Negotiation and Advocacy Skills and the IEP

Uploaded by UtahParentCenterUPC on 07.11.2011

[ Silence ]
>> This workshop is how to successfully navigate, advocate,
and negotiate within the public service system, and it's done by the Utah Parent Center.
And we've decided to do this workshop because the Parent Center feels that it's important
that parents learn how to do good negotiation skills.
And my name is Linda Smith, and I'm a parent of children with disabilities.
I have four sons with this varying disabilities from medical disabilities
and physical disabilities, to those with hidden disabilities
like learning disabilities and attention deficit.
So I've had a variety of experiences throughout the classroom.
And now they're in the adult system and they have turned out to be successes pretty well.
We're still going through tribulations in the adult world with my one son.
But it goes pretty well, so we're happy with our children
and it did make a difference getting involved within the school system and you have
to get involved in adult services.
And so it's important to get involved in both of those.
The Utah Parent Center is made up of parent consultants that are parents who have children
with disabilities and we believe in educating parents so that they will be able to advocate
for themselves and be able to help their children with disabilities.
And we believe that it's very important that you get involved as parents and help your child
because you can make a difference in your child's success
if you get involved with your child.
And that's why all of us work here at the Utah Parent Center.
So, what is interest-based negotiation?
We decided to pick it because we believe that interest-based negotiation is important.
Do you believe that others can get along working together?
We believe that interest-based negotiation is working together.
Would you like-- would you like your issues and concerns considered and heard,
to solve tough and challenging problems.
And we all have them, we have them with doctors,
we have them at school, we have them in several areas.
Would you like to build good working relationships with professionals
and to feel in control of your emotions?
That's a hard one especially when you're talking about your chid with the disability.
And do you believe that two conflicting parties can learn to work together
in solving their problems and resolving conflicts.
I've got involved in the interest-based negotiation as a young mother
when I got involved up at the Utah State Capitol in public policy advocacy.
I felt that it was important because you were working with these legislators who came
in all ages and many of them had never worked with children with disabilities.
They were farmers, dairy farmers, they were ranchers, they were insurance salesmen, bankers.
Very few were teachers, very few were of the age that they had gone
to school with children with disabilities.
And quite frankly, the issues that I was advocating for were not that sexy
to the different legislators up on Capitol Hill.
And so I had to figure out a way to get the legislators to listen to me,
and at first it was really difficult.
I would chase them everywhere and keep on saying "but you have
to fund our children and it's really important."
And then somebody talked to me about interest-based negotiation and said,
"Have you ever read this book, Getting to Yes?"
And it's out of Harvard University and it was a book of how to get individuals
that really weren't interested in your issues to go from saying no to yes.
And I read the book and started using interest-based negotiation
with Utah State legislators.
And one of the great success stories I had is we had this Utah State legislator
who he was a dairy man and everybody hated him, that had soft skills,
advocacy skills that liked disability issues.
In fact there had been some stories that he had not been real friendly to people
that had had children with disabilities.
And trying to get him to talk to you up on Capitol Hill was really hard.
He never had time for you.
He won't take time to come out and talk to you while he was up at the Capitol.
He won't give you 2 minutes of his time, and everyone was frustrated.
He just won't give you any time.
Well, we found out that his big priority was his farm and his dairy cattle.
And we found out that if we went down to his dairy farm at Utah County and walked
around with him and saw how he did it, he would spend 3 hours talking to us about our issue.
It was great.
We went down there 4 or 5 times talking about special education funding and why it was
so important to children in special education.
And he would listen to us and he would talk and he would talk and talk to us.
He had cows that his wife had put around the house that were really cute.
We started buying little cows as we'd see him and taking them to the house, and we talked 3
or 4 hours with him and he just talked on and on and on.
Well the result was, he was on the education committee and he became our best friend.
He would come out at the state legislature for anything for us.
He would fund any issue that the two of us ask for.
He became a real advocate for children with disabilities,
and we ended up giving him an award, the heroes on the hill, for his public policy advocacy.
Now, what was the difference?
Finding out what his interest were and instead of saying "well,
this person just hates everybody," starting to see
that two conflicting parties could work together and care about each other.
So public policy, advocacy, and interest-based negotiation does work.
It's finding out the interest of other individuals.
What is interest-based negotiation?
It's working together, creates a process that leads
to a satisfactory result for all individuals involved.
That's the first thing I like about it.
A result that's good for everyone instead with everybody walking away angry,
it improves not damages relationships.
You don't go up there and say "you're gonna do it my way or no way."
It develops new solutions that are better than any--
than either party can come up with on their own.
And I love that idea too, that you can come up with creative solutions
that nobody else thought of before.
Why do you go in to interest-based negotiation versus any other type of negotiation?
It's when you finally say "my, our position is less attractive working together,
and their position is less attractive, that working together, we can collaborate,
we can work together, and we can develop new ideas
and better alternatives than if we continue to fight."
And nothing is going to get, we're not gonna get results that way, and that's the difference.
There is a process to interest-based negotiation, and we're gonna go
through the formal process today.
But I want you to know the great thing about interest-based negotiation is you don't have to,
when you're doing an individualized education plan, you don't have to sit there and go "Okay,
we're going to plan an hour and a half
and go through interest-based negotiation to do our IEP."
You can take any one of these steps that you need
where the communication process is breaking down, and use that step
and put together where your IEP isn't working.
So we'll do the formal plan today and then you will have those steps for when you need them.
The steps for interest-based negotiation refers seek to understand.
The next is determine interest.
After that is to tell your own story, and there really is an art to telling your own story
and I learned that up at the legislature too.
And then the options, evaluate criteria, consensus and commitment
and implement decisions and monitor progress.
And a lot of times we forget that final step and it's a very important step.
I want to caution you though, you choose which road and direction you would like to go
in whenever you walk in to a meeting, whether you're talking to a doctor
about your child's medical problems, whether you are going to go in and talk to a teacher
at school, or whether you're talking to adult professional about services.
>> Now, I'm gonna ask you, what type of actions are taken when you have bad communication,
and would somebody be willing to come up and scribe for me?
[ Phone Ringing ]
>> Jenny, would you be glad to come up?
[ Inaudible Conversation ]
>> One of the things I didn't tell you is that I also have disabilities
and I am spelling challenged or you could say that I am creative in my spelling.
[Laughter] So I always like to have somebody else scribe for me, so the words come out right.
Okay, can you think of some ways that people handle challenges
when they're not handling them right, what do they do?
I can think of one which would be like arguing, you argue back and forth and keep arguing.
Can the audience think of some others?
>> I think people stop listening to each other like you only want your point of view
to be heard and so you don't listen to other people.
>> Excellent, stop listening.
Can you think of some others?
>> Defensive, becoming highly defensive.
>>Oh, becoming highly defensive.
You kind of put your arms up, you see the body language go, don't you, and you see the faces.
What else?
>> Sometimes people walk away.
They don't stay in the conversation.
>> Thank you.
How many people walk away?
Can that be frustrating?
Very good comment.
What else?
>> Well sometimes, we already know what the other person is gonna say
and you don't wanna hear it because you already think you know the answer
and then you just don't listen at all.
>> Okay, excellent point Rebecca.
You assume you know what's going to be said.
You've already made up your mind, that's an excellent point.
Good answer.
>> Sometimes people just get mean like their words get--
you criticize or sometimes swearing comes out or--
>> Very good, they're critical or they come back and they kind
of like they slash you in the heart.
If you say something about me, I'm gonna come back and I'm going to say something about you.
Have you ever had a teacher say "Well, I'm the one that's knowledgeable or I'm the--
" or somebody else, I'm the one that knows best, or a parent.
>> The expert.
>> They're the expert.
Or have you ever done that to somebody?
Become the expert, I have the power.
And so it's kind of a power play.
>> Sometimes they're only interested in their own perspective.
>> Oh, good one.
>> And then you close off other people's perspective
and you don't listen to their points of view.
>> Okay, sometimes you're only interested in your own perspective or what you want.
[Pause] Nice answer.
Any others?
[Pause] Those are all excellent answers.
Thank you, Jenny, I appreciate it.
T Those are all good.
How about blame or avoidance, just avoiding the issue?
All of those different things, we have been in meetings where that's happened or--
oh, we're not gonna discuss that today.
Have we heard that?
All of those different things--
[ Pause ]
>> So what does a bad relationship or communication look like?
It's all alternative roads that can be taken.
And where the other party or you yourself decide to take and it's anger, arguing, blame, control,
power, avoidance, silence, or withdrawal.
In fact in the book, The Fifth Discipline, there is what's called the ladder of influence.
And Peter Senge and Rick Ross talked about it and they say that if you come in and you have--
he talks about one person starts to make an explanation and the other person interrupts.
Well, what happens?
That person that interrupted, the other person assumes that they're just rude
or they don't wanna listen, so they're not going to continue their explanation.
So then they react and the conversation starts to break down.
So, both of them have this observable data.
One thinks the one is rude, the other one thinks the other one is rude
because now they won't finish their explanation.
So you got both parties breaking down as far as conversation.
Then they have both selected data just on that one interpretation of the conversation.
And then they add meaning to it.
Well that person was rude or-- well, how come that person won't keep on explaining.
I didn't mean to interrupt them.
And so they're adding meaning to what's happened in this one little conversation.
Then they make assumptions, then they draw their conclusions.
Well, if this is the way the conversation is gonna go on,
it always goes this way when I talk to this person.
I'm not going to falter.
And then they adopt beliefs.
I'm never gonna get along with this individual or I'm never going to get along
with this classroom teacher or I'm never gonna get along with this neighbor,
they're just a rude person, forget it.
And then they take actions based on those beliefs.
Well the next time I have this meeting with them, they're gonna interrupt
so why should I even bother to try to describe what I'm trying to say.
Could there be a totally different explanation from the very beginning?
Why could they have interrupted the conversation?
>> Sometimes people just don't understand and they really need
to clarify rather than being rude.
>> Okay.
>> I mean maybe they're not being rude, they just really don't understand what was--
what you were meaning or what your intention is.
>> Okay, maybe they were excited.
Maybe they have attention deficit disorder.
I mean there's a variety of ways that that could have gone on instead
of go up that ladder of interference.
But yet that happens all the time, that we infer, we assume, we adopt the belief based
on something that happens in the conversation or miscommunication at the school level
with the neighbor and also everything is blown up
and we don't have that communication after that.
So we need to understand just like with that legislator
that I talked about at the very first.
If we haven't taken the time to say "Okay, what is it that he likes?"
And that took some research.
We really had to figure-- it took 2 or 3 times talking to him before we could figure
out why does he never stay at the capitol?
Well, he was never staying at the capitol to talk to anybody because he had to get home early
in the evening to milk his dairy cows.
And he was never there early in the morning at the capitol
because he was milking his dairy cows.
He had some other obligations, but nobody had ever taken the time
to understand that about him.
Communication requires work.
It's not always easy, but our children have a lot of needs in the classroom and with that,
in the community, with doctors, with medical providers.
And so, we've got to work to make sure that communication works.
And so there's some things we need to do.
First of all, we need to have understanding.
We need to seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.
And that saying comes right out of Utah from Stephen Covey.
Seek first to understand before being understood.
We need to understand the other person first and see what motivates them.
We need to respect, accept the other party or parties
as a legitimate partner in the decision making process.
How many times have we talked to somebody and we realize that they don't have any respect
for the other individual, or they admit to us that they're going to go into the process
and they don't believe it's gonna work when they go into the process
because they don't respect the other individual.
They dislike them or they don't think that individual is gonna respect them.
>> If we can't go in there with respect and trust,
where we've already ruined the relationship, we have to trust.
Maybe the other individual isn't trustworthy but we have to be trustworthy.
I found out, the Utah State Legislature that I didn't have money as a lobbyist.
I couldn't take a legislator to Hawaii, I couldn't even pay for jazz tickets or golf,
or anything else like that the way some of the high-priced legislators could.
But what I could do is I could trust that anything that came from my mouth,
they knew it was honest, that my statistics were correct, that I was gonna tell them the truth,
I was gonna tell them both sides of the issue, and that that they knew
that they could fully trust toward me, trust me, that I was reliable and that I was honest.
And that was the only thing that I had as my quality and my chips going on at the capital.
It was that they could totally trust me that I wasn't going to walk out of the meeting
and stab them behind the back no matter how much they would make me angry at times.
That I was going to be there and that I would be honest with them.
And I would walk in and do it the next time.
And that is amazing how that can really make a difference in a relationship with people.
Power, rely upon the practice of persuasion not power to make decisions.
That's a hard one.
I think especially the parents of children with disabilities, a lot of times we do want to say
"By darn, you're gonna do it this way, and if I have to I'm going to go to so
and so and so and so and so and so.
And by darn you're gonna do this."
And it's hard to sit back and think, okay, we're going to work on this relationship.
We're gonna build trust, we're not going to do the power thing,
and we're gonna rely upon persuasion and try to really work on the relationship.
Emotion, how hard is it, emotionalized.
I can go into somebody else's individualized education plan
and I'm right because it's not my child.
But when it's my own child, that's the child that nearly died 3 times,
that's the child that's had over 24 surgeries,
that's the child that you worry is somebody going to tease him, is somebody going to care
about him, is somebody going to-- is he gonna get in a fight,
is he gonna be successful as an adult.
You have all those concerns and weights on your shoulder whenever you go
into an individualized education plan.
And it's hard with those emotions but your decisions need
to be based on reason and data, not emotion.
But I am gonna tell you here, it's okay to get emotional.
And I always tell parents that when I walk in,
I have finally just come to the conclusion like I shake.
If you see this in front of the camera because of my disabilities, I shake.
I also step into a meeting and I say "I make it emotional" and I warn
in my head the time before I get emotional because this is my child we're talking about,
and these are the reasons why I might get emotional.
So I state it upfront, so the professional knows that I may get emotional and that it's okay.
And don't worry if I do get emotional, and it just kind of clears the air and it really helps.
Another part is focus, be clear on whether the issue at hand is one that's important
to the relationship and stay focused on that issue.
I've had parents that have called me at times and they want to talk about the issue
that happened the year before in the school classroom and the year before
that in the school classroom and the year before that.
And it's kinda like, "But wait a minute, we can't go back 5 teachers and talk
about what happened in kindergarten and resolve that issue."
We can only resolve that issue that's happening in the classroom in the fifth grade.
So focus on the issue that's happening at the moment and focus to resolve that issue.
Seek to understand, communication first means listening.
And I come from a family, my husband says it's really hard for me to listen,
that our family was all born with mouths and no ears,
but we do need to seek and listen first before we talk.
And we need to be able to understand what the other person is saying.
And sometimes a way to slow down that understanding, and I have learned this
from Jenny who's the boss over the parent consultants, to ask clarifying questions
and it's really helped me to be able to instead of react immediately
when somebody says something that I feel threatened or I think, "Wait a minute,
you're saying what about my child?"
I can stop and I have to ask a question that clarifies what they're really saying
because they might not be saying what I think they're saying.
So, ask clarifying questions.
Can you give me more information, can you describe for me, can you describe an example
of how that would-- what that would look like?
Can you give me an example of that, can you tell me about the research, can you explain more?
And for me, I have auditory processing problems
so I have a real hard time hearing everything that's said.
So if it's really important to me I say, "Can you write it down for me."
So that I walk out of the meeting or something with a telephone number with the instructions
and they'll say "Oh no, you don't need that written down, you'll remember it."
And then I'd say "No, no, I really do need it written down.
It's really important for me to have it written down."
But it just slows the process down.
It helps me to understand something
that I may not have understood correctly when it was explained to me.
Now, the next step after seeking to understand is to determine interest.
What are the interest in the groups, how many of you have sat
in an individualized education plan meeting before, how many are in that group usually?
>> I would say anywhere from 5 or 6 to 10 or-- I mean it depends what age the child is
but there is generally several so you can be a little bit intimidated I think as the parent.
>> Okay, yeah, you feel intimidated as the parent.
What is the overall interest of those IEP meetings?
Can you think of what the overall for the parent,
for everybody, what's the overall interest?
>> The overall interest should be the needs of the child, you know.
>> Perfect.
Yeah, it's the child.
You're right, Ashley.
And sometimes if things start getting really tense, it's important to draw back for a minute
and say, "I want you to remember that we have an overall interest and it's this child here."
And you can name your child, and that can be at any point
of the meeting remind what the interest is,
write it on the board, write it on the white board.
This is our interest today.
Are we really meeting the interest of this overall child?
Bring the picture with you of your child to give to everybody so everybody remembers
that the overall interest is your child and that's the point that day.
So, what are interests?
Interests are defined as the current problem.
You're not gonna resolve every issue that's going around at school
in one individualized education plan meeting, especially the way they do it a lot
of times here at-- in Utah where they plan your IEP meeting 15 minutes before school starts,
before the bell starts.
If you know you need to [inaudible] IEP meeting, call and say "I want a half an hour,
I want an hour" and warn them ahead of time that you want more
than 15 minutes for your IEP meeting.
But, interest defines the current problem.
Then why everybody is motivated to solve the issue,
and they're the reasons and answers to the why question.
Why is this happening and what do we need to do about it, how do we resolve it?
Steps in learning other party's interest,
first you want to learn what are the interest of the other party?
What would be some of the interest of a general educator in the classroom?
Can you think of any interest of the general educator?
>> Your child well behaving in your class.
>> Okay, to have your child that's bouncing off the wall is well behaved in your class.
What would be an interest of the special educator?
>> Curriculum like the special education program for them.
>> Great, learning the child being able to learn the curriculum.
Okay, how about a speech pathologist?
>> To help your child be able to talk and communicate.
It's a life length-- lifetime skill that they're gonna have to have.
>> Okay, now think about all three of those interests.
Are all three of those interests an interest of the general educator,
special educator, and speech and language?
>> Yes.
>> They are, aren't they?
And yet we tend to put them in different silos for some reason on our IEPs.
But they're all an interest for each person and need to be across the board
that everybody is working on them together, and they're interest that you can build on.
Get to know the person, so how do you generate interest?
First, get to know the person before there is a crisis.
Before the IEP meeting, take the time to get to know your special educator,
get the time to know your regular educator, the speech language professional.
I always said with the legislative session, that's not the time to get to know a legislator.
It's in the summer, it's in the fall, it's in the spring time when they're not stressed.
Focus on the interest, not the concerns.
Focus on what's important, what their interests are.
What can I help you with?
They talk about some of the real great moms in special education.
Those moms that bring-- find out what the special educator needs in the classroom,
brings extra boxes of Kleenex, brings whatever that special educator needs.
I know one of the relationships I build up with one special educator,
my son had communication disabilities and he had a real hard time listening.
Well, one year in his self contained class, they moved him into--
they moved the whole classroom into a closet and the closet had all the pipes running
from the school in this closet, and you could hear everything running
through the pipes, all these noise.
And I because I had a relationship with the special educator
and she knew she couldn't go to the principal and complain.
When I was talking to her she said, "You know, I wanna show you where they've moved our class.
Would you mind just being a great parent and maybe calling the principal,
and maybe talking to some of the other parents about maybe moving this class out of this room
since they have communication disorders and they can't hear anyway?"
I said, "No problem," and I was able to within a week,
that class was moved into a regular classroom.
So that was something that I could do to help the interest of that special educator.
Take a note at the first of the school year to all your teachers, you might have 7 teachers
with middle school and high school talking about your child,
web sites that the teacher can connect to,
and bullet points of accommodations that can be used.
Come up with common concerns and interests.
And it might be really hard.
I mean I'm a town girl, I sure didn't have anything in common
with the dairy farmer except cow crafts.
[Laughter] And I was able to do that.
So that worked.
Don't judge interest.
This is a time to seek to understand the other person.
List all the interests on the board so that you get all the interests that are needed out.
And don't try to find a solution.
A lot of times as soon as all the interests are out there,
I speak sign language goal, behavior and curriculum.
Some-- everybody wants to get a solution immediately.
That's not the point.
Right now you're just trying to get conversation going and everybody talking
so that everybody is not at each other's throats and that you will be able
to have an ongoing relationship for the entire year
with your school teacher or several school teachers.
Steps in define-- identifying your interest.
You know, professionals were always there saying we need this, we need that.
We so often forget to first thank professionals for help already given.
And I have found that that does more than anything else I can do for a professional.
If I do thank you's, it just melts them immediately because it's
so rare that they receive thank you's.
And it's kind of sad that that's the case, that thank you's are given so-- or so uncommon.
Explain your interest, why is it important to you?
Be specific, what do you want to accomplish.
Describe, don't accuse.
How many times are we immediately accusing somebody of something instead of saying,
"This is the issue, I'm gonna describe it."
Tell the truth and don't overdo it.
I've-- I was a theater major, I love to embellish, it's great.
Oh, this terrible thing happened to me.
I can make any story sound 10 times worse than it is.
So it's really hard for me not to overemphasize.
So don't embellish.
Defer evaluation, defer commitment.
You don't have to commit at this point and develop legitimacy.
You as a parent are the professional.
Educators, when they receive their degrees, have to maybe get a half an hour
in each disability area and that's all they hear on it.
You get to spend your entire life going to conferences, reading books,
going to workshops on a particular disability.
You become the educator, the professional on that particular disability.
And you have a lot to offer educators that they won't understand or know.
Write down your resources where you learn them so you can hand them on to the educators.
You'll have a lot of good information.
Tell your-- telling your own story really is an art.
Telling your own story needs to be short and sweet.
Once again, I learned that up at the legislature.
There, it was-- by the way, we want you to come up and testify in front
of the legislature and tell your soft story.
But we want you to do it in 2 minutes, and if you can't do it in 2 minutes I'll stop you.
Well, how do you start from a child that, you know, nearly died to, now he is in eighth grade
and get the whole soft story in there in between in 2 minutes or less.
It's a little hard.
So I came to the conclusion I'm not the most articulate person in the world.
Some people, you know, are naturally born to be articulate and they can adjust
through those beautiful gifted words out of their mouth.
But that's not me, so I always say, if I have an important meeting,
if I have something that's really important, I want to write it down ahead
of time whether it's a school meeting, whether it's meeting with a doctor, whatever it is.
I now take the time to write it down ahead of time
and I practice it, and I do some bullet points.
Otherwise, people come up to me and they go, "What were you trying to say?"
Because I find that I'm just not clear.
Start with the purpose, what is your main purpose and start out with that purpose
in the first paragraph kind of like a newspaper story.
We don't always read the whole article but we know if we read the first paragraph,
we're gonna know the main purpose.
If people fade out, make sure you started with the main purpose of why you want this IEP,
why you want this meeting, why you're having a transition IEP, why you're talking
to vocational rehabilitation, why you're talking to the division on services for people
with disabilities, why you're talking to your medical doctor.
State that in the first paragraph, the first line if you can.
Define the problem, write it down and practice literally.
I really do nowadays.
State what you hope to accomplish, keep it short and to the point.
I say, try to be able to say it in a half page typed.
Use facts and examples.
What have you learned about your child's disability,
what has happened at home, how is your child behaving.
You have a lot of data that you don't realize that you have.
For instance I use to complain, my child has too much homework.
This was in seventh through ninth grade.
The teachers in middle school come back and say,
"Every single parent says their child has too much homework in middle school."
So I decided to collect data.
So I went home and I said, okay, my son arrives home at 2:30.
We start homework at 3, we go 'til 7 literally.
Stop, he eats dinner from 7 to 7:30.
We then start homework from 7:30 and go 'til 10.
>> We do this Monday through Thursday.
He gets Friday off and then we do homework from 10 to noon on Saturday.
I did this for 3 weeks, recorded exactly the times and then came back
and said "Here is my data, my son has too much homework."
And they went, "Whoa, your son has too much homework."
And I said "Yeah, I wasn't kidding."
Now I had the data and they understood what I was saying.
And understood, and then I didn't have any problem getting the results I needed as far
as getting accommodations on his homework.
We have a lot of data, we have a lot of data on behavior, we have a lot of data on speech,
we have a lot of data that we see at home everyday, frustration,
that with one week's data we can bring a lot of data to the classroom
as examples of things that have happened.
List concerns that deal with the current issue.
Notice I said once again, the current issue, what are your concerns,
why is this a concern, what are your facts?
Build an argument just the same way you would be building the case any other way.
Use I statements.
Say, I feel this way, I feel kind of overwhelmed today when I walked
into this individualized education plan.
There are 6 professionals here.
You're all sitting behind a desk and then you have a chair here for me in front of the desk.
Could we do something and have you all sit, could we sit in a circle
so I don't feel like I'm being intimidated?
Could we say each other's names and get to know each other beforehand, or I am concerned about.
This is how I understand the situation.
But notice when I'm saying it's I, then I'm not accusing them of anything.
I'm just saying this is the way I feel, this is the way I perceive it.
Watch out for hot words.
What are hot words?
Anybody have a guess?
>> You
>> You. Yeah, exactly.
You did this.
Why is that a hot word?
>> It places blame on someone else.
>> Good. Places blame on somebody else.
They, he, she, those are all hot words.
If you write down your message beforehand and practice,
you can go, oops, hot word, take it out.
And you can really look at those and look at your communication style.
And it's surprising how many hot words we use all the time.
Notice I said "we use all the time" but I'm talking about myself too,
how many hot words I use all the time.
The next section is create options.
What are options?
I have a paper here and it has on it-- I did think 16 squares.
How many squares can you see in here as I'm shaking?
How many possible squares are there?
>> 25.
>> 25 good, 26.
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> Okay Jodie, how did you see your squares?
You wanna come up and show me?
>> Well of course there is the 16 and then
if you group five 4s this way, and then you can group 9.
So 9 and 9 and 9 and 9, and then of course you have the big one, and then there is 4 right here
and there is 4 right here and there is 4 right here, and there is 4 right here.
How many was that, are we getting close?
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> That's pretty close.
>> Okay, I'm gonna have you do another thing.
Look in between the crosses where the cross lines.
>> There, oh yeah.
There's a whole bunch more, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36-- 42, 43, 44, 45.
>> 45. Okay, do you know there are over a hundred possibilities?
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> I got almost half.
>> And you got almost half, that's fantastic.
There are over a hundred possibilities out of this paper.
That's what options are all about.
Options are possible ideas, solutions, starting points created by two or more parties.
They are every creative solution you can come up with or think of.
They are how different interests are reconciled.
I want to think-- I want you to think about it for a second.
One of the parent consultants at the Utah Parent Center tells a story,
she said she was at an individualized education meeting and they were talking
about bus transportation for her son with cerebral palsy.
And he only lived about 5 minutes away from the school.
But because he was the first one picked up on the bus and then they had to go all
across the district to pick up the other kids and come back, he would actually be
on the school bus for 45 minutes.
And they talked-- and the IEP team talked and talked and talked about this, and kept on trying
to come up with options about how they could solve this problem because she says,
"He's 5 minutes away, there's got to be a better solution to this.
We've got to come up with a better option."
And then finally as a parent she said, "You know,
the regular school bus stops right in front of my house.
Couldn't we have somebody help him up in a regular school bus
and just have him take the regular school bus each day to school?"
Nobody had thought of that option, and that's what they came up with.
They didn't even have to pay for special education busing transportation,
and he took the regular school bus to school.
What a great option.
There are many solutions and options that we can come up with
if we just take the time to think about them.
Options and solutions, we first need to realize as a team
that there is more than one solution to a problem.
And sometimes as a parent or as an educator, or as another professional we get stuck saying,
"No, this is the way the agency has always done it and this is the way we're gonna do it."
Or as a parent, "No, I read about this solution and this is the only program I want for my child
and we're not going to try another program for my child, this is it."
So, we've got to realize there can be more than one solution,
more than one program that will fit our child's needs.
Understand that broadening options helps use limited resources wisely.
Sometimes agencies do not want to come up with more options
because they're afraid they'll be more expensive.
But quite frankly, like that one that I just suggested with the busing,
sometimes coming up with a variety of options, they can actually be more creative
and they can cost less because you are listing a bunch of different options and solutions.
Encourage solutions that benefit all and everybody's interest
that you have already established.
Look and don't just go with anything.
Look for quality and well researched methods, things that have worked in the past
and separate inventing from decisions.
Once again, you're not making decisions here or anything inventing mode.
And how do you invent, you invent through brainstorming.
And we've got to remember that decisions are invented before they are made.
You always have to invent them first, so how do you do a good brainstorming method?
You seek participants instead of in lines like this.
At an IEP meeting, you sit side by side or in a semicircle.
Why, so nobody is better than anybody else and everybody feel equal.
You clearly state the issue to be resolved.
Write it up on the board.
Choose a method, how are you gonna brainstorm, is everybody just going to say it out loud?
Are you going to have different post-it notes?
I've seen it written that way, and people just write their solution
down and post them on the wall.
Or maybe you go around one by one so people don't talk over each other and you keep on doing
that until people come out of-- come out what's finished with their solutions.
Clarify the ground rules.
Nobody makes fun of somebody else's solution.
Brainstorm them and then record these ideas in full view.
Has anybody been in a brainstorming session when you start brainstorming
and somebody immediately says, "Oh, that's really stupid."
What happens to that brainstorm session?
>> You don't want to continue.
>> It dies, doesn't it?
>> It dies.
>> It dies immediately.
[ Phone Ringing ]
>> So that's one of the biggies, is to make sure that you don't make fun
of the other suggestions, these are all options.
And then once you have all your options up there,
you look and you start the best possible options that you want to continue to look at.
Now, I had parents as I've given this workshop and professionals ask, "Well,
a lot of times we're in just such a click, click, click, click mode.
This is how the process goes.
No we do this, we do this, how do we get people to open
up to even start thinking about brainstorming?
So here are some possible questions you can ask.
I don't feel we have come up with the solution we can live with.
Could we brainstorm some more solutions?
I feel there are more options that we have to investigate.
Could we brainstorm some more solutions?
Or how about my student is still not meeting the state approved grade level
achievement standards.
Boy, wouldn't you sound intelligent that way.
Alright, there are other known reasons or solutions we need
to come up with to solve the problem.
All of those would work, won't they?
And get people thinking outside of their tunnel because we do--
Let's face it, we can have a format for the individualized education plan.
They definitely have a format with vocational rehabilitation.
They have a format with the division of services for people with disabilities, and it's all.
Get in there, this is the basic format that we've been trained in.
So it's really hard to get a professional to start thinking outside and to start thinking,
hey, we're gonna do some brainstorming guys, let's have fun.
But brainstorming can be fun and you can come up with some good conclusions and options.
The next section is evaluation and analysis, and this is a very important area and I want
to tell you, this is an area that's come out of what's called response to intervention
out of the specific learning disabilities area.
A lot more information has changed and this is the one section that I've done some changes
in this training in because of new research and methods that have come out of here.
Valuation analysis, a decision and commitment is still not made at this point by the way.
At every point when we've done this training and we have groups get together and to try to work
through the methods, they've all wanted to make a decision at the interest point,
at the solution point, at the option point were still evaluation analysis.
If you were buying a new car, would you just go to the car lot
and buy the first car that's there?
What would you need to do?
What would you want to do before you bought that car?
>> Do a research.
>> What kind of research?
[ Laughter ]
>> Okay, okay, you go to the computer and do some research.
What else would you do?
>> Well, I think very first you need to know what size you need.
Like I would start just by looking at my own family, how many kids do I have
and how much storage room do I need, and do we go on trips, do we need a tow package, you know.
Like I would start there, and then from that place I would go to Ashley's admins
and start looking at, you know, like gas mileage and prices and how many seatbelts, you know,
like just the other technical stuff.
>> Okay, good.
One size doesn't fit all.
>> Then I would talk to other people that have the car I'm thinking I might buy just to see
if they've been happy with their car.
It's word of mouth.
>> Good, good.
You talk to other people and see if it worked.
If that wasn't the first year model and it kept on breaking down, right?
Yeah, those are all good items that you would do.
So evaluation and analysis is when you compare possible solutions that you've looked at.
And you look at the criteria, what criteria are you gonna need to know about this solution
to know if it's a good solution for you.
What possible research is there out there on the computer?
What research can you get from the Utah State Office of Education?
What research can you get from the US Office of Education or from the Utah--
or from the US Office of Rehabilitation or whatever government agency,
the Office of Civil Rights, do you need to know to know that this is a good program.
What interests are there around the table that need to be mapped?
Like Jodie was talking about, what type of seatbelts, what type of shape,
what type of size, and what type of valuations have been done.
What do you know about the student's need to the issue or problem
to stimulate improvement in the plan?
Or another way to say it, that was big words,
language that the education field uses is how well does this solution
or option both are mutual and separate interests fit the criteria and solve the problem.
How well is this going to solve it?
How well is this option going to solve the problem for all of us?
And that's what evaluation and analysis does.
So before you make a decision, you feel good walking out of that room that you know
that that's going to be a good solution.
So, when you do evaluation and analysis, you want to ask some of the following.
Have previous supports and programs been tried and used with fidelity?
What does fidelity know?
Do any of you know?
>> Using the whole program, not just bits and pieces of different ones, but using it--
the program the way it was intended by the creator.
>> Perfect, perfect, using the program as it was intended by the person that created the program
and using it consistently, not using one copy page of this program and another copy page
of this program and saying, "Well, that program don't work."
Super, that was super.
What-- and then what else would you ask, what does current data show,
what kind of data could you have on your student,
what type of classroom data could you have on your student?
>> Time on task.
>> Okay, time on tasks.
That would be observable data, right.
Somebody observed to see how well they're completing their tasks?
>> And how well they're responding to and understanding what's being taught like--
>> Okay.
>> Like my child, they always show us graphs and it doesn't always go up.
You know, some days might catch up lower days and higher days but overall,
the line goes up as it goes up and down and so I know
that they're improving continually so it's working for [inaudible].
>> Oh that's cool, so they're doing graphs and so they can show you data
of how well they're behaving back and forth and keeping attention.
That's great.
Okay, so what does current data show, and does more data need to be collected?
What if you get into a meeting and they go, well,
we just know because we have senior students and your students just-- we know they're doing good.
Well, how do you know they're doing good?
What test can you show me, what homework can you show me?
Can you show me writing examples?
Have you observed them in the classroom, can you show me grades,
can you show me how they have done on test?
What are the results of evaluation and assessments that my student's taken?
Look at attendance, look at achievement, look at behavior, look at lack of instruction.
Now what would happen if you were looking at a student that was going through a transition
or was getting ready for employment?
Why would you look at them?
>> What their current skill level is.
>> Their-- what?
Their current skill level is.
>> What their interests are.
>> What their interests are.
>> Put them together.
>> Yeah, what their interests are, what their talents are.
Maybe how well they communicate, can they fill out a job application, can they do the wash,
can they live on their own, how do they get around in the community.
Okay, those would be the type of evaluation of assessments.
>> And then also when you look at all that, then say, are there companies that hire individuals,
you know, even for training or are there other agencies that can help support them
to get to their end result level?
>> Okay, good.
Good answer.
Okay. Then you wanna ask, are there personnel qualified to provide the program you want.
What happens if you live in [inaudible] Utah and there's no--
It's actually [inaudible], isn't it?
[ Inaudible Remark ]
>> [Inaudible] Utah, and there are no speech and language professionals.
They travel around and come to your school once a week and you want somebody
to do sign language training with that student daily,
and there is no qualified professional to provide the program.
>> Could you ask if there is an option of like a prerecorded program that they can work
on through the week and then use the professional once a week.
I mean--
>> Okay.
>> I don't know.
>> Okay, so you were coming up with a creative solution.
We had one parent that lived in a small rural district in Utah,
had a child with very high medical needs that needed an occupational therapist each day.
And it was very important that she have an occupational therapist
because when an aid was trained, if the aid did it wrong, it could really hurt the child.
She came up and got funding from the state legislature
to provide a long distance occupational therapist program
where the occupational therapist would get on at the Department of Health and be able
to see the child by computer each day, and be able to provide the therapy through a computer
and see the child long distance from Salt Lake.
And that program was provided to several children long distance in the rural communities.
So, a lot of things can happen.
Are there appropriate materials available?
Is the solution based on research and has it been used successfully, or is this some program
that you've heard about sometime and there hasn't been a lot of research done on it?
Does-- and then the biggest one is does this work
with my child's disability, learning style, and strengths.
What might work for one child as you continue to do this might not work for your child
because of their particular disability?
So those are all things to ask as you're evaluating each of these programs.
They might say "Oh, this rating program is the best," but you might find out through research
that it's for children that have visual processing
and your child can't visual anything-- can't process anything visually.
It's not going to work for your child.
So, you need to do research.
Everybody else needs to do a research about the options and solutions.
Evaluation and analysis, in evaluation analysis, we agree, build, and compare.
We agree and select the best ideas.
We agree on what issues need to be researched and what data
or further evaluation or observations need to be made.
We build on multiple information, multiple resources and research.
We build questions that still need to be answered.
We compare different options and compare interest one last time.
You go back around and say, "Remember when we talked about the interest."
Okay, we've now talked about the data, we've talked about the research,
we've talked about is this a research based program.
Has it been-- and all those different things.
Now, is this going to meet the interest of each person that's going to be working on this?
And you go back through and look at those things
and start the best ideas and answer any last questions.
Now, I have learned the following from working at the state legislature and it stands
that we all need to keep in mind.
In evaluation and analysis, there are resources and limitations.
As much as we want to say, we want X program for our child and I don't care how much it cost.
You will provide it in the school system.
That's not always realistic, let's face it.
And sometimes it can't be done because there might be federal or state laws
that say this cannot be done in the classroom.
So make sure you know your federal and state laws.
Make sure that you know you're not asking for something that the school district,
that vocational rehabilitation, that another state agency honestly cannot provide
because there are laws against it or district laws.
It's also wise for you to know the federal state and district laws,
or the state agency laws so you know what they can do.
Qualifications and eligibility, are there certain qualifications
to be eligible for a program or for services?
Are there requirements for the program?
And let's get realistic just like you saying, I had 4 boys.
Every one of those boys, there wasn't one of them that didn't need help
in homework all the way through high school.
My husband would get home and we divide up the-- I get the English and the history,
he would get the math and the science, and we divide it up
and we'd literally sit at the table all night.
I read the history book four times, American history.
If you don't think I wasn't sick of it, believe me I was in high school.
I knew my American history.
Time is also of issue for educators.
It's an issue for both vocational rehabilitation counselors.
Have that case loaded up 200 individuals on their case load.
Can you imagine just sending back to 100 emails a day, let alone anything else?
Time is an issue, training, what training is needed?
What training is needed for a regular educator who has their first child with autism
in their own classroom for the first time?
And it has never had a child with autism.
What training do they need at the first of the school year, not at the end of the school year,
after they have dealt with that child all year?
What funding is there to go with those children, what-- or adults with disabilities?
What other resources can be given or brainstormed that you need to know about?
Or are there evaluations or testing or data that's saying one thing when you're saying
as a parent, wait a minute, no, I want this.
And they're saying, but wait a minute, the data is showing this.
Those are all things that you need to understand.
But don't think of them as limitations, think about it as knowing about them,
learning about them so you can get creative and you can get involved.
The more I've learned about federal laws, the more I've been able to advocate for my children
because then I know what's possible.
Be sure to attend workshops, conferences.
Find out, read, call the Utah Parent Center.
Get involved, find out about what the law says about individualized education plans.
Because the more I know the more I can say, "Well wait a minute, that's not true.
You can do that, and it says that on this law
and it's surprising how many people really don't understand the law."
We assume that as professionals, they have learned it back and forth but that's not true.
As parents, you will probably know more about the state and federal laws
that affect your children with the disabilities and anybody else will know.
So get to learn them.
They will help you in a lot of ways.
Evaluation and analysis, if you don't understand why something is not happening,
you might want to ask a professional.
Are there certain federal laws, state laws, or district laws that I don't know
about that are keeping you from going with a particular solution?
They might say, "Well actually, you know, there is this district law."
And you might want to go back and say "Well, you know, is there a way that we can work with that?
Do we need to bring in the district special educator to help us with the solution?
Do we need to bring somebody in front of the district that can help us?"
That doesn't mean that's the end all, be all.
That means that you might need to bring somebody from higher
up into the discussion to see how you can work with it.
Become educated, join an advocacy group.
It's well worth your time and money to join an advocacy group, to talk to other parents
that have already been through what you've been through, that have teenagers
when you have young children, that have young adults working when you have teenagers,
that you can talk to those parents, that you can call them when you have questions,
that you can find out about their conferences and workshops.
Find out about that information.
It will make a difference in your child's life, that's huge.
I know that when my son was little and that he was diagnosed with a learning disability,
he was in third grade and he couldn't read, he couldn't write,
he couldn't tell you how old he was.
He counted on his fingers in third grade, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and went up to 8.
He never was part of the ABC club, never part of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 club,
never part of any of those things.
And as we were starting to have this IEP meeting, they said "Look, there's another girl
in the classroom that's worse than him.
We don't know if we should have him get services."
And I just thought, "Well wait a minute, that means she needs services."
>> And I felt like there was no hope for my son.
But what happened is I joined an advocacy organization and there were parents sitting
on that board that had teenagers that said, "No, my child is now doing this.
They are reading this.
Have you tried books on tape?
Have you tried the library for the blind?
Have you gone to this state conference?
Have you gone to this national conference?
Did you know if you get on this web site you can go here and learn about this disability?"
And it made all the difference in the world.
And my son ended up graduating and taking AP classes, he ended up graduating cum laude
from the university and he has done really well.
But he never would have if I haven't gotten involved in that advocacy organization
and if I hadn't learned about his disability.
Note the difference between mandated and eligibility programs with state agencies.
Mandated programs are what you get in special education and education programs.
Mandated programs are programs that are required to serve all individuals
who meet the eligibility criteria regardless of funding.
So if your child meets the criteria for special education services, or for section 504
of the rehabilitation act, they have to provide those services for your child in the school.
However, when your child graduates at age 18 or gets a certificate of completion at age 22,
they graduate into the adult services world of adult services.
And those are eligibility programs and eligibility programs are programs
that have eligibility requirements and waiting list.
The Division of Services for People with Disabilities has a waiting list.
Vocational rehabilitation here in the State of Utah currently does not have a waiting list.
However, their federal law says they can go to an order selection and a waiting list.
Different federal laws for adult services say they can have waiting list
that there are different eligibility requirements.
Department of Mental Health, the community mental health services provide services
for those that had Medicaid or SSI or SSDI.
They're able to put those eligibility mandates on the programs
because they have limited funding.
So be aware of those different types of things so you know how to get the services
that you need and get what you want for your child.
The next step is the second to last step and this is consensus and commitment.
And I wanna give you a warning here.
Consensus is the hardest step.
It's usually an emotional time and feelings will be close to the surface.
So if you're sitting with another parent,
helping them with their individualize education plan or with services,
or you as a parent are sitting in a consensus meeting
in a strategic plan, or you're a professional.
Don't be surprised if emotions come up to the surface and consensus because this
where everybody is gonna make the final decision.
This is where everything you talked about is going to be decided, and it can be emotional
because this is-- this is the time.
Consensus is achieved when each group member can honestly say, and I wanna warn you,
consensus does not mean that they not necessarily be your first pick
or that it'll be your favorite pick.
The consensus means, I believe you have heard and understand my point of view.
I believe that you understand the other person's point of view and interest.
I believe the process was fair and open and everybody was heard.
I understand the solutions that were suggested.
Commitment is achieved when each group member can say "If I don't agree with the group,
I will explain why and continue communicating until we come to consensus."
I won't walk away and say "Oh I didn't agree but I just-- I just wasn't gonna say anything,
but I'm not gonna work with it," or I'm just gonna walk away.
It means that I will continue to work with this group until we can come to consensus.
It also means, I like the solution and listen to this part.
I can live with it for now.
That might mean that you're only gonna live with it for six weeks if the group decides.
We're gonna give it a try but you can live with it for now.
And the final one is that you will work with the group to achieve the success of the solution.
You won't work against the solution.
You will honestly give that solution a try, and that's what consensus and commitment means.
Now, this final area, a lot of times we think as a group "Yehey!
We reached consensus.
We made a commitment.
We're done!"
But that's not where it ends.
How do we know that the option we pick was the right option?
How do we know that it's going to work?
How do we know that we don't want our child sitting in a program
that we've made this decision and that a year from now our child hasn't made any progress?
That's not a very good solution.
So we want to implement decisions and monitor progress.
And so this is a step that is rarely not taken by the groups and yet it's one
of the most vital steps that needs to be taken.
And what a step is, is detailed procedures are outlined, responsibilities are given,
deadlines are decided upon, and a plan or is made and decided
when parties will get together again
to determine progress, and what data will be collected.
How will-- or in other words how will you follow up?
If you want people to feel accountable, you must give them the opportunity to account,
and that's from of book called "Crucial Conversations" which is an excellent book.
Implementing decisions and monitoring progress make a plan and this isn't part of the IEP.
So you need to bring in an extra paper and say "Hey guess what guys,
we're gonna do an extra step here in our individualized education plan.
Who's going to do what?
Is the classroom teacher gonna be doing this step?
Is the speech language professional gonna be doing this step?
What am I gonna be doing as a parent?
Is what step is my child expected to do?
And what are they suppose to do?
What is the special educator suppose to do?
Is the special educator going to hand out a list of accommodations for the seven teacher
so they know when accommodations in each classroom?
And by when is this gonna be done?
Is this gonna happen tomorrow?
Oh that's kind of quick.
Is it gonna happen in two weeks?
What date are we gonna put?
And how will progress or no progress be recorded?
What kind of data are we gonna collect?
How often will the data be recorded?
Are we going to record it once a week, are we gonna record it week daily,
are we gonna record it every three weeks,
who is going to record the data, and what it's gonna look like?
And how are we gonna know that's working?
When will progress be reported?
Is it gonna be reported at parent teacher conferences,
is progress gonna be reported once a month, are we gonna have a progress reported
when we implement one of the decisions, and then how is it progress gonna be reported?
Are you gonna just send the parents an email, are the other teachers send an emails,
or is it gonna be by phone, are you gonna put a note in my student's book bag?
Oops, that's not gonna work.
Nothing gets home in my student's book bag.
We'll never say it again.
It goes into the book bag and goes out and we never see it again.
Okay, that solution doesn't work.
Are you gonna visit, are we gonna get back together, are we going to report,
and when is the team going to be back together?"
All of those things you need to think about.
You're giving people a chance to report and you're putting them on the line to say
"We're going to get back and report on these solutions.
There has been too much work that's been put in to this to just say "We recorded this IEP, now,
hey we'll see you next year at my child's birthday."
How are we going to know that this reading program worked for my child?
So we've talked about a lot of steps today.
We talked about coming together and we talked-- can anybody think of the first step that we had?
This is at the beginning.
>> Finding the interest?
>> Finding the interest, good, that was excellent.
The very first one was seek to understand.
And the second one, is finding interest.
Good, determine interests.
Does anybody remember the third step?
Tell your story, okay.
And then it was invent options, does any-- and evaluate criteria, consensus and commitment,
implement decisions, and monitor progress.
Henry Ford said "Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is process.
Working together is success."
I hope all of you will remember these different steps and work to implement them
as you have crucial conversations with different professionals and with your families
or your teenagers in your world, thank you.