Working with Special
“Everyone is Differently Abled”
A song by Danny Deardorff
ADD !! English Language Learners
! Autism !! ! Gifted! ! ADHD
WE all have different ways of
learning, but some of us are more
challenged than others......physically,
Simply speaking, special needs
students are those students who
modiﬁcations, and/or assistive
technology devices in the teaching
and learning process in order to be
Students with delayed skills or other
disabilities might be eligible for
special services that provide
individualized education programs in
public schools, free of charge to
families. Students who have difficulty
learning and functioning and have
been identified as a special needs
student is a candidate for an
Individualized Education Plan or an
An IEP may identify support services which allow
students to be taught in a special way. The services
and goals outlined in an IEP can be provided in a
standard school environment like the regular
classroom or in a special resource room. The
resource room can serve a group of students with
similar needs who are brought together for help.
Students who need intense intervention may
be taught in a special school environment.
These classes have fewer students per
teacher which allows more time for
individualized attention. The teacher usually
has speciﬁc training. The students spend
most of their day in a special classroom and
join the regular classes for nonacademic
activities or in academic activities in which
they don’t need extra help.
Students who need intense intervention may be
taught in a special environment with fewer
students per teacher, allowing for more
individualized attention. The teacher usually has
specific training. The students spend most of
their day in a special classroom and join the
regular classes for nonacademic activities or in
academic activities in which they don’t need
Because the goal of the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA
2004) is to ensure that each child is
educated in the least restrictive
environment possible, effort is made
to help students in a regular
Inclusion considers that all students are
full members of the school community
and are entitled to the opportunities
and responsibilities that are available to
all students in the school. In an
inclusive school setting, special needs
students are provided specially
designed instruction in their least
When special needs students are being served in
a regular education classroom, it is often the
responsibility of the regular education teacher to
make the necessary accommodations,
modifications, and/or assistive technology
devices to ensure success for these students.
It is the purpose of this presentation to provide
you with examples of how instruction is
differentiated for the special needs students in
Ms. Lee’s 3rd grade class.
The following special needs students
are enrolled in Mrs. Lee’s class:
1. Three students diagnosed as ADHD.
2. One student with an auditory
3. Several students with mild learning
When serving special needs students in a
regular education setting, the regular
education teacher must become familiar with
the speciﬁc needs of the students and identify
resources and instructional practices to meet
those needs. The Technology-Related
Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act
of 1988 was designed to enhance the
availability and quality of assistive technology
(AT) devices and services to all individuals and
their families throughout the United States.
The Tech Act deﬁnes AT devices as any item, piece
of equipment, or product system (whether acquired
off the shelf, modiﬁed, or customized) that is used
to increase, maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of individuals with disabilities. AT
devices may be categorized as high technology and
Ms. Lee uses AT devices to aide the special
education students in her classroom.
Let’s discuss how Ms. Lee meets the needs of her
special education students using accommodations,
modiﬁcations, and AT devices.
First, we’ll describe the students’ disabilities.
Students with Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) are characterized by a persistent
pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity.
All of Ms. Lee’s third grade students with ADHD
have beneﬁted from the following modiﬁcations:
* moving the desk to the front of the classroom
* breaking assignments into smaller, more
* limiting lectures to short segments
* allowing the students to get up and move
before, during and/or after a lesson is taught
Students who are deaf or who have hearing loss are at a great educational
Ms. Lee’s students who have an auditory disability are assisted using the
following accommodations, modiﬁcations or AT devices:
* Preferential seating to enhance access to auditory information
* Use of picture symbol using Boardmaker and Writing with Symbols (Mayer
Johnson) to illustrate key points.
* Use of written language to supplement spoken language.
* Use of personal ampliﬁcation device to amplify speaker’s voice.
* Manual sign language or oral interpreter to interpret speaker’s messages.
* Envision (using video camera on computer to communicate
Learning disabled (LD) students are those who
demonstrate a signiﬁcant discrepancy (which is
not the result of some other handicap) between
academic achievement and intellectual abilities
in one or more of the areas of oral expression,
listening comprehension, written expression,
basic reading skills, reading comprehension,
mathematical calculation, mathematics
reasoning or spelling.
Ms. Lee has several students in her class with mild learning
disabilities. The following accommodations or modiﬁcations have
* Presenting tests and reading materials in an oral format.
* Frequent progress checks to let them know how well they are
* Immediate feedback so that they see quickly the relationship
between what is taught and what was learned.
* Concise and short activities whenever possible.
* Using concrete objects and events - items they can touch, hear,
smell, etc - whenever possible.
* Using speciﬁc praising comments that link the activity with the
* Repeating instructions or offering information in both written and
* Using cooperative learning activities when possible.
Ms. Lee’s LD students have beneﬁted from the
following AT devices:
* Word processing software for writing, grammar/
spellcheckers, dictionaries, and thesaurus programs
* Voice synthesizer to read teacher’s notes
* Videotaping class sessions for review of material
* Calculators for math problems
* Application program software for instructing
* CD-based books for reading
In conclusion, regular education teachers must meet the
needs of all of their students. With the push to involve all
students in the regular classroom, the dynamics of the
classroom has changed. Regular education teachers will
experience more success with their special education
students when they take the time to explore and learn about
their unique needs. By law, we must provide the
accommodations, modiﬁcations and AT devices outlined in
our special needs students’ IEP.
This presentation was meant to provide a basic overview of
special education and to share the accommodations,
modiﬁcations and AT devices that have been successful in
Ms. Lee’s classroom. Hopefully, the audience will use this
information and build on this knowledge to be more
successful with the special needs students in their own
classrooms. Take a look at the resources on the last slide
and explore them in more depth to expand on your
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive-Technology: Enabling Dreams
Assistive Technology for Mild Disabilities
Assistive Technology for Students with Mild Disabilities
Assistive technology in the classroom for ADHD students
Examples of Products
Georgia Project for Assistive Technology
Guidelines to choosing Assistive Technology
Inclusive Learning Environments for Students with Special
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)
Ramp Up to Access: Assistive Technology
Students with Special Needs
Trends in working with special needs students
Wikipedia’s Deﬁnition of Assistive Technology