Special Education
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Op-Ed: iPads Transformed My Special Education Classroom

Op-Ed: iPads Transformed My Special Education Classroom | Special Education | Scoop.it
Fed up with the sad reality special education students face, Neil Virani changed his students’ lives with technology.

Via John Evans
Julie Newman's insight:

I found this article very inspirational because it describes a teacher, Jane Good, who did not give up on her special needs students, as the school system was prior to her arrival. Before she came to her current school, her special needs students were placed in broken-down classrooms where they were given no attention and very low expectations. Good was able to guide her students in overcoming these obstacles with the help of a technology grant she received allowing her to supply everyone of her students with an iPad. These iPads allowed students to accomplish goals no one ever thought was possible for them. For example, one student who had never written before due to his lack of fine motor skills wrote his first word on the iPad. Similarly, three other students were able to learn to read though the iPad's stimulating and interactive features. After reading this article, I found that the iPad and other technologies truly helped children with special needs step outside the limitations previously established for them by the school system and make progress no one ever believed could be made. This alone shows me how powerful this tool can be in a special needs classroom. These students need to be stimulated through interactive learning and the iPad provides just that. I have found a lot of research that agrees with this article and proves that technology is a necessity in the special needs classroom. 

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Gennon John's comment, July 21, 2013 7:18 AM
It's a change..
kmmk's curator insight, July 22, 2013 3:04 AM

Inspiring

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'You Can't Get Blood From A Stone' Budget Cuts Hurt Most Vulnerable Students

'You Can't Get Blood From A Stone' Budget Cuts Hurt Most Vulnerable Students | Special Education | Scoop.it
For American students with disabilities, class sizes are increasing, services are waning and providers are disappearing.
Julie Newman's insight:

This article does a good job at relating the federal budget cuts on education directly to special education programs. The reason I chose to include this article in my curation was because of how dramatic the changes to special education programs have been due to federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Parents have seen their children's class size increase dramatically, while teachers have been let go, decreasing the amount of staff working with these students. One quote included in the article that grabbed my attention was from a mother from Utah whose sons special needs class size jumped form eight to 15 students. She responded, "stop cutting funding form those who need it most." Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, it specifies that Congress would pay up to 40 percent of the average that states were spending on each students with disabilities. Today, Congress has only been paying 14 percent, the lowest in more than a decade. This article is so astounding to me because, in truth, the numbers never lie. Budget cuts leading to a decrease in resources for special education programs has been a theme I have encountered through my research on special education. I believe that education, especially special education, should be the last place federal funding should be cut, the main reason why this article infuriates me.  

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Special ed students most often restrained or removed from classroom - Green Bay Press Gazette

Special ed students most often restrained or removed from classroom - Green Bay Press Gazette | Special Education | Scoop.it
Special ed students most often restrained or removed from classroom Green Bay Press Gazette Under a 2012 state law, school districts must report to school boards annually the number of time students are secluded or restrained and whether those...
Julie Newman's insight:

I found this video to have a lot of important an useful information regarding special education that I have not been exposed to in any other of my curated content. This video shows a school in Wisconsin's staff members engaging in courses to learn how to handle children with special needs in a non-violent manner. Intervention trainer, tom Kubisch explains to the teachers and staff members many de-escalation techniques as well as nonviolent ways to remove yourself form a situation where a student lays their hands on you. For example, the staff is learning how to break the special needs child's grip is they try to grab their wrist, arm, neck, etc. In this school district, teachers and staff members are required to go through this 8 hour training session every other year they work in the district along with three "mini refreshers" thought the year. The purpose of this non-violent crisis intervention training to to ensure the safety and welfare of both the teacher and the special needs student. I thought that this program was very interesting and I believe that every district should adopt this training sessions for their staff members. I feel as if without this training,  staff members at schools may not know how to properly attend to a crisis when presented with a special needs students. Many times these students lack communication skills and do not understand that what they are doing is wrong, but they do react to violence in a negative way. Therefore, these non-violent tactics are essential. I am surprised that I have not come across other districts whom have adopted this program and wonder how many districts have these training sessions as a requirement.

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Op-Ed: iPads Transformed My Special Education Classroom

Op-Ed: iPads Transformed My Special Education Classroom | Special Education | Scoop.it
Fed up with the sad reality special education students face, Neil Virani changed his students’ lives with technology.

Via John Evans
Julie Newman's insight:

I found this article very inspirational because it describes a teacher, Jane Good, who did not give up on her special needs students, as the school system was prior to her arrival. Before she came to her current school, her special needs students were placed in broken-down classrooms where they were given no attention and very low expectations. Good was able to guide her students in overcoming these obstacles with the help of a technology grant she received allowing her to supply everyone of her students with an iPad. These iPads allowed students to accomplish goals no one ever thought was possible for them. For example, one student who had never written before due to his lack of fine motor skills wrote his first word on the iPad. Similarly, three other students were able to learn to read though the iPad's stimulating and interactive features. After reading this article, I found that the iPad and other technologies truly helped children with special needs step outside the limitations previously established for them by the school system and make progress no one ever believed could be made. This alone shows me how powerful this tool can be in a special needs classroom. These students need to be stimulated through interactive learning and the iPad provides just that. I have found a lot of research that agrees with this article and proves that technology is a necessity in the special needs classroom. 

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Gennon John's comment, July 21, 2013 7:18 AM
It's a change..
kmmk's curator insight, July 22, 2013 3:04 AM

Inspiring

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A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

This is a profile of the SCB, or school community based special education program at James Hubert Blake high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. A team of...
Julie Newman's insight:
I loved watching this documentary because I feel like we rarely see special education from the point of view of the teacher. The teacher is the one in the classroom everyday working with the student, and yet they are never the ones making policies about education, deciding how much funding special education programs will get, etc. This video did an excellent job at showing us what our special needs children need and do on a day to day basis. 
This document followed a first year teacher implementing a new special education program in a school in Montgomery County, right near where I attend college. This program was called a community based program because not only did it teach its students general education curriculum such as reading, writing, and math, but it also teaches them basic community practices to these special needs students can grow into functioning adults in society. I love this program because I think it does what high school should do for any functioning student, prepare you for the era world. In the documentary, the students in this special needs community based program took a trip to a local supermarket. Here they learned how to socialize with the workers, ask for items they were looking for, and check out. For the students who were not able to speak, they were still able to participate using technology that speaks for them. I think that this aspect of the program is so preceptive by they students and actually taught them skills they will need to learn in their everyday lives. 
I have been in special education classrooms before, but I have never seen a community based program that teaches their students academics while simultaneously engages the students in the real world. In my opinion, this type of program should be implemented in secondary schools  special needs programs across America. 
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How to build self-esteem in special education students - by Suzanne Rose - Helium

Some special education students can have difficulty with self-esteem.  It may be hard for some of them to deal with their various issues, and..., Suzanne Rose (How to build self-esteem in special education students
Julie Newman's insight:

I think that this article does a great job of describing how to instill a positive self-image in special needs students. Some of the ways this article says to help these special needs students build their image of themselves include focusing on what they do right, praise them on their accomplishments, and give them tasks they can do well so they feel like they can accomplish things. I believe that this issue is so dire in helping special needs children's reach their full potential. After doing research on this topic of special education, I have learned how discouraged and worthless special needs children can feel when they are unable to acomplish what they desire. This article gives great advise on how to help avoid these feelings. 

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Basic Rights in Special Ed program, October 8 - My Southborough

Basic Rights in Special Ed program, October 8 - My Southborough | Special Education | Scoop.it
Northborough/Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council is holding a program to educate parents and guardians of special education students about their rights. Basic Rights in Special Education will take ...
Julie Newman's insight:

The Northborough and Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council is holding a meeting to educate parents, guardians, and the student body about special education and the student's rights. I love this idea because I believe that everyone should be educated on what one should expect from the Special Education program and what should be expected of these students. Not only for the parents of these students, but I also believe that everyone in the school community should be educated on the special education program. I believe, this is a quality of a well rounded citizen. 

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Special ed, general ed students increasingly sharing sports field

Special ed, general ed students increasingly sharing sports field | Special Education | Scoop.it
The tutors in Meaghann Mulrow's special education class at Mountain View High School have learned firsthand about the challenges that special needs students encounter each day.
Julie Newman's insight:

This article discusses a program at Mountain View High School that partners a junior or senior general education "tutor" with a special education student. These tutors act as a peer buddy to the special education student. Throughout this program, tutors can help their buddy with academics, but they also partner with them in athletics. Tutors and their buddies are able to take part in the Special Olympics unified program, which allows them to compete in the organizations seasonal sports alongside their special needs buddies. This article explains how mutually beneficial this program has become for both the general education tutors and their special education buddies. One senior was quoted saying "i don't judge people on how they appear very much anymore". Similarly, the program has shown that for special needs students, sometimes being shown how to do something by a peer, rather than an adult, can show more success. I rally enjoyed reading this article because I think it shows that although these students need to be placed in a different classroom and curriculum due to their special needs, it does not mean that they cannot associate with general education students and feel as though they are still part of the school as a whole. While I think that the benefits for special education students is outstanding, I feel as though this is one of the first programs to appear in my research to educate the rest of the student body on special needs. I believe that educating general education students on special needs is of the upmost importance to lead them to be well-rounded citizens once they graduate High School. The reason I love this program is because the general education students are not learning about disabilities through a textbook, causing them not to care. Instead, these students are learning by interacting one-on-one with special education students, creating a more impactful learning experience. 

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Abby Moran's curator insight, December 17, 2013 9:08 PM

This article was very touching. I have read articles that talk about integrating disabled students with non-disabled students but I have never read about specific examples detailing these actions until now. At Mountain View High School, juniors and seniors tutor disabled students. The students not only tutor them in academic aspects, but they also play sports with them. They play basketball, run track and bowl together. Even though the concept of general education students and special education students competing together in Special Olympics isn't new, it has started to become more prevalent. Disabled students are able to learn from general education students but the most important aspect is that general education students are able to learn from disabled students as well.  One student admitted, "It opened my eyes, I don't judge people on how they appear very much anymore." This was truly amazing to me. I never got to experience such programs in high school but I truly believe that I, as well as many other students, would have benefitted a great deal from these programs. Another student even included the idea that special education students are truly a lot more independent than people perceive them to be. This once again made me realize that there are many false stereotypes regarding disabled students. The last quote of the article really stuck with me. A student stated, ""I really have a pet peeve against the word 'retarded'. If you guys could be in here and see these kids, you would never use it." In high school, we made a pledge to ban the "r" word. This is so significant to me and I think all students need to realize this. This article ultaimtely proves the benefits associated with combining general education students with disabled students. The most amazing part is that they both learn from each other, the feeling is extrmely mutual. 

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Special Education 101 (Infographic)

Julie Newman's insight:

I thought this infographic did an amazing job at getting out the basic information of what special education is, what types of needs it services, how many students in the US receive this services, common terms used in this field, and much more. This infographic describes special education under the Disabilities Education Act as "specifically designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability". The 13 different types of special needs eligible for special education are also depicted with learning disabilities and speech impairments being the most prominent. The different special educate environments are also described from full inclusion, full time in a regular classroom with special education brought to the student, inclusion, maximum time in the regular classroom with special education brought to the student while in the regular classroom, and lastly self-contained, full or near full time spent in a special education classroom with special education being highly individualized and closely supervised. This infographic also displays the fact that more than one-half of students with disabilities spend 80% of their time in general education classrooms. While this infograhpic displays a lot more facts, theres were the ones i found to be more important to discuss. I loved this infogrpahic because it displays all these important facts about special education in a visual and colorful way that would be visually appealing to most. I think something like this could be highly utilized as a poster though out schools or a flier sent home to the school community to help educate people on what special education really is. 

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WATCH: Middle school team converts ‘most inspiring football play of all time’

WATCH: Middle school team converts ‘most inspiring football play of all time’ | Special Education | Scoop.it
The team, without coach’s knowledge, came up with a plan to not score a touchdown.
Julie Newman's insight:

Watching this video brought tears to my eyes and I reccommend that everyone takes the time to appriciate how the little acts of kindness can go a long way for all children, but especially for children with special needs. Through my research, I have found that many children with special needs lack vital social skills and often feel left out, especially when they are at a school with normally functioning students. In this video we say a middle school football team band together to make one of their teammates, a boy with special needs, feel like he was truly part of the team. Without telling their coaches, these boys planned a play that would allow their friend with special needs to score a touch down. The happiness on the boys face, as well as his parents faces, showed how appreciate they were to know that their son was included and treated with respect despite the fact that he has special needs. The part of the video that stuck out to me the most was the fact that the team did not care that their friend had special needs, they just wanted to include him and let him and his family know that they have his back and he is one of them. I think that this video is amazing and should be showed to middle school students across the United States because it teaches the very important lesson of accepting someone for who they are. 

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Schoolbook - Voices: A Thoughtful Debate Over Inclusion

Schoolbook - Voices: A Thoughtful Debate Over Inclusion | Special Education | Scoop.it
Two SchoolBook posts on special education and inclusion last week — a post and WNYC radio report by Beth Fertig on deferred efforts to integrate students with learning disabilities into regular classrooms, and Cheryl M.
Julie Newman's insight:
This article was very interesting to read because it showed first hand opinions of the inclusion act for special education. It also showed opposing opinions to the situation, which I found very helpful to read because I did not know much about this topic before reading this article. One opinion against inclusion truly stood out to me. Scott Rhea said that "I am not sure I want a college professor, federal agency, or advocacy group dictating best practice for a student receiving special education services. Remember, education is all about providing students with options — one of which could be inclusion. Special education is not a place; it is a service." I thought this was very interesting because I agree that people who are not in the classroom themselves should not be the one whom are dictating what happens to these students, seeing as they do not really understand what happens within the classroom on a day-to-day basis. I also found it very interesting to hear from a Kai Krishna, a mother's perspective who has two children on the autism spectrum. I agree with her when she says that when we make blank statements saying that "inclusion is good of everyone" than we loose the focus of education as pertaining to the individual needs of the children. I believe that the same system will not work for every child because everyone learns differently. After reading this article, my opinion was similar to that of Rhea and Krishna, but there were some valid opinions for inclusion that i did notice. The one that stood out to me the most was a parent who believed that keeping her child in a segregated environment was going to hold her back from developing her social skills and, in the long run, make her feel like an outcast. 
In the end, after reading this article, i feel like there is no right answer to this debate. Every child learns differently so to say that inclusion is a bad or good idea, i feel does not work because while some special needs children can thrive from inclusion, others might get lost in the cracks. 
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How Technology Is Being Used In Special Ed - (USA)

How Technology Is Being Used In Special Ed - (USA) | Special Education | Scoop.it
There are some big innovations happening in education. Doubly so for special ed and the new role technology is playing.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
Julie Newman's insight:

After reading this article, I learned that technology is such an important aspect of special education today. Children with special needs have found new ways to express themselves through this modern technology. I believe that including technology into special education curriculum is so important in helping our students improve everyday. This article informed me that the federal government is only able to cover 15% of the cost of educating a special needs child. This statistic just shows how much special education gets overlooked and how we as educators need to recognize the need for attention on special education programs. I have seen a theme while researching about Special Education  and that is that technology is truly changing the way special needs students learn. This technology allows them to interact in ways they have never done before and ignites their needs for multisensory learning. This article has solidified my belief that technology is of extreme importance in special needs classrooms. 

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Warwick John Bethwaite's curator insight, September 17, 2013 3:06 AM

Awesome initiative. it may cost a whole lot more and will raise the education budget. Technology is part of modern life, and its good that we are teaching kids to work with technology.

Mardi Sansone's curator insight, December 20, 2013 12:06 PM

This article made me realize how important technology is to the special education system today.  Children with special needs need multiple ways to express themselves and modern technology is proving to be very helpful.  This article stated that the Federal government is only able to cover 15% of the cost of educating a special needs child.  This shows how special education is overlooked and that more attention and light needs to be shined on it.   Educators and parents must fight for special education to make sure students are getting all that they need and deserve.  Technology is changing special education.  In multiple articles and videos I have read and seen, technology is focused on.  Technology surrounds everyone in this generation and it could be so beneficially when used in the right way.  This technology helps a special needs child with the multisensory learning that most special needs students need.  I feel that technology is so important to special education to benefit the students completely, and also in classrooms everywhere.  If you have something students enjoy already and mix learning into it, they will be more interested in what you are teaching them.