TRITON BULLETIN BOARD


No more posts
April12Post.png?fit=1080%2C1080&ssl=1

April 12, 2021 Regression0

 

Last week we launched our first virtual Parent Huddle! These live virtual meetings bring parents together to bring out in the open the concerns they have for their children’s development and progress, and empower and educate parents through community. 

Each week we focus our discussion on one of our five pillars of support: regression, attention, social, emotional, and sensory. Last week we began with regression. So, what is regression when it comes to education?

Academic regression refers to learning loss in children: skills, milestones, or concepts they had previously mastered they now struggle with or cannot do at all. Regression typically occurs after a hiatus in learning, such as at the end of summer break. However, a nationwide academic regression (and beyond) has occurred due to school closures. Virtual learning has proven to be ineffective for most students, with many disengaging, dropping out, or simply not retaining information. Moreover, struggling young readers tend to remain struggling readers without intervention and support. (Read more about statistics about the effects of distance learning on our blog here.)

You may be able to clearly see learning loss in your child when you look at their handwriting, math skills, level of independence in schoolwork, reading fluency and comprehension, vocabulary, and even social skills and self-care skills. Most students are experiencing some amount of decline. Our Director of Programs, Katerina Violante, noted some tell-tale signs of regression in literacy for parents to catch: rereading or skipping words, erring on words they know, guessing based on a few letters, or mixing up words that look similar. (Guessing and mixing up similar-looking words is appropriate up until about second grade. However, if your child is making these mistakes frequently, or more than they used to, they may have regressed.)

What areas have you noticed don’t seem the same in your child since a year ago, or even several months ago? So, what do parents do when all we’re told to do is “wait till things go back to normal”? 

Getting a baseline with an evaluation for where your child is currently functioning will give you an in-depth understanding of what their needs are. Your child’s regression may be visible to you as a parent, but are you aware of the underlying functions that are affecting their performance? Triton’s Multisensory Evaluations give parents a snapshot of exactly where their child is functioning according to age, grade, and percentile, when it comes to language processing, orthographic processing and literacy, and even non-academic skills such as social-emotional and sensory processing. 

The best part is, Triton puts parents at the center of evaluations and instruction. We involve parents in their child’s instructional goals and coach them in how to apply the same concepts and tasks at home. 

In the meantime, even after getting support for your child, what if virtual learning isn’t working in your home? Our Parent Representative, Pam Garrity, suggests these modifications in your child’s day. 

  • Create a school schedule with your child. Set aside a time during the weekend to plan the week ahead, then post it in your child’s view. This not only holds them accountable, but gives them some agency over their time and themselves. 
  • Make weekdays to simulate a school environment during school hours. Your child should have a separate learning space away from distractions (that they use only when they are “in school”) and organized. 
  • Motivate your child in creative ways! For example, create a velcro board and put their favorite toy at the end. They can earn “tokens” on their velcro board while looking forward to the toy when they finish. 
  • What works at school should work at home. Talk to your child’s teacher about strategies they may have used in the classroom that your child enjoyed. Can you make those conducive at home? 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the loop for our Parent Huddles every Thursday at 12:30pm. This week we will be discussing attention. Whether your child has an ADHD diagnosis, or simply struggles to pay attention to a virtual class (can we blame them?), you are invited to the next Huddle! We’ll see you there on Instagram live!

 


April52021_Blog_Image.png?fit=1000%2C1500&ssl=1

April 7, 2021 About UsRegression0

 

Triton exists to serve families and students where they have the greatest needs. Triton began this journey in the midst of a pandemic last year–a time when parents were desperate for school support. Now, over a year after school closures, select schools are just starting to return to classes in person, with many continuing distance learning. This is why Triton focuses on educational therapy that is one-on-one, and is designed to target a student’s needs and challenges as an individual. 

Why education therapy?

Learning Loss

The duration of distance learning has greatly impacted students’ academic growth and social-emotional development. According to a report on high school students in Los Angeles, 40,000 of them are at risk of not graduating this year, 6,000 of them this year alone. “In middle school, about a third of students in the district are currently on grade level in reading and math. Some of the worst learning loss was found in the early grades, where reading skills declined the most in kindergarten and first grade compared to the 2019-20 school year” (Yahoo! News). Great Public Schools Now describes the losses L.A.’s youngest students are experiencing according to annual assessments.

According to early literacy assessment results from the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, 49% of students in grades K-5 were on track in early reading skills, compared to 59% at the be- ginning of the 2019-20 academic year, just before the pandemic. When K-5 students were tested again in the middle of the 2020-21 academic year, results remained stagnant with 49% on track. Students in kindergarten and first grade suffered the biggest learning losses, with the percentage of students not on track increasing by 13- 20%. Literacy skills in those early grades are critical for students to learn how to read. Without additional support, there is a 90% chance that a struggling reader in first grade will remain a struggling reader.

Strengthening sensory cognitive skills

Triton offers the intervention struggling readers need, and we offer a multisensory approach to instruction that typical classrooms do not incorporate. When it comes to teaching reading, the average student is expected to learn to read using phonics and memorization. For a typical student, this may be sufficient for literacy; yet it is taught with the assumption that the underlying sensory cognitive skills that support literacy are stable. Orthographic processing and phonological awareness are two key skills essential for literacy. For students who have weaknesses in these areas, reading will be a struggle until they are addressed. With Triton’s approach, students work one-on-one with instructors to strengthen these underlying functions, allowing literacy to become possible. 

Literacy, however, is only the beginning of learning. Comprehension and critical thinking can present challenges for students even if they are strong readers. This is because understanding what you language relies on a different skill than reading words. Concept imagery is the ability to hold a mental image or picture of an object or idea. This is an essential skill to understanding what you read and even how you use and interpret spoken language. Without strong concept imagery, a student will rely on memorizing the words they read, rather than picturing it in their mind’s eye. Memorization without imagery will not sustain understanding. 

What does Triton’s education therapy look like?

Education therapy is not tutoring. Traditional tutors focus on academics and typically act as a second teacher to help a child complete work already assigned to them from school. Educational therapists use a broader approach. This illustration from Understood explains, “If your child has dyscalculia and math anxiety, a tutor might practice math problems over and over. An educational therapist, on the other hand, might see that your child struggles with number sense. She might teach your child strategies for recognizing basic number facts, or suggest accommodations. She might also teach your child coping skills for anxiety.” Triton’s education therapy focuses on providing students with the tools they currently lack so that they can become more independent in school and life. 

Prior to instruction, every student is assessed with a multisensory evaluation that determines where their current skills lie in areas of language comprehension, phonics, literacy and comprehension. Based on their performance, students receive specialized instruction tailored to their needs. Their education plan can focus on everything from literacy to social emotional skills to language acquisition. Triton’s instructors work one on one with each student to strengthen their sensory cognitive skills through imagery techniques. These techniques develop a student’s mental acuity in picturing letters, words, and concepts. Read more about our multisensory instruction here

Triton’s multisensory instruction is founded on the principle that imagery is the key to learning. Without intensive instruction, students who fall behind rarely catch up on their own. It’s no secret that performance in school is not merely a matter of willpower. Students who are disengaged or completely lost in a virtual setting can’t rely on a prayer. Triton’s in-person educational intervention is designed to help each student perform to their potential in an environment they are excited about. Reach out to our Parent Representative here today. 

 


Blog-Image-10.png?fit=1200%2C628&ssl=1

One of the biggest concerns parents have had for their children the past year is regression, or learning loss. Regression shows up in all sorts of ways depending on the child, their age, and their learning needs. Parents have seen it manifest in academic, social-emotional, verbal, behavioral areas, and more. “National data from McKinsey & Company suggests that on average, students lost the equivalent of three months of learning in math and 1.5 months of learning in reading going into the academic year.” (WMTW8News). 

Besides losing skills they had once mastered, completing or even attempting tasks is more of a battle with their child, many parents report. School closures have affected more than just learning. Anxiety is becoming a regular experience in school-aged children. 

This regression is happening across all levels of abilities. However, it is particularly concerning for students with special needs. Schools are still held to the same standards mandated in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as before closures, yet they are struggling to conform to them. 

“The difficulties of transitioning individualized special education academic and behavioral services to online and hybrid formats have been challenging for teachers and school administrators since the onset of the pandemic — not only because of the potential for regression of students’ skills, but also because of the vulnerability of districts to be sued or otherwise held accountable for the potential violation of students’ rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act even as they navigate never-before-seen situations of educating students during a global pandemic.” (K12Dive). 

Pam Garrity, Parent Representative and Community Liaison for Triton Support Services, addresses three main areas of concern parents report. 

Impact of virtual learning – Keeping a child challenged and on grade level continues to present the greatest struggle for parents. They want them mastering new skills each school year but this past year has been at a stand still. In fact, many students with IEPs have not received the accommodations legally due them. A class action lawsuit in California is now underway to demand that schools provide the same accommodations a student’s IEP requires, regardless of students being at home. “Under the settlement, it is understood parents and students can immediately demand services in their child’s IEP be implemented. Students can immediately demand compensatory services for regression and file lawsuit against the school district if they fail to provide compensatory services or failed to provide services in the students’ IEPs.” (Newswise). 

Even typically developing students show the need for supplemental educational support in addition to their school day to keep them on track. Triton can target your child’s areas of needs with a multidisciplinary evaluation. Triton’s evaluations show where a child’s needs lie, and puts a plan into action in addressing those needs. 

If you want specific coaching on how you can help your child at home, sign up for our free parent activities here

Socialization with peers – The lack of socialization with their peers during virtual learning impacts a child’s emotional well-being, and ultimately their relationships and performance in school. Children are not being exposed to the outings they used to on a regular basis. Everyday experiences that keep life dynamic like going to the grocery store, library, mall, and family outings, are conspicuously missing. Missing out on exercise and social opportunities at playgrounds and other social gathering places for kids (e.g. Chuck E. Cheese) leave parents with few options to give their children. 

Encourage and help your child reach out to friends and family via phone or video chats. Write cards or letters to friends and family together whom they cannot see in person. Parents and teachers can promote greater interaction in the classroom by playing games even if we’re not together in person. Talk with your child’s teacher about boosting social interaction in class!

Lack of motivation – Children’s motivation to stay on task is not as strong as it was when they attended school in person. Without the regular changes in the day, monotony can decrease morale. 

Some parents have found that creating a routine boosts motivation and productivity. You can create a visual schedule together and hang it somewhere for them to see on a daily basis. This should include regular activities such as lunchtime, recess, and breaks between subjects. This will reassure them when they are on task and they more easily hold themselves accountable. This offers them a sense of control over their day, and empowers them to stay on track.

For younger kids, you can use pictures instead of words. Build consistency by following the schedule each day. Parents have noted that their child does much better when they know what is expected of them each day.

If you want direction in identifying what areas your child needs support with most right now, take this 2-minute quiz

Stay tuned this week for resources for parents! You will not want to miss Pam Garitty’s full interview on parent concerns from parents just like you. If you want to hear from other parents who know exactly what this is like, and what we can do about it, Triton is offering a virtual parent group with open discussion on regression. Coming soon!


Untitled-design-11.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

 

How often do you experience tantrums, meltdowns, and refusals in your home? If you’ve experienced more of them during at-home learning than before, so have most parents! The unexpected challenges kids have faced the past year contributes to behaviors, and can lead to an all-around stressful home environment. If you’re in this boat, finding proactive methods will be key in creating balance. Let’s talk about managing behaviors in your home!

What kids need most amidst the ambiguity of distance learning is exactly what they may be lacking: structure. There must  be a clear delineation between what is “school” and what is “home”. Set up a table that is for school alone. Partitions around the table can aid attention. You may even try putting tape on the ground for where school starts and home “ends”. Create this space to resemble school as much as possible. 

Visual cues can work wonders. Create a schedule for your child (visual or written, depending on their age), or use a token board to motivate them throughout their school day. Having different devices for different uses, and setting parent controls on school devices, helps a child differentiate between work and recreation. This will make work time more productive. 

Along with structure comes consistency. Without it, the structures we set won’t mean much. Establish a clear routine that a child can count on every day, as close to their previous school routine as possible. The unknown breeds anxiety, and can lead to behaviors. When a child knows what’s expected of them will help them feel calm and work with a new environment. When we give children a clear and consistent routine that they can count on, we avoid the drama that comes with lack of certainty. 

Behavior analyst, Rima Frederickson, advises parents to provide the same accommodations to children at home as they had in school (e.g. seating, fidgets, movement breaks, etc.) Children are at risk of regressing without the structure and social interaction that school provided in the past. Rima urges parents to help their child maintain the things they enjoyed doing in the past, even if it’s a modified version. Communication may look different these days, but it doesn’t have to stop! For example, instead of waiting to see a close friend, children can send letters or projects they’ve created in the mail. 

Set aside time to teach children the play skills they will need when they return to their peers. This can be practicing eye contact, conversation tactics, or social awareness. Role-playing with these activities with a parent gives your child a safe place to practice for when they will be able to apply them again. 

If you’ve established consistent structure within your home that resembles a typical social and academic setting for your child, and you still have concerns, seeking help from a professional is a healthy option! Gateway Learning Group has trained professionals who can establish a behavior plan for your child, and give you the results you’re looking for. 

Watch Rima’s full interview here.

 


Untitled-design-3.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

Communication between parents and teachers is an integral part of the success of a child’s education. This is particularly true if your child is learning from home, or has an IEP. Many parents now have more face time with their child than a teacher does, and parents can impart valuable information that a teacher may miss. Parents, it’s more important than ever, to use your voice.

Christy Scadden, a parent advocate at Pacific Coast Advocates, advises parents to communicate via email weekly or bi-monthly with their child’s teacher. These check-ins can include any concerns or observations that you have noticed in your child: organization techniques, behavior problems, connection issues, or any other relevant trends that could benefit from teacher collaboration. “Regular communications give the school an opportunity to put immediate solutions in place,” Christy says. 

Keeping a log of emails with your child’s teacher/s will be important in knowing what has been communicated, and can help you track issues that need follow-up. “By communicating consistently with your school team, you are creating a log of concerns and trends–so save your emails. They’re also a good reference to talk to your [IEP] team about, or follow up on things that may have fallen through the cracks.”

Even with consistent communication, progress can be lacking. If you’re not reaching solutions for your concerns, the next step is to call an IEP meeting. Request a 30-day IEP meeting in writing. Bring your list of concerns to the meeting (refer back to your email communications!). You may record the meeting with a 24-hour written notice for your own reference afterwards. This recording can be helpful for you, as well as any advocates or attorneys that may be involved in the future.

Christy reminds parents that they are part of the IEP team. The parent voice–your concerns, your words–are very important for in school’s decisions. Exercise your voice!

If you have other questions or concerns and would like to talk to an advocate, visit https://pacificcoastadvocates.com.

To watch Christy’s full video interview, click here.


Untitled-design-8.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

IEP tips are designed for parents who are helping their children access learning support. Using tips from IEPready’s Parent Guide, Alyssa Trahan, is a great place to start.

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else–better than their peers, teachers, or providers. You may notice changes in your child that others miss. Parents may notice their child struggling with concepts they once mastered, or that they are noticeably behind their peers. These deficits can sometimes go unnoticed by educators–they cannot go unnoticed by parents. When it comes to their IEP, there are specific aspects parents need to pay attention to, particularly with the changes that have occurred this year. That is why Triton has a Parent Guide, Alyssa Trahan, to support parents.

If you’re concerned about your child’s progress since the implementation of their last IEP, look first at their past IEP goals. What were your child’s goals prior to virtual learning? Has virtual learning impinged on the implementation of their accommodations? Can your child still realistically receive the support they need to stay on track via distance learning? If not, their IEP needs an update to include goals specific to virtual learning. 

Even after IEP goal setting and revising, a new Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) may be necessary to determine your child’s most recent objective abilities. When is it time to shift the focus on current goals, and turn attention to establishing a new baseline? Some situations when a new IEE is appropriate are:

  • If the school’s progress reporting does not match your child’s independent performance
  • When the school disagrees with parents’ assessment regarding the mastery of a given goal
  • If the school is refusing to retest after parents have requested it 

Parents have the right to a new IEE, upon request. If you feel your child needs a new IEE from a multidisciplinary team, don’t wait. Our Parent Guide can provide you the information to support you and your child. 

To watch Alyssa’s full interview, click here.

 


Untitled-design-34.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

To combat regression, becoming an active member of your child’s IEP team is essential. Parents have always been an integral part of progress monitoring for their child, and staying connected to your child’s teacher and case manager is even more critical during distance learning—especially if there are concerns with regression or stagnation. Christy Scadden, an advocate at Pacific Coast Advocates, shares a step by step process for how parents can be an active member of their child’s team. 

1. Get organized – Review your child’s current IEP. Important areas for tracking regression or progress are present levels, baselines on goals, and their last progress report on goals.  

(Best Practice tip: note the annual/triennial dates on your calendar. IEP meetings must be held by those dates.)

2. Create a log

    • Track your observations on how your child is doing relating to the identified areas of need from his/her IEP and access to school/distance learning).
    • Track how the IEP is being implemented. Include services your child is receiving (when and from whom) and how they are accessing and interacting with remote therapy. (Note approaches/technology used and which are working or not working.)

(Best Practice tip: this tracking log is just for you, so create whatever works best—notepad, calendar, digital notes, spreadsheets, etc.)

3. Communicate regularly, via email, to your child’s case manager and/or teacher. 

    • Weekly or bi-monthly (or immediately with a timely concern).
    • Discuss your observations, questions, trends, and concerns.

(Best Practice tip: Regular communications gives them the opportunity to respond immediately with solutions.)

4. What if that isn’t enough?

    • Are your emails being ignored, is nothing changing, are new strategies not working? 
    • Request a 30-day IEP meeting. In writing (email), to your child’s case manager. 
    • Bring a bulleted list of your concerns to discuss with the team. Make sure your concerns are recorded in your own words (your list).
    • You can record the meeting with 24-hour written notice (email). 

(Best Practice tip: The meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of your written request—with exception of school holidays 5 days or longer).

As a parent, you are a crucial advocate for your child. But remember, schools are still responsible for your child’s learning, progress, and access to their education. You are there to iron out the wrinkles.

To learn more about regression, check out our regression course by visiting https://my.demio.com/ref/CVcem1EwVxKxc9ia

To watch Christy’s full interview, click here.


course-series-designed-just-for-parents-3.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

November 2, 2020 Regression0

As a parent, you may have noticed changes in your child’s academic performance this year. If so, you are not alone. While regression after summer vacation is expected, our children have experienced widespread regression due to distance learning. This “Covid slide” has affected students of all ages and all abilities, although it is particularly serious for students with special needs. Without addressing these academic losses, children can fall even further behind. If you’re wondering if your child has regressed, or have been concerned for some time, we are offering a coaching course for you to identify regression in your child objectively.

Our parent coaching course, taught by our Director of Programs, offers steps to:  

  • observe your child
  • identify a new baseline for your child
  • identify your child’s current skill level
  • take action!

As a parent, you are your child’s primary advocate. Some parents may unintentionally miss a child’s need for support, particularly if (s)he is well-behaved or compliant. A child may not be able to advocate for themselves, and needs keen eyes from an outsider to see that he or she is struggling. 

Our parent course is the first step in identifying a potential need. We want to walk hand in hand with you and your family to meet your child where (s)he is at. Take the first step by registering for our regression course here.

 


Untitled-design-8.png?fit=1200%2C700&ssl=1

The COVID-19 pandemic has parents dealing with education regression. What does this mean for special education?

We’re working with parents, empowering them in the center of our distance learning model, by providing navigation tips to empower growth. Help is needed to assist parents through these times.

The issue is that children have been out of school since spring. That prolonged period in social isolation can have critical impact on education. Regression is real. (There’s even a hashtag: #covidslide.) Read more about the Covid slide here.

This week, Katerina Violante, Director of Programs at Triton Support Services, is offering a tip to help identify signs and symptoms of regression. Here is what she said:

This feels HARD. Being a teacher and parent, and working to preventing regression, is a big job.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Take a deep breath and take a step back.

2. Start identifying the trends that lead to shutting down or task avoidance.

3. Track the data.

4. Create preventative strategies or front-loading solutions.

Look for stress triggers in your environment, like aspects of working from home & student doing distance learning. Discover learning for yourself and for your child because no matter the level or ability, everyone is a learner. Implement a coaching session for additional support.

To take a deeper look into regression, register for our parent course here.


Untitled-design-13.png?fit=1200%2C630&ssl=1

August 20, 2020 Regression0

The research on learning loss due to school closures was compiled and reported on early in the midst of COVID-19 shutdowns with the hope that most students would be back in the classroom by the fall 2020 semester. Now, with our first semester fast approaching and distance learning as our students’ primary placement, we are faced with a larger challenge: closing the learning loss gap while preventing it from widening with continued at-home schooling.

The NWEA, a national not-for-profit organization that creates adaptive Pre K-12 assessments, used its research on summer learning loss to estimate potential impacts on learning from COVID-19 related school closures. Their preliminary estimates suggest that “students may return in fall 2020 with less than 50% of typical learning gains, and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would expect…under normal conditions.”

For many, predictions on learning loss didn’t need to be made. We know our children with special education needs are at the highest risk for learning loss. Attending school provides them with far more than academic support — their ability to practice safe socialization, predictability and routine, and essential therapies like occupational and speech therapy are at the core of their learning along with reading and mathematics.

The NWEA posed the question, “what can we do to mitigate these academic projections?”

Triton Support Services wants to answer that question. We want to partner with you and your family to help reduce the learning losses associated with school closures. Most importantly, we want to show students with special education needs how to feel successful in their learning.

Triton’s Learning Matters Coaching Pods are small groups that meet three times a week for four hour sessions. They’re designed for students that are still emerging in their learning, typically receive push-in and/or pull-out services in school, and/or have a need for developing skills related to organization, socialization, and academics.

Talk to our Parent Representative today about how we can best support you and your family. Reach out to parentrep@tritonsupportservices.com today!

Other resources at Triton: 

  • Parent Coaching Webinars (Ask the Experts is coming up on August 25th!)
  • Learning assessments in language and literacy skills
  • Speech & language and occupational therapy assessments 

    View the full analysis from NWEA here.


MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to provide a multisensory educational care platform for students, while providing support and coaching for their families. We use a team approach to provide efficient and effective services, helping special needs children to thrive.

Recent Posts