|EDUCATION QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Q. I asked my daughter’s school to conduct a complete education evaluation because her grades are dropping. She is in 6th grade. They’re telling me she has average scores and just needs to try harder and that kids her age often become lazy. One teacher, who I like and respect, told me that she is more interested in talking with her neighbors than doing the independent work that is assigned. She has been an A student up until this year. She is becoming depressed and tells me that she is stupid and doesn’t want to go to school any more. She’s not lazy and I know that she is very bright. In the past she has been somewhat obsessive about completing her homework. But lately she becomes frustrated and tells me either she doesn’t have any or that she doesn’t know what she is supposed to do. The evaluations that the school psychologist provided showed average to superior scores and therefore the school will not consider providing her any extra help. We are at a loss as to what to do for her and are extremely concerned about her future.
Blaming the child when grades begin to drop is usually not helpful. Instead, it is important that someone takes on the role of being a detective and collect clues that may provide a more accurate and helpful reason. For instance, because teachers have told you that she is talking to neighbors instead of beginning work, this may be a clue that your daughter is possibly impacted by a processing delay which is a common related issue for students with TS. It is not indicative of her intellectual abilities but affects a person’s ability to process information at the same rate as a person who does not have this difficulty. It could also be that she is suppressing symptoms and/or having obsessive thoughts which interfere with her concentrating on what the teacher is saying. If any of these are impacting her, this may explain why she is engaging with her peers in an effort to determine what she is supposed to be doing. These could also be impacting her ability to remember specifically what to do for homework assignments.
However, as is always true when looking at clues regarding this complex and highly misunderstood disorder, these are only guesses. You may want to refer to the article titled “Understanding Behavioral Symptoms in Tourette: TS is More than Tics” (http://tsa-usa.org/Education/UnderstandingTSBehaviors.htm) to read about common related difficulties that may be negatively impacting her performance. You can then report your concerns to the school psychologist who can provide further assessments so that appropriate supports can be provided.
Ask the TSA Education Advisory Board a question about Education" - all questions
will be answered.
- Section 504 - provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law) which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discrimination against persons with disabilities
Section 504 Plan - A legal document outlining accommodations and modifications provided by the school so that a child is not discriminated against.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Federal Law - stated purpose (in Section 1400 (d)(1)) is “…to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected….”
IDEA specifically includes Tourette Syndrome under the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI)§300.8(c)(9)); the Department of Education explains why Tourette Syndrome is included under OHI:
"Discussion: ... we do believe that Tourette syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be a behavioral or emotional condition, rather than a neurological condition. Therefore, including Tourette syndrome in the definition of other health impairment may help correct the misperception of Tourette syndrome as a behavioral or conduct disorder and prevent the misdiagnosis of their needs.
Changes: We have added Tourette syndrome as an example of an acute or chronic health problem in §300.8(c)(9)(i)."
§300.8(c) "Definition of disability terms. The terms used in this definition of a child with a disability are defined as follows:
...(9) Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
(i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome; and
(ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance"
IDEA regulates Independent Education Programs (IEPs).
- IDEA Basics- audio and slides
- IEP (Individualized Education Program) - Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), designed for that student, and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP is developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) documenting the specific supports school personnel will be provided to enable the child to meet individualized academic and functional goals.
- in our online store - IEP Essentials for Parents - Publication #E128 (or downloadable E128DD) - Explains the basics of the IEP including what it is, the steps
to obtain one, the formal meeting process, eligibility, and developing an IEP.
- Understanding Assessments & Evaluations - audio and slides
- IEE (Independent Educational Evaluations) - audio and slides
- LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) - students with disabilities must be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate - audio and slides
- F.A.P.E. - Section 504 and the IDEA require that a Free and Appropriate Public Education be provided to all eligible students who attend school which receives funds from the US Dept. of Education.
- FERPA - Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. A Federal statute with the purposes of ensuring that parents have access to their children's education records, and to protect the rights of children and parents by limiting access to these records without parental consent, and to manage misleading or incorrect information.
- Red Flags - article
- Understanding Behavioral Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome- article
- Educator's Guide for Developing IEP and 504 Plans for Students with Tourette Syndrome - article
- Classroom Strategies, Accommodations and Modifications for Students with
Tourette Syndrome - publication #E115b available in our online store for a nominal charge
- Vocal Tics in the Classroom - an Educator's Guide- Webinar - slides, audio, downloads
- Handwriting Issues - article
- A Guide for Paraprofessionals - article
- Tourette Syndrome InService - developed so that anyone can make a presentation about TS
and related issues - slides, videos, downloads, and a video about how to present - view online or ORDER FREE DVD
- Tourette Syndrome in the Classroom, School and Community - Seminar for educators - filmed at an all-day live presentation by members of the TSA Education Committee - addresses a wide range of essential topics. View online and/or order free DVD.
- Online Video "Stand Up for Tourette Syndrome"
Short video (3 min., 39 sec.) in which school kids STAND UP for TOURETTE SYNDROME by helping Luke, a young boy with TS explain his TS to a group of kids who have been acting really mean to him - video is downloadable as is a Teachers' Guide - click here.
- DVD with Teacher's Resources:
HBO Documentary, I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me.
The DVD features content shown on the HBO broadcast plus a variety of resources for educators, families, and children interested in learning more about Tourette Syndrome, and supplementary information from experts John Walkup, M.D., Susan Conners, M.Ed., and Evan Trost, M.D. DVD available through our online store (#DVD-13M, DVD-13NM, DVD-13V).
Free Teacher's Guide - Click here to View or Download
- Book with Teacher's Resources:
In this novel, Carrie, a seventh-grade girl has just been diagnosed with TS. Targeted to early teens, Quit It explores Carrie's struggles to cope with TS while trying to fit in with her peers. Available in our online store (C100M, C100NM).
Free School Reading Program and Sample Lesson Plan Using Quit It. Click here.
- School-Based Educator/Clinician Programs
TSA offers programs to special education directors, IEP team chairpersons, regular and special education teachers, school psychologists and social workers, school nurses, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists in professional association, conference, and university settings. Presentations are given on Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders; attendees receive course materials and may receive CEU Approved Credit if available (click here for program details and contact information).
- in our online store - A Workbook for Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Writing
a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan for a Student with Tourette Syndrome - Publication #E126 - Practical guide and valuable resource to address complex behavioral issues. Includes Overview of Functional Behavioral Assessments, FBA Worksheets, Positive Behavior Interventions.
SELECTED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES