeting and come in with a plan ­­ without you. You are working
just to get up to speed on what they know.
A good advocate can help you keep pace because an advocate can walk in knowing the things
you don’t know. A good advocate speaks the language and knows the rules.

3. The people from the school know less than they should. Just because it is their job,
doesn’t mean they are good at it. Very few people who work for the school have read the
applicable special education laws. More than likely, they did not study the pertinent Supreme
Court cases. What they know is what they’ve been told and what they’ve seen. They know the
way “they” do things ­­ not the way they are supposed to do things.
A good advocate has read the law. A good advocate has seen special education implemented in
other places and has seen how it’s supposed to happen, not just how it happens in that
particular school. A good advocate can come to the table with ideas and solutions balanced
with an understanding of the law to call the school personnel out when they are breaking it.

4. You love your kid too much. It’s hard to make a point and cry at the same time. Emotional
pleas in the movies often win the day and end in slow clapping. Emotional pleas at the IEP table
usually involve a lot of blubbering and end with awkward silences. Worse, yelling and name
calling can destroy any good will the team has toward you.
A good advocate cares about your kid, but can talk dispassionately in order to coherently work
on your child’s behalf. A good advocate stays calm when tensions rise and a good advocate
can help you avoid the embarrassing blubbering.

5. Lawyers are expensive. We all imagine that all we have to do is threaten to sue and the
school district personnel will be shaking in their boots. It doesn’t work that way. When you
threaten to sue, they smile inside because they know that (a) they have lawyers on the payroll
and (b) you don’t. Lawyers are expensive both in terms of time and money. If you’re child is in
an inappropriate placement, can you afford to wait two years and pay twenty thousand dollars?

A good advocate can work quickly and can do so for a lot less money ­­ law degrees,
paralegals, and those leather office chairs are expensive! Even better, a good advocate can help
you negotiate more than the district is required to do under the law. Far more can be
accomplished in an IEP meeting than in a due process hearing.

For all those reasons, I knew I needed an advocate to help secure the correct setting for my daughter.
We were able to work with my team and find solutions to ensure she receives an appropriate education.
I also knew I couldn’t stand by while other parents tried to do it on their own and I decided to give up
all those waking hours so that I could train to become an advocate myself.

Our thanks to Dan Coggshall for authoring this guest blog

Dan has completed his course work with NSEAI (National Special Education Advocacy Institute), and is now interning with us here at Special Needs NJ

Have you been where he was? Lost and confused over the “ABC’s” of Special Education? Outnumbered by school personnel in an IEP meeting (just you against everyone free for that period)? Do you feel your son or daughter is not in the “best” possible environment or program for their “needs?” Do you need help navigating the murky waters of Special Education and your child’s diagnosis or disability?

Many say that a parent is the best advocate for their child. While this is true in many situations, in the IEP meeting this many times is NOT the case. Your emotions are in charge, they don’t understand the guilt, and mourning you are experiencing over the fact that you are even there! That your child is struggling and you feel it’s your fault. You’re to stressed over the 4-12 faces staring back at you to even be confident that you are hearing anything they are saying!

Don’t put yourself through another meeting like the one Dan has described, call for an advocate today! (973) 534-3402

You will receive a half hour consultation with an educational consultant, experienced in Special Education law and practices, who has assisted many families on this journey called the IEP (Individualized Educational Plan). We will hear your struggles, meet your child, review your evaluations and recommendations, formulate a plan, write letters to your CST (child study team), and hold your hand all the way through the process of obtaining the best possible placement for your child and their “Special Needs.”

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(973) 534-3402

Click here to contact us for services

 

 

IEP HELP

IEP meeting
It’s IEP time! Where did I put those report cards? FAPE IDEA What was that teacher’s name? LRE Should we keep him in speech? IEE Don’t get caught in a rush, wondering what to discuss, not understanding a single word they say! Call: specialneedsheader.jpg Special Needs NJ…. NOW! 973-534-3402 Our experts can help you interpret those test sores, percentages, rankings etc… But more importantly; we know the law! If you’ve ever been afraid, intimidated, feel unsure, bullied, unheard, talked down to and think your child needs a better written, more individualized IEP? Don’t wait for the last-minute. This is your child’s education! Let’s get together, so this year you feel confident, prepared, educated, and not intimidated. Our advocates are ready and waiting to serve you and your child. Not only will we meet you and your child in the comfort of your own home, but we will accompany you to the meeting at your school. We want to help educate you about the education your child has a right to receive within your home community. Negotiate and work with school professionals to ensure your child gets the best possible education that will address his/her disability “needs.” And not simply pigeon-holed into a one size fits all model of what the school thinks is representative of a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Call NOW! 973-534-3402 for your FREE consult

HELP WANTED

HELP WANTED

Positions open for ABA therapists to perform ABA services in the home.

Make your own hours, good pay, Sussex, Morris, Warren counties NJ

independent contractor position, must have experience with special needs population

Please submit cover letter, and resume to specialneedsnj@hotmail.com

Subject line: Human Resources

Pathways for Exceptional Children

A number of our students have been plugging in to the Pathways for Kids programs!!

Below is their mission statement.

Click here to go to their home page

Vision and Mission

Our Vision:

To create a future for children of all abilities where they are included, valued, and empowered to redefine the world.

Our Mission:

To encourage children of all abilities to find their passions, maximize their potential, and experience the empowerment that comes from diversity.

Values:

  1. The Importance of Community and Inclusion:

    It is essential that children develop a sense of belonging and a strong foundation of value and self-worth. Pathways is devoted to helping communities gain the knowledge and understanding to appropriately include and embrace children of all abilities and provide experiences and opportunities for children with varying needs to grow, learn, and discover their passions together.

  2. All Children must be given every opportunity to realize their passions and maximize their giftedness:

    Outcomes in learning and achieving success dramatically improve when children are allowed to realize their passions and maximize their giftedness. It is our goal to help children of all abilities find their own unique genius and to learn to cultivate that same potential in those around them.

  3. Children Teaching Children:

    Pathways believes children need to realize the power of ONE to make a difference and has adopted the “children teaching children” or “peer to peer” model as one of the biggest priorities. Pathways considers the ideas and passions of children to be our most valuable resource. If a child is passionate about something and is willing to teach and share it with another child, the value given to both children is priceless. Children no matter what their ability need to be included with their peers and taught to work collaboratively to build, take ownership of, and lead the future they will inherit.

  4. Providing Intensive Early Intervention and a Continuum of Services:

    Pathways believes all children should be given the opportunity to reach their maximum potential. Those at highest risk for exclusion and failure remain children with disabilities and other more vulnerable populations. The national employment rates for people with disabilities remain at a dismal 37%. This is the worst form of exclusion is the inability to work which then causes a complete dependency on government funding and others to live. Pathways is passionate about obtaining the long-term meaningful outcomes that will give these children a life of independence, the ability to pursue the work they love, and obtain a life of dignity and fulfillment.

  5. Creating a Spirit of Collaboration, Innovation, and Leadership:

    Pathways actively seeks to build partnerships and to collaboratively invest in initiatives that are designed to produce positive and measurable outcomes aimed at helping all children to lead themselves and others toward success and redefining the world around them. We are particularly passionate about investing in programs and ideas initiated, owned, and led by children.

About “Include ME!”

The “Include ME!” program is the initial training Pathways provides to get you started with our programs in your area. It provides training for professionals, parents, students, and anyone else that wants to begin to develop a more inclusive world. “Include ME!” trains people not to just accept diversity or tolerate it but to become empowered by it! It begins by getting away from a consequence or legally based system like what we see in anti-bullying campaigns. There is nothing motivating about constantly threatening children by what they “can’t do” or the consequences of poor behavior and bullying. The program begins with “Include ME!” assemblies and/or workshops that inspire children with the steps they can take to become more inclusive. After the “Include ME!” assemblies, children volunteer to become mentors and go through the mentor training. Adults help to facilitate programs in areas that the mentors are passionate about and are designed to include children with special needs and others at high risk of being excluded. Once this is underway, the ONE to 1,000 program can begin. This program greatly expands the “Include ME!” program from the initial phase into a youth leadership model where children take genuine ownership and begin to run an entire array of programs from sports and recreation, academics, life skills, and employment training. To read more about “Include ME!” download the brochure below.

click here for the home page and more information on Pathways for Kids!
 

FREE Parents Seminar

SPECIAL NEEDS NJ, LLP

      Services for families with “Special” needs

          Presents their inaugural Seminar for parents:

                 

 The “ABC’s” of Special Education

 

About:  This seminar is an overview for parents that have a child struggling in school that may need services and those parents that already have a classified student. Learn how to advocate for your child,  what you need to know to get the best IEP, Individual Education Plan, for your child, and “What do all these letter’s mean?” Learn the definitions/descriptions of NJ’s classifications for Special Education students. Hear from a neuropsychologist, Special Educator, Advocate, and parents that have been through the process.

When:    Friday November 1, 2013      7:00-9:00 p.m.

Where: 93A Spring St. Newton NJ, 0786 (next to the Red Cross, under the clock) additional parking in back lot off of Trinity St.

Registration required: FREE        Call:  (973)534-3402 to register

Email: specialneedsnj@hotmail.com

Please register by Oct. 30, 2013

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What is Neuropsychology?

What is Neuropsychology?

You may be wondering what a Neuropsychologist does or why you or your child would benefit from a Neuropsychological examination. The purpose of a Neuropsychological evaluation is to objectively/scientifically determine the individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, ascertain any psychological, educational or neurobehavioral diagnoses, and offer recommendations as to intervention, treatment, and/or educational programming, as may be warranted. Neuropsychological evaluations are utilized to diagnose learning disorders, developmental disabilties, memory or other cognitive problems as well as emotional or psychiatric disorders (i.e., depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, etc).

brain

Neuropsychology integrates neurology and psychology into one field. A Neuropsychologist is specially trained to evaluate brain-behavior relationships. He/she has completed broad coursework and training in the field of psychology in addition to specialty training in neuropsychology earning a Ph.D. After graduation, a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology is completed to provide experience in working with neurological/neurosurgery patients in an academic medical atmosphere.

It is important to seek out a Board Certified Neuropsychologist because Board Certification demonstrates that the specialist has the knowledge, skill, and experience to offer the highest quality of care in the field. Some psychologists may provide testing but they may not be specially trained in interpretation of Neuropsychological measures or the specific effects of neurocognitive disorders. To assure the Neuropsychologist has the level of expertise to provide you and your family with the most professional care possible it is important to look for the letters “ABPP” or “ABCN” (ABPP-CN) after a Neuropsychologist’s name.

For more information or to find a Neuropsychologist go to www.npanj.com