Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall matters - school's in

I've been quiet on this blog, due to an April move from Woodstock, Ill. to Columbia, S.C. Having settled here, I am certainly meeting a lot of parents and counselors who are deeply involved with students' IEPs.

In the absence of my personal involvement in a family member's schooling (because he "aged out" of special education), I have questioned my continuing involvement. Perhaps the best service I can offer now is supportive consulting and encouragement to students and parents.

It can be summed up in three words. "Never. Give. Up." Never give up on your child. Never, as in "no matter what".

Back in McHenry County, Ill., the Special Education District of McHenry County (SEDOM) is about to bite the dust. They cite dwindling enrollment. Well, their "enrollment" came from the public schools in McHenry County.

Some of the larger schools (ex., Woodstock District 200) began pulling out several years ago. I also thought it was strange that D-200 pulled out when its own Superintendent was the chairperson of SEDOM. Now there's a way to support an organization you chair. Right?

I'll be the first to admit that I am not qualified to analyze whether the former SEDOM students are getting the same or better services at D-200, for the same or less money. With the pay scales at D-200, I can hardly imagine that cost-per-student went down or that specialized services at the same level as SEDOM were provided.

Good luck to the parents in finding the right services in McHenry County.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IEP problems?

This article may be too late for this year's IEP season, but it's useful information, so save it and pass it along to other parents of children/students with special needs at school.

WrightsLaw is an invaluable resource. This week's e-newsletter features the following titles:

* Endless problems with IEPs? How to resolve disputes

* Get a handle on IEP team disputes

* Avoiding methodology disputes

* Don't agree with the school's IEP? Find out what to do!

* Can a General Ed teacher duck out early from the IEP meeting?

Go to and sign up for the freee, weekly e-newsletter from Pete and Pam Wright. Search their site for these and other helpful articles.

Their printed materials are great, too.

Remember; the IEP team is supposed to be a TEAM! Too often, parents are made to feel like they are merely observers or bystanders.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Movie: Won't Back Down

Do you have a child in Special Education? Perhaps with dyslexia?

You'll love this movie. This is what we need around here. Parents with energy and desire to make our schools truly better and for the children.

Should schools be just about tenure and security and raises and unions for the teachers?

There are many good teachers. There are some great teachers. And there are too many teachers who should be kicked out of the system.

Be sure to see this movie: Won't Back Down.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Drive to Marietta? Rochester? Just to Brookfield?

If you haven't heard Kirk Martin and his son, Casey, recently, you may want to collect some friends and jump in the buggy on November 7 and truck on up to Brookfield, Wisconsin for a 7:00PM event.

No, you don't have to drive to Marietta, Georgia. Or to Rochester, Minnesota.

Brookfield is only 60 miles from Woodstock. That's Brookfield, Wisconsin (not Illinois). Kirk and Casey will be at the Wisconsin Hills Middle School, 18700 West Wisconsin Avenue, in Brookfield, Wisconsin (not Illinois (did I say that?)) on Thursday, November 7, from 7:00PM-9:00PM.

There is no charge. Arrive early for the best seats. And sit down in front; not way up in the nose-bleed section. How can Kirk pick on you, if you are way in the back? (He'll find a way.)

Got questions about raising difficult children? Or about having perfect children, but being a difficult parent? Bring your questions. Ask them!

Check out this page on to view the flyer for this event.

I first met Kirk, when Casey and he were in Woodstock about five-six years ago, and I have caught up with him at his events since then. 

So turn off the TV, gas up the buggy, and make an evening out of a nice drive and back. Take family, friends or neighbors. Heck, if 50 people wanted to go from McHenry County, we could get a bus!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Not done with SpecEd., after all

I thought I was done with Special Education. Maybe you're never done with it.

I became intimately familiar with Special Education after moving to Woodstock in 1996. My experience began at Dean St. School, and one of the smartest things I did, after taking an informal one-day class in Special Ed Advocacy at the Family Resource Center on Disabilities, was to hire a full-time advocate who had more than 15 years of hands-on experience.

He wasn't cheap, and he was worth it!

I learned about placement in-district, placement out-of-district, private therapeutic day schools, hospitalization, inclusion, exclusion, a teacher's rant (not intended for my eyes, of course), and the Age 18-to-21 Transition Program at McHenry County College.

All of which can be content for many stand-alone articles.

Thanks to this blog and another (, parents still find me.

Parents need support. They need it, and are entitled to it, from the school districts. They need support from others - family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, the community.

There is support available. Watch here for new articles. Some will have what some consider "old" information. Be refreshed. Never give up!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thanks to readers of this blog

I want to thank the readers of this blog and those who have commented on it. Because my son has "aged out" of Special Education, any further posts to this blog will be few and far in between, if at all.

Please enjoy the other blogs. I commend to your reading

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Story tellers 7-12 wanted

Is your child a writer? How about your grandchild? Could she or he be a writer?

The Molly & Carter's Creative Writing Contest is looking for stories about the Titanic as seen through the eyes of pets.

Check out this website for details and prizes. All submissions by February 26.