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Learning Outside the Box

July 11, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

As children and parents negotiate their way through the final weeks of summer and approach the beginning of a new school year, they experienced the inevitable and vast array of thoughts and feelings about the upcoming challenges they will face.  Many students feel a predominance of excitement as they anticipate who their new teachers will be, look forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and sharing the experiences they have had since June.  As a person, I hope that all children feel, on balance, more excitement than concern at the prospect of a fresh opportunity; however, as a Special Educator with thirteen years of school based experience, I know that many – if not most – children with special needs face every school year with worry and trepidation. Read the rest of this entry →

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The Five Keys to Unlocking a Successful School Year

July 11, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Executive functioning skills are essential to succeed in life. Certain executive functioning skills, such as time management and organization, help individuals in their jobs, daily chores, and day to day responsibilities. Students with a variety of learning challenges, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, or autism spectrum disorders, may have deficits in such executive functioning skills, which can, in turn, adversely affect the school experience. Although these deficits may seem insurmountable at times, there are ways to tackle them to achieve success.

As a new school year is beginning, high school faculty and staff, parents, and students themselves, are searching for systems to put in place to develop such executive functioning skills and to maximize the classroom learning experience. To help, here are New Frontiers in Learning’s Five Keys to a Successful School Year: Read the rest of this entry →

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Orton-Gillingham: Who, Where and Why?

July 10, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

To those of you who have tried (and some have succeeded) it seems like you need a secret handshake to get Orton-Gillingham training. After a quick search on the internet, it might appear that you need to fly to a destination that is most likely east of the Mississippi and requires at least two weeks of your time away from home. Then once you complete this two week training, you must dedicate the rest of your life to become ‘certified.’ But this is all an illusion, an illusion that really hampers the ability of very good people to get their knowledge and training to those who need it the most, the struggling kids. Read the rest of this entry →

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ADHD Behavior Management – Teach Your Kids How

July 9, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

This is a common refrain at our house – sound familiar?

“Son, you look like you’ve lost focus. What do you need to do to get back on task?”

Wouldn’t it be great if your son’s behavior management was his responsibility, not yours?

Recently, my sons answer made me laugh with pride, “I need a motivator!” he said with a huge smile on his face. He quickly created an incentive for himself (something to do with ice-cream I think) and finished his homework in record speed.

Motivation is a powerful tool for behavior management. We know that the ADHD brain needs to be motivated in order to maintain focus. It is powerful when our kids begin to understand the concept and create tools to help themselves. Read the rest of this entry →

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Understanding the Importance of IEP Goals and Objectives

July 7, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The Goals and Objectives section of the IEP is the”meat” of the IEP. Goals and objectives should be directly linked to the child’s educational needs. Special educators determine what a child’s education needs are through formal and informal assessments, through observations of the child’s behaviors and social interactions, through parent feedback, through work products the child creates and through evaluating the child’s level of success with different teaching interventions. The goals and objectives are the specific skills the child is going to learn during the course of the IEP, which is usually one year. Read the rest of this entry →

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Communicating with Your Child

July 1, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Maybe They Need To See What You Say!   

We believe hearing sounds begins in the womb; perhaps learning to recognize a mother’s voice or benefitting from listening to certain types of music. So in all likelihood processing sounds, the beginning of language acquisition begins before birth. A parent may or may not enhance those opportunities. After birth those who have a significant role in a child’s life have a major part to play in language development.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Early Intervention: An Occupational Therapists Point of View

May 25, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

To correctly begin this article we have to start with, ” ONCE UPON A TIME”. You may new be sitting with a puzzled look on your face, but let me explain. Lets look at students A, B, and C:

Student A is a 15 year old student who’s teacher is ready to fail him because of his poor handwriting.

ONCE UPON A TIME…….when the same student was 4, he was unable to keep his alphabet aligned on his wide ruled paper nor was he able to complete simple mazes. His visual motor integrational skills were not addressed when he was young and is now a hindrance to his progress.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Reality and misconceptions about helping kids improve their social skills

May 24, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak with fellow Camp Directors who run camps designed for neurotypical children the topic often leads to discussing their campers who present with social-cognitive challenges. In other words, their campers who struggle socially in the camp setting.

Through my discussions with camp colleagues as well as professionals who work with children who present with social skill challenges I often hear that many parents are not interested in sending their child to a summer camp that is designed to meet their child’s needs. In some cases the child may not want to go to a camp designed to meet their needs as they understandably want to see themselves as no different than their neurotypical peers despite the fact that they are frequently met with rejection from the same peers who’s acceptance they crave. While these parents know there is a risk their child may be unsuccessful in the camp setting they believe that the best way for their child to improve their social skills and provide their child with a feeling of normalcy is through having their child participate in recreational settings (like summer camp) with their neurotypical peers. Often this well intended approach backfires for the child, particularly as they get older and social expectations increase. This led me to question as to where this widely held misconception comes from that children who present with social skill challenges can improve their social skills by simply being around neurotypical peers. Read the rest of this entry →

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7 Common Myths of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

May 23, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Proper diagnosis of a language concern is crucial to effective and appropriate treatment. Childhood apraxia of speech (aka developmental apraxia of speech/dyspraxia/verbal apraxia) is frequently both over, and under-diagnosed.  Ineffective and inefficient treatment can result.

Introduction:

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a difficulty coordinating and planning out the production of sounds.  It is a disorder of motor planning. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but can’t get his or her mouth to do what the brain wants.

Specific signs of CAS include, but are not limited to: Read the rest of this entry →

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Is the IPAD Good for Kids’ Attention?

May 22, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Q: IS THE IPAD GOOD FOR KIDS’ ATTENTION?

A: ONLY IF PARENTS MANAGE IT FOR THEM.

Attention is the busy traffic cop managing the portal of information flowing into our minds. These days, the cop is working overtime and is overworked and burning out in too many of us — especially kids.

Experts and teachers alike are now worried about how the chaotic tsunami of information pouring through iPads, iPhones, iTouches, computers, TVs, androids, and other devices into our children’s minds may be overtaxing and damaging brain development, especially how kids learn to pay attention. Many believe we are just seeing the tip of an iceberg. Read the rest of this entry →

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