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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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 →
Have you ever asked yourself what your local school teachers know about dyslexia? What have they learned on their own? What professional development have they been exposed to since they finished their teacher training programs? Have you ever wondered what they know to be an intervention for dyslexia? I recently read a thread on a Facebook page dedicated to teachers when the topic of dyslexia was posed to 75,000+ teachers. How they responded was not completely unexpected, but it was unnerving.
Before I go on, let me assure you that I love teachers. There are many, many teachers in my life. We have five teachers who work for us as reading therapists and I think they are all intelligent, empathetic, creative and passionate people. So, this article is not a bashing of teachers, instead the purpose is to shed light on what they have been taught, or not taught, to do for children with dyslexia. Read the rest of this entry →
A couple of months ago I was touring an inclusive charter school that my wife and I want my son to attend for middle school. As we toured the different classrooms I noticed a sign hanging over the blackboard in every class. The sign read, “Fairness is not getting the same thing as everyone else, but getting what you need.” This motto seemed appropriate since the charter’s school inclusion “model allows for the individual needs of each child to be addressed in a manner that enhances each child’s strengths while also addressing learning needs” all within the general education setting.
Being the curious type I snapped a picture of one of the signs and went home to research the individual who came up with this philosophy. After doing some Google searches I found the following YouTube video from Rick Lavoie. Read the rest of this entry →
The success of school aged children within their home, school, community and academic lives is a function of their education. My goal is to create a safe, appropriate learning environment for the students I teach. Facilitation of learning pre-language, language, pre-academic, academic, and life or adaptive living skills is essential to their achievement. It is my belief that all children should and are capable of maintaining and progressing in academic and functional life skills at home, school and in their community.
When school encompasses children’s lives for almost as much time as an adult’s employment, one could surmise that school is their equivalent of work. Therefore, those experiences are a large portion of how children learn to “live and cope in society”, just as work experiences affect adults’ lives.
Per progressivism, learned behavior comes from observing and having experiences that have meaning. Encouraging learning theory while incorporating a hands on approach increases the amount of meaning and applicability to students’ lives. Read the rest of this entry →
If your child with special needs has been mainstreamed or fully included in a general education classroom, it is important that you communicate openly and honestly with the teacher about your child’s needs.
While special education teachers and outside agencies will meet with your child’s classroom teacher to share information, these meetings can often be brief, delayed, or worse yet, cancelled until further notice.
Therefore, It is necessary for you to monitor the information that is shared between your child’s teacher(s) and the support personnel, and then fill in any gaps. Between you and your child’s school, here are the top ten things that the classroom teacher needs to know about your child’s special needs: Read the rest of this entry →
I’ve been reading Jan Valle and David Conner’s Rethinking disability, a disability studies approach to inclusive practices. Thus far, I’ve found it to be a really concise, entertaining and easy to maneuver text about inclusive educational practices. It’s a nice departure from the repetitious/outdated/seemingly inapplicable tomes I’ve encountered in grad. school. I definitely recommend picking it up.
Valle & Conner (2010), open chapter three with a description of how special education teachers are perceived by the general public: Read the rest of this entry →
Special Education in America has come very far in the 30 plus years since the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed. The problem is somewhere along the way the spirit of the law and the practice of the law started to breakdown. The cornerstone of the special education law is the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and decisions about the IEP are decided at an IEP team meeting. The IEP becomes useless if the IEP team meeting goes off task. Unfortunately, instead of a team, often it becomes parents against the school and a massive communication breakdown occurs. There can be a significant lack of trust on both sides. Many times I hear from School personnel, “Why don’t parents think we are capable of assessing their children properly?” While on the other side parents think schools are turning them down for eligibility and services due to lack of funds when their children really need help. Read the rest of this entry →
With the publication of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, the topic of parenting styles has become very popular. Ms. Chua believes that the “Chinese” way in which she raised her two daughters produced excellent outcomes. Although not allowed to have sleepovers, play dates, or even earn less than an A in school, she claims they turned out to be productive, happy members of society.
Is this the best parenting style, or should parents adopt a less strict, more loving approach? According to researchers in the field of child development, there are generally four ways to parent: authoritarian (the Tiger Mom way), authoritative (a balanced approach), permissive (anything goes), and uninvolved (emotionally detached). Read the rest of this entry →
When most people hear about a child that has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) the first thing that crosses their mind is, “I wonder what their deficits or needs are.” This is because too many IEPs are being written using the deficit model. The deficit model focuses on the student as the major problem, neither looking within the environment nor the instructional practices in the classroom. As Kral stated way back in 1992, “if we ask people to look for deficits, they will usually find them, and their view of the situation will be colored by this. If we ask people to look for successes, they will usually find it, and their view of the situation will be colored by this”. Only focusing on the child’s deficits could have the following effects, 1) the IEP will not work very well, and 2) it will cause self-esteem issues and behavior problems with the child. Read the rest of this entry →