Special Education
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BYOD: Useful Policy for Special Education - EdTechReview (ETR)

BYOD: Useful Policy for Special Education - EdTechReview (ETR) | Special Education | Scoop.it
Students with special needs are likely to benefit from different approaches to teaching, use of technology, a specifically adapted teaching area, or resource room. Let’s see how BYOD can benefit students with special needs.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
Caroline Weber's insight:

Technology plays an increasingly prevalent role in children's lives, so why not use it to educational advantages? This article discusses how technology can be embraced (without expense to school districts) to assist students with learning disabilities or other special needs. I think models like this should seriously be considered, especially in low budget districts, because support for special education students should not be limited to a single teacher's aid. Support should stem from multiple sources. 

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Dr. Peterson's curator insight, August 13, 2014 8:11 PM

"Personalized learning" is the new buzz term in education.  This article specifically addresses the benefits of BYOD for students with special needs.

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Inclusion Vs. Exclusion in Education

Inclusion Vs. Exclusion in Education | Special Education | Scoop.it
Children with learning disabilities need to be included with other children but in some instances they need to be excluded to receive special help with their problems.
Caroline Weber's insight:

While this blog post isn't the best-written piece I've read, it is one of the few pieces I could find arguing against inclusion of special education students in regular classrooms. In my own experience in the classroom and through taking a special education class, I've developed mixed views on inclusion, and this post did not really help convince me in either direction, but I do think it brings up some good arguments against inclusion. 

This writer argued that the student with special needs would benefit most from a balance between regular classroom and pull-out services, and though it's the most popular idea these days, full inclusion is not always the best option for children. She says that including special needs children in the classroom can be a distraction to the other students, especially if they have a physical disability or if their disability makes them disruptive in class. It can also be a hinderance to the other students' learning if the teacher has to slow down the lesson to cater to a few students' needs. Proponents of the full inclusion model argue that the teacher simply needs to adapt the lesson so accomodate a particular disability, but this blog post argues that doing so is impossible, because children learn in so many different ways, there's not a "winning" solution in which everyone is learning in the most effective way. 

The author says that leaving the room to receive special supports in specific areas is a good option for most special needs students, and before I went to my field placement, I would have agreed with this. However, from what I observed, students who left the room often had a difficult time readjusting to the regular classroom when they came back. Additionally, the teacher was usually frustrated because the students wouldn't learn the same things in the pull-out session that the rest of the class was learning. If pull-out sessions are the only option, however, there needs to be clear communication between the teacher and the specialist in order to make the sessions successful. 

One argument the author makes that I completely disagree with is that putting a special needs student in a regular classroom makes the student feel like they don't belong. I think it's important for special needs students to have social interaction with their peers for the sole reason of not feeling left out. Having a disability makes them feel isolated enough as it is--if they're left out of the regular classroom, they're going to feel even more left out and even more different which is terrible on their self esteem. I think self-esteem and learning that they will be accepted by their peers is the greatest benefit of inclusion. 

On the whole, I think it's clear there is no one correct solution in addressing special needs in the classroom--everything must be considered on a case by case basis. What's most important is deciding the appropriate environment for the student. Decisions can't be made based on convenience and money. The student should be at the center of every decision. That is the only way to ensure they get the most out of their time in school. 

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What Extra Time Gives a Dyslexic: A Firsthand Look * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

What Extra Time Gives a Dyslexic: A Firsthand Look * The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity | Special Education | Scoop.it
Caroline Weber's insight:

This personal essay was written by a girl who has dyslexia about the struggles she faced going to school. She spends most time talking about how getting extra time on tests greatly helped her succeed, and also talks about the fear of the labels that accompany her learning disorder. 

I learned a lot from this essay. She did a great job describing what it's like to have dyslexia. Most people assume "dyslexic" means dumb, but she clarifies that the way her brain processes language is fundamentally different and reading/writing take longer for her than it does for other people. Once she started getting extra time on tests, all of her anxiety and academic troubles started to fade away. But by the time she got to high school, she worried what people would think about her since she had to take extra time on tests. Through college and looking back on her experience, she now realizes she had no need to fear what her peers thought of her. 

I enjoyed reading this article because I have a friend who is dyslexic, and this helped me understand the struggles my friend faced in high school. I know in high school, I was guilty of thinking the special education kids had test taking easier because they got extra time, but I've since realized how wrong I was to think that. I also think this relates to some of the support techniques I've learned about in my special education class, and how different methods work for each individual student. As a teacher, I think it's important to understand all the different learning abilities students can have so that I can be understanding of their needs, and help other students be understanding of them as well. 

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Is It Too Late for My Child to Get an IEP?

Is It Too Late for My Child to Get an IEP? | Special Education | Scoop.it
Is it ever too late for a student to get an IEP, or Individualized Education Program? Learn what’s allowed for students with learning disabilities or difficulties who are eligible for an IEP.
Caroline Weber's insight:

This website is a great resource for parents of children already diagnosed with a learning disorder, or for parents who are beginning to inquire about the possibility of their chilld receiving special education services in school. By law, the special educaton process in schools relies heavily on parental cooperation with the school, so parents need to make sure they're informed of all courses of action possible for their child before settling on one. 

On this particular page, I like that the website addresses the question of whether or not it's too late for a student to get an IEP. This is probably a question most parents ask themselves if they begin to see their child struggling in high school. I agree with the recommendation that the website gives of inquiring if there are any suspecte troubles, since if there are, it will be essential to establish a transition plan if the child is going to move on to higher education, get a job, or live independently. 

I took a special education class this semester, and I learned that the main focus of special education during the high school years is to teach independence and self-esteem, and these two skills are incredibly important once high school ends--especially for a child with a learning disability. 

In my placement classroom this semester, there were a good number of students with learning disabilities and no two children's accomodations were the same. I think something good about this website is that it helps explore all the possibilities for learning disorders by asking "what's next?" because the answer will likely not be the same for each student. 

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King Gimp

Vimeo is the home for high-quality videos and the people who love them.
Caroline Weber's insight:

Dan has cerebal palsy, a collection of nerve disorders that affects physical and sometimes cognitive abilities. "King Gimp" documents his journey through education, from his years at a specialized school for children with special needs, to his transition to public high school, to his successful completion of a college degree. Though the documentary is fairly dated at this point and the special education system has undergone significant changes since Dan's school years, I think it does a good job of showing the pros and cons of inclusive education. Dan was able to learn the general education curriculum with his peers which prepared him for college, but there were also times he felt isolated and forgotten in the public school setting. He did receive supports in the classroom (a paraprofessional and special computer/typing resource). Most articles I've read about special education have emphasized the importance of technology in the classroom, but the main message I got from watching this film was that the most important resources for Dan were his teachers and mentor figures. Yes, assistive technology helped him get through school and is the main method of his painting skills, but he speaks so highly of his mother, his high school art teacher, and his friends, and credits them with his success. I think this proves that special education teachers should not only be highly trained, but passionate about what they are doing. Special education isn't something people should go into just because there are a lot of job opportunities. Special educators should recognize the unique influence that comes with their job, and the impact they can have on a student's life. 

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Mom 'furious' after son with special needs left outside alone | news10.net

Mom 'furious' after son with special needs left outside alone | news10.net | Special Education | Scoop.it
Caroline Weber's insight:

This woman's reaction actually made be angrier than the story. While I feel the child shouldn't have been left alone outside and required more supervision than simply being watched from a window, I don't think the mother handled the situation appropriately. I felt as though she was using the fact that her son has mild autism and ADHD as a way to get people to feel bad for him, or that his special needs make him more at risk of "running into the street." Yes it is possible that some of the negative behaviors associated with these disorders could possibly make him run into the street, but I dont think they are significant enough to say that that type of behavior could happen to any student. I think by filming the incident, she made the child feel more anxiety, and possibly made him feel like he was entitled to a lot more than other students, which I think is a fine line to walk with students with special needs. 

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BYOD: Useful Policy for Special Education - EdTechReview (ETR)

BYOD: Useful Policy for Special Education - EdTechReview (ETR) | Special Education | Scoop.it
Students with special needs are likely to benefit from different approaches to teaching, use of technology, a specifically adapted teaching area, or resource room. Let’s see how BYOD can benefit students with special needs.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
Caroline Weber's insight:

Technology plays an increasingly prevalent role in children's lives, so why not use it to educational advantages? This article discusses how technology can be embraced (without expense to school districts) to assist students with learning disabilities or other special needs. I think models like this should seriously be considered, especially in low budget districts, because support for special education students should not be limited to a single teacher's aid. Support should stem from multiple sources. 

more...
Dr. Peterson's curator insight, August 13, 2014 8:11 PM

"Personalized learning" is the new buzz term in education.  This article specifically addresses the benefits of BYOD for students with special needs.

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The Hardest Forgiveness | Support for Special Needs

The Hardest Forgiveness | Support for Special Needs | Special Education | Scoop.it
Caroline Weber's insight:

I've learned that parent involvement in education when it comes to children with special needs is usually different than children who don't require extra support. This article doesn't mention it specifically, but it seems to be hinting at the fact that more often than not, parents of special needs children often baby them, which can cause the child to think they are less abled than they actually are. This results in a loss of independence and self-confidence, which is exactly what we don't want any children to feel on a day to day basis. Parents of special needs children also often taken on a feeling of responsibility for their child's disability, and an extreme desire to "fix what is wrong." The idea that a disability is something that needs to be fixed is known as the "pathological' view of disabilities, which means the disability is a disease that can be cured. A different view of disabilities that is often preferred by people who have them is the idea that their disability is not a disability at all: it's simply a part of their being. Nothing needs to be done to fix it or get rid of it, they just may need different supports than other people. 

This blog post gives advice to parents of special needs children to not always feel so responsible for their child's condition. The author's main piece of advice is that you will make mistakes, but you need to be okay with them. All you can do is accept it and move on. I completely agree with this author's outlook that a disability is not something that needs to be corrected. The best thing a parent can do for their child is to support them in any way the child needs, while also knowing when to take a step back and let the child handle things on their own. 

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A Special Sparkle: Tips For New Special Education Teachers

A Special Sparkle: Tips For New Special Education Teachers | Special Education | Scoop.it
Caroline Weber's insight:

This is a blog that accumlates post from a variety of special educators, and this particular article features tips from an experienced teacher to a new teacher. The post is written with special education in mind, so the tips are for management of a special education classroom, but I think a lot of them apply to general education as well. 

I thought this was one of the best "tip" articles I've read on this topic. A lot of posts encourage having a back up planning and being prepared to teach a topic several ways, but this one included tips that make perfect sense that I never would have thought of on my own. Having a place for kids to calm down seems like such an important component of the classroom--not only will it help the teacher, but it will help the other students not be distracted by the "big reactions" if they are confined to one area. I love this idea, and I definitely want to incorporate it in my classroom one day. 

Another tip is to keep "fidget" toys around, and also keep track of the causes of a student's anxious behaviors. Also, laminate everything and maintain an efficient, long-term behavior management system. While as a teacher you would have to go out of your way to implement these practices in the classroom, I think the rewards of these procedures would definitely be worth it. Special needs students benefit from order, routine, and support, so any little steps that you can take to be extra organized help in the long run. My cooperating teacher has several special education students, and I think she would benefit from implementing some of these practices in the classroom. 

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More handicapped students attending regular schools in China - CCTV

More handicapped students attending regular schools in China - CCTV | Special Education | Scoop.it
More handicapped students attending regular schools in China
CCTV
For decades most handicapped children in China were segregated in special schools, where they had little contact with their able-bodied peers.
Caroline Weber's insight:

While inclusive education for children with disabilities is typical in American schools today, a look at the history of special education and stigmas surrounding disabilities shows this was not always the case. Children with disabilities were sent away to institutions where they had little contact with children with typical abilities. In the last few decades, this old system of institutionalization and segregation has been replaced by inclusion and acception of differently abled individuals. 

However, this change was not world-wide. Countries, including China, continued to separate children requiring special education from their peers. This article, though, says that more handicapped students are attending regular schools in China's effort to embrace inclusive education. The benefits of inclusive education for students are numerous--inclusive education helps erase some of the stigma that comes with disability, and also helps the child receiving special education feel less isolated and more "normal." 

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Disability Rights International

http://www.disabilityrightsintl.org/learn-about-the-worldwide-campaign-to-end-the-institutionalization-of-children/ ;

Caroline Weber's insight:

This is the home page of charity organization aimed to help end the problem of unjust institutionalization of children with special needs on a global scale. I thought this was interesting because in America, we think of ourselves as a society that has made significant progress in eleminating unjust treatment of people with special needs, but according to the website, it still happens. It seems to be far worse in other countries, as money donated is, in some cases, being misused to further expand institutions that treat their residents poorly. 

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Special Needs Students and Technology: A Match Made in the Classroom

Special Needs Students and Technology: A Match Made in the Classroom | Special Education | Scoop.it
Utilizing technology in the classroom can help disabled and special needs students master skills to help them advance and live more independently.
Caroline Weber's insight:

Like other articles that mention the benefits of technology for special needs students, this article preaches technological developments that can help students in the classroom. The article says that even the standard model of a textbook, because of its size and small font size, poses a problem for some special needs students, and simply having access to these materials online is beneficial. The article also talks about a more advanced technology--eye-tracking--which allows students who cannot fully use their arms and hands to guide themselves through the internet. Even simply moving through websites independently is a significant gain for a student with special needs, so having access to this kind of technology in classrooms has the possibility to be life changing. 

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