What resources do I have in order to help me meet my students’ needs? Alana Sandefur ITEC 7530 Dr. Purcell
Overview about working with special needs students
Special Education refers to the specialized instruction received by the millions of students in the United States who have disabilities and is guided by the concept of least restrictive environment or LRE.
Inclusive practices have been shaped by the historical, legislative, and litigative dimensions of special education. Its primary goals are to improve students outcomes and respond to student and parent rights and perspectives.
Federal law identifies 13 categories of disability that may entitle students to special education services.
Many other students have needs not addressed through special education, including those who are gifted or talented; who have ADHD, and high risk students.
Resources and Instructional Practices to meet students’ individual needs
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
The IEP addresses all areas of student need, including accommodations to be made in the general education setting and the services and supports to be provided there.
The IEP describes the goals the team sets for a child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help achieve them.
Who Needs an IEP?
A child who has difficulty learning and functioning and has been identified as a special needs student is the perfect candidate for an IEP. Kids struggling in school may qualify for support services, allowing them to be taught in a special way, for reasons such as:
Speech or language impairment
Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.
AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
Guidelines for AT
The guidelines for service delivery of assistive technology (AT) are found in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). IDEA defines AT in terms of "devices" and "services." An Assistive Technology Device is defined as "any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities"
AT Guidelines cont
Also described in IDEA, is an Assistive Technology Service. This is defined as "...any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device" (IDEA 300.6). Studies have shown that assistive technology can significantly improve the educational, vocational, and social performance of individuals with disabilities.
Federal law mandates that schools annually consider assistive technology accommodations in the Individual Education Program (IEP) of all eligible students.
How to Choose an Assistive Technology for Student
Identifying AT solutions to support a child participation is best done as a team process.
By first examining the interests, abilities and needs of a child and the specific components of the activity where support for participation is indicated, AT solutions can be planned and implemented and the impact can be observed immediately.
A six-step process defined below is one example of a framework for AT decision making for young children.
Types of AT Technology
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive Listening Devices
What is an ALD?
An assistive listening device (ALD) is any type of device that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication situations. An ALD can be used with or without hearing aids to overcome the negative effects of distance, background noise, or poor room acoustics. So even though you have a hearing aid, ALDs can offer greater ease of hearing (and therefore reduced stress and fatigue) in many day-to-day communication situations. Hearing aids + ALDs = Better listening and better communication!
Examples of ALD’S
Personal frequency modulation (FM) systems
Induction Loop Systems
The Touch Window is ideal for students who have trouble manipulating the mouse. It is especially effective with preschoolers and early learners, and is also recommended for students with developmental or physical disabilities.
Alternative Input Devices
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device. Examples include:
Electronic pointing devices
Screen readers are used to verbalize, or "speak," everything on the screen including text, graphics, control buttons, and menus into a computerized voice that is spoken aloud. In essence, a screen reader transforms a graphic user interface (GUI) into an audio interface. Screen readers are essential for computer users who are blind.
Speech Recognition Programs
Speech recognition or voice recognition programs , allow people to give commands and enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer, which can be used to create text documents such as letters or e-mail messages, browse the Internet, and navigate among applications and menus by voice.
Many individuals work to ensure that students with disabilities receive an appropriate education. These people include: general education teachers, special education teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and other service providers.
There are resources and instructional practices to meet your students' individual needs. This includes assistive technologies and approaches that don't require any technology.
IEPs and Assistive Technology are used to meet a variety of students needs.
There are many different forms of AT. For example: Alternative Input Devices, Screen Readers, and Speech Recognition Programs.
Collaboration between the educators and resources is a vital part in meeting the needs of special needs students.