Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My new book club

Companies are developing a computer program that reads peoples faces and determines their emotional state, thus helping to more accurately target advertising messages to their precise mood. The ASD community thinks this could potentially one day help the aspies and other HFAs, to help them clue in to the emotions of their communication partners. I was thinking it would be really great at IEP meetings, too. I mean, are those administrators sitting their smirking at me while I furiously scribble notes or lean over to consult with my partner, or to they manage to keep the compassionate look of concern glued to their faces?
Seriously, though, we had a surprisingly positive iep for A yesterday. I kept waiting for them to say no, but they really didn't. I can't help wondering if I missed something. They didn't make reference to my parent handouts in the narrative, but I'm going to make sure they get included in the final iep document, whenever we finally finish this meeting. Yesterday was day 2. Each segment has so far lasted 3 hours each. Next segment is scheduled for Wednesday 7/5, after we look at one more possible classroom option for A. And we get some goals written. Yeah, just little details like goals and placement.
I'll try to type up the handouts I did -- one was my long term vision/goals for A, and why he'll need a home program until he's 25 or can do his own laundry, whichever comes first; the other is a list of the essential components in a classroom placement for A. I'd like to have boilerplates of these available for other parents -- seems like such an essential part of the process that never gets written out.
Maybe I'll start a blog with essential IEP tools, like templates for these docs, some really relevant legal quotes, etc.
Oh, and did I tell you about the new book club I joined? The bookclub meets monthly in Santa Clara. The book we focus on is by Pam and Pete Wright -- From Emotions to Advocacy -- The Special Education Survival Guide. Each month we go over 1-2 chapters. Now, this is my kind of book club!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pebble Beach

Wow, what a magical, enchanted place! Today the baby seals swam practically right up to us to check us out -- 5 of them! A and B loved climbing the rocks, exploring the tide pools, throwing stones into the water. Pure peace and beauty. Felt like home.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Please sign and circulate

Dear Friends,
The special education teachers of the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) are standing up for small class sizes for our children. The SMCOE is trying to raise the number of students that they put in the special ed classes. While currently there are no caps, there are some recommended levels for each classroom. These recommended numbers of students are based on safety factors (for the students and the staff) and the ability of the educators to teach our children, not just be babysitters. I was at the SMCOE Board of Education meeting this week, and there were about 40 educators there trying to convince the Board not to raise the numbers of students in each class. As a parent, I support these teachers. While of course I don’t always agree with my sons’ teachers on every single issue, to me this is clearly an issue where parents and teachers can stand together and support our children and each other. With a small group of parents, we have drafted the letter pasted below. Our goal is to get at least 100 parents, relatives, caregivers and supporters to sign on to this letter, and we will send it to the SMCOE Board of Education, with a copy to the teachers association. If you agree, please send your name as you’d like it to appear on the letter, and email it to

Even if your child is not in County classes, and even if your child is not in special education, this is an important issue that deserves your support. Please distribute widely to your own networks of friends and family, as well as other listserves.
Thanks for your support.


We, the undersigned, are parents, relatives, and supporters of children in special education and regular education classes in San Mateo County. We are concerned about the proposal to raise the number of students in the County’s special education classes. We understand that the current recommendations for class size are based on several important factors, foremost among them the safety of the educators and the students. Current class sizes also promote the appropriate education of the students, as is intended in the I.D.E.A. Adding additional students to these classrooms will increase noise levels, increase the staffing needs, and create safety hazards. We urge the San Mateo County Office of Education to maintain the current class sizes and not jeopardize the education of any student. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.