Supporting literacy: Text-to-Speech and IEP goal setting for students with learning disabilities

A child who struggles to read can quickly fall behind in school. Nearly every academic area includes some reading, and children might become confused or frustrated when they don’t get help to make sense of their schoolwork. Behavior challenges can result, and sometimes schools and parents struggle to understand why the student is having a hard time.

This video provides information about two primary ways that schools can support students with learning disabilities that impact literacy:

  • Text-to-Speech (technology that provides audio-visual communication)
  • Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)

Student learning accelerates when both strategies work together, and this video provides tips for making that happen.

Washington passed a law in 2018 requiring schools to screen young children for the indicators of weaknesses associated with dyslexia and support literacy across all grades. The law took effect in the 2021-22 school year. PAVE provides an article with more information: Dyslexia Screening and Interventions: State Requirements and Resources.

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Behavior and School: How to Participate in the FBA/BIP Process

This training has information about how to support a child’s behavior at school. When behavior gets in the way of learning, schools are responsible to figure out what the child is trying to communicate and to teach the child what to do instead.

The process of figuring out why a child is acting out is called a Functional Behavioral Assessment—FBA for short. A Behavior Intervention Plan—BIP for short—is a working document that the school and family build together and review regularly to make sure the child is supported with positive reinforcement and encouragement for meeting behavioral expectations. This training will help you know how to participate in the FBA/BIP process.

Schools are guided by the state to use best practices when evaluating and serving students with special needs. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the state educational agency in Washington State. OSPI’s website is k12.wa.us. A page called Model Forms for Services to Students in Special Education has links to downloadable forms schools use to develop IEPs, Section 504 Plans, and more.

Here are links to OSPI’s model forms for:

After you view the video, please take a quick moment to complete our survey. Your feedback is valuable!

Procedural Safeguards: How to File a Special Education Complaint

This training has information about parent rights and describes a process for filing a community complaint. When parents believe their child’s school has done something inappropriate related to the Individualized Education Program—their IEP—filing a complaint is one option available.

This training will help you know where to get a community complaint form and walks you through a pretend situation to demonstrate use of the form. The community complaint process is a no-cost option for families of children who receive special education services.

For more information and to access the community complaint form in your language, visit the website of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the state educational agency for Washington State. To find the form, click on the question, “Is there a form for filing a community complaint?” The drop-down menu provides language options to download the form.

After you view the video, please take a quick moment to complete our survey. Your feedback is valuable!

Life After High School: A Two-Part Training to Help Families and Young People Get Ready

Making the move from high school to what happens next can be confusing. Making that transition during a worldwide pandemic has added challenges. This training provides key information for families to ensure that school-based services are providing what students with disabilities need to launch adult lives that meet their goals for further education, work, and independent living. Attention families with younger children: It’s never too soon to start learning this information!

Part 1 of this two-part presentation provides foundational information about the rights of students with disabilities, with some content related to COVID-19. Students with disabilities are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and that includes a well-planned journey through school, graduation, and whatever happens next. Accessibility and equity are rights throughout school and adulthood. Look and listen to learn more.

Part 2 provides key information about tools for students moving toward graduation and beyond. For example, IEP transition planning is linked to the High School and Beyond Planning process for Washington students. This training provides information about service agencies that support students while they are in school and into adulthood, with resources and places to go for further support and information.

Families and young people can reach out for individualized assistance from our Parent Training and Information (PTI) staff at PAVE. Click Get Help or call 800-572-7368.

After you view the video, please take a quick moment to complete our survey. Your feedback is valuable!

Quick Start Your Advocacy in Two Steps

Asking for something you want or need for yourself or someone you love can take courage and inner strength. The ask is easier when you have basic advocacy tools. This short video provides a two-step process to help advocates step into their role with more confidence.

Here are the words that go with the video:

Being an advocate means speaking up to request something and pressing onward until the goal is met. The best advocates are really clear about two steps you cannot skip:

  1. Know what you want, and;
  2. Know who has the power to make that possible.  

This may sound obvious, but it’s not always easy. Let’s break it down with an example.

This is Julia—she’s a mom. Her 7-year-old son, Jose, isn’t learning to read like other kids his age. Julia wonders if Jose might have a learning disability. She mentions this to the attendance secretary one morning. Nobody contacts her. She assumes her worries are wrong or not important.

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

If she applies our two-step guide to advocacy, Julia can try again. She starts here:

  1. What does she want?
  2. Who has the power to make that happen?

First, she wants her son to get more reading help at school. Second, a classroom teacher or a special education teacher might help, but the attendance secretary is not the right person to ask.

It will take some work to press onward. Julia may need an appointment to formally talk with Jose’s teacher or a school administrator to get her advocacy project started. Here are some questions she might ask:

  • What do I do if I think my son might have a learning disability?
  • Is there a form for me to request a special education evaluation?
  • Who should I send my request to?
  • When will I get a response?
  • What’s the process for getting services to help my son?
  • What are my options if I disagree with the school’s decision?

Making a list of questions is an advocate’s homework. Taking careful notes helps with planning and often leads to faster results.

Remember, Julia wants her son to get more help learning to read. Her questions will help her figure out who to work with and what to do next.

Advocacy requires persistence. Don’t give up, and keep your eye on these two questions:

  1. What do I want?
  2. Who has the power to work with me and make that happen?

Student Rights, IEP, Section 504 and More

Getting the right help for students with disabilities is made easier when families learn key vocabulary and understand how to use it. PAVE provides videos to support learning about student rights and how to work with the school to get individualized support.

The first video provides a visual to help—a pyramid of student rights. Learn how students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are protected by the full pyramid of rights, while students eligible for a Section 504 Plan also have civil rights that protect them at school. Learn the key terms from these rights: access, equity, and FAPE, and how to use those words to help a student get their needs met.

Our pyramid of rights provides a starting place for our second video, which shares more detail about the rights of students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Key to protecting those rights is the accommodations, modifications, and supports that enable a student with a disability to access what typically developing students can access without support. Click on the video to learn more about what the right to equity means.

Our third video provides more detail about the rights of a student with an IEP. A three-step process is provided to help family caregivers make sure a student’s IEP goals are supporting the right help in the right way. Learn about Present Levels of Performance (PLOP), Specially Designed Instruction (SDI), and SMART goals to become a well-trained partner in the IEP team process.

We’d love to know whether these trainings are helpful. Please share your feedback by completing a short survey.

Friendships & Taking Care of Yourself: PURPAS

Great takeaways:

  • Meet new people, have fun, and talk about what you like to do!
  • Find a good new friend, learn to take the bus, manage your money, and learn how to be more presentable.
  • The gym helped me get more in shape and gave me my first job!

“I just wanted to better myself.  To be like a superhero.  And after doing my resume and sending it to the online site << boom >> I got a job!  And joining PURPAS I got new friends and learn how to take of myself.” – Randy

We envision an inclusive community that values the unique abilities, cultures, voices, contributions, and potential of all individuals.  Please join us in sharing Randy’s Recipe for Empowerment!

And if you, or those you know, can make a year-end donation, of any amount, thank you!

Navigating Life After Early Intervention Services

Great takeaways:

  • Get on waitlists and get engaged in community programs!
  • Connect with other parents
  • Grace for yourself & find what works for you!

“Our children are children.  Sometimes they are not ready, and we’re not ready to handle this now.  For example, cold and flu season can be hard to start or add more therapies.  We learned from our wrong turns.”  – Andrea

We hope you found hope, inspiration, and ideas for you, your child, or others you may know. And if you know We hope you found hope, inspiration, and ideas for you, your child, or others you may know.  And if you know of anyone able to donate…any amount – $5, $10, $50.  All donations will help PAVE provide support, training, information, and resources to empower and give voice to individuals, youth and families impacted by disabilities.   Please pass on Arianna & Andrea’s Recipe for Empowerment!

Recipe for Navigating School

Great takeaways:

  1. Gain as much knowledge as possible.
  2. Know your rights as a parent and your child’s rights, as a student.
  3. Know the framework for an IEP and 504 Plans.

“So that when you are ready to navigate the schools you are ready for what may come up and assure your child’s rights!  You – the parent/guardian – are the only constant while members of the team will rotate.” – Nadine

We hope you enjoyed this short video, one parent to another, one child at a time. Its why PAVE exists. 

With your help, we hope others will invest in our mission with a year-end financial gift, if possible.  What matters most is to pass on this recipe for empowerment!  Share the recipe of Nadine and Grayson!