Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

RCSN September Trainings: “About The New IEP” and “What Special Ed Reform Means For You And Your Child”

September 14, 2012 Leave a comment

RCSN_LOGO  September Trainings in Manhattan
Space is limited, register today.

The IEP 
(Individualized Education Program)
What Special Ed Reform Means 
for You and Your Child with Autism
New IEP image Special Ed Reform Image
All school districts in New York State began using new IEP forms last year, and that means changes to how your child’s IEP is developed. Whether you are experienced in the special education process or brand-new to it, this workshop gives you the tools to make sure your child’s IEP is what it should be.
The citywide implementation of special education reform has begun, and parent invovlement is more crucial than ever before. Get the facts and make your plan! Extra Q&A time is built in to this workshop.


10:00 am – 12:00 pm

11:00 am – 1:00 pm
P.S. M811- Mickey Mantle School (M811)
466 West End Avenue
New York, NY 10024

Trains: 1 to 79th Street

Community Resources & Services for Children
3410 Broadway, 3rd Floor

New York, NY 10031

Trains: 1 to 137th Street – City College

When it comes to your child, the expert is you.
Registration required: for a full description of workshops and to register online,
Register by phone: 212-677-4650

DOE Launches Special Education Family Office Hours and P311 Hotline

September 12, 2012 1 comment

Thanks to Anne for sharing!


The Department of Education’s Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners is committed to supporting all families during the citywide expansion of the special education reform initiative.

To this end, it is with great enthusiasm that I am pleased to announce the launch of the Special Education Family Office Hours and a P311 hotline. These additional resources for families were conceived in partnership with City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson.

Beginning August 1, 2012, families that need assistance can call a dedicated hotline for special education support at (718) 935-2007. In addition, families can always contact P311.

Family office hours will be held in nine sites across the five boroughs with day, evening, and weekend hours beginning July 31, 2012. During office hours, a special education specialist will be available for meetings with individual families to help resolve their questions about the special education reform and work to reach solutions to support their child. The complete schedule of dates, times, and locations are available through our family web site at:

We encourage you to share this information with families and communities. On behalf of all our students, I thank you for your ongoing collaboration and support.

Sincerely yours,

Corinne Rello-Anselmi
Deputy Chancellor
NYC Department of Education
Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners
P: (212) 374-5766
F: (212) 374-5599

Bloomberg Kicks Off First Day Of School With New Text Messaging Service

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I can NOT believe I sent James to middle school today – unreal. Wishing you (and me) a smooth, successful and happy first day of school!

Teach Your (Special Needs) Child About Martin Luther King Jr. The Musical Way (Minimal Embarrassment Required)

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Thanks to for the great ideas, though I have to say I think the songs are as good for educating my toddlers as my special needs child! Make sure to check out the site for some fun and easy craft ideas as well.


Song: Dr. King Had a Dream

Sung to: “Old McDonald”

Dr. King had a dream for p-e-a-c-e.

He wanted people to be friends and live in harmony.

He had lots of love to share.

He spread kindness everywhere!

Dr. King had a dream for p-e-a-c-e!


Song: Freedom, Freedom Let It Ring

Sung to: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Freedom, Freedom let ring

“Let it ring”, said Dr. King

Let us live in harmony.

Peace and love for you and me.

Freedom, freedom let it ring

“Let it ring”, said Dr. King.


Song: Free At Last

Sung to: “This Old Man”

This young man had a dream; in his eye, he had a gleam

We must love each other to survive; Let us keep his dream alive.

He believed man was good; He had dreams of brotherhood.

We must love each other to survive; Let us keep his dream alive.

All join hands, let us sing; Let the bells of freedom ring.

We must love each other to survive; Let us keep his dream alive.

We can learn from the past; then we will all be “FREE AT LAST”

We must love each other to survive; Let us keep his dream alive.

Top Ten: Things To Consider When Selecting a School For Your Special Needs Child

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

In honor of “Oh-my-God-middle-school-applications-are-due Week” I am finally taking my head out of the sand and devoting my Top Ten to finding the right school. If you’re like me, you might find yourself surprisingly, woefully underprepared for your first special needs school search, especially if you are considering mainstreaming and attend tours that mainly consist of parents of typical children. The tour guide, whether it be a parent coordinator or the vice principal, is not going to offer up a special needs version of the tour most of the time, but will instead cater to the general audience and tell you how competitive their school is academically and how amazing their extracurricular activities are. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s good to know those things, but depending on your child’s disability, academic competition and after school clubs might not be at the top of your list.

So what should be on your list then? you might be thinking. Well, obviously priorities are different for each parent depending on their child’s disability, unique needs, strengths and personality, but here is what I consider to be the general Top Ten Things To Consider When Selecting A School For Your Special Needs Child:

1. Availability: When you telephone the school for an appointment do you reach a real person or an automated message? If a real person, are they helpful and polite? Is your call returned promptly if not taken right away? Or, did you email? Was your email forwarded to the appropriate person? How long did it take to receive a reply?

2. Appearance: What is the general appearance of the school? Does it look well cared for? Is it clean? What about the reception area for you to wait in (is there one?)? Is there a security guard or other security in place at the entrance? Does someone greet you when you arrive?

3. Administration: Do you have the chance to meet with the Principal or Vice-Principal during your visit? If not, do you have a way to contact them with questions? Are you invited to set up a meeting with them at another time?

4. Food: Where do the students eat – in a classroom or lunchroom? Does the school cater to special dietary requirements? How are food allergies handled? If mainstreaming, do special ed students eat with the general population?

5. Medical: Is there a school nurse on-site full time? If not, how are medications handled? Spills on the playground? Sick children?

6. Behavior Issues: What strategies does the school use to manage challenging behavior? How do they monitor if it is working? What is the school’s policy on bullying?

7. Specials and Specialists: What therapists visit the school and how often? Does the school have regular access to Speech, OT, PT, a guidance counselor and a pyschologist? Does the school offer Adaptive PE? If your child has speech and language difficulties ask what method will the school use for communication. Do they have access to assistive technology? Are there any extracurricular activities that are open to special needs students? Are there electives during the day that are appropriate for special needs students?

8. Things to note during the actual tour of the school: Is there a gym? Is there an auditorium? A music room? An art room? An outdoor playspace? A separate room for Speech, OT, PT and the guidance counselor? Take a look at the students in the classroom. Are they engaged in a meaningful activity? Are they just sitting around? Are there pictures on the wall, students’ work, etc?

9. Paraprofessionals: If your child is going to a public school and will need a para ask what training is given to the paraprofessional. Will your child get the same para every day? Will the para be with your child at lunchtime and recess?

10. Guidance (or lack thereof): Talk to the school guidance counselor and find out how many other students have IEPs. Do any of the students have 1:1 paraprofessionals? Do any of the students participate in Alternative Assessment? What classroom settings are available (Gifted, Gen ED, ICT, 12:1:1, etc)? Are all classroom configurations offered to students with IEPs? What opportunities do special education students in contained classroom settings have to mingle with the rest of the school population? Does the school require that your child’s IEP have a specific classification in order to be eligible for admission? If a private school, is it on the NYC Approved List (makes funding tuition easier)? What is the admission process, and what evaluations and reports are needed? How recent should they be?

If you get a chance try to come back at different times of the day, particularly in the morning, during lunch and toward the end of the day. Does the principal greet the children as they arrive? Do the buses arrive on time and deliver the children safely?

There’s a lot to consider, and I’m sure you can come up with a few more things relevant to your situation that I didn’t even mention. And by your 11th school (yep, 11 and still going) you might not feel any less stressed or lost but you will at least have these questions memorized (always keep your eye on the silver lining).

Stay tuned as I answer my hypothetical Top Ten list with real answers from real schools this week!

Orientation Guide for Families of Students with Disabilities 2011-2012 – Download Here!

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Taken from RCSN website (which I love):

Kindergarten Orientation Guide

New York City’s Orientation Guide for Families of Students with Disabilities 2011-2012 was published last week. For the first time, the Guide aligns the application and enrollment process for students with disabilities with that of typical children, and gives parents clear information about special education reform and how it works.

Jean Mitzutani continues to represent RCSN in the Turning 5 Work Group that helped create the publication. The work group is a collaboration of the ARISE Coalition, the NYC Department of Education, the Bronx and Manhattan Special Education Parent Centers, and the Early Childhood Direction Centers.

To download the guide, click here.


Reminder: Special Needs School Fair Tonight!

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Hope to see you there – I’ll be there for at least the first hour.


334 Amsterdam Avenue

Free Admission! or 646-505-5708 for more info

The JCC in Manhattan and YAI/NYL/LIFESTART partner to present the annual Special Needs School Fair. Representatives from preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools serving the New York City special needs community will be onsite to provide information and answers to your questions. School materials will be available.

Schools that have confirmed their attendance as of October 12th include:

Aaron Academy — The Aaron School — ABC/Merricat Castle School — Auditory/Oral School of NY StriVright — Birch Family Services — Brooklyn Autism Center Academy — Central Park Early Learning Center — Child Development Center, JBFCS — Clarke School for Hearing and Speech/New York — Cooke Center School — NYC Department of Education ASD Program — East River Child Development Center — The ELIJA School — The Gillen Brewer School — The Hallen School — The Ideal School — Imagine Academy for Children with Autism – The Lang School — LearningSpring School – Manhattan Children’s Center – Maplebrook School — Mary McDowell Friends School — Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf — The Opportunity Charter School — The Parkside School – QSAC — The Quad Manhattan Preschool Program — Rebecca School — Riverdale Nursery School and Family Center – The Shield Institute — Standing Tall — St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf — Stephen Gaynor School — United Cerebral Palsy of NYC (Queens and Manhattan Sites)– West End Day School – Windward School Lower School — The Winston Preparatory School — YAI/NYL William O’Connor Bay Ridge School — YAI/NYL The Gramercy School — YAI/NYL Harry H. Gordon — YAI/NYL Manhattan Star Academy — YAI/NYL Roosevelt Children’s Center

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