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October 25, 2023 Meeting Minutes - Dyslexia/Dysgraphia, Graduation Requirements, ADHD/Social Anxiety

PALS Meeting Minutes

October 25, 2023 9:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting using Zoom


Open Forum

Open Forum is an opportunity for participants to come together and discuss a variety of topics, offer resources, and ask questions related to special education.


REMINDER: FCASD Board Meets on Graduation Requirements

The Fox Chapel Area School District Board has scheduled a meeting to discuss graduation requirements. The website announcement reads, "A Committee of the Whole meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 6, 2023, in the LGI room at Fox Chapel Area High School, 611 Field Club Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238, to discuss graduation requirements." For more information on FCASD's current graduation requirements, please review the Meeting Minutes from February, April, and September 2023.


Challenges Receiving Services for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia

We often hear about the difficulty of obtaining services for students with Dyslexia and/or Dysgraphia. We want to start this conversation by reminding everyone that in October 2015, the Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Education wrote the following letter. Written in response to reports of the reluctance of local and state educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) to "reference or use dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in evaluations, eligibility determinations, or in developing the individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA."


In his letter, Michael K. Yudin clarified, "that there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents."


Additionally, "OSERS reminds SEAs and LEAs about previous guidance regarding the use of MTSS, including RTI, and timely evaluations,1 specifically that a parent may request an initial evaluation at any time to determine if a child is a child with a disability under IDEA (34 CFR §300.301(b)), and the use of MTSS, such as RTI, may not be used to delay or deny a full and individual evaluation under 34 CFR §§300.304-300.311 of a child suspected of having a disability."


and


"In determining whether a child has a disability under the IDEA, including a specific learning disability, and is eligible to receive special education and related services because of that disability, the LEA must conduct a comprehensive evaluation under §300.304, which requires the use of a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child. This information, which includes information provided by the parent, may assist..."


See our meeting minutes from March 2021 for more information regarding this letter.


The following are dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia resources that may help you implement helpful strategies at home and provide you the language to help you advocate for your child at school.

Stealth Dyslexia *2E related article


The following links are from PaTTAN.net (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network). PaTTAN is a great resource for understanding what resources the Pennsylvania Department of Education is providing to school districts and teachers to support student learning. When it comes to advocating for your child, if there is one thing parents have in common it is the positive difference they see when "using the educator's own language" to request evaluations, goals, modifications, and accommodations. These are just a few of the links you will find on PaTTAN.net.


Progress Monitoring for Writing (Great for asking for a IEP writing goal)

PM_Writing103113
.pdf
Download PDF • 530KB

What does 2E mean?

The term 2E stands for Dual Exceptionality or Twice-Exceptional and refers to gifted children who have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement and give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria.


Schools have ample resources to support twice-exceptional students and the educators who work with them. Find the Pennsylvania Department of Education's process for gifted documentation of dual exceptionalities and caseload assignments here.


2E Resources

Stealth Dyslexia *2E and Dyslexia/Dysgraphia related article

Twice Exceptional Children (2e) *Large amount of resources from Wrightslaw


What is an IEE?

We touched on Independent Education Evaluation (IEE), the impact they have on 504 Plans and IEPs. An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question. It is important to remember that although school districts are mandated to consider an IEE, they do not have an obligation to use the recommendations within the IEE while writing a 504 Plan or IEP. For more information on IEEs visit Wrightslaw.


You can find more of our conversations on IEEs in our meeting minutes: May 2015, February 2016, February 2017, March 2021, April 2021.


Social Anxiety and ADHD

We often talk about the anxiety felt by the children in our lives as it relates to academics and social interactions. You can read about a variety of these conversations in our past meeting; October 2021, September 2021, February 2020. Today we discussed social anxiety and peer interaction at school. Often children are able to socialize in online communities like chatting with friends while playing games online, but are unable to translate that to in-person interactions. Although it is easy to think up ideas that may help transition online social interactions to in-person interactions, often an individual with social anxiety needs additional support.


Many school counselors offer social emotional group meetings during the school day. Generally teachers work with the school counselors to refer students. If you believe your child may benefit from such a group you can contact your child's school counselor to see if such a group is available.


There are also therapeutic social groups outside of the school setting like:

 

Next Meeting: November 29, 2023 9:30 a.m. Virtual Meeting using Zoom.

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SPECIAL NOTE

All meetings are held virtually.


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