Career Education Services – What Does This Mean For You?

When you are in college and are working hard to get through it you may not be bother to go to the career education services. Ironically, the sooner that you go to the career education services the better chance you will have of planning what your future will be once college is over. You don’t have to go there right away or even during your freshman year. However, you need to be realistic and acknowledge that at some point in time you will have to go to the career services office.

The sooner that you go to the career services office the better chance you will have of dealing with the end of college. They can help you get started with the career choice you want. The career education services are a powerful tool that you need to take advantage of.

One way that they can help you while you are still in school is to help you find internships in the field that you have chosen. This will make you a more attractive candidate to future jobs and even to graduate schools.

When you have no idea on what you want to do for your career you still need to go to the career services office because this will mean more to you than other students who do know what they want to do. Some of the career services offices have tests that you can take to help you figure out what you want to do. This will help you figure out what your talents are and what you are suited for.

When you do go to the career education services you will need to be prepared for the meeting. They can be helpful to you but you have to realize that you may only have one hour or even thirty minutes with the counselor. You need to do some soul searching and figure out what types of subjects that you gravitate towards. Then you can ask the counselor what someone with your interests can do for your career. The more information that you can give to the counselor the more they can help you with your career choices.

Analyzing Issues of Overidentification in Special Education

Overidentification in special education has two potential meanings. First, it can mean that there are too many students being identified as needing special education in a school or district. Estimates of students in need of special education services have ranged from 3% to 8% of total students. Central office staff typically attempt to stay within the 10% range however, it sometimes reaches highs of 13% or more. Second, it may mean that a certain group of students is over represented in the special education population in comparison to their make up in the general population of students. Ideally, the proportion of the subgroup of students in the special education population should be identical to that of the general population.

Overidentification of students in need of special education services results in a number of negative outcomes for the students, the school district, and to a larger extent society. Students identified as needing special education services often don’t receive the same rigorous curriculum as those not receiving services. Therefore, they are not as prepared for the demands of the next grade level as unidentified students. They frequently have lowered expectations placed upon them, may be socially stigmatized, may display greater behavioral problems requiring disciplinary action, and are more likely to not complete school or they complete school with less skills than other students.

Overidentified students place an unnecessary burden on already limited school resources and take away existing resources from those students who are really in need of them. Staff time is taken up in extra preparation for their daily needs, to go to extra meetings, and to complete evaluations. If discipline becomes an issue, then administrator time gets taken away from other duties.

In regard to potential impacts on society, overidentification’s reduced demands, watered-down curriculum, and potential social stigmatization leaves students unprepared to continue with their education or lacking the skills necessary to take a productive role in the workplace and support themselves. When these students are unable to become productive members of society after school then their educational institution has failed them.

Some of the reasons for overidentification include:

Poverty and income inequality
Inequity in schools funding
Inability to access early interventions
Lack of training in regard to appropriate referrals to and placements in special education
Lack of understanding of diverse populations

Research has found that students from impoverished backgrounds are more likely to be unprepared for the rigors of education and lack the background knowledge and experiences of their more affluent peers. The Head Start Program was developed in 1965 to meet this need, and to provide comprehensive services to low income families during the preschool years. However, while gains have been made, a gap still exists, and many families are unable to access these services for a variety of reasons.

Schools are not always funded appropriately with many schools requiring students to bring in their own work materials, lack resources for paraprofessional support, or lack the funds to have full day kindergarten or hire enough teachers to have smaller classes. When schools are funded appropriately, the district often determines where and when the money is spent, which may not always be on the biggest needs or those that will make the biggest difference in the long-term.

Unfortunately, some schools don’t always make appropriate referrals or placement decisions. Sometimes they wait too long before making a referral and sometimes they make one too soon. The advent of Response to Intervention (RTI) may help in this area as schools should have data about how students respond to interventions before making a referral.

Lack of understanding about different cultures and the way children learn may also lead to students being over identified, especially for behavior concerns. Not every child is able to sit in a chair for six hours a day learning. There are many ways to learn and students need to be exposed to as many of them as possible before being identified with a disability.

Special Education Certificate of Attendance – Does it End Special Education Services?

Do you have a 17 or 18 year old with a disability receiving special education services? Have you been told that your 17 or 18 year old with autism or a learning disability, will be given a certificate of attendance? Have you also been told that your child will no longer be eligible for special education services, if they receive a certificate of attendance? This article will discuss a new tactic by some special education personnel to convince parents that their child is no longer eligible for special education. The tactic is certificates of attendance and will be discussed.

Several months ago I heard from a parent in Pennsylvania that had this tactic used on her. She contacted me and asked me what I thought about this issue.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states the following: The obligation to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children with disabilities does not apply with respect to the following: Children with disabilities who have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma.

The truth is that a Certificate of Attendance does not make a child ineligible for special education services. IDEA also states that children with disabilities have the right to be educated from the age of 3 years to 21 years. As long as the child does not accept a regular education diploma, they are eligible to receive special education services.

Another thing that parents must keep in mind is the importance of functional skills as well as academic skills. When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004 Congress added a section about functional skills. A child’s IEP must now include present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Make sure that your school district is testing your child in the area of functional performance.

For children over 13 years of age I recommend the Scale of Independent Behavior. It is performed by parent survey, which means that the parent answers questions about what their child can do and cannot do. This scale covers: activities of daily living, communication, functional skills, job skills etc. Awesome measure of a young persons functional ability.

Also the purpose of IDEA is to: prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living. If a child who is 17 or 18 years old and is not ready for post school learning, a job, or independent living they may need additional years of education. Parents often overlook functional skills when advocating for their child’s education.

The Definition of Autism – How Will Possible Changes Affect Special Education Services?

There has been much talk about the potential changes to the Autism Diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) when the updated, fifth version is published (the projected date of publication is May of 2013). One of the expected changes is to combine several disorders including, Autism,Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) into one category called Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although this change concerns some people, most people in the fields of medicine, community services and education already lump these diagnoses together.

The major concern is over the potential changes to the specific criteria that people will have to meet to receive the official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the current manual, a person can qualify for the diagnosis by exhibiting six or more of 12 specified behaviors. The proposed changes to the criteria narrow the field; a person would have to exhibit three or more deficits in social interaction and communication and exhibit at least two repetitive behaviors. The fear is that this will leave out a large group of people who are considered high functioning (including a huge portion of children with the current diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS). Currently, scientific, trial testing of the new criteria is under way and this data will be used to make final recommendations.

Although changes to the diagnosis will likely affect service delivery in the medical field and the community services field they are not projected to make significant changes in the education field because qualification for special education is not based on a particular diagnosis but on educational needs. Currently the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines the educational category of Autism as “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.” Each state has their own interpretation of this law so it is worthwhile to search for your state’s educational definition of Autism.

Some people fear that a change to the official DSM diagnosis will give school districts a way to stop or decrease services for certain students who currently qualify for services. If schools attempt to do this, many experts believe that children who are on the higher functioning end of the Autism spectrum may still qualify for special education under the category of Other Health Impaired. It is also important to note that a school district cannot discontinue providing a service such as Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy unless the child exhibits significant improvement and there is no longer a need for remediation in that area.