I may upset a few parents with this post, but just know that I what I am about to say is in the best interest of your children. Many, many, many (did I say many?) parents insist that their children with autism have “shadows” when they are included in general education classrooms. Parents tell one another things like, “Whatever you do, make sure the shadow is assigned to your child, not the classroom.” In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is to assign a non-certified staff person to a child. In fact, it is not just my opinion. Research has shown that having a shadow assigned to a student can have detrimental effects (Downing, Ryndak, & Clark, 2000); Giangreco & Broer, 2005). Some of the documented negative effects of having shadows assigned to students include: Read the rest of this entry →
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I was recently asked to write about the social skills kids need to have acquired to benefit more fully from an integrated setting. While this is a huge question I will write some basic thoughts on this concept.
Many of you who are familiar with my work know that I talk about the social complexities of the classroom learning environment. While we often only teach social skills for the context of playing or conversing the reality is that students use social thinking and related social skills every moment they are around people including more structured environments like classrooms. While I know our political education plan is quick to advocate the inclusion of all kids into “integrated” settings as much as possible, I encourage “thoughtful inclusion” rather than making blanket statements that “all kids should be included”. Read the rest of this entry →
When dealing with behavior, safety and medical issues for Special Education students often times the IEP team will discuss the use of behavior intervention specialists (behaviorists) or paraprofessionals, such as one on one aides or classroom aides. It’s important to understand the difference between all of these options and the qualifications of the personnel. Read the rest of this entry →