Expert Interviews

Dr. Kari Miller, PhD
“Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of expert advice in the field of parenting, education, advocacy, and straightforward information about special kids, their education, and their future that you will find anywhere on the web!”

 

 

 

Dear Parent,

I’m pleased to have put together a powerful collection of expert interviews for you. You can easily access these very special recordings by clicking on the link below.

Access the interviews here.

Here’s to your child’s SUCCESS!

Dr. Kari Miller

 

Nine Strategies for Getting the IEP Your Child Needs

nine strategies for getting the iep your child needsParents of children with Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) realize that this process was developed in order to provide an opportunity for parents and educators to come together to make important plans for a special needs child. However, the process is complicated and often can be confusing and stressful. Below are some strategies to ease the stress and maximize the results for your child.

Develop a vision statement or master plan for your child’s life

A vision statement should come from your heart; what outcomes do you want for your child’s life?  Will your child pursue a college education?  What career options do you foresee?  From this picture, you can develop short and long range goals for your child in academic and non-academic areas.  You will need to be very clear about how your child’s strengths and weaknesses affect his/her learning.  Be sure you have short term goals for what you would like your child to accomplish this school year, as well as intermediate-term goals which are the milestones you want your child to achieve by the end of elementary, middle and high school.  Clear goals give you the vision needed to make good decisions on your child’s behalf.

Educate yourself about the process and hidden agendas

Parents can easily feel intimidated and isolated unless they take the time and care to learn “the ropes.”  Learning the ropes involves much more than knowing your legal rights.  It also includes understanding the informal procedures at a school, the relationships among the members of the IEP team, and the position that a school traditionally adopts regarding educating special needs kids.  School districts do not like to develop new approaches, set precedents or agree to services they perceive as expensive.  Federal law (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) states that the power to determine educational programs and services resides in the IEP team; however, the hidden truth is that school personnel are not given the power to make decisions regarding costly or non-traditional educational services.  These decisions are made by administrators.  Be prepared for resistance and develop strategies in advance to deal with this resistance.  Know your “bottom line” so you can bend on areas that are not crucial to you and stay committed to the goals that matter most. Read more

Educational services for pediatric cancer survivors – Foundation ThinkAgain makes learning possible!

educational services for pediatric cancer survivorsImagine that you are six years old and you’ve had a fever for days that your doctor can’t seem to bring under control with typical antibiotics. Then one day, when you get out of bed, your legs collapse…

Now you are in a hospital waiting for chemotherapy (you have been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia).  Your mother and father are in the room with you, as the nurses get you ready to have a needle inserted into your arm…

You spend most of the time at home.  You feel tired pretty much all of the time.  You throw up sometimes and you can’t get rid of the persistent nausea.  You don’t have any hair…

When you finally return to school and try to take up where you left off, you’re so far behind, you get overwhelmed (the last thing you need now if you are going to completely recover from acute lymphoblastic leukemia) …

You can’t remember everything.  Sometimes it’s hard to pay attention.  It’s getting harder and harder to read.  Your teachers feel sorry for you, but they don’t know what to do… Read more

Special needs students: Transition and Community College (insider secrets parents need to know)

special needs students - transition to community collegeEmily Iland, a Los Angeles award-winning author, advocate, and leader in the autism community, offers the third installment in the discussion about preparing college-bound students with special needs for post-secondary education before they leave high school.

Ms. Iland’s insights, based on experience with her own son and dozens of advocacy clients, are widely applicable to individuals on the autism spectrum as well as other special learning needs. The following article has valuable information for all parents of students with IEPs and/or ITPs, whether their child has a learning disability, ADHD or other learning problem requiring special education services.

The insider secrets about transition and community college
There is a well-kept secret that needs to be shared: Community College can be an excellent and FREE transition resource for students with autism and other disabilities while they are still in high school! Read more

For Parents of Special Needs Students: Raising a Successful College Graduate

Raising a successful college graduate Children with special needs have experienced more frustration and academic failure than most other children. Yet, some of them become successful college students who graduate with a specialty in a chosen field.

Sadly, most do not. Only about 57 percent of students with disabilities graduate from high school, and only about 10 to 15 percent of those graduating attend college.

What are some reasons students succeed in college? How can parents help their child be among those who accomplish this challenging undertaking?

Parental expectations are a key factor
Children who are raised with the belief that they have the skills to be successful at the college of their choice, if they desire to pursue a college education, have a great advantage! They prepare all of their lives for the experience of college. All through their school years they make powerful decisions that lay the foundation for college success.
Read more

What Students Need To Know To Thrive In College

what students need to know to thrive in collegePersonal qualities that support academic success

Students who have the following personal qualities are much more likely to thrive in college.  You can read more detailed descriptions of the qualities that insure college success here.

 

  • Self-awareness and self-acceptance
  • Proactivity as opposed to reactivity
  • Perseverance
  • Skill in setting short and long-range goals
  • Use of effective support systems
  • Strong emotional coping strategies

 

Understanding a student’s rights in college

Individuals with special learning needs are guaranteed special supports in elementary and high school by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  However, in college, no such guaranteed protections exist.  Therefore, students need to work congenially with colleges to obtain reasonable accommodations that will facilitate their success.
Read more

Keeping Needed Special Education Services In Place After Graduation

Emily D Iland - transition for students with autismEmily Iland, an award-winning author, advocate, and leader in the autism community, discusses key considerations for college bound students on the autism spectrum as they leave high school.

Ms. Iland’s insights are widely applicable to individuals with other special learning needs. The following article has valuable guidelines for all parents of students with IEPs and/or ITPs, whether their child has a learning disability, ADHD or other learning problem requiring special education services.

To help their child succeed, parents need to understand the transition process, the adult service systems, and supports that may be available to students to meet the demands of adult life. Read more

Services For Adults With Disabilities Are Discretionary

Emily D Iland - transition for students with autismEmily Iland, an award-winning author, advocate, and leader in the autism community, discusses key considerations for college bound students on the autism spectrum as they leave high school.

Ms. Iland’s insights are widely applicable to individuals with other special learning needs. The following article has valuable guidelines for all parents of students with IEPs and/or ITPs, whether their child has a learning disability, ADHD or other learning problem requiring special education services.

To help their child succeed, parents need to understand the transition process, the adult service systems, and supports that may be available to students to meet the demands of adult life.

Special education services from age 3 until graduation or age 22 are mandatory by federal law for all eligible students with disabilities. Once special education ends, no law exists that requires or mandates that services MUST be provided to young adults. Read more

Transition For Students With Autism: What Parents Need To Know

Emily D Iland - transition for students with autismEmily Iland, Los Angeles educational consultant and ASD spokesperson, discusses problems faced by students on the spectrum as they leave high school. Part 2 will discuss specific transition supports for college bound students.

Bright students with “high functioning” autism or Asperger Syndrome face paradoxical challenges which can look like a combination of high intellect combined with learning disabilities and/or developmental disabilities. Developing appropriate educational plans tailored to the unique needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can be the key to helping them develop and realize their potential.

Very specific concerns are relevant to the transition of these students from high school to adult life. They are likely to have a variety of needs in many different domains: academic, social, behavioral, communication, self-help, functional, vocational, executive functions, problem solving, coping skills, self-awareness, and self-advocacy. Read more

When Parents Disagree With School District Placements – Just “Stay Put”

Jeffrey Gottlieb Jeffrey A. Gottlieb, Esq., Los Angeles special education attorney, discusses a provision in special education law that many parents are not aware of, called “Stay Put,” which gives parents power when they disagree with a school district’s placement decisions.

The context of “Stay Put”
Put simply, stay put is one of the most powerful tools a parent has to control proposed changes to the placement and services offered by a school district at an IEP meeting. It is the power of a parent to say NO!

An IEP meeting is supposed to be a team meeting. The reality is that anything offered in writing at an IEP meeting is ultimately controlled by the school district. Parents DO HAVE significant influence by addressing what is in the best interests of their child; however, an IEP meeting is not a democratic event.

Nevertheless, parents have two critical tools at their disposal when the school district offers an inappropriate placement or scope of services; that is, stay put and due process.
Read more