Volume 14 Num 2 Nov. 2019
Family & Educator Partnership Newsletter
from Great Prairie Area Education Agency
Happy Holidays!

We hope you are enjoying our electronic version of the Parent Educator Connection newsletter. 
Please share with parents, service providers or anyone you feel might benefit from this newsletter. We appreciate your help in the distribution of this valuable resource. If you would like a name added to the distribution list, please email the address below. 

We look forward to working with you and hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please let us know of topics you would like to see addressed in future issues. 

Annette Clarahan,  annette.clarahan@gpaea.org
Kelly Wallace,  kelly.wallace@gpaea.org
Are you interested in learning more about Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services? As an educator, would you like to know how to refer families and what services they can provide? Click here to watch a short video featuring Jaime Claywell-Herrera, IVRS Counselor, describing Voc Rehab's services available to all LEAs and identified students in Iowa.
 Deaf Community Conversation/Open Discussion to Gain Feedback on Gaps in Vocational Service Needs

I VRS Burlington Office and IVRS Ottumwa Office are joining forces to reach out to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community for feedback on vocational services. Please help us by attending and/or spreading the word to anyone that may be interested.

When: December 4th 1:00-3:00
Where: Southeastern Community College Mount Pleasant Site 200 Main Street Room 203 Mount Pleasant, Iowa 52641

Information to gain:
  • Have you utilized public services?
  • if so what was your experience?
  • if not what was holding you back? 
  • For Transition-how can we align our IPE goals with IEP transition goals as it relates to vocation?
  • What prevents you from seeking IVRS services?
  • Would there be gaps in service needs?
  • Are there any accessibility concerns?
  • What can IVRS do better?

We will have qualified ASL interpreters on site. Please let us know if you require additional accommodations to participate in the event. Zoom video conferencing access will be available per request.

Stress Can Make the Holidays Not So Jolly  
Holiday stress is something most of us can relate with. The hustle and bustle of the added activities. The extra shopping for food and gifts. What’s everyone going to wear for family gatherings? All of this in itself can be exhausting. 

It’s a critical period of added stress for many of our families with a special needs child. Will he/she be able to participate in the school Holiday Program? Will the anxiety/over-stimulation be too much? Make sure my son/daughters sensitivity to clothing doesn’t add to their frustration. Possible melt-downs at family gatherings. Will there be food my child will eat? Will the lights cause over stimulation? Talk with family members ahead of time to remind them of our son/daughters sensitivity to hugging or touching. Hear comments of others about my parenting skills & “I wonder if this happened because you worked during pregnancy?” Comparing one child to another of the same age. Remembering that extended family may not be in the same place as far as accepting the disability.

Some of our families might not have the food, clothing or the necessities they need. May not have family close enough to visit, May not own a car or have gas money. Do I put gas in the car, or pay for my child’s medication? 

All of the above can cause added stress and restart the grieving process during the holidays.  

When it feels like we’re struggling in the New Year, we need to stop and remember that many of our families are somewhere on the following chart. 
For an Overview of Changes to Graduation Requirements for Students in Special Education See the Documents or Video Below
For more information on the changes to graduation requirements for
students with IEP's please see the video above available at: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxwDrRLmdhJkbFXfNdlxrGPhcjnM?projector=1

The Iowa Family & Educator Partnership is committed to helping families and educators better understand the special education process. To do this, we offer printed and electronic materials on a variety of special education topics. Here you will find a list of some of those materials with suggested times for using them.

  • can be shared with initial meeting notices
  • can be shared wtih re-evaluation meeting notices
  • anytime a family or educator needs additional support or information

  • can be shared with suspicion of disability meeting notice
  • anytime a family or educator needs additional support understanding the child find process
  • Planning for Your Child's IEP Meeting
  • can be shared with re-evaluation meeting notices
  • anytime a family or educator needs additional support to prepare for an IEP meeting

  • Distributed with Procedural Safeguards
  • When there are changes in team members

  • Distributed with Procedural Safeguards
  • When there are changes in team members

All documents are available on the FEP page of the GPAEA website, under related documents or at https://www.gpaea.org/services/iowa-family-and-educator-partnership-fep/
Learn more about Family & Educator Partnership and access resources at
Great Prairie AEA | 800-622-0027 | www.gpaea.org