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Ensuring use of applied behavior analysis in an IEP

Success in school is not something you as a parent want to leave to chance. The future well-being of every Alabama child depends on each being able to develop to his or her fullest potential. To achieve that, most people agree it's important to develop good study habits. That can be hard to foster in children with qualifying disabilities. Included among those are the characteristics identified as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of a limited number of therapies recognized as scientifically valid for managing the learning and living environments of a child with ASD. The practice involves applying psychological methods to encourage desired behaviors and discourage negative ones. The problem in the context of education is that some school systems consider ASD a health matter, not an issue they are obliged to address under education law. This can make advocating for your child's rights difficult, but not impossible.

Another reason to be wary of social media engagement?

Social media has come a long way in just a few years. It was only in 2004 that Facebook launched. Today it has more than 2 billion users worldwide and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the wealthiest people in the world.

Recent problems that have made headlines allege shortcomings in Facebook's privacy policies and editorial oversight obligations. That has eroded some of the company's stock value. But it is still a formidable resource. One that the Trump administration says it would like to tap to stem what is acknowledged by many to be a problem of costly, possibly fraudulent, improper payments by various government programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

When should you go for a 504 placement instead of an IEP?

Alabama’s schools provide multiple options to provide children with disabilities a better chance of learning the material in a safe environment. Most parents who have to sign up for these types of programs have heard of individualized education programs (IEPs), and those who do not qualify for it are worried how their kid will make it through with their condition.

Thankfully, there’s always the option of a 504 plan if getting an IEP doesn’t work out. The regulations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are designed to help handicapped students operate at school at a similar level as nonhandicapped students and prevent any discrimination from occurring on school grounds. Parents should know under which circumstances would this be the preferred option over an IEP.

Cutting through the education acronym kudzu

Any parent advocating for a child with special education or developmental needs faces an alphabet soup of initials and acronyms. They can be massively confusing and make you feel as if you are slashing through kudzu to get to what matters.

We can't do away with all those identifiers because they refer to the legal rights available to you under the law that allow you to press for benefits that will provide for the well-being of your child. So, today's post attempts to give readers a list of some of these terms and an explanation of what they mean.

Do you know if you're eligible for workers' compensation?

Compensation for injury as a concept has been around for thousands of years. Historians trace the root of the system back to Mesopotamia more than 2,000 years before the common era. Back then, the loss of an eye entitled the victim to one half of a mina of silver from the person who caused the damage.

We have no idea what a mina of silver was worth then, or now. We do know that the world has become a great deal more complicated. We divide forms of personal injury into different types. If you suffer an injury due to someone else's negligence, you can seek an array of damages from that person. If you suffer injury on the job in Alabama, the hope is that workers' compensation provides benefits you need. But if you don't know your rights under Alabama law, you could be frustrated making your claim.

Your child has a dyslexia diagnosis? Don't panic

Believe it or not, dyslexia is not a scary word. Still, if you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, your first reaction to the news might be one of despair. Our hope with this post is to reinforce the message, do not panic.

While dyslexia tends to be an inherited condition that makes it hard for a person to connect sounds with letters, it is not an insurmountable problem. Many notable people are believed to have been dyslexic. Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison are two. Indeed, Edison is quoted as having said, "A teacher sent the following note home with a 6-year-old boy. "He is too stupid to learn." That boy was Thomas A. Edison."

Cleared jurisdiction hurdle doesn't bring closure on crash cause

Last month, we provided a glimpse into how investigations into some fatal motor vehicle crashes can present significant challenges. It is not only family members who have lost loved ones that face these difficulties. At times, investigating agencies with competing interests can face hurdles. What results is that an already slow process for pursuing compensation for personal injury and damages takes even longer.

The crash highlighted in that previous post stands as the nation's deadliest single transportation tragedy since 2009. And while it happened in another state, we feel it's worth keeping a focus on developments so that Alabama readers can learn and benefit from the situation.

Addressing mental health concerns as part of an IEP

Mental health is one of those issues cloaked in social silence. The curtain is drawing back somewhat. The movement toward achieving mental health parity in the provision of health care benefits is one sign of that. Still, evidence remains strong in Alabama and elsewhere that more needs to be done. A recent research letter published on JAMANetwork.com serves as an example.

The authors conclude from a large survey of U.S. parents that about 8 million school-aged children have received an official diagnosis of at least one form of mental health issue. However, only about half of them receive the help they need. This begs a question; do public schools need to do more in the context of the Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

Who helps develop an IEP?

Creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a child with special needs in Alabama is not an easy task. You can’t just have a few people lay out a kid’s educational future within a couple of minutes. It is a team effort requiring multiple perspectives to get the job done.

Before you set up those meetings to lay out the child’s IEP, you should know which people are crucial towards ensuring that this plan will be beneficial for everyone. Your child deserves the best care and an education that is both accessible and challenging to them just like everyone else.

How many times can I appeal an SSDI denial?

Football coaching great, Vince Lombardi, said, "It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up." That's a fine adage for football players who expect to find themselves hitting the ground a lot.

If you have suffered a disabling injury, however, the issue isn't how many times you get up, but whether you can get up at all. Social Security Disability Insurance exists for those who can't return to the field of everyday work life and are eligible for the financial support. Unfortunately, statistics bear out that obtaining benefits requires much the same determination as called for by Lombardi.

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