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 →
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when reauthorized in 2004 introduced the concept of Research Based Instruction. This was done in order to align the regulations with the No Child Left Behind Act and to hold Schools more accountable for the lack of progress children with disabilities were making in their classrooms.
Congress, in their findings, determined, “the implementation of this title (IDEA) has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities.” Read the rest of this entry →
What should families expect their children to learn in a life skills class at the high school level? A simple question; however, I think many schools seem to struggle with providing valuable life skills lessons. Our students age out at 22 years old, which means the state is no longer responsible with providing the students services through public schools. When students attain that age and leave our system, it is incredibly important for them and their family that the student has learned coping skills to assist them to become more independent in their life. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →
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 →