Working With Students Who Have Special Needs: Overview and Resources<br />Pamela B. Witter<br />Georgia Southern University<br />ITEC 7530 – Module 4<br />Dr. Kennedy<br />
Responsibility<br />Children struggling in school with delayed skills or other disabilities may qualify for support services, allowing them to be taught in a special way. <br />The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. The goal of IDEA is to keep students in the least restrictive environment so an effort is made to keep students in the general classroom as much as possible. <br />=<br />Reference http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/iep.html<br />For more information about IDEA, visit http://idea.ed.gov<br />
Process<br />Teacher, parent or doctor initiates communications regarding a student having difficulty in the classroom<br />Teacher notifies school counselor or psychologist<br />Information is gathered and compiled regarding the student's progress or academic issues<br />Child may be tested for a specific learning disability or other impairment to help determine qualification for special services.<br />To be eligible for special services, the disability must affect functioning at school.<br />To determine eligibility, a multidisciplinary team of professionals will evaluate the child based on their observations; the child's performance on standardized tests; and daily work such as tests, quizzes, classwork, and homework<br />Evaluation team develops a comprehensive evaluation report (CER) that compiles their findings, offers an educational classification, and outlines the skills and support the child will need.<br />
Process - continued<br />If a child is identified as a special needs student: <br />Team develops an Individualized Development Program (IEP). IEPs provide specific, measurable short-term and annual goals for each of the student’s needs. <br />Review the IEP annually to update the goals and make sure the levels of service meet the student’s needs. IEPs may be changed at any time on an as-needed basis.<br />Support services may include special education, speech therapy, occupational or physical therapy, counseling, audiology, medical services, nursing, vision or hearing therapy, and many others.<br />Reference: Kid’s Health from Nemours. Individualized Education Programs Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/iep.html#<br />
Additional Exploration<br />Differential Instruction(sometimes referred to as differentiated learning) involves providing students with different avenues to acquiring content; to processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teachingmaterials so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differentiated_instruction<br />Additional Resources:<br />TeachNology at <br />http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/differentiate/planning/<br />Partners in Learning at http://performancepyramid.muohio.edu/Differentiated-Instruction.html<br />
Resources to Enhance Student’s Educational Experience<br /><ul><li>Children with disabilities often require assistance to enhance social, emotional and cognitive growth.
Many technologies are available from low to high tech, but they are often under utilized.
Assistive technology (AT) helps students participate in activities as independently as possible.
Technology helps students move, communicate and participate.</li></ul>Reference: LD Online at http://www.ldonline.org/article/8088<br />
Assistive Technology<br />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. <br />Reference: Assistive Technology - Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology<br />
Assistive Technology - continued<br />"No-technology" or "no-tech" refers to any assistive device that is not electronic. No-tech items range from a piece of foam glued onto the corners of book pages to make turning easier to a study carrel to reduce distraction. "Low-technology" or "low-tech" devices are electronic but do not include highly sophisticated computer components, such as an electronic voice-recording device or a "talking watch" (Behrmann & Schaff, 2001). "High-technology" or "high-tech" devices utilize complex, multifunction technology and usually include a computer and associated software.<br />Reference: Education.com at http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Assistive_Technology/<br />
Choosing Assistive Technology<br />Step 1: Collect child and family information. Begin the discussion about the child’s strengths, abilities, preferences and needs. What strategies have been found to work best?<br />Step 2: Identify activities for participation. Discuss the various activities within the environments that a child encounters throughout the day. What is preventing him/her from participating more? <br />Step 3: What can be observed that indicates the intervention is successful? What is his/her current level of participation and what observable behaviors will reflect an increase in independent interactions? What changes (e.g., number of initiations, expression attempts, responses, reactions, etc.) will you look for?<br />
Choosing Assistive Technology-cont.<br />Step 4:Brainstorm AT solutions. With the activity and desired outcomes established, you are now ready to discuss possible solutions with educators, family members, physical therapist, and other people with whom the child interacts on a weekly basis. Do the child’s needs include supports for movement, communication and/or use of materials? Start with what is available in the environment (what other children use) and consider adaptations to those materials. A range of options that address specific support areas should be considered.<br />
Choosing Assistive Technology-cont.<br />Step 5:Try it out. Determine when the AT intervention will begin and create an observation plan to record how the child participates with the AT supports. <br />Step 6:Identify what worked. Selecting AT interventions is a continuous learning opportunity. Reflect on your plan and discuss what worked. What didn’t work? What should be done differently? Make modifications as needed and try again. Only by trying the AT can certain factors such as technology placement, amount of force, mounting, number of choices, etc. be determined and adjusted.<br />Reference: LD Online at http://www.ldonline.org/article/8088<br />
Case Study<br />You are a teacher who has a few students that require you to differentiate your instruction. Three have been diagnosed with ADHD, while one has an auditory disability, and requires a special device in order to hear. In addition, you have a number of students that have mild learning disabilities that impact all areas, especially reading and writing. As you prepare for the school year, you ask yourself, "What resources do I have in order to help me meet my students' needs?"<br />
Case Study – Approaches<br />Children with ADHD often have difficulty adjusting to the structured environment of a classroom, determining what is important, and focusing on their assigned work. They are easily distracted by other children or by nearby activities in the classroom. Resources should be individualized.<br />ADHD – High Tech<br />Built on technology originally used by NASA and the U.S. Air Force, the solution–called “Play Attention”–reportedly taps into brain waves through a red bike helmet lined with sensors. The sensors send information to a computer that in turn controls the outcome of scenarios on the computer screen. As the brain waves change, the outcome on the computer screen changes. <br />Reference eSchoolNews at http://www.eschoolnews.com/2004/07/29/new-technology-offers-help-for-adhd-students/<br />
Case Study - Approaches<br />ADHD – No/Low Tech<br /><ul><li>Assign student a seat with the least distractions while in close proximity to the teacher
Allow student to chew gum to burn excess energy and keep their mouth engaged</li></ul>Reference LO Online at http://www.ldonline.org/article/8797#instructional<br />
Case Study – Approaches<br />Auditory– High Tech<br /><ul><li>Personal FM systems can send a teacher’s voice from a wireless microphone worn by the teacher through FM radio waves directly to a small receiver worn by the student with hearing loss.
Soundfield systems send the teacher’s voice from a microphone to one or more speakers positioned close to the child or mounted to a wall. This allows more than one student to use the system simultaneously.
Infra-red (IR) systems through which sound is transmitted using infrared light waves.</li></ul>Reference: American Speech Language Hearing Association at http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Assistive-Technology-for-Children/<br />
Case Study – Approaches<br />Auditory – Low Tech<br /><ul><li>Translation Services are available which allow the words of a speaker to be transcribed, by a trained individual using a keyboard, into text displayed on a monitor, screen, or laptop computer, used by the students who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) may be a consideration as hearing loss can impact competency in reading.</li></ul>Reference: American Speech Language Hearing Association at http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Assistive-Technology-for-Children/<br />
Case Study - Approaches<br />Mild Learning Disability– High Tech<br /><ul><li>Word Processing /Proofreading Software
Paper-Based Computer Pens</li></ul>Reference: Great Schools at http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/assistive-technology/702-assistive-technology-for-kids-with-learning-disabilities-an-overview.gs<br />
Case Study - Approaches<br />Mild Learning Disability – Low Tech<br /><ul><li>Graphic Organizers
Highlighters</li></ul>Reference: Great Schools at http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/assistive-technology/702-assistive-technology-for-kids-with-learning-disabilities-an-overview.gs<br />