Special Education/last follow up


They told me OT is never done for sensory purposes, only for things like fine motor and writing.

They said they would do movement breaks "if needed" but they haven't done any yet. How can I use language to prescribe an actual movement break.  I know this helps his attention.

Hello again and thank you for your follow-up!

Whenever a school district tells apparent that they never do anything for certain reasons, the parent would do well to ask for that policy in writing. Since occupational therapists do specialize in sensory integration and sensory regulation, this statement does not appear to be correct. I would suggest that you request an occupational therapy evaluation and functional behavior assessment. If the districts occupational therapy evaluation is not appropriate, or if the functional behavior assessment is not appropriate, you could always ask for an independent evaluation at public expense. You have to be careful about this because the school district can take you to a hearing in order to uphold it's a valuation, but in general, this can be a very effective way for the parent to obtain a second opinion. As for the functional behavior assessment, you might want to pick up my book, school success for kids with emotional and behavioral disorders. The functional behavior assessment is a data collection activity that should involve you, and should address your sons tix and attention and executive dysfunction. Behavior interventions can include sensory strategies and can include breaks, and should be accompanied by data collection. Unfortunately, it is the case that some school teams will not listen to just parents, and parents will need to bring in professionals or experts to help them articulate in the multidisciplinary team. You can use language to prescribe breaks by developing a behavior intervention plan, which flows from the functional behavior assessment. The behavior intervention plan should specify what should be done when how and where. If you would like to consult with me, there would be no charge, and I would gladly try to help guide what your next step should be. But overall, you will need evaluations, documentation, and written information so that you can prove what your son needs and how he needs it. That way, even if the school team does not agree, it will be ready to go to a mediation or some other type of dispute, if needed. I hope the center helps you as you think about how best to advocate for your child, and I wish you the best!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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