How are your classified children dealing with the home/virtual learning?

Forgive my absence, I guess I’m a little depressed over the Coronavirus and the so called “Home/Virtual” schooling that’s supposed to be taking place. I’ve been meeting with my tutoring students both in person and virtually, and am totally dismayed at the lack of instruction, and support provided to those kiddo’s with IEP services of In-Class Resource (ICR). They’ve become the forgotten, and their parents are trying to pick up the slack.

Not to mention all the students that were in a “Self Contained” classroom setting; I find they’re schooling has been left completely up to parents. Many of whom have no idea how to teach special needs, the concepts of ABA style learning, or implement OT and PT practices. I mean these children are experiencing regression BIG TIME, and no-one seems to care?

Now normally this is a big time for me… you know…. IEP Season! A time when we are usually reviewing your child’s IEP and coming together in Review Meetings to discuss what worked and what didn’t? Well, THIS IS NOT WORKING!!!

Teachers are still receiving their salary to sit at home and spit out an email saying; do pages 14 & 15 in science book today, and complete pages 12-18 in math…. yadda yadda, Now I know there are some districts out there doing it differently, but where I am that’s about the sum of it. In the mean time children on the spectrum, struggling with dyslexia, or attention deficit aren’t being instructed at all in a manner that they (or their parents) can reproduce at home. All while these poor parents are either trying to complete their own work or worse yet, laid off or unemployed.

So, that’s my rant for today. I’ll try to be more present in the weeks to come. What are you struggling with? Do you need some coaching in how to teach your special needs child? Do you need support? Some guidance? Someone just to talk to? I’m here. I can be reached through my Facebook Page, via email at specialneedsnj@hotmail.com, or call (973) 534-3402

What do you want to talk about today?


Get your IEP review!   30% off

Contact me at linda@darknesstojoy.com or specialneedsnj@hotmail.com to request your special price.

ONLY $97.99
(That’s 30% off the regular price!)

What you get:

  • Complete Review of your child’s IEP
  • Your top 3 concerns or questions answered
  • A 50 minute consultation via phone, Skype, or face-time
  • Expert advice and tips
  • How to approach the CST team
  • What letters to write and how

IEP Review Time is Here!

Need Help with your child’s IEP?

You’ve received an invitation to attend your child’s IEP review, your blood pressure rises, and your hands begin to sweat as your anxiety reaches its peek… you think I’d rather be operated on than attend another meeting at my child’s school!

You’re overwhelmed with terms, services, and anachronisms that just act as fuel for an anxiety induced melt down; IEP, FAPE, LRE, CST, OT, PT, and speech, oh don’t forget SPEECH!

word jumble sped

Now you’re questioning, “Who needs services more…me or my child?”

Frustrated woman pullinh ger hair

Well there ARE services for you! Problem is…the school doesn’t want you to know that there are. In fact they count on keeping you as much in the dark as they possibly can, by having you believe they have the best interest of your child in mind. BUT..you know that you are the one that knows your child best!

IEP meeting

3 Main Things you NEED to Know about that IEP meeting…

  1. This is YOUR meeting!

If not for the fact that you have a child with a disability, this meeting would not be taking place. Take charge and run that meeting like the “Chief Operating Executive” (COE) that you are of your child and family matters.


Go into that meeting with YOUR agenda, not theirs! Put together an agenda of the main points, issues, and services you want to address and discuss for your child’s education going forward.

Know ahead of time what all those numbers, percentages, and percentiles are all about. The law requires that the CST provide all parents at least 10 days in advance of any meeting the outcomes, synopsis’, and evaluations, therefore there is NO reason on God’s Green Earth, to sit there and be mesmerized to the point of hypnosis by the case manager spouting off number after number of your child’s evaluated disability level.

bell curve


Know ahead of time that for the most part, these charts and numbers prove that your child needs help! Needs Services! Modifications, placement, and accommodations!

3. Have a Plan!

Go into that meeting with the requests for services that fit your child’s disability. Know that you want to request a home to school communication log, make requests for assistive technology, or a behavior intervention plan.

How will you know what to ask?

What to discuss?

Call me first!


Linda McDougall-Leenstra is passionate about advocating for special needs families. She has been in the special needs community professionally for over 25 years. Linda began advocating for better, more effective special education programs after experiencing first-hand the challenges of our school systems as a certified special education teacher.

Linda is a child centered crusader, who feels the education of a child with special needs works best when the strategies are carried out across all environments of that child’s life. However, Linda quickly found out how difficult it is to make sure these strategies, modalities, and services cross over when she was met with adversity from her employers in the public school sectors. In finding that; acquisition of funds, availability of services, a general desire to do the very least possible for each individual child was the driving forces behind our educational services, when in reality, the national laws of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) are the legal RIGHTS of families and students. Therefore, Linda was forced to leave the employment of public education and became the wonderful advocate she is today.

Linda’s mission is to educate and empower parents and professionals on how to design and implement special education programs for success. Linda understands the modern-day special needs family and the struggles families are facing in both the education and medical communities. As an advocate, Linda is able to help families navigate the all too often confusing waters of special education with goals towards receiving the full and appropriate services a child “needs” based on their individual disability.

Call (973) 534-3402 to speak with Ms. Linda today


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