Special Education/Expert Profile

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I am able to answer questions concerning portions of an IEP, classroom accommodations and supports, educational goals and objectives, transition portions of an IEP. I can also answer questions on behavior issues, help with behavior plans in both a classroom and home setting, some technology for Special Education students, and procedures for getting your child into services. I am versed in students with learning disabilities, behavioral/emotional disabilities, mild Autism and some physical disabilities. I am NOT certified in vision or hearing disabled so am unable to help in these areas. I cannot diagnose a disability, and can only advise in what I would do as a teacher or mother. If you are seeking a diagnosis, please see your family physician.

Experience in the area

I have been teaching students with learning disabilities, behavioral/emotional disorders and mild Autism for 12 years. I have served on RTI committees and am trained in BIST, PBIS, Why Try and non-violent restraint programs. I am versed in the latest requirements by the state of Illinois in transition requirements for IEP's as well as the PARCC testing system.


I am a licensed Special Education teacher holding a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education. I am a certified Learning Behavior Specialist. I have a certificate in Behavior Intervention Strategies and Supports at two levels, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and four levels, Why Try at three levels, and 12 hours of non-violent restraints. I am considered highly qualified in Math, Reading, English/Language Arts, and Science.

What do you like about this subject?

I love the challenge that these particular students bring, and the ability to form closer relationships with them due to smaller class sizes. I like the puzzle that they present in trying to figure out what methods work for them and what doesn't and in that moment when they truly get it.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

There is always something to learn. I am in the process of learning how to work with TI-nspire calculators to improve math processing and motivation in low functioning students. There are tremendous amounts of technology out there, I love Cornell notes and interactive notebooks. I want to learn as much as I can.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Everything old is new again. If you hang around the education system long enough, you'll see the same things come back, in different ways. That doesn't make it wrong, just means we keep coming back to the same concepts but in different ways.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Parents not wanting their kids in Special Education because they don't want them to be considered stupid, or have them singled out. Kids not wanting to be in Special Education because other kids will think they're stupid. The constant push by congress to make our class sizes bigger, take away our resources and funding, demanding our kids achieve at levels they are not capable.

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Recent Answers from Holly Cihla

2015-03-26 acedemic goals IEP:

Hello Donna-    I apologize for not responding faster, my computer was not connecting to the internet and I was down with the flu.  I would agree with you, all children can learn, it's a matter of figuring

2014-11-17 Sped and spanish teacher:

Karen-    First, let me apologize for the very long delay in responding to you.  My Internet went down a while ago, then we had high winds move in and the electric line to my house got ripped out.  It


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