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Crisis Schooling Lessons: Different Isn't Less & Less Can Be More

There are always debates happening in special education and with the current pandemic, the arguments are getting louder and louder.

I'm going to skip over the obvious frustration of what's going to happen when we get back into school. Compensatory education? ESY? We will have plenty of time to tackle those issues when the time comes.

Right now we have to really think about what is happening today, in your house, in your virtual classroom. 

I've posted several times the recommended minutes of "school at home" from the IL State Board of Ed on my blog and social media sites. It's important for people to see that successful school is not sitting at a kitchen table for 6 hours, crying your way through worksheets.

Today somebody called me out and stated that I am sharing dangerous information. She thinks it's irresponsible that I let people know it's okay if we, as a special education TEAM, decide to do less than the recommended minutes. She thinks I'm promoting LESS learning for...

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Podcast: Frustrating IEP Advice Catching Fire on Facebook

"It would be foolish to assume that services written for a school setting could be done at home with the same intensity, but that IEP paperwork we worked so hard to create doesn't have a clause to adapt for what is happening right now during the Covid Crisis... which is where the bad advice floating around Facebook is starting to focus."

IEP Help:
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Frustrating IEP Advice Catching Fire on Facebook

When you've been in the Special Education community for over 20 years, you know when something big is brewing. You can feel it in your bones. You can see the lawyers starting to try and get ahead of what's coming and then comes the parent advocacy groups marching right behind.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a special needs sibling and I'm truly grateful for the lawyers and the parent advocates that paved the way for my brother, who is 42 with Down syndrome, to get an education in the public school system.

But, the negativity and the tension between school and special needs families is why I became a Special Education Teacher... I knew in my gut at 10 years old that there had to be a better way.

I only lasted a few years in the system as a teacher, not because I didn't like the classroom and not because I got burnt out. I left, by choice, because I LOVED finding creative solutions between schools and parents, even in the toughest situations.

And here we are, right now, in probably...

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PODCAST: Errorless Learning for Distance Learning with Alyssa



Alyssa is a Special Education teacher who knows her stuff when it comes to setting up students for success.

If you've never heard of Errorless Learning before, lean in and listen... it's perfect ALL the time, but especially awesome during this time of distance learning during the crisis.

Learn More from Alyssa & Get Dozens of Freebies at:

Grab Your Free IEP Checklist:

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify

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Virtual IEP Meeting Prep

special education Apr 05, 2020

Participating in a Virtual IEP meeting takes more than just logging in and hoping everything goes OK.

Watch this video to find out:

  • 3 things you must do before the meeting
  • 1 way to help every parent have a voice
  • Why follow up matters more than ever

Nobody wants a rush of IEP meetings when we all get back to school. This is why we MUST make virtual IEP meetings SUCCESSFUL!


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Recommended Minutes of Instruction for Learning at Home for Illinois

Parents and Teachers... look at these minutes recommended by the Illinois State Board of Ed.

Give yourself grace. Kids aren’t supposed to work for 6 hours at home. Your goal is NOT to replicate school at home.

Your goal is to care for a child as a whole person first and then facilitate additional learning.

Read the whole guide here

Need Help with Special Education & Distance Learning? START HERE

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Paraprofessionals & Distance Learning - Let them help!

Paraprofessionals are hungry to help! It's time to break the rules of what they are allowed to do and not to do... in other words... let them talk to parents & students directly without using the teacher as a messenger.
Office hours to keep classroom relationships are critical.
Getting snail mail in the mailbox is exciting.
Social stories to navigate chaos are necessary.
Help managing self-regulation at home is vital.
Connecting regular ed & special ed expertise is crucial.
We're all in this together. Old rules should not be holding us back. Get creative. We got this!
#specialeducation #specialneeds #weteachsped #downsyndrome #autismfamily #iep #iepmeeting #speechtherapy #occupationaltherapy #socialstory #distancelearni
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Paraprofessionals are Being Underutilized in Shut Down Crisis

Schools are shut down and IEP teams are in a panic of how to help students with IEPs.

After weeks of trying to use every resource at their fingertips, it's becoming clear that there is a HUGE resource that is being underutilized.  Paraprofessionals!

Every person on the IEP team from teachers to parents to therapists can confirm that aides in the classroom are the glue that hold everything together.

Paraprofessionals take care of everything from bathroom breaks to massive meltdowns. They know how to get through the toughest days and we need them more than ever, right now.

Most of all, students need their support system and often their number one support person is their aide. 

There are dozens of ways that we can help our support team stay connected with students... here are two to get started:

1. Connect the paraprofessional to what the parent needs at home. They are already masters at making visual schedules, positive reinforcement schedules and getting creative on the...

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Podcast: Change Your Definition of Appropriate IEPs

What was appropriate before may never be appropriate again in your child/student's IEP. Listen in and then join me to become a Master IEP Coach® at

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Appropriate IEPs when schools are closed?

special education Mar 25, 2020

What was appropriate in an IEP yesterday is not appropriate today.

What was appropriate in a child's IEP yesterday may NEVER be appropriate again. 

Want to learn how to change special education together, FOREVER? 

Join me in the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship this summer!
Learn how to become a Master IEP Coach® here.

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