Are you pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant? Do you have friends who are planning a family? Watch and share our Get Ready for Pregnancy video, with Dr. Siobhan Dolan, to learn some tips that you can follow before becoming pregnant. We want to help you have a healthy, full-term baby.
If your child has an IFSP or an IEP and is receiving services for a developmental delay or a qualifying disability, it may be possible for services to continue throughout the summer months. This is called Extended School Year services or ESY. ESY may include continued special education services or related services. It is sometimes possible for a child who does not have an IEP but rather a 504 plan to receive ESY. ESY is based on your child’s individual needs and your state’s regulations.
How is ESY helpful?
For most children, receiving special education or related services during the school year is more than adequate for their needs. But, for other children, the time between June and September is too long a period to go without receiving services. For instance, if your child has a language disability and has been receiving speech therapy, it may be hard to stop services for the summer without fearing that progress won’t continue, or worse, that your child may lose skills.
Extending services throughout the summer months may be appropriate for your child. This may take the form of additional therapy, academic tutoring, summer school, or a special program. It all depends on your child’s individual needs AND the regulations in your state.
Who qualifies for ESY?
Wrightslaw has a great page that tells you what you need to know about ESY services for your child. They emphasize that you need to understand the regulations in your state as well as recent court decisions that would establish a precedence or new procedures which may apply to your child’s situation. On their webpage, Wrightslaw refers to a great article “Standards for Extended School Year (ESY)” by Nissan Bar-Lev. The author describes the legal basis and standards for ESY as defined by federal courts around the country. It is well worth a read.
Once you understand your state’s regulations, you can discuss your concerns with the IEP team at your next IEP meeting. ESY may or may not be necessary to comply with the requirement that your child receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
If the IFSP/IEP team (of which parents are members) decides that your child qualifies for ESY services to continue during the summer months, then services would be added to your child’s program on her IFSP or IEP. (Your child’s IFSP or IEP is the document that describes all of the services that she will receive all year, due to her developmental delay or disability. Please refer to my prior post on how to write good IEP goals.)
What else can your child do for the summer?
Whether your child qualifies for ESY services or not, or if you have other ideas for her summer program, you should visit NICHCY for their list of possible summer camp options for kids with special needs. It seems that there is a camp program for every child, with every diagnosis or need.
My daughter used to qualify for continued speech therapy sessions during the summer through ESY. Instead of putting her in an academic summer school program with speech therapy sessions during the day, I opted for an artsy kind of day camp at the YWCA (more her style) and kept twice weekly speech sessions early in the morning. This way, she still got her therapy but also had the benefit of an entirely different kind of summer experience. The school system provided the speech sessions as part of her free and appropriate public education (FAPE), while I paid for the summer camp. The theatrical part of the camp helped her with her communication skills, and introduced her to the world of theater. It started a lifelong love of drama for her, and she acted in plays in high school and beyond. Who would have thought that a little girl with a speech disorder would enjoy speaking on a stage! It provided a different way of tackling her speech problems and gave her a much needed shot of confidence. The end result was that her speech skills would increase dramatically in one summer session.
Often dabbling in something different for the summer can open doors for your child that you never thought of!
Be sure to explore all of the options for your child’s summer program. This could be a time to introduce her to new experiences which will only enhance her learning and help her progress. This is the time to be creative and to have fun. When kids are happy, they tend to blossom.
Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.com.
Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started on January 16, 2013 and appears every Wednesday. Feel free to go back to look at prior posts as the series builds on itself. As always, we welcome your comments and input.
Join us on Twitter for a chat about premature babies. Moderated by @USNewsHealth, experts on the chat will be from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the March of Dimes.
Do you have a preemie? Share your experiences in the NICU and when you finally took your baby home. Join us on Twitter this Thursday, May 23rd and 2 PM ET. Let’s discuss the topic and learn more. To join the conversation, simply follow the hashtag #Preemie.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has designated May 2013 as the first National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Throughout the month, several organizations educate about preeclampsia, a serious and common complication of pregnancy and the postpartum period. This condition is dangerous to both the mother and her unborn baby. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and can also include signs and symptoms such as swelling, headaches and visual disturbances. It’s so important for pregnant women to keep all their prenatal appointments and to alert their health care providers if they have any of the symptoms.
The Preeclampsia Foundation has launched a month-long campaign of education including infographics, Twitter chats, blogs and more. Learn as much as you can to help keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.
Can sitting in a bubble bath cause a urinary tract infection (UTI)? The answer isn’t clear, but it might contribute to one, especially in girls.
Your bladder stores urine in your body. When you urinate, the urine passes from the bladder through a tube called the urethra to exit your body. The urethra is shorter in girls than in boys, which can allow bacteria to enter the bladder more easily.
Any kind of strong soap or strong fragrance if not completely rinsed off can irritate the opening of the urethra. If irritated, it can become painful to pee and women, and especially young girls, might hold their urine longer than normal to avoid pain. Holding urine can allow bacteria to multiply and eventually reach the bladder, which can lead to infection.
Some health care professionals recommend keeping girls out of bubble baths until they are at least 3 years old. Others prefer that you avoid them completely. Regardless of age, if you, or your daughter, tend to get UTIs, don’t sit in a bubble bath. And watch out for baths that have bubbles from shampoo. Wait to shampoo her hair until the end of the bath and rinse her thoroughly, then out she gets!
March of Dimes, whose mission is to give every baby a healthy start, has launched an exciting new research program in partnership with Stanford University, one of the premier research intuitions in the world. This video demonstrates the commitment and enthusiasm of some of the 130 renowned medical and biological researchers embarking on a unique transdisciplinary approach to put an end to premature birth.
IDEA is the federal law that governs special education. An important part of this law is Prior Written Notice or PWN. It means that if your child’s school wishes to add, change or eliminate any part of your child’s special ed program, the school must first explain why, in detail, and in writing. NICHCY has a great explanation about PWN on their website.
Why is PWN important?
As with any process that is governed by laws, it is important that procedures be followed. Procedural safeguards help protect the process and that is what protects your child.
When should you receive PWN?
If your child is not yet receiving special education services, PWN should be given to you before the school evaluates your child. You then have the opportunity to respond to this written notice.
If your child is already in special education, PWN should be given to you when the school wishes to change her educational placement or services in any way. If you propose a change to your child’s IEP, and the school district does not agree with you and refuses to make the change, the school should provide you with PWN. If they do not, then ask for it. The PWN must explain all of the school’s reasons for refusing your request. It may also enable you to have a more thorough discussion with the school and hopefully arrive at an agreeable outcome.
Your child’s school should give you PWN within a reasonable amount of time before the school can make any changes to your child’s program.
What should the PWN contain?
PWN must be provided to you in your native language. It should be written in plain, clear language (also part of the law). In other words, parents must be able to understand the proposed changes. It should not be written in a manner that makes it impossible for a layperson or consumer to understand. IDEA provides a template of what should be included in the prior written notice. You can see it here. Wrightslaw also has tons of information on PWN and sample forms and letters.
Can you write your own PWN?
Let’s say you don’t agree with the school’s plan for your child. You can ask the district for the PWN to understand their reasons. Or you might even write your own PWN. Wrightslaw explains how to do this so that you write it in a way that follows the PWN template. After you submit it to your school, they would then need to respond to you in writing to provide explanations.
Where can you go to get assistance?
In this and other blog posts, I have referred you to NICHCY’s and Wrightslaw’s websites. Another great place to go is the National Parent Technical Assistance Center. You will find Parent Centers located in most states. They assist parents by providing up-to-date information, and high quality resources and materials. Take advantage of this resource – it could be a lifeline!
Would you ever drive a car without knowing the rules of the road first? What would you do first? How would you do it? Where would you go? Driving without knowing the laws could be disastrous!
IDEA is there to ensure your child receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). It provides a roadmap to follow for a smooth process for your child in special education. But there may be times when things don’t go smoothly. This is when the law can help you. PWN is one of those provisions in the law that is there to help you navigate this system. Educate yourself on the process and soon you will feel that you are an equal player. The end result is that your child gets the help she needs, deserves and is to which she is entitled.
Remember, you need to know the rules in order to drive the car.
Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.com.
Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It appears every Wednesday, and was started on January 16, 2013. Feel free to go back to look at prior posts as the series builds on itself. As always, we welcome your comments and input.
How can we not be moved by Angelina Jolie’s stunning announcement today that she recently underwent double mastectomy surgery to prevent breast cancer? It is a monumental personal decision, but her generosity in sharing this news in the New York Times with all of us is bold, brave and a true gift.
This announcement comes during National Women’s Health Week. It encourages us to take charge of our health and to ask for the support we all need. It is a reminder of how important it is for all of us, men and women, to know our family health history. If you don’t know yours well, use our family health history form at this link to help you get started.
We admire and appreciate celebrities who use their influence to remind us to support one another and live healthier lives.
How old were you when you had your baby? Today, 1 in 5 women in the US has her 1st child after age 35. Halle Barry currently is pregnant at age 46! The good news is most have healthy pregnancies & healthy babies. There are, however, a number of challenges and concerns.
Join us on Twitter Tuesday May 14th at 1 PM ET for our next pregnancy chat. Learn about these issues and things you can do to help start a family when you’re no longer in your 20s. Join in the conversation by using #pregnancychat.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we’d like to offer expectant moms one more tool to help promote a healthy pregnancy. Here’s a quick introduction to elective deliveries. Find out why the latest research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes all suggest that women wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver unless medically necessary.
What is the safest point in my pregnancy for my baby to be born?
The baby’s brain, liver, and lungs continue important development in the womb until 39 weeks. Unless health risks to the mother or baby require earlier delivery, it is best to wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver and, if possible, to let labor begin on its own. This extra time improves outcomes for mother and baby.
What to ask your health provider before you decide to deliver before 39 weeks of pregnancy:
• Are there any medical indications that suggest I should induce labor early?
• What are the potential complications of elective early delivery for my baby?
• What are the potential complications for my own health?
• How do you tell when my body is ready for labor?
• How might inducing labor affect my future pregnancies?
Just a couple weeks can make a big difference for your health and the health of your baby. As you approach the last few months of your pregnancy (or if you’re already there), keep the questions above in mind as you talk to your doctor or midwife about your delivery options. Write them down. Print them out. And watch this video from the NIH on why waiting just a few extra weeks to deliver can be critical for you and your baby.