CONNECTI ONS 

A Quarterly Newsletter From the Parent Network of the Capital Region 
PNCR's mission is to provide parents with knowledge, skills, and resources to facilitate productive relationships with their school districts, ensuring an appropriate education for their child.  All services are offered at no cost.
In This Issue...

Question of the Quarter 

Articles of Interest

Events, News, and Notes

Recommended Reading 
 
Articles of Interest
Recommended Reading

*This quarter's featured book and many more resources are available at PNCR's resource lending library! 
     
Click on the book cover below to read reviews and look inside at Amazon.com. 
 
"Overcoming Anxiety in Children & Teens"
by Jed Baker, Ph.D.

The key to this book is that it outlines both the science and art of anxiety therapy. The science of overcoming anxiety is using the well researched approach called gradual exposure therapy which involves helping individuals gradually face their fears. The art of therapy is figuring out how to actually convince someone to face their fears. Jed describes motivational techniques, cognitive behavioral strategies, exercises, relaxation and mindfulness guides to lower anxiety to the point where individuals can begin to confront their fears . The book covers: simple phobias, social phobia, selective mutism, separation anxiety and school refusal, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, somatic symptom disorder and/or illness anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, perfectionism, and other common fears.
 
To Inquire About Availability or Borrowing,  Contact the PNCR Office @ 518-640-3320.


The Capital District online guide to everything for kids, teens, & families.

 
An online resource for special needs services, offering practical resources for home, school and community.
       
Connect with PNCR
          





NYSED 
Updates and Guidance

 

 

Guidance to school districts to help students displaced by recent hurricanes can be found 
HERE.  (October, 2017)

 

Requirements Related to Special Education Impartial Hearings can be found 
HERE. (September 2017)

 

"Next Generation Learning Standards" approval announcement can be found 
HERE. (September 2017)

 

NYS Regents and local diploma requirements video series can be found HERE.  (August 2017)

 

Changes to the New York State Procedural Safeguards Notice: Rights for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Ages 3-21 can be found HERE. (July 2017)

 

Guidelines for medication management in schools  can be found HERE.  (May 2017)

 

Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities can be found 
HERE. (April 2017)

 

Student Exit Summary as Required by IDEA 2004, updated guidance and form can be found 
HERE. (April 2017)

 

Transition Planning and Services for Students with Disabilities Guidance can be found 
HERE. (April 2017)

Multiple day administration of state assessments - revised procedures can be found  HERE.

 

Questions & Answers on Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development can be found HERE.

 

2017-2018 Grades 3-8 NYS Assessment Schedule can be found 

 

Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma (updated) can be found HERE.

 

 

Parent Request For Superintendent Determination of Graduation With a Local Diploma-Model Form can be found HERE.

 

 

Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma can be found 

 

 

Superintendent Determination of Graduation with a Local Diploma Q&A (Updated February 2017) can be found

 

 



Fall Issue 
November 2017
Greetings and happy fall to everyone! 

We hope you enjoy this edition of  Connections,  PNCR's quarterly newsletter.

In July, we created a survey to determine if families were interested in a monthly "meet-up" and to determine the focus should there be sufficient interest. Thank you to everyone who participated. 

Survey responses clearly indicate that parents and family members have an overwhelming desire to access a gathering space where they can meet on a regular basis to share information, ask questions, explore resources, exchange ideas, and when needed, simply, take a deep breath and be still. As a result, we are happy to invite you to PNCR's first gathering of "Coffee, Conversation, and Connection" on Tuesday, November 28th from 5:30p-7:00pm at our offices in Latham.  Watch your email inbox for the official "Coffee, Conversation, and Connection" invitation and RSVP information. In the meantime, we welcome early RSVPs which can be submitted by CLICKING HERE.  We hope to see you there!

As always, if you have special education or disability related questions or concerns you may call or email us at 518-640-3320 or info@pncrny.org

Warm Wishes,
The PNCR Team
Bonnie, Liz, Mary, and Sheri 
Question of the Quarter

The PNCR office was recently contacted by a parent seeking guidance who shared the following situation and questions.  

QUESTION and SITUATION
My child attends elementary school and has an Autism diagnosis. Historically, my child has not required special education supports or any other related supports and services and does not have an IEP. Recently, my child has experienced escalating tantrums, outbursts, and behaviors in the classroom. As a result, my child has been suspended a few times. What are my child's rights? Is my child entitled to any special education and/or related supports and services because of the Autism diagnosis? Shouldn't the school do a functional behavior assessment (FBA)?

INFO  TO  KNOW (Regulations/NYSED Guidance):  
Let's begin by clarifying that having a diagnosis does not mean a child automatically meets the criteria and guidelines to be identified as "child or student with a disability" as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. Section 4401(1) of the Education Law, defines a student with a disability (SWD) as a student who has not attained the age of 21 prior to  September 1st and who is entitled to attend public schools pursuant to section  3202 of the Education Law and who, because of mental, physical or emotional  reasons, has been identified as having a disability and who requires special  services and programs approved by the department. Resource Document: Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Part 200 Students with Disabilities (October 2016) 

Next, let's briefly review Response to Intervention (RtI). RtI is the practice of providing high-quality instruction and/or intervention matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions about an individual student. (NASDSE, 2006) RtI represents an important educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with disabilities and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps.  NYSED has provided guidance to school districts regarding school wide system approaches and an RtI framework, both of which are intended to support academic and behavioral systems, and indicates that NYS  schools are encouraged to implement academic and behavioral aspects of an RtI framework as illustrated in the resource document  Response to Intervention: Guidance for New York State School Districts (October 2010) .  

NYS education regulations, section 100.2(ii) of the Part 100 Regulations define the components for an RtI process. Equally important, they also establish parent notification requirements, including notification of a parent's right to refer a student for an initial evaluation if the parent suspects the student has a disability and needs special education. Resource Document: The Part 100 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Upon receipt of a referral   from a parent, a school district must provide the parent with prior written notice informing the parent of the proposed evaluation and seek consent from the parent to conduct the individual evaluation. 
{It is recommended that all referrals and requests for special education evaluations be made in writing. If a verbal request is made the recommendation would be to immediately follow up the verbal request with written request.} 
Upon receipt of such consent, the initial evaluation  must be completed within 60 calendar days and may not be delayed   unless the parent and the school district, by  mutual written agreement, extend this timeline to another agreed upon date in order for the student to participate in the RtI process as part of the individual evaluation.  In other words, whether done verbally or in writing, a parent's inquiry about or referral of child for a special education evaluation, should absolutely  NEVER be met with a response indicating that the RtI process must first be exhausted before an initial evaluation can take place.  (Retrieved  from 
and 

RESPONSE SUMMARY: There are many students with a medical or mental healt diagnosis who do not need or  meet the criteria to qualify for special education, related supports and services, accommodations, or modifications while attending school. In these instances, the students' diagnosed disabilities are not manifesting with in the school setting and are not impacting their ability to learn or access curriculum while working toward NYS's learning standards. That said, an individual's needs can and often do change for a variety of reasons which can include medication changes, trauma, emotional and biological changes, or major life event experiences (death of parent or significant family member, marriage or divorce of a parent, relocation, homelessness)  to name a few.

That is exactly what happened with the child whose parent contacted us for guidance. Although there was an Autism diagnosis, this student did not have an IEP or 504 Plan and had never needed academic, behavioral, or social supports or interventions beyond those provided to ALL students through school wide approaches and an RtI framework. Talking with mom, we learned that the school building team, often referred to as "the child study team" (CST), was monitoring and documenting the student's needs and behaviors and had changed and increased responses, strategies, and supports to incorporate some small group and individualized interventions and strategies. Based on this information we were able to determine that the CST was working within the framework of the district's RtI plan for a student NOT identified as a student with a disability. 

Although the RtI process was occurring, mom strongly felt there was a connection between the autism diagnosis and the child's "unexplained" behaviors. She expressed a great deal of concern around the amount of time it was taking to exhaust the RtI process and the behaviors had not stopped nor improved. Mom stated that it was not working. Lastly, mom shared that she was frustrated because her child's needs were not being met and felt as though her concerns were dismissed by everyone, especially when her {verbal} request for an FBA, made during a meeting with the teacher, was denied and the teacher informed her an FBA could not be done because the child was not "identified" as a student with a disability.

PNCR provided mom with information and guidance including:
  • appropriate information regarding NYS education regulations and NYSED guidance and recommendations specifically related to her and her child's situation.  

Once mom understood the education regulations, her child's rights, and both her and the district's rights and responsibilities she was empowered and felt she now had an INFORMED voice. Mom immediately submitted a written request/referral to the team for her child to receive an initial full psycho-educational evaluation in all areas of concern and requested specifically to include an FBA as part of evaluations process. Once the request was received and written consent was provided, the district performed the necessary evaluations and completed the process within the required 60 calendar days. The Committee on Special Education (CSE), which includes parents, met to discuss the evaluation results. It was determined that the child was eligible for special education services and an Individual Education Program (IEP) was developed including a behavior intervention plan (BIP) based on the FBA findings. 

 

This is a great example of turning a challenging situation into a positive situation with meaningful outcomes.  This parent was empowered with the knowledge, tools, and resources to  successfully advocate on behalf of her child and work with the school team to:

  • address concerns;
  • resolve problems; and
  • {most critical of all} meet the needs of a student 
Events,
News  and Notes

Below are the trainings currently scheduled for November, December, and January.  Simply click on the training title for more information or to register. You may visit our   TRAINING/EVENT CALENDAR  to view our training schedule in a "month at a glance" format. Please remember, registration will typically close 2 business days prior to the training date. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM @ PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg 1)

"Coffee, Conversation, Connection", is a monthly forum for parents and family members, whose loved ones have special needs. Here, you can meet and share information, ask questions, explore resources, exchange ideas and when needed, simply stop, take a deep breath, and be still. * RSVP required.*

Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM @ Cohoes Middle School Library (Cohoes CSD)

Behavior challenges related to a child's disability often interferes w/learning. Join us to gain a basic understanding of FBAs & BIPs and when they are utilized. Priority focus will be on identifying/addressing behaviors and strategies for modifying the environment and teaching new skills and behaviors to children both at home and in school.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM @ Harriet Gibbons Media Center (CSD of Albany)

Join us for a basic overview of ASD and how the characteristics associated with this disorder may impact children in school, community and home environments. Educating children with ASD involves a partnership between schools, families, and communities. The better we understand ASD, the better prepared we are to help students reach their potential.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM @  PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg 1)

Join us to learn about graduation & diploma options available to students with disabilities including the Career Development & Occupational Studies Credential (CDOS) & the Skills & Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC). Discover essential skills needed for life after high school & how to use your student's IEP transition plan to achieve them.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM @ PNCR Offices (Wildwood Programs Bldg 1)

It's that time of the year-the time when school districts and parents meet to develop a new IEP for the next school year. Join us as we share tools and tips parents need to help prepare for their child's Annual Review CSE/IEP meeting. This training will also cover all sections of the IEP and how they relate to the CSE meeting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM @ Columbia High School (East Greenbush CSD)

It's that time of the year-the time when school districts and parents meet to develop a new IEP for the next school year. Join us as we share tools and tips parents need to help prepare for their child's Annual Review CSE/IEP meeting. This training will also cover all sections of the IEP and how they relate to the CSE meeting.


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