Posts Tagged ‘child’

November 4th, 2011  Posted at   Special Education

Are you a parent of a child with a disability who would like to write effective letters, to special education personnel? Would a short list of things to include be helpful? Letters are important documentation, of what is happening in your child’s education. This article will address 7 items that should be included in special education letters, to make them effective, and easily understandable.

Letters should be one page if possible, and contain these items:

Item 1: You should include your name in the letter, as well as the name of your child with a disability. If the specil education person is an administrator, they may not know you or your child. That’s why it is important to include both in the letter.

Item 2: You should include your child’s birth date. Some school districts often use a child’s birth date, for identification purposes.

Item 3: You should include the date when you are writing the letter; month day and year. Letters sent to disability educators become part of your child’s school record. By dating the letters, anyone looking at the record can tell when it was written. The date the letter was sent may be important in the future, if a dispute occurs between you and your school district.

Item 4: You should very clearly state the purpose of the letter. For Example: “I am writing you today to tell you of my concerns for my child Mary, whom I believe may have a learning disability, in the area of reading. I am asking that she be tested using a standardized reading test such as the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test. When the test results are finished, we can discuss them at an IEP meeting.” or “I am concerned that my son John may have autism, I would like a childhood autism rating scale (CARS) to be filled out for him. When this is completed, I would like to have an individual educational plan (IEP) meeting to discuss the results.” (more…)

October 5th, 2011  Posted at   Technical Writing

In designing curriculum for adults, it is important to begin your design process with the outcomes, that is, what you want your students to be able to do in their rest-of-life roles as workers, family members, or community members. But where do those outcomes and their requisite skills, concepts and issues come from? They come from the stakeholders and subject matter experts who are your audience, or who know and care about the audience for whom you will write. It is this group that you will convene for an affinity brainstorming process. Here’s how I’ve done that.

When working with a client I ask, “Who knows what your target audience needs to be able to do and what it takes to do it? Who holds a stake in your target audience being able to do those things? To whom will it make a difference if they can or can’t meet the outcome? These are the people we want to invite to our affinity brainstorming session. “

For example, if I’m designing a parenting program for families involved in the child welfare system, we will ask the following folks to join us for a brainstorming session: parents involved in the child welfare system, workers who case manage those families, parenting experts who understand the needs, strengths and challenges of children involved in the child welfare system, other experts and direct service providers who provide services to our target families (substance abuse treatment professionals, mental health professionals, parole and probation officers, family advocates, child advocates, or child development experts as examples), as well as the community, faith or culturally-based natural supports, elders, or advocates who these families trust and turn to. Depending upon the sensitivity of the issue, you may pull these folks together in one affinity group or you may pull them together by type: a group of parents, a group of professionals who work with those parents, and so on.

Once our team is gathered, I’ll explain the project and post the question: “What do families involved in the child welfare system need to be able to do in their lives as parents and leaders of their families that we want to take responsibility for in this curriculum?” And then, in teams of 3-4, our experts brainstorm, listing 1 behavior, action, understanding, or ability per sticky note. After a quiet work time, when there seems to be a lull in the writing, I’ll invite members of each team to read aloud and post their sticky notes on an easel paper. If, when hearing something a team member posts, someone has a new idea that extends or develops that thought, that person can add an additional sticky note. This process continues within each team of 3 or 4 until the ideas are exhausted. (more…)