Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

I am a lay Parent Advocate assisting parents of children with disabilities in school IDEA, 504 and SST meetings. I am a former CHADD and LDA Coordinator, graduate of the 1st GA Advocacy Office PLSP legal training course and most importantly parent of two children with various disabilities.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Zero Tolerance Policies

Carol SadlerSpecial Education Consultant/AdvocateGA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate770-442-83571105 Rock Pointe LookWoodstock, GA 30188CarolSadler@bellsouth.netwww.IEPadvocate4You.com

American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Policies Report on Zero Tolerance

"Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track" is a 64 page report on Zero Tolerance and its effects on students in three metropolitan areas. I thought the recommendations especially might be useful to delinquency and CAFL defenders, special ed advocates, parents and educators even in those areas not part of the study. Thanks to Jim Peacock and his "Zero Intelligence Daily Update" for alerting me to this document.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Semantic/Pragmatic Language Disorders

Many children with AD/HD, Asperger's, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Non-Verbal LD, Bipolar, etc. have co-occurring Semantic/Pragmatic Language Disorders. If you have a child who is having difficulty with social skills, social language, making and keeping friends, understanding jokes and teasing, understanding social cues, understanding common idioms and expressions used in language, using inappropriate language with peers and teachers, have the school system evaluate through a comprehensive Speech/Language assessment for a Semantic/Pragmatic Language Disorder. Make your request in writing, ask for both formal and informal tests, and ask that the evaluation be comprehensive.

These children take everything literally. They do not understand when you are joking or teasing, and can become very defensive, or clueless. Everything is black and white to them and very concrete.

Here are some links and suggestions for testing below.

Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Social Communication Tests

Pragmatics Eligibility

What is Semantic-pragmatic Disorder?

Semantic and Pragmatic Difficulties

Conversational characteristics of children with semantic-pragmatic disorder.


Pragmatics, Socially Speaking

Pragmatic Language Tips

Questioning the validity of the semantic-pragmatic syndrome diagnosis

The Social Thinking Philosophy

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder

Semantic-Pragmatic Difficulties

Can Social Pragmatic Skills Be Tested?

Social Pragmatic Language Disorder

Additional Note:
I had a client get an excellent Semantic/Pragmatic evaluation from their school system. The SLP (Speech/Language Therapist)administered the following Formal tests:
CASL (Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language) - the entire test was administered to show child's strengths and weaknesses,
TLC (Test of Language Competence Expanded Edition),
The Listening Test, TOPS (Test of Problem Solving),

Informal Tests - She also did three informal functional pragmatic language assessments.

First -
She read this child two stories to see if he could meaning out of these stories. Keep in mind this is very smart 10 year old with excellent verbal skills who has AD/HD and possible Aspergers. She read him the "The First Snow" by David Christiana and it was chosen for its abstract content. The 2nd book was "The Enormous Crocodile" by Ronald Dahl. This book is also fiction but less abstract than the first book requiring much less inferential knowledge. This child had extreme difficulty with the first book and understanding the meaning of the story, he didn't get it. 2nd book, he had no problems.

Second -
Peer Interaction - Barrier Game
The initial activity with this child and a peer was a barrier game in which they were each given a variety of objects, blocks, and shapes of multiple colors. Each child had the exact same objects and colors then a barrier was placed between them. The tasks was for Child A to first build a structure using the blocks and objects and describe his structure in such a way that Child B was able to build the same exact structure. The second task was for Child A to listen to Child B describe how to build the structure and again have the same structure when completed. Throughout this task it is both Child A and Child B's responsibility to ensure that communication is occurring in such a manner that they are successful in their buildings. Only verbal communication can be used with no use of hand gestures. Repair of breakdown of communication must also be verbal. This exercise can be used to show how difficult it is for a child with Pragmatic language issues to communicate successfully with his peers.

Third -
Child A and Child B were asked to learn three things about each other that they could report back to the therapist. The therapist left the table and went to her desk as a way of requiring the two to communicate without external assistance.

Not only did this therapist give us the test results of all the Formal and Informal tests, she provided clear examples of this child's extreme pragmatic language deficits by giving us the questions and some of his "unusual and inappropriate" responses from each of these tests. This helped the parents (and teachers) understand how this disorder is affecting this child.

A SLP can also administer the TOPL (Test of Pragmatic Language), and there are Informal Pragmatic Language Rating Scales that can be given to teachers and parents to fill out.

So make suggestions of tests to be used, and ask for a very comprehensive evaluation!

IDEA 2004 Summaries & Comparisons

Summaries of IDEA 2004 that are publicly available:

CCD summary:

Congressional Research Service Summary:

Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys
COPAA's comparison between IDEA 97 and IDEA 04
does as a redline,by marking up the changes to the statute: or to download individual sections

Natl Assn of State Directors of Special Education side-by-side
look on the right side of the page for ComparisonIDEA 97...and its the NASDSE side-by-side forfree

Orange County School Board/Natl School Board Assocation:

Wrightslaw - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004

Use this information to get to know the changes made to IDEA
Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Interesting Facts on AD/HD & Learning Disabilities

Interesting Facts on AD/HD & Learning Disabilities

Prepared by Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
Carol Sadler © 2003
(May reproduce giving proper credit above)

Having AD/HD is like watching someone change the channels on the TV every few seconds... You can get a general idea of what is going on, but you miss most of the content.

Having AD/HD is like being put into a dark room with things scattered around to trip you. You don't get a flashlight but everyone else does... when you finally learn your way around, someone moves you to another room.

Statistics and Facts from CHADD and various sources including the book "Teaching the Tiger" co-authored by Sheryl Pruitt:

3-5% of school-age children and approximately 2-4% of adults have AD/HD a neurobiological disorder. Although individuals with AD/HD can be very successful in life, without identification and proper treatment AD/HD can have serious consequences, including school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse.

Boys are 3 times more likely to have the disorder than girls. Girls are more likely to have the Inattentive type of AD/HD.

70% of children with AD/HD will continue exhibit symptoms of AD/HD in adulthood.

70-80% of children with AD/HD respond positively to psycho-stimulant medication.

69% of people with AD/HD have other co-occurring disorders such as Anxiety 25-40%, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) 10-30%, Depression 10-47%, Bipolar 20%, ODD (Oppositional-Defiant Disorder) 40%, CD (Conduct Disorder) 25-50%, Tics and Tourette's Syndrome 7% (but 60% of those with Tourette's also have AD/HD), Learning Disabilities 50%, Autism Spectrum Disorders, etc.

Speech/Language/Pragmatic difficulty/disorders, Social Skills (playing, social relationships, keeping & making friendships), Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (sensitivity to light and/or touch, food aversions, clothes tags & seams of socks bothersome), Executive Function Disorder (not being able to organize, prioritize, use feedback, plan, initiate, pace, self monitor or self-correct), CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), and Apraxia or Dysapraxia (motor functioning - Speech & Global), Hypotonia - (low muscle tone), and Ocular Motor Disorder are all additional problems that can occur with AD/HD.

Giftedness, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety Disorders, and Depression/Bi-Polar can all mimic AD/HD and display the same symptoms. A thorough neuropsychological evaluation is necessary to rule out other disorders and/or co-morbid disabilities.

Children with AD/HD can have a 1-3 year developmental delay cognitively, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Age equivalents are approximately 2/3 of the student's chronological age.

Parenting an AD/HD child is like parenting 3 normal children. AD/HD children usually do not respond to traditional discipline methods. Positive behavior management strategies with rewards and Time-Out (used only for the child to regain self control and not as a punishment method) tend to be more effective.

AD/HD is not caused by poor parenting, food allergies, or too much sugar in the child's diet. AD/HD is highly genetic and tends to run in families. Head trauma, problems at birth, prematurity, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) are other causes.

45% of children with AD/HD have language difficulties and/or disorders, this occurs more often in girls than boys. These difficulties may or may not be reflected in standard IQ testing, and additional Speech/Language testing is recommended.

90% of children with AD/HD have handwriting problems (fine motor delay) and 1/3 of children with AD/HD have a Written Expression learning disability. They may also have Dysgraphia, a handwriting learning disability.

1/3 of children with AD/HD are back at home at age 30, or many do not leave home until later in life.

Driving teens with AD/HD are:

-involved in accidents approximately four times more often than control subjects (those without the disorder) (1.5% vs. .4%)

-more likely to receive traffic citations compared to control subjects (78% vs. 47%), and those citations were most often issued for speeding and stop sign violations

-nearly seven times as likely to be involved in two or more crashes (40% vs. 6%)

-over four times more likely to be at fault for the accidents in which they were involved (48% vs. 11%).

2000 Statistics From LDAG (Learning Disabilities Association of GA) :

2.8 million students are currently receiving special education services for learning disabilities in the US. (1)

52% of students receiving special education services through the public schools are identified as having learning disabilities. (1)

Add another 4% to include OHI (Other Health Impaired category), which AD/HD falls under and you have 56% of students in the two categories of LD & OHI.

Approximately 85% of all individuals with learning disabilities have difficulties in the area of reading. (2)

35% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school. This is twice the rate of students without learning disabilities. Of those who do graduate, less than two percent attend a four-year college, despite the fact that many are above average in intelligence. (1)

While equal numbers of girls and boys have been found to have reading disabilities, boys are three times more likely to be evaluated and treated. (4)


(1) U.S. Department of Education (2000). To assure the free appropriate public education of all children with disabilities. Twenty-second annual report to congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Bock, R. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Extramural Program in Learning Disabilities. Rockville, MD: NICHD Public Information and Communications Branch. National Longitudinal Transition Study. Conducted between 1987-1993 by SRI International, under contract number 300-87-0054 with the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.

(4) Shaywitz S E;Shaywitz B A;Fletcher J M; Escobar MD. (1990). Prevalence of reading disability in boys and girls. Results of reading of the Connecticut Longitudinal Study (see comments). Journal of the American Medical Association, 264(8):998-1002. Abstract:

Monday, March 14, 2005

ESY - Extended School Year

----- Original Message -----
From: Carol Sadler
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 9:36 AM
Subject: [GA-ADHDe-news] ESY - Extended School Year

FYI - It's getting time to schedule those meetings with your schools to discuss ESY. Do not let the schools jump past the ESY portion in your IEP meeting and merely tell you your child doesn't qualify (no regression). Regression is NOT the only requirement for ESY, I've bolded important information below.

Also, don't let the school tell you ESY is traditional summer school, it is not, although it can be if it is appropriate to meet the child's IEP goals.

Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Extended School Year (ESY)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations requirethat ESY services be considered annually for every child with a disability.An ESY Program of services in the summer or weekends, must be provided if needed to make a student's education program appropriate. "Under the law, aschool district may not limit ESY services for children with particular categories of disabilities, and may not limit the type, amount or durationof ESY." (Ed Law Center - PA)

A school system cannot use a "lack ofavailable funds" argument to deny ESY services to a child with a disability.School districts must look at issues beyond regression or recoupment whendetermining ESY eligibility.

ESY is NOT traditional summer school, but rather an extension of an individual child's education plan!

The following is taken from: It is a summary of judicial decisions regarding ESY.

Extended School Year
by Rose Kraft

Since the precedent for extended school year programming was set in the Armstrong v. Kline case in Philadelphia, in a large number of instances the courts have been asked to determine the eligibility of individual children for extended school year services. This summary looks at the judicial decisions that have been rendered regarding this issue.

Judges and lawmakers have made significant decisions during the last 20 years, which define extended school year (ESY) services for childen with disabilities. Several district court cases, beginning with Armstrong v. Kline (1979) and culminating with Reusch v. Fountain (1994), shaped thecurrent federal regulations. For the first time in the history of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), these regulations require that ESY services be considered annually for every child with a disability. Each team that develops an individual education plan (IEP) for achild must decide if ESY services are necessary so that the child can avoid regression, a lengthy recoupment of lost skills, or other difficulties that could interfere with the education plan.

The first significant case in this arena was the Armstrong case, in which the judge ruled that a mandated 180-day school year violated a child's right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE), specifically in reference to children with severe and profound impairments or severe emotional disturbances. The court stated that, "By its terms, the Act (meaning the Education for All Handicapped Children Act) appears to demand that the state supply instruction designed to meet all of the handicapped child's "unique needs" without limitation." The court also required state and local school districts "to provide an education to handicapped children in excess of 180 days," as determined by each child's needs.

This case defined that a school system's goal for these severely affected children should be self-sufficiency, which could require providing more thanthe same 180 days to disabled children that is provided to non disabled children. This case was upheld on appeal by the circuit court, which agreed that, "For some, but not all, SPI and SED children, standing in the way of the attainment of some of these objectives (for self-sufficiency) is the effect of breaks in the educational program which are created, at least inpart, by the 180 day rule." The court also noted that recoupment time for lost skills is "usually much greater" for children with disabilities.

Once the courts ordered state and local school systems to provide more than 180 days of school per year to some children with disabilities, families across the nation began taking their school systems to court. In Stacey G.v. Pasadena Independent School District (1982), a 12-month program without major breaks was ruled necessary for a child with autism and severe mental retardation. In Georgia Association for Retarded Citizens v. McDaniel (1983), the court ruled that a school system cannot use a "lack of available funds" argument to deny ESY services to a child with a disability. A school system must look at the child's needs, rather than at its budget, when determining summer services for a child. The judge in Alamo Heights Independent School District v. State Board of Education (1986) noted that transportation services must be part of the ESY package for a child, even if the bus must get that child from a babysitter's out-of-district home.

The case of Bucks County Public Schools v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1987) showed that academic regression isn't the only qualification for ESY eligibility. The judge in the Bucks County case stated that regression in emotional development for severely emotionally disturbed children is often "caused by interruptions in the educational programming," and ordered that prediction of regression in emotional development qualifies as a need for ESY. Holmes v. Sobol (1988) was a significant case because it found that physical therapy was a related service that could be provided for ESY, and further ruled that a related service can be a sole special education program. This case stated that without the maintenance of physical strength through therapy, the child would not be able to benefit from his general education. In Williams v. Gering Public Schools (1990), the parents of a child with multiple disabilities believed that a 12-month program could only be provided for their child in a residential placement. This court agreed that the child needed a 12-month school program in order to receive a free appropriate public education, but did not require that it be provided in a residential facility. The court ordered the school district to provide the12-month program at a local facility for multi handicapped children, specifying that an interruption from one school to another just for a summer program would provide an unacceptable level of regression for the child.

Reusch v. Fountain (1994) blasted a Maryland school district for deceptive and purposeful policies which sought to deprive children of ESY services.The school district had (a) refused to notify parents of a child's eligibility for ESY services, (b) written misleading letters recommending asummer program that required tuition from the parents, (c) told schooladministrators to refer parents to central administration when they asked for ESY services, (d) purposely didn't mention ESY services until it was too late to deliver them, and (e) never told parents they had a right to request ESY services. The judge used strong language as he set the parameters for ESY policies for children with disabilities. "The MCPS practice of inadequate and untimely ESY notice must cease. Notice of ESY designed to fully explain such services must be provided to parents of disabled childrenin a timely fashion before annual review meetings. The notice must not disguise or downplay the true nature of ESY or attempt to confuse parents between free extended year services and tuition-charging summer enrichmentprograms." The court went further and required that additional criteria be considered in addition to regression and recoupment time when considering achild for ESY services. The court decided that "emerging skills" and"breakthrough opportunities" (as when a child is on the brink of learning to read) -- can and should be incorporated into the eligibility analysis." A fixed-length program was also ruled illegal by this court, which ordered the school district to "make individualized determinations of the number of weeks, days per week, and hours per day that each student receiving ESYshould be provided.

"While litigation continued in courtrooms across the country, the Office of Special Education Programs and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote policy letters, which provided interpretation of the federal regulations for school districts. The Office of Civil Rights wrote letters of finding which defined when the denial of ESY services violated a person's civil rights. Together these letters provided parallel support for the court decisions by (a) defining ESY criteria and related services in an ESY program, (b) requiring school districts to look at issues beyond regression or recoupment when determining ESY eligibility, (c)emphasizing the need to set higher ESY standards than simply working toward self-sufficiency, (d) refusing to allow school districts to offer ESYprograms that were available only to the most severely disabled children,and (e) requiring that integration with nondisabled peers be provided in ESYprograms if required by the IEP.

The result of the court cases and substantive letters has led to the written federal regulations, which describe how ESY services are to be implemented according to IDEA. The regulations define ESY as "special education and related services" which (a) go beyond the normal school year, (b) are addressed and mandated by the IEP, and (c) are free to the parents. The regulations also require that ESY services are available to each child with a disability and, "The determination of whether a child with a disability needs extended school year services must be made on an individual basis by the child's IEP team." 34 CFR ? 300.309 (1997).

The regulations also add two notes clarifying these definitions. The first note states that school districts cannot limit ESY services to "particular categories of disability or unilaterally limit the duration of services."The second note gives states the authority to set standards for use in determining ESY eligibility "on an individual basis," suggesting the consideration of factors such as the "likelihood of regression, slow recoupment, and predictive data based on the opinion of professionals.

Alamo Heights Independent School District v. State Board of Education,
Education for the Handicapped Law Report 554:315 (5th Cir. 1986).
Armstrong v. Kline, Education for the Handicapped Law Report 551:195 (E.D.Pa. 1979). Baltimore (MD) City Public Schools (1986).
Office of Civil Rights Letter of Finding, Education for the Handicapped Law Review 352:185.Battle v. Commonwealth,
Education for the Handicapped Law Report 551:647(3rd Cir. 1980).
Bucks County Public Schools v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Education forthe Handicapped Law Report 559:153 (Commonwealth Ct. of Pa. 1987).
Davila, R. R. (1990, Nov.).
Office of Special Education and RehabilitativeServices Policy Letter, 17 Education for the Handicapped Law Review 419.
Georgia Association for Retarted Citizens v. McDaniel, Education for theHandicapped Law Report 555:251 (11th Cir. 1983).
Holmes v. Sobol, Education of the Handicapped Law Report 559:463 (W.D. Ny.1988).
Mesa (AZ) Public Schools (1989).
Office of Civil Rights Letter of Finding,16 Education for the Handicapped Law Review 316.
Reusch v. Fountain, 21 Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Report1107 (D. Md. 1994).
Schrag, J. A. (1989, Aug.). Office of Special Education Programs PolicyLetter, Education for the Handicapped Law Review 213:255.
Stacey G. v. Pasadena Indep endent School District, Education for theHandicapped Law Report 554:206 (S.D. Tx. 1982).
Turnbull, H.R. III, & Turnbull, A.P. (1998).
Free appropriate public education: The law and children with disabilities (5th ed.).
Denver, CO:Love Publishing Company.Will, M. (1987, Aug.).
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Policy Letter, Education for the Handicapped Law Review 211:481.
Williams v. Gering Public Schools, 17 Education ofthe Handicapped Law Report427 (Ne. S. Ct. 1990).

Extended School Year Services (ESY) - Info from

Many parents have questions about extended school year services. If you have questions about a legal issue, you should do your own legal research. Do not accept legal advice from school personnel. While they may tell you what they believe is true, in many cases, they have not read the law and regulations for themselves. You need to know what the law and regulations say!

Read what the IDEA statute says about your issue. Next read the federal regulations and your state special ed regulations about your issue. (the IDEA statute and regulations are in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and in the Statute and Regs section of the Wrightslaw site)

Next read a case or two about your issue (check the Caselaw Library). If you take these steps, you will have a clear understanding of the issues and variables.

You will find that extended school year (ESY) is not mentioned in the IDEA statute, but is in the IDEA regulations. Read the IDEA regulation about ESYat 34 CFR Section 300.309 (page 165, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law).

We selected two cases about ESY to help you understand these issues: Daniel Lawyer v. Chesterfield and Reusch v. Fountain. For more information, check the Topics Pages - especially the FAPE and IEP pages.

"Windows of Opportunity": Lawyer v. Chesterfield School Board (1993)Danny Lawyer is a young child with autism. At age six, he had expressive language and phonological processing problems. The experts who evaluated and treated Danny advised his parents that his ability to beself-sufficient and independent later in life would depend on his ability tocommunicate. During the summer, Danny regressed in his ability to communicate. His behavior deteriorated. His school district refused to provide any speech language therapy during the summer months - and refused to reimburse his parents for the services they purchased for their son. The parents requested a special education due process hearing and prevailed. The school district appealed. The Review Officer overturned the Hearing Officer's decision. The case was appealed to Federal Court.

After reviewing the record and hearing new testimony, Judge Spencer concluded, "Regression is not the only factor" in deciding if a child needs ESY services. The judge listed several additional factors that IEP teams should consider in making ESY decisions:
Recoupment in the Fall;
Child's rate of progress;
Child's behavioral or physical problems;
Availability of alternative resources;
Areas of the child's curriculum that need continuous attention;
Child's vocational needs.

In "Lawyer," Judge Spencer discussed regression and recoupment. He also discussed the need to take advantage of "windows of opportunity" in educating children with disabilities: "Danny's regression in the summer, coupled with nominal recoupment, severely limits the educational benefits he receives from instruction during the school year. His rate of progress isminimized by the interplay of continuous regression and recoupment.""Moreover, Danny's behavioral problems are compounded by his severe language deficit. His inability to effectively communicate triggers unacceptable behavior. Therefore, it is critical that Danny be provided with continuous speech and communication services." "Finally, the evidence provided by expert witnesses indicates that for children who suffer from moderate to severe childhood autism, there is a small, but vital, window of opportunityin which they can effectively learn. Such period is generally between theages of five and eight years old....The Court concludes that it is extremely important that at this critical stage of development, Danny receive uninterrupted speech language therapy.

"Read the decision in Lawyer v. Chesterfield.

Hostility to Providing ESY: Reusch v. Fountain (1994) In Reusch v. Fountain, 872 F.Supp. 1421 (D. MD 1994), a federal court addressed the school districts "hostility to providing ESY." In this case,the court found that parents were prevented from advocating for their children by the districts refusal to provide parents with notice about their right to request these services. The district also engaged in delaying tactics by requiring parents to attend futile meetings. The court found that, in this district, administrative convenience took precedence over providing FAPE to children with disabilities. Educational decisions were not individualized according to the needs of the child.

Six Factors for IEP Teams to Consider

In Reusch v. Fountain, the court listed six factors that the IEP team shouldconsider in deciding if the child is eligible for ESY as a related service:

1. Regression and recoupment - is the child likely to lose critical skills or fail to recover these skills within in a reasonable time;
2. Degree of progress toward IEP goals and objectives;
3. Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities - Will a lengthy summer break cause significant problems for a child who is learning a key skill, likereading;
4. Interfering Behavior - does the childs behavior interfere with his or her ability to benefit from special education;
5. Nature and/or severity of disability;
6. Special circumstances that interfere with childs ability to benefit from special education.

Citing Pete's case, Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, the District Court found that: "In any contest between systematic efficiency and the provision of FAPE to a disabled child, Congress and the Supreme Court have made it clear that the child must prevail."

Other findings:

Notice and Timing - The importance of making a decision about ESY early enough in the school year to allow the parents adequate time to exercisetheir rights administrative review or appeal in a timely fashion. That the explanation about ESY contained in a brochure distributed to all studentswas not sufficient and ordered that the student's eligibility for ESY be considered at each annual review meeting, and the parents sign a form acknowledging their receipt of this information. The district must documentthe discussion and the decision reached after consideration of ESYeligibilty at each annual review meeting.

Content and Duration - The content of child's ESY program must be determined on an individual basis. The duration is also based on individualized determinations of the number of weeks, days per week,and hours per day that each student receiving ESY should be provided.

Copyright 1999-2002, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright.

Atlanta - COPAA Conference

I have just returned from the COPAA Conference. I had SO much fun, and met SO many wonderful people, and got SO much great advice and tips, and learned SO much. It was GREAT to see SO many wonderful advocates and attorneys attend from GA, and from around the Nation. I got to meet people from the disability list servs that I have never met before, we got to all sit around, talk and network. It made me really realize that we really do have a GREAT bunch of people who care about children and families with disabilities, both here in GA, and Nationally.

I want to thank Dawn Smith and the conference committee for organizing the COPAA Conference here in Atlanta. Dawn did a GREAT job. She was also a GREAT speaker and taught us alot about the new IDEA...... Torin and Leslie were GREAT speakers as well. GA was very well represented!!

I also want to thank Angela Collins, President of ASA-GA and K&L Solutions (Linda & Joey) for bringing ALL the supplies for the COPAA informal party last night. GA Children's Network (GCN) members & PLSP Advocates were great hosts and we really showed our Southern Hospitality!! What a good job they did, and everyone had a great time. COPAA members really do know how to party!! :)

Several of the PLSP grads want to get together and do a GCN networking luncheon in Gwinnett in the next couple of weeks. Sharon Capers & Anne Ladd are looking for a restaurant. Maybe Olive Garden at Gwinnett Place Mall. We want to get together and talk about what we learned at the Conference, and share info with others who could not attend.

I would encourage those of you who attended to share information with the list. We learned so much, it is hard to remember everything, but if everyone submitted their favorite things, we might cover it all eventually!!

Also, those of you who can afford to do so might be interested in making a donation to the Beth Goodman Scholarship Fund, so that COPAA can send more parents/advocates to the Conference next year, which I understand is going to be in Phoenix.

Finally, thanks to all the leaders and members of COPAA for having such a wonderful conference (here in Atlanta)!! It was great to meet you all finally face to face, and to see some old friends. I would encourage those of you who are not members of COPAA to join COPAA and participate on their fabulous list serv. COPAA needs us all and I would encourage everyone to help this wonderful and important organization financially AND volunteer on various committees so more can be done.

P.S. for the COPAA list serv - I take NO responsibility for the botched Atlanta weather report. They really did say Tuesday there would be snow maybe Wed. & Sat. :) Instead, you guys got to enjoy some of our beautiful Atlanta weather!!

Now, signing off to read and digest all my wonderful COPAA materials!! AND rest!!

Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Monday, March 07, 2005

Carol Sadler - ADD Expert Speaker on OFI, March 17 at 8:00pm

OFI - The Optimal Functioning Institute
The oldest, most comprehensive ADD Coach Training program in the world!

Event Details
Select "Register" below to enroll in a Event.

Carol Sadler: The Difference is in the Details (Spectrum Overlap)
Led By: Madelyn Griffith-Haynie
Starts: 03/17/2005 at 8:00 pm
Schedule: Thursday, March 17 at 8:00 pm 1 Session, for 1 Hour
Tuition: Free

About this program:
The ADD Expert Speakers Series
one of OFI's ADD Hours™
brought to you by
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC and The Optimal Functioning Institute™
through the generosity of our Speakers -- who volunteer their expertise for the benefit of all.

March topic: The Difference is in the Details

ABOUT the speaker:

A former CHADD & LDA Coordinator, Carol Sadler is a special educational advocate, coach as well as therapist for many of her clients. The foundation for her extensive knowledge base came from seven years of investigative efforts to help her own children. With personal experience with ADHD & OCD, she stays current with ADHD, comorbid disabilities as well as advocacy issues through her work as a professional advocate and consulting with a special education attorney.

She currently moderates five ADD listservs - which she founded - offering e-mail support for individuals looking for help and information, each serving specific segments of a similar population.

As a result of ongoing research and experience in the field, she is adept at screening her clients and figuring out what's "wrong" with them, which is critical in getting them both the medical and educational help they need.
ABOUT the Focus of the Hour:

Carol Sadler believes that no professional can truly offer help to a child or adult with disabilities until they know exactly what they are dealing with. OFI observes that we rarely find much of anything we don't know to look for and that, without a fairly good "picture" to compare with what we do find, it is highly likely that we will misunderstand or misidentify what jumps out at us.

So what might that include for those of us who work professionally with ADDers?
According to the NIH study, 69% of the individuals with ADD have at least one comorbid disorder . . . so that statistic indicates that two thirds of the population we serve exhibits additional co-existing symptoms, syndromes or conditions in combination with their presenting diagnosis -- in statistically significant numbers greater than we find in the general population.
Which ALSO means fewer than one third of the ADDers we work with have ADD in isolation.

Are we looking for what we need to find in the remaining two thirds?
Even more important, do we know what to do with what we find?

Some other statistics put forth about ADD comorbidities include:
mood disorders (15-20%)
anxiety disorders (20-25%)
oppositional defiant disorder (up to 40%)
conduct disorder (15-20%)
learning disabilities (15-25%)
language disorders (30-35%)
and the anecdotal report that up to 75% of ADDers have comorbid sleep disorders.

When the presenting diagnosis is something other than ADD, it gets more complicated still. Up to 60% percent of children with tic disorders also have ADD, for example.
More recently, we have begun to identify a growing number of ADD/Aspergers overlaps, and a diagnosis that still puzzles many of us: ADD/PDDNOS -- Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not Otherwise Specified.

What's Going ON?

The association between comorbid disorders may reflect an underlying vulnerability to "related" disorders, a causal relationship between one disorder and another, or may turn out to be unrelated to any common etiology or vulnerability at all! As a field, we are still unsure of the reason for the overlaps, even as most of us understand and agree with the importance of looking for them.

Those of us who work with ADDers realize how common it is to find impairments in cognitive processing that are not "officially" part of the ADD Diagnosis as described in the DSM.
We have come to expect that part of our work with ADDers will include, to varying degrees and in various combinations, working with challenges of memory, sequencing, motor skills, social skills, modulation of emotional response and reactions to discipline, trouble with transitions and difficulties with time.

Apart from the corroborating studies, we have observed in our practices that overlapping diagnoses are frequently discovered in individuals clinically treated for ADD and, sadly,
almost as frequently overlooked.
How can we HELP?

As a field, the more we each understand the nuances and implications of attentional spectrum disorders, the better we become at helping those we work with learn to manage their lives successfully, turning their "disorder" into a "difference" that, ideally, can become a strength.

In order to help Adults and children with ADD effectively, all ADD professionals need to possess a general understanding of each of the co-morbid disorders and an excellent understanding of the ones exhibited by the individuals we work with.

At the same time, the scope of the task demands the development of resources within our communities so that we can refer our clients when appropriate or necessary.
If the difference IS in the details, we need to develop procedures that allow us to capture those details.

This month's expert speaker has volunteered to share expertise gained through her experience with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, as well as her favorite intake questions -- the "camera" she uses to take a clear picture that will guide her in developing effective strategies, regardless of the combination of details in the picture. She will also share resources from the Georgia Children's Network.

Won't you join us? And please, plan to stick around for the "Post Game Wrap-Up" hour immediately following to ask questions, talk about the implications, and share your experience and expertise with the rest of us.

It takes a village to educate a world!

MORE about Carol Sadler:

More than anything else, she considers herself the proud mom of two lovely AD/HD daughters, ages 10 and 13. It wasn't until her 2nd daughter was diagnosed with ADD - Inattentive Type that she realized she was "the gene spreader" -- AD/HD herself.

In order to better support her children, both at home and school, she became a CHADD volunteer and LDA Coordinator in Atlanta for almost 4 years, currently working in private practice as a Special Education Consultant/Advocate, supporting parents in school meetings designed to accommodate their children's disabilities. In addition to her work with a private special education attorney, she often volunteers with the GA Advocacy Office Attorneys, representing parents who cannot afford a private attorney/advocate.

As a result of the combination of her children's disabilities, her work with various organizations, extensive personal research, and her own "inside knowledge" of ADD, Ms. Sadler has developed considerable expertise with issues of mental health, neurological and developmental disabilities, advocacy, and special education laws.

She continues to be an outspoken advocate for people with AD/HD and co-morbid disabilities, with far-reaching effectiveness through her disability listservs, which allow her to share advocacy information and details about ADD and co-morbid disorders with individuals around the world.

Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
Graduate of GA Advocacy Office - Parent Leadership Support Project I
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

Disability listservs founded and moderated by Carol Sadler
[further listserv details upon registration]

Register from link at BOTTOM of page:

Before you click to submit your registration, take a moment to make SURE that the information in the fields of your registration form is correct and that you have included your:
mailing address and
telephone number
Double-check to make sure that your email address is complete (including the part after the @) so that you will be able to receive the automatic confirmation and reminder email that will contain the Bridge number and pin, along with additional information

Intended Audience: The ADD Expert Speakers Series is one of OFI's ADD Hours™
Designed for ADD Professionals -- support for the people who provide the support!
Anyone working with ADDers in a professional capacity is welcome to attend.

As an accommodation for ADD, we extend blanket permission for the taping of any of OFI's ADD Hours™. Consider the possibility that anything you say on a bridge call may be recorded.

Although OFI Policy is that all tapes are confidential and for personal use ONLY, we cannot guarantee that everyone will be respectful.

We require that anyone who joins our calls register their identity with OFI, which we CAN guarantee will remain private.(We promise not to share your information with anyone EVER!)

Speaker's Series tapes, when permitted by the speaker, are often an exception to the confidentiality rule and usually may be shared. Calls taped "officially" will be for available for replay in some instances.
Announcements of replay dates for taped versions will be posted as Late Breaking News on our homepage, with registration available from a link posted to the OFI calendar.

Leader's Instructions: ABOUT List servs moderated by Carol Sadler --

GA-ADHDe-news - An on-line e-mail newsletter used to disseminate AD/HD and co-morbid disorder information to contacts and interested parties. Types of notices sent: support group meeting notices, advocacy info, local disability organization info, local school news, research, articles, and support information. This is not a list serv or discussion group, you will only receive notices from the group owner, and you cannot respond back to the list.

To view the website, go to .
To join the e-newsletter group, send an e-mail to

GA-ADHDParentSupport -This AD/HD discussion list is open to parents with children with AD/HD, professionals and others with an interest in AD/HD and co-morbid disorders.

To view the website, go to
To join , send an e-mail to

GA-ADHDAdultSupport - This AD/HD discussion list is open to adults with AD/HD, professionals and others with an interest in Adult AD/HD and co-morbid disorders.

To view the website, go to
To join , send an e-mail to

GA Children's Network - The GA Children's Network is an exciting listserv in Georgia designed to provide much needed information and support for parents and grandparents of children with special needs. Parents, advocates, attorneys and professionals are members of this list and will offer support and sound advice. Any topic, view, feeling, or concern is open and welcome for discussion, including but not limited to Disability Info, BCW (Babies Can't Wait), SST (Student Support Team), Special Education &; Civil Rights (ADA, IDEA, &; 504), appropriate medical care, and other such issues. This support is provided in an unbiased, safe forum moderated by parents of children with special needs.

This list will also be used to disseminate info related to all types of disability and advocacy information. Types of notices sent: various support group meeting notices, disability and advocacy info, local/national disability organization info, research, and misc. articles. Dedicated to supporting and helping disabled children, this list is thus restricted and requires detailed introductions and members to sign a confidentiality statement for protection of the children, members, and moderators which will be e-mailed to you when you subscribe.

To view the website, go to
To subscribe, send an e-mail to:

GA-AdvocatesNetwork – This is an exciting new list service designed to set up a State wide network of special needs Advocates in GA to disseminate information to each other and to discuss advocacy matters. We welcome parents and grandparents, advocates, professional advocates, non-profit agency advocates, educators and state department advocates.

To view the website, go to
To join, send an e-mail

Register for this Event

Sunday, March 06, 2005

An AD/HD Mother's Resolutions

An AD/HD Mother's Resolutions
by: Carol Sadler © 2004
An AD/HD Mom with two AD/HD (plus) Daughters
& Special Education Consultant/Advocate
(Permission to reprint giving proper credit)
(Printer-friendly version - requires Adobe Reader)

I always like to share my resolutions at the beginning of every year. I know many parents of children with various disabilities who can relate (and sympathize) with me, and those professionals who serve them.

One of the most important things I have learned along the way with my own children is that parents of children with disabilities need lots of stress relievers. Humor is one of the ways our family has learned to deal and cope with our challenges (it's a survival thing). Remember, it's ok to laugh with us, just not at us (there's a difference)!

1. I will not have a nervous breakdown after finding the purple nail polish poured all over the bathroom counter top, I will just take a picture and consider it "ART".

2. I will remain calm in my daughter's IEP when the teachers report to me that my child is manipulative and a liar, I will simply ask them "So, what's your point?". (This seems to be a standard complaint from schools regarding children with AD/HD, duhhhhh)

3. When my kids get older I will explain to them the meaning of "Piles" and teach them the technique of extracting the exact piece of paper you were looking for.

4. I will refrain from killing my sister-in-law for giving my children finger paint and a trumpet for their birthdays, I will simply "lose" them while they sleep.

5. When I lock my keys (with the car running) and my children (strapped in their carseats) in the car, I will explain to the 911 operator that it is not a joke, and I will finally remember to go straight to the hardware store and get a second set of keys.

6. I will never get in the car for a 10 hour road trip to the beach without first giving my husband two Valiums and my children their medication. Always remember, it is not "Vacation", it is merely "RELOCATION"!

7. I will be more empathetic & try harder not to laugh when my child's teacher calls from school and asks "Did you give your daughter her medication this morning? I don't recognize this child!" I will not take the opportunity to point out to this teacher that the child she is seeing is the one I see in the afternoon when she sends home two hours of homework. I will merely try harder to remember to set out my entire family's medication first thing in the morning, so I do not forget or re-dose.

8. When my daughters are grown, I will teach them the 10 minute shuffle before dad arrives from work, which consists of: sweeping/vacuuming/mopping the floors; picking up the toys, homework, hammer & nails; washing the paint off the cat; un-tying the dog from the trampoline; retrieving the bicycles from the front of the subdivision; and having a well balanced dinner (from Kentucky Fried Chicken) on the table when he walks through the door.

9. When the 4th Pharmacist in a row at midnight tells me that he is out of my children's Adderall, I will refrain from jumping over the counter and beating him to a pulp! (Reminder, never wait until the last minute to refill your kid's medication!!)

10. When I'm tired of my relatives telling me "There is nothing wrong with your children, they are just being kids", I will refrain from leaving them for a month (without their Ritalin!).

11. I will develop an ability to have a conversation with an adult that doesn't revolve around GA Children's Network, CHADD, LDA, IEP's, accommodations, Psychiatrist's, Psychologist's, emergency room visits, developing my children's social skills, or the differences between Ritalin/Concerta and stimulants/Strattera. (OK, well maybe not!)

12. I will always protect the rights of my children, especially their right to IDEA, Section 504, ADA and to be contributing members of society regardless of their disability! I will focus on their "Abilities", not their "Disabilities". I will continue to teach teachers that "FAIR" does not mean EQUAL" and tell them to "Occasionally challenge, but DON'T consistently frustrate"!

Carol Sadler © 2004

This article has been published in CHADD's "ATTENTION!" magazine, many local CHADD group newsletters, and several on-line AD/HD newsletters including AD/HD Storm Watch & ADDConsults.