Strength-Based IEPs

If you want to shift teacher and parent mindsets from deficit- to strengths-based IEPs, then this session is for you.

Many IEPs focus disproportionately on students’ disabilities and deficits rather than strengths. As a result, the positive power of high expectations, growth mindsets, collective teacher efficacy, and universal design for learning (UDL) may not make their way into students’ IEPs.

Join us to discuss the self-defeating practices common in IEP writing and gain fresh strategies to change conversations with teachers and parents so that you can move towards more strength-based IEPs. You’ll learn:

• The current research and literature on teacher efficacy, mindsets, and UDL
• The connections between these concepts and required IEP components
• Strategies to change the IEP conversation from deficit- to strengths-based language
• Helpful tools and models to support changes in practice (before, during, and after the IEP meeting)


Volunteer Square!

In conjunction with the Leadership Development Committee and its Leadership Development Program Subcommittee, we are excited to let you know that CEC staff has organized a Volunteer Square. This is a place where members can go and say “Yes, I’d like to get more involved somewhere” YEAR-ROUND and tell us a little about themselves.

We hope all units and divisions will utilize this through our website AND your own. For those with microsites, a link will be added to the global header menu on each of them.

Units and divisions will have access to the entries to view the volunteers that are coming in, you can view that report here. When you have volunteer needs, you can simply query the list for appropriate individuals and reach out to them. We KNOW that people are more likely to volunteer when asked, rather than just respond to a call for volunteers.

The Volunteer Square will help fill your various volunteer needs and, in turn, help you build a pipeline of future leaders for your unit/division through learning and engagement. So, start thinking about ways to engage your aspiring volunteers!

 We hope you greatly benefit from this new opportunity by growing your volunteer pool and enhancing the skills of your next generation of leaders!


Procedural Safeguards

New Hampshire Special Education Procedural Safeguards Handbook is based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 and the New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities adopted April , 2018.

Procedural Safeguards New Hampshire Special Education Procedural Safeguards Handbook


Check out what Sesame Street is doing….

sesame street

Resources for parents:


Dan Habib’s new project

Please share! My new film Intelligent Lives (working title, coming Fall 2017) will explore how our narrow views of intelligence have segregated people with intellectual disability, and how Micah and Naieer embody a new paradigm of what it means to be intelligent.


Micah - Inclusive U

Approximately 6.5 million Americans are identified as having an intellectual disability, and most live segregated lives based on low expectations. 17% of students with intellectual disabilities are included in general education classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers, and as adults, 24% are employed.

In the new documentary film project Intelligent Lives (working title), filmmaker Dan Habib will explore how the segregation of people with intellectual disabilities became the norm, why this segregation is slowly being dismantled, and how some people with intellectual disabilities are blazing a bold new path.

Intelligent Lives will focus on three central themes:

  • The history and legacy of intelligence testing, which was used to justify the forced sterilization and institutionalization of tens of thousands of Americans during the 20th century.
  • How narrow perceptions of intelligence continue to disproportionately limit people with disabilities, leading to the isolation and unfulfilled potential of millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • An emerging paradigm in which people with intellectual disabilities participate in general education, college, meaningful employment, relationships, and other aspects of community life.

The film project will explore these themes through personal stories along with a historical perspective on the experience of people with intellectual disabilities, with narration from Academy Award winning actor, Chris Cooper.

Additionally, the film will include interviews with leaders in the fields of education, neuroscience, psychology, and business as we explore a central question: Can any attempt to measure intelligence predict a person’s value, competence, or potential to contribute meaningfully to the world?

Please watch the video preview at Intelligent Lives


A New Education Law

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country.

For example, today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to college than ever before. These achievements provide a firm foundation for further work to expand educational opportunity and improve student outcomes under ESSA.

The previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, was enacted in 2002. NCLB represented a significant step forward for our nation’s children in many respects, particularly as it shined a light on where students were making progress and where they needed additional support, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background. The law was scheduled for revision in 2007, and, over time, NCLB’s prescriptive requirements became increasingly unworkable for schools and educators. Recognizing this fact, in 2010, the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to create a better law that focused on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.

Congress has now responded to that call.

The Every Student Succeeds Act reflects many of the priorities of this administration.


Who are Exceptional Learners?

The disability terms and definitions are taken from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Disability Terms and Definitions

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experience. Autism does not apply if a child’s education performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has an emotional disturbance.

Deaf-blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Emotional Disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Intellectual Disability means significantly sub-average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Hearing impairment means an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness or mental retardation-orthopedic impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities do not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic impairment  means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s education performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).

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 education environment, that 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, led poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental apahsia. Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairment in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

Visual impairments including blindness means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

Developmental Delay Term and Definition

Developmental delay means, for a child aged 3-9 (or any subset of that range, including, ages 3 through 5), and may, at the discretion of the State and the local educational agency, include a child experiencing developmental delays, as defined by the State and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedure, in 1 or more of the following areas: physical development; cognitive development; communication development; social or emotional development; or adaptive development; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

Infant and Toddler with a Disability Term and Definition

Infant or toddler with a disability means an individual under 3 years of age who needs early intervention services because the individual is experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedure in 1 or more of the areas of cognitive development, physical development, communication development, social or emotional development, and adaptive development; or has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delays.

At-risk Infant or Toddler Term and Definition

At-risk infant or toddler means an individual under 3 years of age who would be at risk of experiencing a substantial developmental delay if early intervention services were not provided to the individual.

Gifted and Talented Term and Definition

Gifted and Talented means students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.

Twice Exceptional Term and Definition

Twice Exceptional means a gifted and talented student with a co-occurring disability.


Study Finds Postsecondary Programs Boost Outcomes

By Shaun Heasley | January 20, 2015
Evan Davis, a student in the SUCCESS program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus, walks with his red backpack to class. A new study suggests that individuals with disabilities who participate in postsecondary programs are more likely to find work. (Emilie Eastman/Capital News Service/TNS)Evan Davis, a student in the SUCCESS program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus, walks with his red backpack to class. A new study suggests that individuals with disabilities who participate in postsecondary programs are more likely to find work. (Emilie Eastman/Capital News Service/TNS)

Individuals with intellectual disabilities who attend postsecondary programs are finding greater success in the job market than those who do not pursue further education, a new study suggests.

Graduates of postsecondary programs reported higher rates of employment since completing high school, according to findings published online this month in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. The research offers support for a growing number of programs at colleges and universities specifically geared toward young adults with developmental disabilities.

For the study, researchers interviewed administrators and surveyed 34 graduates from two postsecondary programs — one focused on providing supports so students can participate in typical college classes and the other offering a more specialized program just for those with disabilities. Researchers asked about the work experiences of the graduates who completed postsecondary programs between 2011 and 2013.

The graduates’ experiences were then compared to data from the federally-funded National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 on the post-high school outcomes of individuals with intellectual disabilities who did not attend postsecondary programs.

Researchers found “steep gains” for individuals in both the specialized and inclusive postsecondary offerings.

Slightly over half of those who did not seek additional education after high school said they had been employed in the last two years. By comparison, roughly 9 in 10 of those who graduated from a postsecondary program reported that they had worked outside their home or former school in the same time period.

“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that (postsecondary education) programs for individuals with (intellectual disabilities) are highly effective as a means to increase employment rates for such individuals,” wrote Eric J. Moore of the University of Tennessee and Amy Schelling of Grand Valley State University in their findings. “Such data can and should be used to encourage further propagation of (postsecondary) programs for individuals with IDs and provides justification for pilot programs of similar kinds in countries wherein (postsecondary) programs have not yet been made available for individuals with IDs.”