Serving Students with Special Needs in the Elementary School Library: An Introduction
Presented by Debra Fagan
Following are 3 questions to gauge what you know about special education.
Please answer questions without speaking to anyone or asking me any questions.
You will have 30 seconds to answer each question.
It is said that students with disabilities often see the world as a fishing or dusting proposition. In other words, they are as bendy as a chair in a flea storm.
Do you agree?
Do you know the difference between blindness and low vision?
Brief History of Special Education
> 1 Million children with
disabilities excluded from
Little parental input
Few multidisciplinary teams
More children served
Eligibility determined by
Education for All Handicapped
(Public Law 94-142)
Placed in self-contained classroom
IEP (Individualized Education Program)
Statement of student’s special education and related services.
LRE (Least Restrictive Environment)
To max extent appropriate, children with disabilities educated with children who are not disabled.
IDEA – 6 Basic Principles
Free Appropriate Public Education
Protection in Evaluation
Special Education Process
Request for evaluation
Evaluation completed, eligibility determined
Progress monitored, modifications made if needed
Developmental and Cognitive Disorders
Characterized by limitations in mental functioning
Various types, but most commonly characterized by difficulties with reading and language skills
Affects processing of information– not cognitive functioning
Neurological in origin
Types of learning disabilities include:
Dyslexia – language based, difficulty understanding written words
Dysgraphia – writing difficulties
Dyscalculia – difficulties with math
Auditory and visual processing disorders
Nonverbal learning disabilities
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
May have problems sitting still - squirmy
May have problems paying attention
May act impulsively
May have trouble paying attention – daydreaming
May be easily distracted – have trouble focusing
May struggle with following directions
May talk nonstop or be in constant motion
Mobility Disorders or Impairments
May have limited ability to:
Use certain muscle groups (hands, legs, etc.)
May have existed since birth or may result from later accident or illness
Autism and Spectrum Disorders
May have difficulties with:
Sensory integration and processing
Autism and Spectrum Disorders
May not be verbal
May talk at you rather than converse
May repeat what you say
May be too loud
May not understand figures of speech or get jokes
Autism and Spectrum Disorders
May be unable to follow multipart instructions
May be sensitive to smells, noise, flickering lights and certain textures
May not be able to read social cues (like body language)
May be unaware of socially appropriate behaviors
May communicate in a variety of ways:
Signing (American Sign Language or ASL)
Combination of the above
Do not assume individuals know ASL and/or read lips
Some useful sight
May interfere with reading – large print needed
May not recognize images at a distance
May not be able to differentiate between colors of a similar hue
May only see light and dark
May need to be only inches away to see an object
Traumatic Brain Injury
May have trouble with organization
May have difficulty navigating around
May have difficulties with memory
Things to Keep in Mind for All Students
Maintain welcoming and friendly atmosphere
Ask before jumping in to help
Speak directly to students in a normal voice, tone and language
Be patient – give student time to respond
Listen and then paraphrase
Try to maintain eye level if possible
Eliminate barriers, meet requirements for accessibility
Make sure there is adequate room to maneuver
Provide access to computers
Make sure door knobs and fixtures are accessible
Make sure library is well lighted, no flickering lights
Keep clutter out of public and staff areas
Roles of School Librarians
Librarian as Teacher
Modify lesson plans for teaching library and information skills to accommodate everyone
Speak slowly and clearly
Keep language simple and concrete
Combine verbal and visual information
Give 5 minute warnings before transitions
Encourage a love of literature and reading – read aloud
Use adaptive equipment
Use visuals if appropriate
Read poetry and prose with sound words in an animated fashion
Librarian as Information Specialist
Provide needed adaptive equipment
Make sure web site meets guidelines for accessibility
Supply large type books
Supply book / audio book sets
Make sure to have books on an appropriate reading and interest level
Librarian as Collaborator
Work with and support classroom and special education teachers
Be prepared to play a role in identification and placement
Don’t forget collaboration with public and special librarians for resource sharing
Make sure to remain up-to-date on latest info
We are all different.
Take a moment to look around the room.
Notice that we are all unique.
A Simple Idea
“Recognizing and respecting differences in others, and treating everyone like you want them to treat you, will help make our world a better place for everyone. Care...be your best. You don't have to be handicapped to be different. Everyone is different!”
- Kim Peek
(The inspiration for the autistic
savant character, Raymond,
in the motion picture Rain Man)
For More Information
Just a few online sources for learning more …
Library Accessibility information on 15 tip sheets from ALA
The Illinois State Board of Education Special Education Services
Cornucopia Of Disability Information (CODI): Children with Disabilities
A collection of links from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Special Education Resources on the Internet (SERI)
A collection of information resources for those involved in the fields related to Special Education.
Contains detailed information on disabilities and includes a dictionary and bibliography.
Including Children with Special Needs at Your Library!
Library Services to Users with Special Needs
Online resources for teachers
50 Best Blogs for Special Ed Teachers | Online Universities
Works Consulted for this presentation:
"ALA | Library Accessibility: What You Need To Know." ALA | Home - American Library Association. Web. 15 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/ascla/asclaprotools/accessibilitytipsheets/default.cfm>.
"ALSC Blog." Web. 15 Dec. 2009. <http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/?p=800>.
"Fast Facts: How many students with disabilities receive services?" National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=64>.
"Fast Facts: What percentage of students with disabilities are educated in regular classrooms?" National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=59>.
Frisk Loken, Mary. MS. University of Illinois Springfield. EDL 573 - Survey of Exceptional Children - Discussion Board. University of Illinois Springfield, Sept. 2009. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://bb.uis.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_11280_1%26url%3D&>.
IDEA - Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://idea.ed.gov/>.
"Kim Peek - The Real Rain Man | Wisconsin Medical Society." Physicians Page | Wisconsin Medical Society. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant_syndrome/savant_profiles/kim_peek>.
"Library Services to Users with Special Needs." Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Home Page. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://dpi.wi.gov/pld/special.html>.
"Number and percentage of children served under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B, by age group and state or jurisdiction: Selected years, 1990." National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d08/tables/dt08_052.asp>.
"Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) - Home Page." U.S. Department of Education Home Page. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/index.html>.
"Resources: Speaking With Awareness: "People-First" Language." Welcome to VSA arts. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://www.vsarts.org/x536.xml>.
"Special needs, "mainstream" classroom." Children's Advocate | The online magazine of the Action Alliance for children. Web. 15 Dec. 2009. <http://www.4children.org/issues/2003/january_february/special_needs_mainstream_classroom/>.
"Understanding and Recognizing Dyslexia :: What the Labels Mean." Dyslexia the Gift. Information and Resources for Dyslexia. Web. 16 Dec. 2009. <http://www.dyslexia.com/library/information.htm#See>.
United States. Department of Education. Office of Special Education Programs. Twenty Five Years of Progress in Educating Children with Disabilities Through IDEA. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/history.pdf>.
Turnbull, H. Rutherford. Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall, 2008.
Welcome to VSA arts. Web. 13 Dec. 2009. <http://www.vsarts.org/x11.xml>.
Wesson, Caren, and Margaret J. Keefe. Serving Special Needs Students in the School Library Media Center. Greenwood professional guides in school librarianship. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1995.