What is an IEP?

toddler in red shoes

This is a post from “News Moms Need” related to delays and disabilities and how to help your child. It is published through the March of Dimes.

I find “News Moms Need” a wonderful resource for moms and parents in general…I hope that you do too and pass it on to your friends.

 

 

What is an IEP?

 

An IEP is short for “Individualized Education Program.” It is both a process and a written educational plan for a child with a disability. It is a document that lists all of the educational services that your child will receive, if he qualifies. In a prior post I told you all about the IFSP (for babies and toddlers). Well, the IEP is a similar document but it is for children ages 3 – 21.

The IEP is supposed to be just what it says – INDIVIDUALIZED, which means that it is specific for your child’s needs. It is not one size fits all. It is also supposed to be EDUCATIONAL, which means it should look at three main areas of your child’s life:  the general education curriculum, extracurricular activities and nonacademic activities. Lastly, it is a PROGRAM or PLAN, where all of the services your child will receive are laid out and detailed in writing.

In a sense, the IEP is like a roadmap. It shows you where you are now, where you plan to go, and the roads that you will take to get there. It sounds simple, but it is actually more challenging to write and put together than you might think. This post is just a quick overview to help you understand the basics.

Who gets an IEP?

In prior posts, I explained how to have your child (from birth to age 3 or ages 3 – 21) evaluated for free if you suspect that he has a developmental delay or problem. Once the team (evaluators, school officials and parents) has met and discussed the results of the testing, you will learn if your child is considered eligible for services (if he fits one or more of the categories of disability.) If your child is eligible, the team will develop an educational program (the IEP), that will be specific for your child’s needs.

What’s in an IEP?

The IEP may include special education, related services and/or supplementary aids and services. The IEP is first based on your child’s “present levels” which is a snapshot of your child’s current level of academic and functional performance. In other words…what he is able to do now as compared to his non-disabled peers. Then, based on his present levels and his delay or disability, the IEP sets measurable annual goals. The goals should specify:

• Who will provide the service (eg. the regular ed teacher, special ed teacher, reading specialist, physical therapist, etc.).

• What kind of service will be provided, such as curriculum modifications or adaptations, the types of related services or aids- (eg. specialized reading curriculum, speech therapy etc.).

• Where the service will be implemented (eg. the regular ed classroom, playground, counselor’s office, etc.).

• When parents will receive reports on how well your child is doing. By law, you need to receive progress reports at least as often as children without disabilities. Often a school system will send home the IEP progress reports when Report Cards are sent home for all children.

• When the goal will be achieved (eg. by the end of the marking period or by the end of the year).

• How the goal will be measured and how you will know the goal has been achieved (eg. a benchmark, such as a test score that shows if the goal has been reached).

An IEP is a living document that can be changed or updated by the IEP team, of which parents are members! It must be reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, but it can be reviewed and updated more often if necessary.

Where can you get more help with IEPs?

A great place to go to understand your options, how to prepare for IEP meetings, and to understand the process of creating a great IEP is on NICHCY’s website. In particular, they provide guidance on how an IEP team can write effective goals. NICHCY also refers parents to Wrightslaw – one of my favorite resources for parents. They go into even greater detail which will help you with every aspect of the process.

Why should you learn about IEPs?

The more you know about the law and the special education process, the better you can help your child. Knowledge is powerful!  If your child has a delay or disability, be sure to check out NICHCY’s and Wrightslaw’s information (above). It will help you understand the process to become a more effective advocate for your child and to feel more in control of your journey.

 

Have questions?  Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.com.

 

Note: This post is part of the new 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.

Tags: child, delays, developmental delays, disabilities, early intervention, Help for your child, IEP, IFSP, related services, school, special education, supplementary aids and services

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Allergies and Kids

Peanut allergieschildren and pregnancy

About 1 percent of children and adults in the United States are allergic to peanuts and peanut products, including peanut butter and any food containing peanuts (1, 2). For reasons that are not well understood, peanut allergy has doubled in the past decade (3). Individuals with a peanut allergy can have a serious (such as difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness) or even fatal reaction if they eat peanuts. This reaction occurs because the immune system of an affected individual reacts abnormally to usually harmless proteins in peanuts. Children and adults who are allergic to peanuts should not eat them at any time. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent peanut allergy in a child.

Peanut allergies are very frightening and very serious.

I learned this first hand when I witnessed my first peanut allergy reaction.

It was a 2 year old child, who had ingested an extremely small amount of granola and within several minutes she was completely covered in hives. Fortunately, she did not have difficulty breathing and was treated promptly.

A few days ago…I received this peanut allergy update from the March of Dimes.

I am passing it along with the hope that it will help in understanding this potentially life threatening allergic reaction and how it can be avoided.

Oregon Plans Ban on C-Sections …

Banning early C-sections is a very interesting headline…I am not sure how hospitals in Oregon are going to actually enforce this hard line control on early, elective Cesarean sections.

Having a c-section for other than true medical necessity is never a good idea…the baby is still developing during the last weeks of pregnancy. Certainly it is not a great thing for a newborn to be shuttled off to the NICU for respiratory problems due to an early elective c-section…not to mention the added cost of the NICU care.

  • After delivery if a baby is in the NICU the bonding that is so important is difficult because mom is dealing with her own post-op pain and restrictions.
  • Breast feeding then becomes more difficult as well and cannot be established as early in the postpartum period as it generally is after a vaginal delivery.

It will be very interesting to watch how all this ‘plays out’ in Oregon and how it influences what is happening in other states as well.

Starting next week, many hospitals in Oregon will be taking a stand against early and elective Cesarean sections, MSNBC.com reports. C-sections have become commonplace, and federal statistics now show that surgical deliveries account for more than 30 percent of all U.S. deliveries.

However, Oregon officials are now working toward the goal of giving “babies more time for important development and to reduce costly complications after birth,” MSNBC reports.

Seventeen Oregon hospitals (including all nine birthing hospitals in the Portland area) are implementing a “hard stop” on these elective procedures, says the March of Dimes’ Oregon chapter, as quoted in the MSNBC report. According to a 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 1 in 3 C-sections is performed before 39 weeks (37 to 41 weeks is considered full term).

via Oregon Plans Ban on C-Sections – Parenting on Shine.

Related post:http://parentingintheloop.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/oregon-plans-ban-on-c-sections/

Fire pit safety

Fire pit safety

If you have a fire pit or chiminea, your kids may beg you to toast marshmallows. Be aware that little tots will walk right up to the pretty, sparkling flames – they don’t know better. “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” Here are some tips for keeping everyone safe:

Always place your fire pit on a solid, steady surface and in an open area. Avoid placing it near hanging branches. (Don’t place a fire pit in an enclosed area, because fumes from it can be harmful without proper ventilation.)

Clear the area around the fire pit from any combustible materials, including lawn or garden furniture.

Know the weather conditions before you start. Do not use a fire pit under windy conditions as sparks can fly around and the fire can get out of control.

Always keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure it is properly charged. A nearby garden hose can be helpful, too, but make sure the line has water in it!

Have an adult start the fire to ensure that it is done safely and properly. Never use any accelerants to light the fire.

Keep the fire small. A raging bonfire can be dangerous.

Use safety gloves when handling a hot fire pit.

Fire pit screens are available in stores and are worth having. These screens keep the sparks from coming out of the pit. But never leave the fire unattended, even if you have a screen.

Kids love toasted marshmallows, but adults should be the ones to toast them. Remember marshmallows get HOT and can burn! Keep a first aid kit handy, just in case someone gets singed.

Always put the coals completely out before you turn in for the night. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Tags: bonfire, chiminea, fire pit safety, outdoor fire, toasting marshmallows

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“Smoking causes serious birth defects” via March of Dimes

NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

I have never liked smoking from the time I was very young…many of my family members smoked and the smell just made me sick.

That was many years ago…smoking was everywhere, cars, trains, airplanes, restaurants. Seemingly, you could not go anywhere to get away from it.

I endured my early years of second hand smoke and welcomed  the bans on smoking.

There is so much evidence against smoking and here is a recent post from the March of Dimes.

If you do not smoke please do not start and if you do smoke please get help to quit…it is really not good for anyone.

Smoking causes serious birth defects

To dispel any uncertainty about the serious harm caused by smoking to babies and pregnant women, the first-ever comprehensive systematic review of all studies over the past 50 years has established clearly that maternal smoking causes a range of serious birth defects including heart defects, missing/deformed limbs, clubfoot, gastrointestinal disorders, and facial disorders (for example, of the eyes and cleft lip/palate).

Smoking during pregnancy is also a risk factor for premature birth, says Dr. Michael Katz, senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs of the March of Dimes. He says the March of Dimes urges all women planning a pregnancy or who are pregnant to quit smoking now to reduce their chance of having a baby born prematurely or with a serious birth defect. Babies who survive being born prematurely and at low birthweight are at risk of other serious health problems, Dr. Katz notes, including lifelong disabilities such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and learning problems. Smoking also can make it harder to get pregnant, and increases the risk of stillbirth.

Around the world, about 250 million women use tobacco every day and this number is increasing rapidly, according to data presented at the 2009 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Mumbai.

The new study, “Maternal smoking in pregnancy and birth defects: a systematic review based on 173,687 malformed cases and 11.7 million controls,” by a team led by Allan Hackshaw, Cancer Research UK & UCL Cancer Trials Centre, University College London, was published online today in Human Reproduction Update from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

When women smoke during pregnancy, the unborn baby is exposed to dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar, Dr. Katz says. These chemicals can deprive the baby of oxygen needed for healthy growth and development.

During pregnancy, smoking can cause problems for a woman’s own health, including: ectopic pregnancy; vaginal bleeding; placental abruption, in which the placenta peels away, partially or almost completely, from the uterine wall before delivery; placenta previa, a low-lying placenta that covers part or all of the opening of the uterus.

Smoking is also known to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, gum disease and eye diseases that can lead to blindness.

Tags: birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, placenta abruption, placenta previa, Pregnancy, premature birth, smoking

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 at 10:41 am and is filed under Hot Topics, Planning for Baby, Pregnancy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Celebrate the joy of parenthood

Celebrate the joy of parenthood

Being a parent is the most rewarding job there is. And it’s also the hardest. Sometimes life gets so hectic with work, finances, commitments and concerns that we forget to stop and appreciate what’s really important. That’s why JOHNSON’S® invites you to celebrate the joy of parenthood.

Recently, the JOHNSON’S® Team traveled around the country, spending time with new parents, including a March of Dimes ambassador family. What did they learn? What we probably already know to be important: Raising children is about all those special moments that fill each ordinary day. Think about your little one and the moments that really make you smile. Do you have a favorite? Is it rubbing noses, or blowing bubbles, watching your baby take her first steps, hearing her say “Mama,” or just gazing at her while she sleeps?

JOHNSON’S® invites all parents to get involved and make the promise to celebrate everyday joy.  Will you promise to celebrate everyday joy? For each promise made on their Facebook page, JOHNSON’S® will donate $1 to the March of Dimes ($1 for every “like,” up to $50,000!) to help bring joy to more families by improving the health of babies. Please join JOHNSON’S® by making the promise to step back and treasure everyday joy.

Tags: family, JOHNSON’S®, parenting, treasuring everyday joy

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This is a great opportunity to help yourself, your child and the March of Dimes.

Get your vaccinations before summer travel…

Get your vaccinations before summer travel

After a very rough winter and a rainy spring, summer is finally here! In a few weeks, my husband, my baby girl and I (with Lola in tow) will be traveling and heading to the beach for a couple of weeks. My baby girl just had her well baby visit this week, so she’s up to date on all of her vaccines and is ready to travel.

Summer is a great time to make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date, especially this year. There’s been a recent outbreak of measles (an infection caused by a virus) in this country – the largest measles outbreak in 15 years. Most people who recently caught the measles weren’t vaccinated. They caught the measles in Europe (which is the middle of a major epidemic) and brought the disease back to the U.S.

Measles is easily spread and causes rash, cough and fever. In some cases, it can lead to diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, brain damage or even death. Measles can cause serious health problems in young children. It can also be especially harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage.

Talk to your provider to find out if your and your family’s vaccines are up to date, especially when it comes to the measles. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, wait 1 month before trying to get pregnant after getting the measles vaccine (MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella). If you’re already pregnant, you’ll need to wait until after giving birth to get the vaccine.

If you’re  traveling out of the country with your baby and she’s 6-11 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that she get her first shot of the MMR vaccine before traveling. If your baby is 12-15 months, then she should get two shots (separated by 28 days) before traveling.

Tags: baby health, measles, MMR, outbreak, pregnancy health, summer safety, vaccinations

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Flu shot and preterm birth risk

No it isn’t flu season yet but believe it or not another one will be upon us in the not too distant future.

So it is timely news for pregnant women to know that it has been found that a pregnant woman who gets a flu shot lowers her risk of preterm delivery.

This was just released by the March of Dimes…it is good news!

Flu shot lowers preterm birth risk

Aside from helping to prevent the miseries of the flu, a flu shot during pregnancy may reduce a woman’s risk of delivering a premature baby. Every year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States. Since 1981, the premature birth rate has risen by 30 percent. Babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk of lifelong disabilities.

A new study reviewed data from over 4000 births over a two year time frame in the state of Georgia. Roughly 15% of pregnant women received flu shots. These women who delivered during flu season (defined as October through May) were on average 40% less likely to deliver prematurely, before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. During the peak flu season (January & February), vaccinated women were 72% less likely to deliver prematurely as opposed to unvaccinated women.  Additionally, babies born during peak flu season to mothers who were vaccinated were 69% less likely to be small for gestational age.

At other times of year (not flu season), the study found no association between flu vaccination and reduced premature birth. Because of this, the researchers believe that it is the vaccine that is offering this protection. And an earlier study found that getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy can even protect your baby after delivery.

When you’re pregnant, your immune system isn’t as quick to respond to illnesses as it was before pregnancy. Your body knows that pregnancy is OK and that it shouldn’t reject your baby. Your body naturally lowers your immune system’s ability to protect you and respond to illnesses so that it can welcome your growing baby. But a lowered immune system means you’re more likely to catch illnesses like the flu. Your lungs and heart are working harder to support you and your baby and this stress on your body also can make it more likely for you to get an illness like the flu.

For these reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and the March of Dimes all recommend women get vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy.

Tags: flu, flu shot, flu vaccine, influenza, Pregnancy, premature birth, preterm birth

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Cytomegalovirus ….saliva test for newborns!

Important news about CMV which can cause disabilities in newborns. Please consider joining stopcmv.org/

CMV saliva test for newborns

A new study has found that a simple saliva test can identify babies born with cytomegalovirus, CMV. Babies born with this common virus are at increased risk for hearing loss, vision loss or learning disabilities.

CMV is the most common congenital (present at birth) infection in the United States. Each year, about 40,000 babies are born with CMV infection. Most babies are not harmed by the virus, but some are. About 90% of babies who are infected with CMV have no symptoms at birth, and most parents aren’t aware that their children have it. However, about 10% to 15% of infected babies develop one or more lasting disabilities during the first few years of life. For this reason, all babies born with congenital CMV infection should have regular hearing and vision tests. An accurate newborn screening test would quickly identify those babies at risk.

According to Suresh Boppana, professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and lead author on the new study, somewhere between 20-40% of early childhood hearing loss probably is caused by CMV. The saliva test utilized in the new study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, was easy to perform and highly accurate. The researchers tested about 35,000 babies and the test was 97 percent accurate in identifying babies infected with the virus.

Newborns are screened for dozens of diseases and genetic disorders while still in the hospital. Dr. Boppana recognizes that adding another test to the current roster of newborn screening tests, which are determined by each state, will be no easy matter, but is optimistic.

Want to learn more about CMV? Please join us on Twitter for a live #pregnancychat on CMV on June 22nd at 12 noon, EST. We will be joined by Janelle Greenlee, President and Founder of Stop CMV – The CMV Action Network.  StopCMV.org

Tags: Baby, CMV, cytomegalovirus, hearing loss, infant health, newborn screening

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