Is a 504 plan Right for Your Child- Via Military Special Needs Network

School starts next week for us (thank you!). Last night was our open house and the children got to meet their new teachers prospectively. Of course new situations don’t come without a few bumps we must maneuver around along the way. On is named Ms. Pérez, who happens not to be Diva’s kindergarten teacher for the entire year. For half of the school year, Ms. Pérez will be the teacher subbing for Diva’s real teacher who is on maternity leave until Christmas. However, at this point I feel that is the least of Diva’s worries.

Up until this point Diva as not been in a public school education or qualified for IEP to obtain admittance to a special needs preschool. She has been tested twice and told, even though she was mute during both testing periods, that would not impact her education and she still passed all the tests. Her passing the tests was remarkable to me since they reported she didn’t say one word, does not know how to spell, read or write. So here we are a year later in a new state and a new school district. Seeing Diva in a preschool setting I feel she will not qualify for a IEP, however, I feel there are certain accommodation. So how do we get those accommodations for her if she has no IEP to write them in? Say ello to my ittle friend… the 504 Plan.

I have been looking for the Dummies Guide to IEP’s and 504’s and found one today. Who can say “awesome sauce”!? Just say thank you to Samantha over at Military Special Needs Network provided us with a great explanation of the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan.

Wordy Wednesday: bullying vs Rude vs Mean


Ugh! I want to pull my hair out. First spring break and now some random state holiday. These kids need to be back in school. They are getting on each other’s nerves and mine. Every 5 seconds it’s “he did this….” Or “she did that…”. They keep picking on each other and everyone’s tempers are thin. I don’t know how many times my kids have approached me this past week and I have that ask them if they are tattling or reporting. However, the positive is that- they are learning the difference. Want to teach your kids the difference? See here how I did it.

It has been a learning process over the years to figure out how best each child learns. It took me a while and even now I get confused on who learns best which way. Because of course it can’t be the same for everyone.

Those moments was brought on one day at our doctor. We went to a appointment and the nurse triaging me asked how I learned best. I stopped and had to think about it. Telling me didn’t work; I’m a visual learner. She gave me the choices and I told her it was all of them. I asked what that meant. She explained that if they ever need to teach me how to administer a drug or treatment they will be able to do it in a way I will understand. Why did that shock me so? Its brilliance. So I got to thinking why don’t teachers stop and asses which child learns what ways. It might help millions of children excel in school and life better. However, since I can’t impact that many children, I can at least set mine up for success. I realized I can teach them in their best learning style, and once they are older I can teach them the best way for them to study. But until then they will stand next to me while I’m on the couch tattle telling or reporting on each other.

I finally had enough of them and sent them to their rooms for some quiet separate time. However, before my son left, he let out one of those replies that makes your blood boil as a parent. My mom referred to it as the “f” word; FINE! Oh hell no, you just did not throw that word at me little boy. But, oh sure enough he did. His eye brows went up and his eyes got huge as he saw that look of evil spread across my face.

He walked over to me, head hung low, and said he was sorry. I stopped even madder now. Does he even know why he is apologizing? No, he just saw my reaction and via all our social stories and experiences, knows that face means he is in trouble. Autism, sometimes I hate you.

I ask him why he apologized. He said because he knew I was mad. I asked him if he knew why I was. He said because “I don’t know”. I tell him what he said was rude to me. I asked him if he knew what that meant. He replied “mean”. I stopped and had to think about it. Rude does mean mean; but it means more than that.

I started getting angry with myself. I realized I had never explained to him what rude and mean meant. How can I be mad at him for not teaching him yet we don’t talk like that. I simply can’t. No one can. So I stood there trying to find the right explanation of the word. It was hard. And I basically skirted around it. I just didn’t have a good answer. So I had to find one.

First thing was I knew I could not define the word with the word itself. So I can’t say mean means mean. Instead due to Bug’s way of learning, I needed to come up with concrete examples and definitions. While looking around I ran across this article by Signe Whitson, written a few years back.

She writes about the differences between bullying, mean and rude. Perfect! And since we are school age now it is great to teach them about bullying.

The one thing I want to also teach my children is how to recognize what bullying is. We all know how being bullied can effect ones ego and self esteem; but if one of your deficiencies is social how are you going to realize you are being bullied? It’s a horrible set of circumstances. I have already seen it happen to my children and seen what it can do when they don’t understand what is going on.

Here is another resource our ABA gave to me today:– super flex

Wordy Wednesday…ABC Mouse!

So today’s Wordy Wednesday post is not really an acronym, but ABC is kind of an abbreviation, right?  ABC Mouse is something my husband actually discovered one day when we were at my parent’s house.  The kids were watching Nick Jr., and there was a commercial for it during one of their favorite shows.  My husband looked it up and showed it to me and we were both impressed right away.


It’s an on-line curriculum for PreK through Kindergarten that keeps track of your child’s progress.  That way, my younger son can get on and do things without “messing up” what my Kindergartener is already working on.  There is a huge variety of  topics from letters, numbers, music, nonfiction and fiction books the kids can read, virtual field trips, and on and on.  Seriously, there is more than I could ever list here. I love that it is a…

ImageTotally personalized for my child and I don’t have to keep track of anything.  There is a monthly subscription fee, but that fee covered both of my kids.  Right now, you can try it for free for one month to see if it is something you’d like to pay to continue.  We have really liked it.  Our annual membership is nearly up, and we will definitely be renewing.  I think it’s going to be great for my boys to have over the summer, to help keep their skills fresh.

Another cool option is the ABC Mouse app.


It’s free, and has different music videos for each letter of the alphabet.  The kids earn tickets each time they watch a video and can “buy” videos with those tickets.  Both my boys love this.  I think the quality is great, half the time my husband and I find ourselves watching along with them.


Definitely worth checking these out if you have kiddos in this age group.  I know that it’s common for kids on the spectrum to gravitate towards technology, so this is a good way to expose them to new things using an interest they already have.  Have a good one!

Tip{py} Tuesday…Stubborn Whiteboards!

We are still unpacking from our last move and I am in the process of getting our office settled. A few days ago I unpacked our whiteboard and realized I had forgotten to erase it before packing it. As a result, whatever had been written on it was now stuck like a tattoo.

I tried everything. Erasing it, windex, good old elbow grease, nothing worked. Then I came across this cool tip. Just color on top of the old writing with any color erase marker so that it is completely covered.

Then, simply erase your new marks and the old ones will come off with them!


How awesome is that?!?! Have a great day!

Wordy Wednesday…RTI(squared)

It’s hard for me to believe it, but it’s Wednesday again!  This week, I’m tackling an acronym I heard for the first time yesterday.  I was at a meeting put on by my school district for parents of special needs kiddos in the district.  They called it “Special Education 101.”  We meet at the main office of the district in the board room and they tackled topics like the different sections of the IEP, how the district’s new progress reports will work, what to do if you can’t come to a consensus at an IEP meeting, and different resources that the community offers.  It was great since we are still new to the area.  It would have been easy for me to have skipped the meeting, thinking, “I used to be a classroom teacher, I’m sure I’ve heard it all before,” or, “I’ve been attending IEPs for my kids for over two and a half years now, I’m sure it will be nothing new.”  But I’m so glad I didn’t because I got lots of great information.  If you have kids of your own in your school district’s special education program I would be definitely encourage you to attend a similar type meeting if one is offered.  If not, ask for something to be put together.  That’s how the meeting I attended came about.  Parents had come forward and asked for something that would give them a basic overview of what special ed. in the district looked like.  Possibly, something similar could come about where you are if enough interest is shown.

One of the most exciting parts of the meeting yesterday was hearing about RTI2 (that’s supposed to be a 2 like an exponent).  Here is some more info about it:

Response to Instruction and Intervention is a framework for teaching and learning. Helping students succeed is the fundamental mission of the Tennessee Department of Education, and Response to Instruction and Intervention is a significant priority towards that end. This work is about empowering districts to give every student the opportunity to meet high expectations and the support to reach them. The work described in the RTI² Manual matters to every academic division in the department.
The Tennessee State Board of Education has approved Special Education Guidelines and Standards regarding Evaluations for Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). This change in current standards from use of a discrepancy model of identification to a Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI) model becomes effective July 1, 2014. This change will require all districts and schools to use RTI² to determine eligibility of students to receive Special Education services in the category of Specific Learning Disability. RTI² is a path to providing instructional opportunity to any student struggling to succeed and should not be viewed as a path to special education eligibility.

The way it was described to us yesterday, it’s a way of determining specific needs of special ed students and responding to those needs with proven instructional methods.  They may be modifications to curriculum, accommodations that improve students’ success, and specific methods of instruction.  The environment that a student is placed determines their success to such a great extent. As a mother of two boys with ASD I have especially noticed this, and am so happy to see the district developing new ways of assessing student need, ways to track their progress and constantly growing to help them achieve their goals.  Please check out the above post and link for more info.  What are some things that your district does that you are happy about?  What are some things you wish were different.  Have a great day!