Dup15q Alliance IEP/Education Committee understands there are many questions surrounding back to school this 2020/2021 school year.
There are many resources available for supporting your dup15q child’s learning during the pandemic. We have collected a few that you may find helpful.
Please let us know if you have discovered something that has been helpful to your family so we could share it.
How to decide between online and in-person learning?
Every family has to weigh the pros and cons individually to decide what type of learning their children will access this fall.
The CDC created a decision-making tool for returning to school. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/decision-tool.html
Autism Speaks’ article, “Carrying a Heavy Load with Back-to-School Choices,” lists some pros and cons for each family to consider. https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/carrying-heavy-load-back-school-choices
How to advocate for your child during remote instruction?
Remember that schools still need to provide FAPE for children with IEPs, whether they are in-person or virtual.
A video on how to engage with your child’s IEP team while remote learning and on creating structure at home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GdfdmvNLkw&feature=youtu.be
Here are five ways to help shape your child’s virtual learning experience. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/five-ways-parents-can-advocate-their-child-autism-virtual-learning?utm_source=LiveClicker&utm_medium=poll&utm_campaign=BTS
Autism Speaks put together a helpful checklist for preparing a special needs student for school. https://www.autismspeaks.org/expert-opinion/prepare-back-school?utm_source=LiveClicker&utm_medium=poll&utm_campaign=BTS
How can schools safely social distance; particularly for students with special services and full-time aides?
All parents have questions about school openings, and one of those questions is how can schools safely social distance. Children with neurologic conditions often require special services, making social distancing challenging if not impossible. Parents who determine their child needs to attend school to receive the services offered through their IEPs will want to ensure all possible steps are taken to allow their children to return to school safely. The goal of this article is to help parents work with their school and medical teams to develop safe processes for their unique situation.
How to teach your child to wear a mask when it is hard for them to do so?
Regardless of what our school life looks like in a few weeks, we really need to make every effort with our kids to wear masks. It may enable them to go back to in-person school, have play dates, help protect grandparents and other loved ones and help keep them safe(r).
This blog post is a summary of tips and guidelines for parents. As always, consult with your child’s team. I’m not trying to speak as an OT or behaviorist. If you are concerned about mask-wearing because of medical conditions, consult your medical team. This post will mostly be sensory and behavior-based ideas for parents.
How to get compensatory education?
If your school has not provided what is in your child’s IEP (FAPE), then they may have to ‘make up’ the missed IEP services and special instruction that wasn’t provided or was inadequately provided with compensatory education (often called ‘comp ed.’) It can include a reimbursement fund for parents to pay for those missed services privately, for instance. You must document a loss of skills/progress/behavior to get comp ed. Data from home can be considered.
Here is the federal government’s guidance that IEP teams must make an individualized determination about whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed when schools resume normal operations” https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-covid-19-03-12-2020.pdf There may be state-specific guidance on determining compensatory education, such as Pennsylvania’s, which says that schools need to assess each student’s levels and start skill recoupment programming as soon as school starts, and the IEP team must determine if comp ed is warranted within 3 months of starting school: https://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/Special%20Education/FAQContact/Pages/COVID-19-Compensatory-Services.aspx
Here is another resource about comp ed during coronavirus from A Day in Our Shoes (Lisa Lightner, a dup15q parent, has a whole section of her education advocacy website on covid): https://adayinourshoes.com/comp-ed-iep-services-esy-covid-19-crisis/
How to protect your family from coronavirus?
Here are the latest guidelines from the CDC on how to prevent your family from getting sick, and what to do if someone does get sick. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html
What social stories can I share with my child?
Social stories pair visual pictures with simple words to explain various aspects of living with the coronavirus. Many organizations write social stories that you can easily print out (just google social story + topic). Your child’s teacher may have social stories about the new rules at school, if you ask. You may find that your child will want to read social stories over and over again to understand what is happening and what the expectations are.
Staying home because of the coronavirus. https://qrcgcustomers.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/account4876975/6552153_1.pdf?0.85841887098649
Washing hands: https://paautism.org/resource/hand-washing-social-story/
Getting a covid test: https://www.ucucedd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/How-Do-I-Get-Tested-For-COVID-19.pdf
Lots of other covid-related social stories by Autism Little Learners and the Autism Society:
A Day In Our Shoes - Fall 2020: Back to School with an IEP, Q&A with Laura Heneghan
Facebook Live with Lisa Lightner, Special Education Advocate and Dup15q parent and Laura Heneghan, Special Education Lawyer to discuss Back to School with an IEP.
IEP Help Ticket
Since nearly all children with Dup15q Syndrome require special education, navigating the complexities of the IEP process becomes an important role for parents. The IEP committee is made of of parents, educators, and special education advocates.
Volunteers at the Dup15q Alliance are striving to support families to advocate in the IEP process based on our experience with our own families. Please be clear that these suggestions are not legal advice. Local educational advocates or lawyers would know better how to navigate federal and state laws and school district policies for your child’s specific situation.
Once you submit a help ticket, it can take a few days to receive a response from the committee