Friday, November 21, 2014

All in Need, Family Support December Events-REGISTER NOW

AiN has these events scheduled for December
December 6th, Breakfast with Santa
December 20th, Revive (Respite for all ages)
December 18th, Social Club Game Night

For more information visit them here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

ADHD Entreprenuer wins Pinnacle Award at 2014 Dyslexia Conference

By Robin Hansen, Special Education - Examiner

Cameron Herold, Author of Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less, is the winner of the The Pinnacle Award from the International DyslexiaAssociation this year at the 2014 conference. The award was created to recognize a dyslexic individual, who has publicly acknowledged such, made significant achievements in his/her field of interest, is leading a successful life and is a role model for others with dyslexia. The Award is given annually; more than one person may receive this recognition in any given year; and the honoree does not have to be a member of the Association. The award is presented at the IDA's Annual Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference each fall.

Read more HERE.

AiN December Registration

Register Now
All Enrollment Forms must be completed for 2014. Please visit our webpage to update your child's Annual Enrollment Forms. If your child will be attending an AiN event preregistration is required. Thank you! 

Newsletter HERE.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hakes: Ruby Rabbit rocks autism class

From The Des Moines Register by Dick Hakes

(Photo: Dick Hakes photo / For the Press-Citizen )

She can't cure autism, but it's clear Ruby the Rescue Rabbit — as she is fondly known throughout Irving Weber Elementary School in western Iowa City — is a helpful addition to instructor Sarah McCurdy's autism class.

The kids will tell you that.

Erick, for example, quickly checked off the four daily chores the class performs on Ruby's behalf.

"Clean her litter box, feed her, vacuum her cage, watch her wherever she goes," he told me.

Routine is important to kids with autism. Ruby's care at the end of each day is a routine this class enthusiastically anticipates.

But her attributes do not stop there.

McCurdy's class of five students has a regular Friday field trip to Fareway to pick out vegetables for their class rabbit. Kale is her first choice, with spinach a close second. For a special treat, class members can give Ruby "yogurt drops for bunnies" one at time. The trips give class members another chance to interact with the world outside school.

Ruby is also a calming presence in a classroom where the frustrations of autism can sometimes boil over in a child. Petting her coal-black, minky-soft fur nearly put me to sleep and I could see a similar soothing effect on McCurdy's brood.

Another bonus: Ruby provides an effective reward incentive that reaches beyond this classroom. Other elementary kids at Weber, who might occasionally benefit from a "Ruby break," can earn one from their teacher for exceptional work or behavior.

And yes, she truly is a rescue rabbit. McCurdy explains how this class adoption project came about:

"Another class was working with crayfish as a science project and that's when I noticed how well my kids responded to animals," she said. "Most in my class do not have pets at home."

The young special ed teacher found Ruby at a Des Moines animal shelter, reluctantly placed there by a family who could no longer keep her because of medical problems within the family. She was used to kids and trained to use a litter box like a cat — two big perks.

Ruby is a Mini Rex breed, about 6 years old. She lives in a large collapsible cage at school except for holiday breaks and summers when McCurdy takes her home. The teacher is Ruby's official owner and foots the bill for her care and feeding out of her own pocket.

All in all, the black rabbit appears to have cornered the hearts of most of the students and staff at this school. "Even the custodian checks on her every night," said McCurdy. "He loves rabbits."

Although housebroken, on the rare occasions when Ruby is allowed to roam free in the classroom or in Sarah's abode, she's on strict probation. Apparently she has an unfortunate compulsion to chew on electrical cords.

It could be her only fault.

Dick Hakes is a former newspaper editor who recently settled in North Liberty. He writes a twice-weekly blog at and can be reached at

Article HERE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice on effective communication with students with disabilities

From the Office for Civil Rights - U.S. Department of Education

Dear Colleague:

Today the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, together with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, issued joint guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to effective communication. The guidance, in the form of a letter to educators (available in Spanish) with an attached Frequently Asked Questions document, is intended to help schools understand and comply with federal legal requirements on meeting the communications needs of students with disabilities. We are also releasing a fact sheet on the guidance for parents (available in Spanish).

Please share this information widely with your members, affiliates, and networks.

Thank you,

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education logo
Contact Us

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mark Your Calendars, Parent Training!

Save the Date for the Special Education Mini Conference on Saturday March 14th at Loma Vista Adult Center. 

Check out the flyer.  More details to follow, brochure with topics coming soon!

IEP vs 504 Plan

The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans

To read the article visit Understood.