The Assessment of Children for Special Education

A good part of the assessment of children in special education programs is formal and standardized. There are formal tests that are used to help test and evaluate individual children. With children in special education programs, the testing needs to be constant – it needs to be an ongoing thing.

Other kinds evaluation exist too, that are sort of informal. Teachers use these for the ongoing assessment of their students so they can meet their Individual Education Program goals.

They assess the children they are charged with on schoolwork usually, handing out teacher prepared tests on different chapters.

The formal assessment of children in special education runs the gamut. There are all these highly specialized and well thought out tests.

Intelligence testing happens to be one of the more potent ones. The intelligence test happens to be one of the more important ones.

They do them one-on-one on individual children, and they use these to be able to single children out for admission to a gifted program. They do not include the intelligence quotient scores that these tests generate in the Evaluation Reports or in any other confidential student documents.

They typically use one of two kinds of achievements tests. The first test evaluates the entire class as a kind of group achievement test. There are also tests that they give to each student, one by one.

When it comes to testing large groups, they use the annual state assessments that is the same kind used by the No Child Left Behind program. They also use other tests like the Terra Nova and the Iowa Basics models.

Individualized achievement tests are standardized tests. The Woodcock Johnson test of student achievement, the Key Math 3 diagnostic assessment test and others were administered to students in one-on-one sessions.

But it is not all about tough achievement related tests. They also use tests in functional behavior. Any child with disabilities like autism needs to be assessed for the kind of specific area they have problems in.

The ABBLS (ssessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills)test is one of the better-known ones. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales would be another.

And finally, criterion based teacher created assessments can be invaluable for ongoing assessments. Teachers design these themselves to see if they are meeting their Individual Education Program goals. They carry out the assessment of children this way with picture and word cards, paper tests and so on.

Have We Created Spoiled Kids?

It seems as if we have created a serious situation that has spoiled kids who can't be happy and grateful about anything. We all want our kids to be happy and one way we show it is to buy our kids whatever they ask for. It used to be that you only had to worry about this over the holidays and birthdays. These days though, it's more or less like the holiday season the whole year around!

That's the problem with trying to buy happiness for your children. You send them on a never-ending slippery slope of expecting stuff to maintain their level of happiness. The end result is a child who is spoiled, ungrateful and quite insufferable.

Are you one of those parents who are caught up in a “more stuff equals more happiness”child raising policy of your own making? Well, amazingly, three out of four parents in America admit to doing this, especially over the holidays. Many of them will even wait in line at the Toys 'R' Us store at two in the morning to get some hot ticket toy for their child.

There are a few things you can do to change the way things are. A great way to start would be to introduce your child to the concept of “no” for at least one thing during the holidays or birthday or something.

Ease your child into accepting no for an answer one little step at a time, and you'll find that the whole thing helps you child grow. You also want to make sure that everyone involved is on board with your plan. Once you say 'no' though , you don't want your child go to grandpa for appeal. This kind of inconsistent parenting can really be bad for a situation with spoiled kids.

As much as your child loves receiving, wouldn't you love your child to learn the joy of giving? You need him to see how fortunate he is, and he should want to share some of the joy by giving what he has to a needy family. If your child is old enough to have an allowance or a gift of money, you need to train your child to share it with someone who needs it more than him.

There's more than one kind of giving. You don't always have to keep your child things. Well-deserved praise can also be a wonderful thing to give. And it can help your child see how doing the right thing can feel good just for the praise into that warm feeling inside. Teach your children to appreciate that kind of thing and it's unlikely you'll ever have a problem with spoiled kids.

Do you have an opinion about spoiled kids? Leave a comment below and share this with others on Facebook and Twitter.

Elderly Caregivers Get a Hand From Employers

Would you believe that one in six Americans today finds himself in a position where he has to take care of another adult? Doing so often comes at a heavy personal cost - elderly caregivers have less time and money for their spouse and children and one is less able to concentrate on work and get ahead.

As wonderful as it is that medical science makes it possible for the average American to live to be 80 or more, medical science often makes life extended in this way quite difficult to take.  Things are beginning to change a little bit now though; and the push for change comes from our employers.

Even 10 years ago, at a time when everyone thought that we were pretty far advanced in worker rights just because we had paternity leave for new fathers (just the way mothers have maternity leave). No one had ever heard of corporate benefits that granted elderly caregivers any time off or ones that provided caregiving referrals.

Believe it or not, one out of ten corporations in America now provides these. And that's a figure that's only set to rise.

To someone who is in charge of taking care of an elderly relative, one of the most important allowances they could receive for work is perhaps permission to telecommute.

When there are emergencies or when one happens to be in a situation where a parent just needs someone to be around all the time, being granted telecommuting privileges or flex time can be the greatest thing. 20% of America's companies believe that they plan to offer far more options to do with flex time in the near future.

Three out of four elderly caregivers report that they've had to quit working or change to a less demanding job to be able to provide an aging family member the kind of care they deserved.

Half of all elderly caregivers report that their family incomes are 15% lower than they would otherwise have been; and that they often lost a chance at a promotion because of the position they found themselves in.

To a country that's long been reconciled to giving up a career to be able to take care of an aging parent, such corporate empathy can be truly welcome.

Most of these options typically exist only for long-term employees who have a great relationship with their companies. Employees who work at skilled jobs that require competence and qualifications often find that their companies are willing to deal with them in these matters too.

Corporations like Intel, Deloitte, Price Waterhouse Coopers and IBM offer comprehensive eldercare benefits - which is the industry term for these benefits offered to employees.

Need 6th Grade Science Experiments?

Are you a parent and you're worried about the 6th grade science experiments that your child has been assigned to think up for class the next day? Here's something that should help make your job easier and take the weight off your shoulders – teachers aren't expecting anything really original.

They are just looking for something average that's kind of practical and interesting. In other words, you could just look away all over the Internet and pick something up that sounds promising.

To many schools, sixth grade is a kind of a stage. That's when they begin with the science experiments and with science fairs. The great thing is, that they don't really push their students to be competitive at this stage. It's all supposed to be good, clean fun so that they don't scare the students off science too early.

What the judges at these fairs want to see is that a participant really likes what he's doing, is curious about it, sees it as a step forward, and sees that it's something of significance. In short, with 6th grade science experiments, the experiments are not as important in themselves as for how they help a judge see how involved a child is in the spirit of scientific inquiry.

For instance, here's a simple example of the kind of 6th grade science experiments they like, and allow. You'll see a lot of science experiments at science fairs that involve chicken eggs. A child can demonstrate all kinds of principles of physics with an egg. Why does a rotten egg float while a regular egg sinks? How salty does water have to be for an egg to float in it? You get the idea.

If the egg thing seems a bit overdone when it comes to 6th grade science experiments, there are all kinds of other things to try, too. A perfume box is a popular experiment.

This was actually described in the movie French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. Kevin Kline describes how in school, he made a perfume box. He collected in a box a bunch of different kinds of scents – vanilla, grape, chocolate and so on. The aim of the experiment is to show that smells change how things taste.

Since smell and taste happen to be important parts of many experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, this could be great. The child asks a blindfolded volunteer to take a sip of juice while smelling different kinds of smells. The aim is to prove that things taste different when they smell different – even if they actually taste the same.

You might want to try this one for your child's next school science experiment.

Retiring and Have Aging Parents to Take Care Of?

These days, people can expect to live for so long that people in retirement have aging parents to take care of. People never used to have to deal with these problems before when people lived to about 75 only. 

It sounds like it isn't enough anymore for people to plan to support themselves during their golden years. They also need to find ways to support their parents – who often happen to be laid up with debilitating diseases like Alzheimer's.

It happens over and over again in households across the country. People approaching 60 happily plan out their retirement, setting aside enough money to buy their grandkids presents and travel to places, now that they finally have time and money.

And then, the parents of the retiring couple begin to have their health deteriorate. By the time the retiring couple reaches 65, they realize that the medical bills for their parents are thousands of dollars every month and there's going to be no retirement for them.

As the baby boomers reach retirement age at around 65, a large number of them find that far be it that their children should take care of them; they have parents themselves who need caring for. It's a crushing burden.

One out of five Americans cares for aging parents. And it's a number that's been rising steadily. Not only does caring for parents cost one money, it costs one time away from one's job for doctors’ appointments and so on.

Experts believe that every person over 50 will lose a quarter million dollars in lost wages and benefits caring for an elderly person.

One needs to find some kind of balance between caring for one's aging parents and looking out for one's own interests. Boomers approaching retirement do see the problem and they have been investing with a great deal of urgency, taking risks like never before for better returns.

Financial planners are often worried about how desperate they seem to make a little extra in returns. They suggest that caregivers need to set aside separate savings for these things and start when they are young.

They believe that these funds should be invested in dividend paying stocks so that they may use that kind of income for the care they gives.

Some people carelessly forego the tax savings they could get paying their parents’ medical bills themselves. They just write a check to the parent.

If they could instead pay the bills directly themselves, they could get a deduction on their tax return. They can also have lighten their capital gains taxes by giving stock as a gift to a parent.

Young people today need to look ahead and plan for this well in time. It could save so much money if one could get one’s parents to sign up for long-term care insurance early on.

At the very least, it could take care of nursing home fees which could run into tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Some people believe that they should just give up their jobs and be caregivers themselves so they can save on that money. But that doesn't make any sense. When one gives up a job, one only sets himself up for the kind of poverty those aging parents face.

Adolescent Parenting Demands Patience

While every generation of adolescents faces different challenges, today's adolescents are growing up in a world that is in perhaps more societal trouble than ever before.

This puts a huge burden on the adolescent, new to this road to adulthood. Adolescent parenting skills are certainly pressed as well.

Sure, in our generation, there were drugs and alcohol available, but it certainly wasn't de rigeur or so much in your face. Now, kids report that even at the middle school level, almost every substance that can be abused is readily available at school!

Kids are found to carry weapons to school, with sometimes disastrous results. A lack of supervision and adequate discipline is surely contributory.

You combine these factors with the normal developmental adolescent issues and you may well wonder, what's a parent to do? Every parent does their best, but adolescent parenting skills are far more complex than a generation ago.

Nonetheless, there are two characteristics that are still essential to good adolescent parenting: patience and a good memory.

Every parent of an adolescent knows that kids in this age group can be, shall we say, difficult and at times, somewhat or downright irrational. You say, “Good Morning, sweetie!”. The unexpected response? “I wish you'd stop calling me that! That's for babies!”

Although you meant no offense, you need to put on a smile. Apologize, letting them know it's just a sweet name you've gotten used to addressing them with and you'll try not to say it again.

Now, some of you may be raising your eyebrows, wondering why you should be apologizing to an insolent child. Don't you remember when old Aunt Ivy would pinch your teenage cheeks in front of your friends, with a “Ooh, you're just so cute!” It was mortifying.

So remember, at this age, teens are very sensitive about certain topics, just as you were. As soon as a kid hits 12 or 13, they start to feel very grown up and well able to do without your well meant advice.

So cut the kids some slack and this score and choose your battles wisely. Lord knows there are sufficient issues of merit in which to exercise your adolescent parenting skills – you certainly don't need to look for additional conflicts.

Patience is absolutely essential. Every stage of parenting requires patience, but perhaps none so much as during the adolescent years.

Dress often becomes a major issue, requiring a close examination of what's being worn to school. You don't want skirts too short or pants falling off, but again, kids are exploring their individuality, so as long as it's decent wear, don't make too much of a fuss.

What's cool today may not be so next week. They get through it and move on and mature.

Today, adolescent parenting skills need to focus on being able to communicate well with your teens, such that you can have frank discussions and real talk about the elements of society that pose great dangers to your kids.

Drug and alcohol use and abuse are rampant in the schools. Either can lead to violence. Peer pressure is great. Don't alienate your kids over the petty stuff.

Get online and check out some of the parenting forums. Browse the self help section at the bookstore. Educate yourself to their reality! It's up to you to be ahead of the curve on adolescent parenting.

These Disney DVD Movies Certain to Entertain Your Children

My wife and I are always looking for ways for our children to entertain themselves. We have found that Disney DVD movies are almost always a popular choice.

We like for them to go outside, and we certainly prefer for them to spend most of their free time outdoors, but there are those times when it is rainy, too hot or too cold, and they just want to watch some television or a movie.

When we first got married and realized we wanted to start a family, we decided to go out and buy a boat load of Disney DVD movies that we knew our children would like.

We bought such movies as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Lady and the Tramp” and many more that we both watched as children and absolutely loved.

We knew that we were playing it smart, because there is just something about Disney DVD movies that make you feel good inside.

As our children have grown up, we practically raised them on Disney DVD movies for a number of reasons. They are good, clean movies where you really don't have to worry about what they are picking up.

Also, almost all of those movies have great messages to them from which kids learn how to behave and how to treat other people. There are a lot worse ways that a child can spend his or her time.

Then there is the fact that most Disney DVD movies are entertaining. I know, personally, that I can still watch any number of Disney movies and find myself engaged.

Perhaps it is the fact that I grew up on them as well and I am just feeling nostalgic, but I think it's more because most of those movies have really good story lines that keep the viewer's interest.

I talked to my daughter the other day because I was trying to get an idea of a good movie for her and her friends to watch during a slumber party. I asked her if she could think about it for a while and get back to me, and before I could leave the room, she already had her answer.

She and her friends wanted to watch “The Little Mermaid,” because of all the Disney DVD movies we own, this is her absolute favorite. What I like the most about it is that she had already planned on asking me if they could watch the movie.

Disney DVD movies are a great source of entertainment for young people and adults alike. My wife and I will always have our movie collection stocked full of them and I hope my children follow suit.