Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2020

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14 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2020 continued for a few years, or straight through college. There is a learning curve for parents that comes with navigating the world of special ed- ucation. It's important to learn new things, for instance, acronyms like IEP (Individual Education Plan) and FBA (Functional Behavior Assess- ment) and what laws apply to a 504 plan verses an IEP. Public-school systems have different options for special educa- tion students. One is self-contained classrooms that are comprised of only special education students and staff. Another option is inclusion classrooms that consist of general education students integrated with special education students. Look at inclusion class- rooms. Inclusion classrooms are usually led by a co-teaching team of a special education teacher and a general education teacher. This inclusive environment allows for a neurodiverse experience, where kids with different abilities have the same access to their school experience as their peers do. Inclusion class- rooms with authentic opportunities By ROXANNE FERBER E very parent wants the best education for his or her child. If yours is a neurotypical child, chances are you don't have to dig deep for a school or program to suit your young one's needs. But when you are a parent to a child with special needs, or different abilities, you may struggle to find just the right environment to support him or her. Find the right fit. No doubt, when researching schools, you look for things like communication systems, specialized staff who are trained to provide emotional or physical supports, access to thera- pies, social integration and appro- priate transportation, among other things. And sometimes, parents with children with different needs must look at schools in districts beyond the comfort of their hometown to find just the right fit. There is no one size fits all pro- gram, and not every school district gets it right. Some students may need support for part of their day, for friendships and shared experi- ences are not always easy to find, but have incredible benefits, like a tailored education for each student, while making differences seem less different. All students in inclusion classrooms can benefit from the classroom's supportive services and resulting unique education. The Hendrick Hudson School District in Cortlandt Manor has a K-12 ICT (Integrated Collaborative Teaching) program. It offers stu- dents with a special education IEP an inclusive classroom experience alongside their general education peers. The ICT classrooms include a special education teacher, general education teacher and a teaching as- sistant (in K-5 classrooms) that lead a class of 18-25 individuals with and without an IEP. The K-5 classrooms focus on individual academic needs plus growing social, emotional and higher functioning skills. Lisa Schuchman, the executive director of pupil personnel services, has received positive feedback from teachers, students and parents for the school's program. "This is the second year of the Inclusion Programs within Reach in the Hudson Valley A teacher with the Hendrick Hudson School District's Integrated Collaborative Teaching program works with a group of young boys. The program's classes include individuals with and without an Individual Education Plan and are attended by a special education teacher, general education teacher and a teaching assistant (in K-5 classrooms).

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