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Showing posts from September 11, 2016

Sign Here! Three Tips for Navigating the IEP Process

As an early childhood educator, I have been involved in many Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. In these meetings, an Individualized Education Program—a legal document that spells out a child’s learning needs, the services the school will provide, and how progress will be measured—is reviewed and discussed. My daughter was diagnosed with a speech delay at age 1, and when my husband and I attended her first IEP meeting when she was 3, I was terrified. I realized that even though I knew some things about the process due to my experiences as an educator, the process looks, feels, and sounds different to a parent. Here are three tips that have helped me navigate the IEP process. Tip 1:   Ask clarifying questions . During my daughter’s first IEP meeting, my husband and I met with the Speech and Language pathologist, the principal, and the resource teacher. They reviewed her assessment, diagnosis, and goals. Because of my fear of showing my limited knowledge of special educa

Have a Concern about School? Tips for Talking to the Teacher

You have a concern about your child’s care and education, how do you handle it? When Paul picks up Sofia (4 months), he’s surprised to see she’s sucking on a pacifier. He and his wife Molly had communicated to her teacher that they didn’t want Sofia to use pacifiers. Flustered, he takes the pacifier out of Sofia’s mouth and leaves without saying a word. At home, Paul and Molly discuss the situation. Did the staff give Sofia the pacifier because she was crying too much and that was the only way to console her? Did the teachers disregard their wishes? Or did they just forget? Sandra is worried that Mason (3.5 years) does not want to go to preschool any more. He used to calmly say good bye, but now he protests loudly and cries. The teacher says he is fine, just a little “touchy”. Sandra is increasingly nervous. Is there something going on at school that she is not being told about? These stories have a common theme.  Parents have concerns and they don’t know how to talk with

DDRS Updates on the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule – required assessment by day service providers of non-residential service settings

On September 13, 2016, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) announced the initial posting of its Non-Residential Self-Assessment on the Family and Social Services Administration’s  Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Final Rule Statewide Transition Plan Web page.  Providers of the following (non-residential) day services are required to complete an online self assessment:   Adult Day Services   Community-Based Habilitation (Group/Individual)   Facility-Based Habilitation (Group/Individual)   Prevocational Services  Results of the assessment will assist the state in determining areas of compliance and non-compliance within our waiver programs related to requirements in the HCBS Final Rule released March 17, 2014, by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that waiver participants receive Medicaid HCBS in settings that are integrated in and support full access to the greater

Action Alert: Comment on Indiana Medicaid Access Rule

"CMS finalized the  long-awaited Medicaid access rule  last fall, requiring states to more carefully monitor access to care in fee-for-service Medicaid.   States must post their draft plans for public comment for at least 30 days before submitting them to CMS - so the time is now to comment on your state's draft plan.  The plan must identify a data-driven procedure to review access to care that addresses the extent to which beneficiary needs are fully met, the availability of care through enrolled providers, and changes in beneficiary service utilization. The plan must also show aggregate comparisons between Medicaid provider payment rates and rates paid by other public and private payers. "The plan will govern regular access reviews for certain services, including: primary care, physician specialist, behavioral health, pre- and post-natal obstetric, and home health care. States must use the information gathered in the reviews to determine the sufficiency of access t

Understanding and Responding to Children Who Bite

Biting is a typical behavior often seen in infants, toddlers, and 2-year olds. As children mature, gain self-control, and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior. While not uncommon, biting can be an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior. It’s best to discourage it from the very first episode. This article will help you to understand the reasons young children bite and give you some ideas and strategies for responding appropriately. Why do young children bite? Some children bite instinctively, because they have not developed self-control. For example, when 3-year-old Marcus grabs a doll from his 2-year-old sister Gina, her first response is to bite him and grab the doll. She doesn’t stop to think about other ways to act or the result of her actions. But there are many other reasons why children may bite. A child might bite to Relieve pain from teething. Explore cause and effect (“What happens when I bite?”). Experience the sensation of bitin

Temporary moratorium on new ASD outpatient referrals for evaluation or treatment at the CSATC (Sarkine)

From Riley/IU Health: Dear Referring Provider: Approximately 1 in 68 children in Indiana will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and early intensive services can positively affect the course of the disorder. As the demand for ASD-related services has grown, the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center (CSATC) has expanded to better serve our state. The Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at Riley, which will also serve individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, is scheduled to open later this year. However, expanding our services to meet this population’s needs has resulted in a decrease in outpatient provider availability. Although we continue to try to recruit highly trained professionals, the reality is that we cannot maintain our current level of services with the providers available. We therefore regret to inform you that at this time we are placing a temporary moratorium on new ASD outpatient referrals for evaluation or treatment at the CSATC at Riley Ho

Important Information about ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

From Down Syndrome Indiana View the archived webinar on the ESSA featuring Ricki Sabia, Senior Education Policy Advisor for the National Down Syndrome Congress.  Here is a link: watch?v=4WhVSYQZCoM&feature= Important: ESSA and your Child What is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed in December 2015 replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The U.S. Department of Education has published proposed regulations on how States and school districts report on the academic performance of  all  students under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The U.S. Department of Education has also included in the proposed regulations, how States and school districts  are held accountable  to improve the performance of students who are not making sufficient progress on grade-level State academic content standards under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Take Action on ESSA Watch/Listen to ESSA Webina

New Director for First Steps

To: Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services’ stakeholders From: Kylee B. Hope, Director, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) Re: Staff Announcement – First Steps Director Date: September 13, 2016 I am very excited to announce Christina Commons as the new Director of the Bureau of Child Development (First Steps). Christina comes to this position with a strong background in early childhood development and early intervention. She has 16 years of experience as a Developmental Therapist in First Steps. During that time, she owned her own business, Therapy Solutions, LLC, serving children and families by providing direct services as well as evaluations in partnership with several evaluation teams. Additionally, she spent three years with Pro Kids in Cluster G. Since October of 2014, Christina has been with the Division of Mental Health and Addiction as the Youth and Adolescent Bureau Chief. As an advocate for children’s mental wellness, Christina is pa

Observation: The Key to Understanding Your Child

Young children sometimes behave in challenging or confusing ways. You may occasionally have thoughts like:   “Why does she keep pinching her brother’s nose?” “Why does he put his snack in his hair?” “Why does she cry when it’s time to put shoes on?” At first glance, young children’s behaviors can be downright baffling! Preschool teachers are taught that all behavior is communication and we are trained to observe, document, and analyze children’s behavior to understand what they are “telling” us. With a few tips, you too can start observing your child’s behavior like a pro. Looking for patterns Any behavior that occurs over and over is happening for a reason. If you can find the pattern in the behavior, you can figure out how to stop it. The first step is simply to  write down what happens . At first it feels weird, right after your child puts a gummi bear up his nose, to pull out a pad of paper and write it down. The problem is, our memories are terrible. Simply maki