Making life better in disadvantaged communities - our thoughts on everything - from Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
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One of the questions I get from time to time is - I hear you are working on your website every day but it looks the same to me. (We know the person is thinking to himself - are you a bunch of lazy slackers or what?)
Some of the time we are working on accessibility. I recently went back to many of our older web pages, created as far back as 2003, ancient history in web time, and added alternate text for all the graphics so that people using screen readers would know what the picture was supposed to be. We had started doing this a couple of years ago moving forward but there were still a lot of pages that did not have this feature. Every few months we pay someone who uses a screen reader to go through our whole site and find anywhere that she has trouble with the pictures, opening a file, etc. These changes may not be visible to most of the public but to those using screen reader software it makes a big difference.
Also, we are working on switching our whole site away from using frames. You may not have noticed this unless you tried to bookmark a page or copy the link to send a friend. Then, you would have noticed that the name (URL) up there in the browser always says the same, something like www.spiritlakeconsulting.com/DA/index.html
So, you have to tell your friend - go here and then click on the link that says Classroom modifications, then click on where it says learning disabilities and there is a whole bunch of cool ideas for helping your son. Annoying, huh ?
We haven't gotten rid of all of the frames but we are working on it, so the next time you want to tell your friend something you can say, "Hey, go to this page and it has some ideas that might help Justin getting a job."
http://www.spiritlakeconsulting.com/DA/ … R_mod.html
Great idea on posting the SLC updates to people who may want to know more about he happenings of the organization. I believe the more advertisement and information shared with the public, the better they understand what SLC is all about.
The forum also provides the reader with an avenue to give feedback to any workshop or presentation SLC may have provided them.
Since Willie brought that up ... there are two workshops coming up, one on Vocational Rehabilitation and one on Disability Access: The School Years.
I think the second workshop might cause some controversy. One area I have put a lot of work into is the sections on parent and student involvement in the IEP.
Some people think students should not attend their IEP meetings because the staff does not feel free to give their opinions in front of a student because it might damage the student's self-esteem. Personally, I feel very strongly that students SHOULD attend. Come on, if a student has a learning disability or a speech impairment - the student knows it! Secondly, what exactly are you saying that you can't say in front of the student?
I am sure some people will not appreciate the stance we took in the web pages suggesting that if the staff is inconvenienced by having a student or parent take the IEP home, think about it and sign it (or maybe not) later, well that is just too bad.
Others may not appreciate our virtual field trip and the link to the Mothers from Hell 2 website, but we found too much of their humor page to be just too true and too funny. (You had the gall to have this child, and look how many professionals you have inconvenienced by it! Welcome to the IEP meeting!) I should add, that, no matter what the Mothers from Hell site says, someone probably WILL mind if you slap the school psychologist, it is probably not a good idea to invite a tattooed biker named Bear as a child advocate to the meeting, unless he happens to be the child's father, and, as for having the IEP meeting in your neighbor's hot tub, well, when it was 14 below in January that sounded like a pretty reasonable suggestion to me but I don't know anyone at Spirit Lake or Turtle Mountain who has a hot tub.
Next up -- Erich is doing a workshop in April on The School Years at Lake Region State College, for those of you Spirit Lake tribal members who did not want to drive all the way to Turtle Mountain last month.
Also, because we had considerable demand for the Vocational Rehabilitation workshop, we are repeating it in April. Part of this is due to the need for training by the Oyate Recreation Project staff
Call Breeanne to register if you are interested in either of these (701) 351-4558, email her at Breeanne@spiritlakeconsulting.com
You can always find the latest news on SLC each week on the What's New page.