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Specially Designed Education Services | Special Education Advocacy: Love for Nursing and Self-Determination

Special Education Advocacy: Love for Nursing, and Self-Determination

🔹 Jeanette Lange is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to empowering her son, Sam. Harnessing her expertise as a nurse, Jeanette has used her knowledge and dedication to support Sam’s education, communication, and self-advocacy. But her story goes beyond nursing—she believes in nurturing potential and breaking down barriers in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) community. Tune in to the Fast 15 podcast for part one of my conversation with Jeanette, which will post on February 9th. Through our conversation and connection, we discover the importance of self-determination and self-advocacy in guiding students towards independence and success.

The Journey of a Special Education Advocate

🎙️ Jeanette and I reminisce about the first time we met and the impact she experienced as Sam entered my classroom. Inspired by the creativity and proactive approach I fostered in my students, Jeanette recognized the significance of self-determination and self-advocacy for Sam. We navigate the complexities of the healthcare and education systems, working together to ensure Sam’s voice is heard and his needs are met.

From Nurse to Advocate

👩‍⚕️ Jeanette’s experience as a nurse for over three decades instilled in her a deep sense of advocacy for others. However, it was Sam’s journey through the educational system that truly opened her eyes to the world of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and the importance of nurturing self-advocacy skills. We discuss the challenges faced by parents in the special education realm and the critical role of transition specialists in preparing students for the road ahead.

Transitioning with Self-Determination

🌟 As Sam approached adulthood, Jeanette and I sought ways to support his self-determination journey. Transition planning became paramount, and we knew that early initiation was key. Together, we embraced the collaboration between the IEP team and myself as a case manager, focusing on equipping Sam with the tools to become his own best self-advocate. We navigated the delicate balance between parental guidance and autonomous decision-making, setting the stage for a successful transition into adulthood.

The Power of Collaboration and Scaffolding

💪 Throughout Sam’s educational journey, collaboration between teachers, parents, and support staff proved essential. We recognize the significance of peer support and strategic scaffolding in fostering independence among students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through Sam’s relationships with his peers, he developed  and continues to grow in social skills and natural connections, paving the way for a fulfilling life beyond the school environment.

Nursing Leadership and the IDD Community

🌐 With Sam’s transition into adult living where healthcare decisions will become more of his own making, Jeanette sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals with IDD. The scarcity of healthcare providers knowledgeable about their unique needs poses a significant obstacle. Determined to bridge this gap, Jeanette embarked on a journey, joining the Golisano Fellowship program focused on nursing leadership in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through her research, she examines the impact of technology on self-determination within the IDD community, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Embracing Technology in Self-Determination

📲 As the COVID-19 pandemic forced education to shift online, Jeanette and I discuss the pivotal role of technology in supporting students with disabilities. The ability to access online platforms, communicate remotely, and navigate digital tools became vital for students’ success. We, however, acknowledge the digital divide and the importance of ensuring equitable access to technology for all students. In particular, we reflect on the challenges faced by older adults with disabilities who may lack resources or necessary support systems.

Transition Curriculum meets Technology

💻 Jeanette’s upcoming research focuses on the integration of technology within transition curriculum for students with disabilities. We discuss the increasing relevance of technology in various aspects of life beyond the school years, such as managing healthcare records, scheduling appointments, and accessing vital resources. Our conversation centers around the need for inclusive and accessible technology education to facilitate independent living and self-determination for individuals with disabilities.

Let’s Celebrate Teaching Self-Determination

🎉 Special education teachers, let’s celebrate the power of self-determination and self-advocacy in transforming the lives of students with disabilities. Jeanette Lange’s journey exemplifies the dedication, love, and tenacity exhibited by parents and educators in championing the rights and independence of individuals with IDD. By integrating Special Education EdTech and self-advocacy transition curriculum, we empower students to navigate the challenges of the healthcare system, educational settings, and beyond.

🌟 Be sure to subscribe to the FAST 15 podcast and listen to our first FULL episode together posting on February 9th!  Stay tuned for part two of my conversation with Jeanette Lange, where we delve deeper into the invaluable role of school nurses and related service providers. Until then, keep shining as the exceptional special education teachers and advocates that you are!

Fight On, Champions!

With a grateful heart,

Barb Beck

Creative Content Director, SDES

©2023 Specially Designed Education Services

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SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create a simple and affordable solution for special educators to use during this critical time.

The Virtual Teaching Materials are a separate supplemental purchase that will greatly enhance the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics ​or can be used on its own.

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Scheduling Tip

Find a student in your classroom who can read and understand your master schedule. Assign them a job in the morning to help set up individual student schedules. See the video of Megan setting up the schedule.
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Suzanne’s student Megan was her Teacher’s Assistant first period during her junior and senior year. One of her jobs, among other clerical tasks, was to set up individual student schedules. It saved Suzanne prep time in the morning and was a great vocational experience for Megan.

SDES has teamed up with Mundo Pato, Inc., our cloud publishing partner, to create the full Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics in the cloud. *The Styer-Fitzgerald Program in the Cloud Start-Up Fee: a $6000 non-recurring start-up fee will be added to the first year subscription only.

Cloud Pricing

Per Month
Per Year*
Monthly subscription charge is based on a minimum of 100 students ​and increases by $125 per group of 25 additional students.