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The Best Harry Potter Themed Gifts

The week leading up to Halloween is Harry Potter Week in our home. 

Our kids aren't fans of scary and gory things, but they definitely enjoy the idea of witches and wizards.  Needless to say, a Harry Potter themed holiday works quite well.

It seems this week is also the official start to the holiday shopping season, with sales popping up everywhere. 

I can't believe how soon Christmas is!

Since we are quite occupied with all things Harry Potter AND I'm now starting to think about the holiday season myself, I thought I would share our family list of the best Harry Potter themed gifts.

The Best Harry Potter Themed Gifts

The Best Harry Potter Themed Gifts

All of these gifts have been received by someone in our home or are going to be received this year. Be forewarned, we are HUGE Harry Potter fans.  Lol.

The Best Harry Potter Themed Stuffed Animals

Sunshine and Princess have a special love for stuffed animals. They love playing with them and can't collect enough. We definitely have a few Harry Potter themed stuffed animals around the house.  Here are our absolute favorites!

The Best Harry Potter Themed Stuffed Animals

Harry Potter Pygmy Puff Plush Pink

Princess adores her pink pygmy puff.  She's even given it a name.  Where ever we go, it tends to come along. I admit, it's absolutely adorable, and so soft. Who wouldn't want one?!

Harry Potter Pygmy Puff Plush Purple

Having one pygmy puff just isn't enough. They have to come in pairs of two, or at least that was the case when Princess received hers. The purple pygmy puff is my favorite.  That has all to do with the fact that purple is my favorite color.

Douglas Wizard Snowy Owl Plush

Sunshine received this owl as a gift for Halloween last year. My oh my is it soft and cuddly, not to mention absolutely adorable. When Sunshine was home, she carried it around for days, because she couldn't bear to part with it.  

Harry Potter Crookshanks Collector Plush

Princess purchased Crookshanks with her own spending money after a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, FL. She just couldn't resist this cat, who looks so authentic!

Harry Potter Fawkes Collector Plush

My husband and I are debating on what stuffed animal to give Princess this year for Christmas. This is the one we have agreed upon.  It's the perfect addition to her collection, and so very special.

Sunshine also has Hallmark Harry, Ron, and Hermione Plush Itty Bitties that we all love and adore. Unfortunately they are no longer available on Amazon, so I did not include them in this list.

The Best Harry Potter Themed Board Games

We thoroughly enjoy a good board game or card game, especially when everyone in the family can play. Add the Harry Potter theme to a board game night and it's sure to be a success. Here are our absolute favorite Harry Potter board games!

The Best Harry Potter Themed Board Games

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Building Card Game

This game is by far Bulldozer's favorite game. He looks forward to playing it every chance he can. I love the card game because it is such a great way to work on communication skills, working as a group, and so much more!

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle-The Monster Book of Monsters Expansion Deckbuilding Game

We were so excited when an expansion of Hogwarts Battle came out. This expansion is a great way to add lots of new excitement to the original game. Princess loved the addition of Ginny to the character choices.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle-The Charms and Potions Expansion Deckbuilding Game

The charms and potions expansion of Hogwarts Battle has only made the original Harry Potter game the best it's ever been. My kids LOVE combining all three card sets for the ultimate game experience. What's even better is that this expansion set allows for five players! 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle-Defense Against the Dark Arts

There came a point where Bulldozer couldn't get enough of the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, but enlisting siblings and parents to play, became a little difficult.  This card game was a perfect solution, as it is for two players. If siblings don't want to play, Dad always will.

HedBanz Harry Potter Party Game for Kids

This is such a fun game for those who know all of the characters in the Harry Potter series. We laugh so much as we play this game. It's such a great challenge to see how well you know each character.

The Best Harry Potter Themed Books (Beyond the Original Series)

There are so many fabulous books for those who love the Harry Potter series, no matter what age you are. We have enjoyed all of these books so much and hope you do too!

The Best Harry Potter Themed Books

D is for Dragon: An ABC Book of Magical Creatures by Brittany Long Olsen

This is the most adorable book for those learning the letters of the alphabet. Each letter is represented by a magical creature in the Harry Potter series.  The illustrations are beautiful and so magical. Sunshine absolutely loves this book. She is fascinated with the creatures. I love that it is not scary at all.

The Hogwarts Classics Box Set by J. K. Rowling

Dinomite received these books as a gift and absolutely LOVED it. If you love quidditch, you'll thoroughly enjoy Quidditch Through the Ages. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is basically the fairy tales of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I love that this set brings to life so many aspects of the original book series.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Princess received this cookbook as a gift, but it's been enjoyed by all. Even if you decide not to try out any of the recipes, this book is so entertaining to read.  There are many fun facts and stories related to the books that you won't want to miss.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Spellbook by Michael Gonzalez

I'm not sure who loves this book more, Princess or Bulldozer.  It was definitely a hit when received and is used often. One can always brush up on their spells. Bulldozer loves that this book includes all of the spells.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

After Bulldozer read the Harry Potter series he was begging for more.  The Nicholas Flamel series was recommended, and so we purchased the first three books. Bulldozer LOVED them and went on to save his money for the last three books in the series.  He is now reading them for a third time with his dad.

Harry Potter Coloring Book

Dinomite absolutely LOVES to color.  This coloring book was one of his absolute favorites. It provides the perfect transition from a children's coloring book to one more adult like.  There are several others in the series as well.

Other Harry Potter Themed Gifts We Love

Harry Potter Gringotts Bank

Dinomite received this coin bank about a year ago. My oh my what an amazing bank it is! The detail is incredible.  Who wouldn't love to have their own Gringotts Bank at home?!

Harry Potter Movie Collage 1000 Piece Puzzle

Princess, LOVES puzzles. She will work on them constantly, if they're available. This Harry Potter themed puzzle was perfect for her as a Christmas gift last year.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Dress for Girls

Before all of the kids had official robes from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, this dress was the girls' most prized possession. They would wear it every day at home if I let them. Lol. It is soft and so comfortable. 

Harry Potter Bookmarks: The Noble Collection

It's no secret that we have avid readers in this house. These bookmarks were the perfect gift for Dinomite a few years back. He still has them. They looks as good as new, with no issues whatsoever. I must say they're absolutely gorgeous and so well made.

Harry Potter Bookmarks: The Horcrux Collection

I can't decide if Dinomite or Princess will receive the Horcrux set of bookmarks this year, but someone will. I'm absolutely in love with them. They go perfectly with the set Dinomite already has, but are also a perfect gift all on their own.

Slytherin Pajama Pants

Dinomite absolutely LOVES these pajama pants. He has had them for over six months now and they're still looking fabulous. It's completely normal to see him wearing these pants regularly around the house.

Other Places We Find Harry Potter Gifts

Believe it or not, I've not begun to share all of the Harry Potter themed items we have at home. I've limited this list to items available on Amazon, and those applicable to everyone, not just my children.

If you are searching for other ideas, I suggest the following sites.


I don't want to begin to list out or describe how many Harry Potter LEGO sets we have at home.  Needless to say if you want to combine LEGO and Harry Potter, this is the best place to do it with new sets coming out regularly! 


Last year I bought the most beautiful Harry Potter themed facemasks for the kids on Etsy. I also bought matching scrunchies for the girls. 

For Halloween last year I ordered the most beautiful Ravenclaw purse and wallet for Princess. I was able to find beautiful radish earrings for her as well.

Sunshine received the most beautiful Harry Potter themed ring also.

Pottery Barn Teen

Pottery Barn Teen has so many fabulous Harry Potter gifts to choose from. We have many of the items shared here in our home and continue to add them each year. Did I mention that for Halloween we deck the entire house out in Harry Potter themed decor?

Williams Sonoma

If you have kids that love to work in the kitchen AND are huge Harry Potter fans, Williams Sonoma has some fabulous gifts waiting for them. We absolutely LOVE our Harry Potter themed aprons from here, along with the cookie cutters and more!

Universal Studios Shop

All of our kids have robes and wands from our trips to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Florida. The boys also have pins. Dinomite has an ornament. There are so many things to choose from here if you're ready to take the step into "official" items.

We hope this list helps you find the perfect gift for the Harry Potter lover in your life!

For those who would like more gift recommendations or want to follow our Harry Potter themed family adventures, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

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Disney Villains Halloween Party

For the first time in Sunshine's history of residential placement, our entire family is allowed to visit monthly. Not only are we allowed to visit, but we are encouraged to have as much fun as possible!

Needless to say, we were super excited to bring Halloween to Sunshine, and actually have a family party with everyone included.

The biggest challenge was coming up with a theme.  

Our oldest, Dinomite is fourteen years old.  

Sunshine, our youngest, is almost ten, but is developmentally a kindergartener. She scares easily. 

Bulldozer, thirteen years old, despises all things scary and horror like as well.

One thing they all like though are Disney Villains. So, after putting the theme to a vote, it was decided that this year we would have a Disney Villains Halloween Party!

Disney Villains Halloween Party

Throwing a party in a visiting room at a residential treatment center is completely different than one in your own home.

Everything has to be transported and prepared ahead of time. 

You can't hang things on the wall. All decorations must be table based, though you don't know how many tables you will have or how big any of the tables will be. 

Most difficult, is that you never know what room you're going to be placed in.

Then there's the time factor.  You are only given a certain amount of time to visit.

And let's not forget about the residential treatment center's safety protocols.

With all of those fun little challenges in mind, this is what we managed to pull off!

Disney Villains Halloween Party

The Costumes

As much as I would have loved to give my kids brand new Halloween costumes this year, due to finances, that just wasn't possible.

So, we compromised with black shirts and Disney Villains head pieces. The results were fabulous!

Disney Villains Halloween Party Costumes

My husband Jason chose to be Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog. His hat was fantastic! It needed to be reshaped when it arrived, but other than that it was perfect. It's so durable and will last for years to come! 

I chose to be Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations. It was super easy to replace my regular wig, with the Cruella Deville wig and enjoy the party. As cheap wigs go, this one wasn't bad at all. I was quite found of it actually. 

Dinomite's favorite villain has always been Jafar from Aladdin. It only made sense that he wear a fantastic Jafar hat. The hat was beautifully made and extremely durable. Dinomite's only complaint was that it was a little tight. This makes sense as Dinomite has a larger head to begin with.

Bulldozer chose to be Captain Hook from Peter Pan. One would think finding Captain Hook's hat in an adult size wouldn't be too hard, but it was.  We had to settle for a Buccaneer Tricorn Hat.  It wasn't the right color. It wasn't the right shape. Thankfully Bulldozer is the easiest going kid of the bunch, and this turned out to be okay.

I will say, Bulldozer's hat was the one I liked the least. It came deformed. The hat threads that kept the tricorn together broke the first time he wore it.

Princess desperately wanted to be Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty for our Disney Villains Halloween Party. I was a little worried about finding the right head piece, because Princess has an extremely small head. Thankfully we found a Maleficent hat that worked perfectly! It was so soft and comfortable. I loved that it was so durable.

The entire Disney Villains Halloween Party was a surprise for Sunshine, so Princess and I decided that she would be the Evil Queen from Snow White. We hoped and prayed the crown headpiece we ordered would fit her. Thankfully it fit both Princess and me, so we knew it would work.

Sunshine absolutely loved the headpiece! It looked beautiful on her. Like the other headpieces we ordered, it was so soft and comfortable. We were all impressed with the durability factor. 

Sunshine wore the crown the entire time with the exception of five minutes maybe and didn't complain once about any sensory factors.

Party Decorations

As mentioned previously, we could only use table space for decorating at Sunshine's residential treatment center (RTC). With this in mind, we tried to do the best we could to create a fun Disney Villains Halloween Party atmosphere.

We chose purple, green, red, white and black as a color scheme with a little touch of orange for Halloween. 

All decorations and food choices reflected these colors to really make things pop. 

A black table cloth was used as our backdrop. Most serving trays were white. We found black and white pumpkins at our local Walmart for $1 each. To add more color we picked up purple lights to scatter on the table as well as battery operated candles. 

Plates, cups and silverware were green, purple and red.

Once we had the background basics, Princess and I went to work finding items at home we could place on the table that represented different villains. We also printed out 5x7 pictures of our favorite villains to spread out on the table.

Disney Villains Halloween Party Decorations & Menu

Party Food

Our main focus when making food choices for our Disney Villains Halloween Party was three fold. 

  • All food needed meet Sunshine's long list of special dietary needs. (Sunshine follows a gluten free, corn free, soy free, dairy free, and sugar free diet.)
  • We wanted to try to add as many Disney themed foods as possible related to Halloween and certain villains.
  • Everything needed to be transported and prepped easily due to the travel and storage component of what we were trying to do.

In the end we decided on fruit and vegetable platters, a potato bar (not Disney themed, but easily prepared), tortilla chips/potato chips, a few diet friendly treats, and our "magic potion punch."

The fruit platter included fruits in our main party colors, as well as "poisoned" apple slices. In our home, natural sugars found in fruits are still okay for Sunshine.

The vegetable platter included vegetables in our main party colors.

I made my favorite Sunshine diet friendly tortillas, but cooked/baked them a bit longer so they were harder. After finding cute Mickey Mouse cookie cutters at Target, I couldn't resist making them Mickey Mouse shaped tortillas chips.

Sunshine is a huge fan of diet friendly guacamole, salsa, and goat cheese, so she was definitely in her element here.

For dessert I made the most delicious chocolate Mickey Mouse cookies, with Mickey Mouse ears dipped in chocolate. I used sugar free substitute instead of the sugar the recipe recommends. There were also sugar free Jell-O cups in green and red colors available.

Originally I had wanted to find dry ice for our "magic potion punch." But none could be found locally where Sunshine resides at this time. 

Instead we made the most delicious diet friendly sparkling apple cider punch, modifying it to ensure the ginger ale was sugar free. 

Everyone that tried the punch LOVED it! I don't think I've ever seen any punch recipe I've tried turn out to be such a hit!

Party Games

Our family is a huge fan of board games, though at times, games can be a challenge due to the variety of diverse needs the kids have.

For our Disney Villains Halloween Party, we decided to have a little fun playing the game, "Would You Rather..." with various Disney villain scenarios.  

It was a huge hit and continued on during future video chats we had with Sunshine after the party. We wrote down our own questions in advance. Due to Disney's copyright laws, I can't share them. My apologies.

Our second game was purchased specifically for our Disney Villains Halloween Party. 

None of the kids had ever played the game Sorry before. What better way to introduce it, than to use the Disney Villains edition of the game.

The last game of the party was Disney Villains Bingo.  All of the kids seem to be really into Bingo games right now. As always, it was a huge hit! 

Disney Villains Halloween Party Games & Crafts

Party Crafts

Sunshine and Princess love arts and crafts. The boys are finally at a point where they can tolerate them. Due to these factors, I try to incorporate crafts into every visit we have with Sunshine. Our Disney Villains Halloween Party was no exception.

I found the most adorable Disney Villain themed Mickey Mouse ears ornament templates and directions on Pinterest. All of the kids LOVED them! 

Had we been at home, the kids would have cut out all of the pieces themselves, but with the restrictions of the residential treatment center, I had to do all of the cutting ahead of time. 

If you'd like to enjoy these beautiful crafts as well, be sure to check out the links below!

Evil Queen Mickey Mouse Ears DIY Craft

Disney Ursula Ornament DIY Craft

Cruella Devil Ornament DIY Craft

Mickey Pumpkin Halloween Ornament DIY Craft

Sunshine LOVED these craft projects, especially since they included glitter! 

The ornaments were super easy for everyone to make, which meant absolutely no frustration. This was a big deal. 

Once home, we hung the ornaments on our Beautiful Halloween tree in the front entryway.

Party Music

To add more fun to our Disney Villains Halloween Party atmosphere, Dinomite and Bulldozer worked together to create a Disney Villains/Halloween playlist on Amazon. It was so much fun to have this playlist on shuffle during the party. The kids danced, sang, and had an absolute blast. 

When Sunshine tired out from all of the fun, she came over to me and cuddled for a bit. It felt so great to have have this special moment with her.

Sunshine & Mommy

Our Disney Villains Halloween Party was a HUGE hit with the kids and adults alike.  Sunshine talked about it forever. The other three kids came home, having had a blast.

Despite being in the "fish bowl" conference room for several hours, we definitely made the best of it!

And now I have this beautiful Halloween picture, capturing the best of memories, of all of my children together for Halloween this year. 

Disney Villains Halloween Party Group Photo

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

For those who want to follow our family adventures and receive more Disney-inspired ideas and resources, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

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How to Write an Essay (Free Printable)

Last year the kids were introduced to the concept of writing an essay.  This was extremely intimidating to them.

When fear and intimidation take over, the first thing I do to help the kids work through feelings is create a visual support for them to rely on. Visuals help so much!

This was the case with essay writing as well.

Today, I share with you my FREE printable: How to Write an Essay.

FREE How to Write an Essay Chart

How to Write an Essay

The How to Write an Essay Chart is broken down into five parts, one for each paragraph. 
  • Introduction
  • Point 1
  • Point 2
  • Point 3
  • Conclusion

On the chart there are bullet points to remind kids about what to include and the order they should include it.

Over time, all three kids mastered writing essays, to the point that they are able to write them about anything.

The visual worked so well, I wanted to be sure to share it with any others who may need it.

The How to Write an Essay Chart is a FREE printable. Be sure to click the link below to obtain your free copy.

For those who are looking for more educational visuals and resources, especially those related to writing, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

Click HERE to Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

If you enjoyed the post above, you may also enjoy the resources below.

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FREE How to Write a Comparative Essay Printable Pack

This year all three kiddos, Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess are in middle school, which means lots of writing, especially in essay form. 

Where has the time gone?!

Yet again, we’re transitioning our Montessori model to meet the needs of the kids.

We’re spending a lot more time on project-based studies that are child led.

The kiddos continue their grammar, mechanics, and word study lessons, but a lot more emphasis is put on how to write essays rather than sentences and paragraphs.

With each assignment has come learning how to write in different formats.

Most recently the kids learned how to write a comparative essay using the free printables in this post.

FREE How to Write a Comparative Essay Printable Pack

This year Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess wanted to dedicate their science studies to oceanography and marine biology.

It’s no surprise that the first animal they wanted to study was the shark.

Each kiddo definitely has a few favorite sharks and are very passionate about them.

A shark study provided the perfect opportunity to introduce and practice writing a comparative essay for the first time.

Each child chose two sharks to write about.

They researched those sharks and decided on three topics to compare and contrast, making sure that there were similarities and differences with each one.

We worked through the process of writing a comparative essay paragraph by paragraph using the free printable in this post.

The kids did such a fantastic job with these essays. I have learned so much about the various sharks reading their work.

They are currently typing their essays to prepare to be kept in their educational portfolio.

How to Write a Comparative Essay

There are several ways to write a comparative essay.

I spent several hours studying each and every way, to figure out which would make the most sense to teach the kiddos.

Each kiddo learns writing processes in a different way, and naturally organizes information in different ways.

In the end, I decided to teach the version of a comparative essay that requires eight paragraphs. 

The first paragraph is the introduction. The next six paragraphs alternate the two concepts (sharks), going topic by topic until the final conclusion.

Please be aware the free printable pack only includes directions on how to write this type of comparative essay.

The printable pack also includes resources for helping to write the main thesis and organizing research that will be compared and contrasted.

The FREE How to Write a Comparative Essay Printable Pack can be yours by clicking the link below.

How to Write a Comparative Essay

For more writing resources and educational printables, be sure to to subscribe to our FREE Newsletter!

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8 Important Facts Parents Need to Know About the IEP Process

Over the past four years I have learned the ins and outs of the IEP process in a way that I wish on no parent, due to the experiences we have had with Sunshine.

Please know that we have had some amazing experiences with our home school district. I am so humble and grateful for how lucky we are to work with such fabulous people. Our local school district is to thank for helping me learn all of these important facts.

But, when it comes to working with schools within the residential system, we have faced nothing but nightmare after nightmare.

As I am yet again requesting another IEP meeting this week due to a third residential school choosing not to follow Sunshine’s IEP, I figured it was time to share what we have learned through this difficult process.

All advice applies to every IEP process, whether your child is in a residential treatment center, or attending a school in your local school district.

Here are 8 important facts parents need to know about the IEP process.

8 Important Facts Parents Need to Know About the IEP Process

8 Important Facts Parents Need to Know About the IEP Process

1. Parents can request an IEP meeting at any time.

A parent does not have to wait for the school or teacher to initiate an IEP meeting. You have the right to request a meeting at any time. The school is required to honor this request. 

If they refuse, document this information in writing and pursue legal action if you feel so inclined. You have a right to do so. 

IEP meetings are a great way to check up on how things are going in the classroom. They ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your child. 

IEP meetings are also a great time to check in to see if the IEP is being followed.

It’s one thing to write a great IEP, but yet another to ensure that it’s being followed. I have learned that requesting IEP meetings regularly have been the only way to ensure Sunshine’s IEP is being followed when she is in the residential setting in another state.

Parents can request an IEP meeting at any time.

2. If an IEP meeting has not been scheduled within a month of being in a new learning environment, request one.

Whether your child is sent to residential, a day program, or your family has moved, if the new school has not initiated an IEP meeting to discuss your child within the first month of classes, request one. 

There is a chance that the new school is not following the IEP that was sent, and therefore your child is suffering. 

If that’s the case, you want things to change as quickly as possible. 

You will also want to meet everyone on your child’s education team as soon as possible, as you will be working with them for the foreseeable future.  They need to know you take your child's education and accommodations very seriously.

With every new residential setting Sunshine is in, I request an IEP at the 30-day mark, if I have heard nothing from the residential school.

3. No matter where your child attends school, your local school district is required to make sure your child is receiving therapies and other supports stated in the IEP. This includes funding for these supports.

3. No matter where your child attends school, your local school district is required to make sure your child is receiving therapies and other supports stated in the IEP. This includes funding for these supports.

There is absolutely no reason your child shouldn’t be receiving therapies stated as necessary in the IEP. 

There is absolutely no reason your child shouldn’t be receiving a one-to-one if it’s stated as necessary in the IEP. The local school district is legally required to fund these accommodations, when they are deemed necessary. 

If your child is in a residential setting, it is up to your local school district to contract out services, wherever your child may be, if they are not provided in the residential setting. 

It may take time to hire someone qualified to provide the service to your child. Be sure to allow for that time, but document each and every contact in writing along the way. Follow up to be sure all is done. If not, you have the right to pursue legal action. 

 E-mail communication is a great way to document everything in a way that won’t be lost. I make sure that Sunshine’s school knows that I know that she is to receive a one-to-one in the classroom setting, and that she is to be receiving occupational therapy and physical therapy. 

If they try to change or alter these plans in any way, I am very quick to mention the legal consequences of not providing supports in the IEP. I have threatened legal action over this in Sunshine's first placement. The school was VERY quick to put in the supports without question at that point.

4. Schools are obligated by law to send regular updates on IEP goal progress.

You as a parent are to receive updates on your child’s IEP goal progress. The time in between updates may vary by state.  In our home state, updates are sent out about every six weeks during the school year. 

As a parent, you are always able to request an IEP meeting to discuss progress, if you feel you are not receiving adequate updates, or updates in a timely manner. 

If I don’t receive an update on Sunshine’s progress during two month time period, I will request an IEP meeting to ensure updates are being given.

All parties, including the parent, must sign off on an IEP.

5. All parties, including the parent, must sign off on an IEP.

If you, as the parent, are not satisfied with the IEP, you can refuse to sign until it meets your expectations. You know your child and know what she needs. You are the expert on your child. Do not let anyone tell you any differently. 

If you feel that your child isn’t receiving the accommodations she needs, and you are facing resistance from the school district, request that testing and observations be done. 

Set a date to reconvene with scores and assessments complete. 

Do not sign the IEP until current test scores have been considered and discussed, with goals and accommodations updated to reflect scores. 

I will not sign an IEP if I am not 100% satisfied with it. The school district knows this and works very hard to make sure that all parties do their part.

You have the right to request testing and assessments on your child at any time.

6. You have the right to request testing and assessments on your child at any time.

A full psychological evaluation of your child should be completed every three years when your child has an IEP. This includes an IQ test, adaptive testing, necessary academic assessments, and any behavioral assessments that might be deemed necessary. 

Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy assessments are done annually, and sometimes semi-annually. 

All of these tests and assessments are required to ensure your child has the correct diagnoses and is receiving the correct supports and services. 

If you are observing specific challenges related to any of these areas at any time, you can request that testing be done, so long as it pertains to school performance, or is requested by a medical professional such as a developmental pediatrician. 

I always make sure I have updated test scores when discussing Sunshine’s academic plans.

7. You have a right to include a behavioral plan in the IEP.

When a behavioral plan is included in an IEP, it becomes a legal document that you can hold the school accountable for. If it is not included, you are not able to do so. 

Behavioral plans are a great way to better understand what interventions will be used when your child is not doing well. 

They also explain what prevention measures are taken to help your child stay regulated throughout the day.  

If your child receives ABA, a behavioral plan specifically lists what autism supports will be in place and used during your child’s school day. 

Remember, if you are uncomfortable with any of these interventions, you can refuse them, and request that alternatives be used. 

A BCBA or RBT will usually write a behavioral plan for a child who receives ABA. But, if your child doesn’t qualify for autism support services, the teacher and school counselor can write this plan. 

At this point, I do not sign an IEP without a very detailed behavioral plan for Sunshine that I support. I want to make sure if I need to pursue legal action, I have all of the details I need.

You have the right to participate in creating IEP goals for your child.

8. You have the right to participate in creating IEP goals for your child.

IEP goals are not just something that your child’s teachers and therapists create.  You can participate in this process during an IEP meeting. If you don’t like a goal, you can request that it be changed. 

I am a huge fan of very detailed goals with specific ways to measure progress. If goals are too vague, or there is not a way to measure progress, 

I will request the goals be rewritten until I am satisfied. 

It is my hope that sharing these important facts about the IEP process will help you avoid horrible situations that we have experienced over the last few years with Sunshine. Advocating fiercely is not always an enjoyable experience, but it is so necessary to ensure that your child can be the best they can be.

Your child can not advocate for herself in these circumstances. 

Be kind. 

Be brave.

Be firm.

You’ve got this!

For those who would like more resources when advocating for your child's needs, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

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8 Important Facts Parents Need to Know About the IEP Process

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FREE Capitalization Sentence Challenges

Over the summer, the kids became very interested in writing mechanics. I have been waiting for this moment for a LONG time.

I could have gone ahead and taught writing mechanics, including capitalization sooner, but I wanted to be sure to follow the kids lead. 

NOW we're FINALLY here! 

We've started our writing mechanics journey with capitalization.  Among the many ways we've learned and practiced capitalization over the last month, the kids' favorite has been sentence challenges.

So today, we share with you twenty FREE Capitalization Sentence Challenges!

FREE Montessori-inspired Capitalization Sentence Challenges

 FREE Montessori-inspired Capitalization Sentence Challenges

These Capitalization Sentence Challenges are a fabulous way to practice picking out all of the many situations where capital letters are required. 

They're also a great way to practice picking out all of the many scenarios where they're not required.

All sentence challenges include five capitalization errors.

There are no other corrections needed in these sentence challenges, to ensure the focus is only on capital letters.

How to Use the FREE Capitalization Sentence Challenges

These sentence challenges can be used in several different ways, depending on the needs of your students.

With each sentence challenge comes:
  • A sentence strip with all of the errors (problem card)
  • A sentence strip with all errors corrected and highlighted in red (control card)
  • A blank sentence strip meant for writing the sentence correctly (writing card)
If you have students who are just learning about scenarios where capitalized letters are required, you can have them rewrite sentences using the control cards and writing cards.

If you have students who aren't fans of writing or who struggle with writing, you can have them underline or circle letters that need to be capitalized within the sentence on the problem card.

If you have students who love to write or need to practice writing, and have learned the rules of capitalization, you can give them a problem card with a writing card, let them have at it, and then provide the control card for them to check their answers.

The FREE Montessori-inspired Capitalization Sentence Challenges can be yours by clicking the link below.

For those who are looking for more language resources, especially those related to writing mechanics and capitalization, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

Click HERE to Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

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