Special Needs Education + Technology= Success Lauren Stewart
Students with Special Needs Teaching students with special needs is a wonderful challenge. Coming from a household where my sister has ADHD, I have always tried to create lesson plans that would be beneficial to her. In doing so I have discovered new and creative teaching techniques that are beneficial to everyone! And so by creating lesson plans that are geared to students with special needs we as educators are able to create new lessons that could be beneficial to all of our students.
What is an IEP? Kids 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. Understanding how to access these services can help parents be effective advocates for their kids. Parents can now work with educators to develop a plan — the individualized education program (IEP) — to help kids succeed in school. 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. In general the majority of IEPs can be administered in the classroom. However some students may receive more individualized help. http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/iep.html#
What is Assistive Technology? 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. Examples of AT are: Personal Emergency Response Systems Modifications to computers (Ex: keyboards with lower case keys or larger print screens) Hearing aids Crutches
Finding the Right Technology for Your Student No-Tech (For students with Mild Disabilities) Some students with learning disabilities do not even need a technology aid. This can be as simple as helping the student to become organized, taking notes for them, access to educational resources, or even help with writing workshops.
Hearing Assistive Technology Hearing assistive technology systems (HATS) are devices that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication situations. HATS can be used with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants to make hearing easier—and thereby reduce stress and fatigue. Hearing aids + HATS = better listening and better communication! Keeping a close distance to students with a hearing impairment is beneficial. On the other hand we as teachers need to walk around the room to engage our students while teaching. This is where guided notes can be very beneficial. By giving a student with a hearing impairment guided notes they are still able to follow along while the teacher works the rooms. However the teacher must remember to stand closer to the student during the times where there are blanks in the note sheets. Also a follow-up session after the lesson would be beneficial. This way the teacher and students can both be on the same page.
Touch Screen Modifications and Personal Tablets As young children we always pointed to what we wanted and now with technology we can use this to express what we want our students to do and vise versa. These tools also help provide visual aids to a student and also to the class as a whole.
National Library of Virtual Manipulative This website has a ton of online math resources for all grade levels. A couple of my favorite resources were Base Block manipulative and the Fill and Pour manipulative. Both of these resources provide a visual aid for the students. The Base Block manipulative gives students a visual example of a thousands block a hundreds plane a tens column and a ones block. This is useful when teaching multiplication and counting with my students. The Fill and Pour manipulative gives students word problems with ratios. Students have two jars and they have to fill and empty the get the asked amount. This exercise can be used to talk about measurement and ratios. I believe that this website would be beneficial to all of my students because of the wide variety of visual aids. If touchscreen technology is available it would be very beneficial to my student who is hearing impaired. Additional Resources http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html
My To-Do-List Maker One thing that really helps my sister to succeed is a to-do-list. This helps her to stay on task. And who couldn’t benefit from a to-do- list!?! So I found a To-Do-List Maker on Scholastic’s website. This website helps students to type out their own goals and to put a time when they need to be accomplished. The student can then choose a background and print it off. The to-do-list maker is easy to use however has not been updated recently (the “year” for the timeline only goes up to 2010). However it is still a very useful tool for anyone. I believe that this AT will be very beneficial to my students with ADHD because it can help them to stay on task and focused on the task that is at hand. However this AT can be beneficial for every student who needs help with staying organized. http://www.scholastic.com/kids/homework/
Audio Books Audio books, like ones you can purchase at the book store or online, are useful tools because they can help reinforce the class reading materials. Some books, if the student has a computer tablet, offer interactive books. These programs offer recordings of the book and occasionally moving pictures. Audio books would be beneficial to a student with a listening impairment; because they are able to focus more on the text oppose to the background noise if reading as a class. However this AT would be very beneficial to students who are listening learners as well.
Timer During class time I use an online stop watch. This stop watch is easy to use and can be displayed on the board with an LCD projector of Smartboard. This website also provides a variety of modes. My student’s favorite is the bomb. I have discovered that when to students are pushed to work on a time frame they produce some of their best work. The use of the time is beneficial to all students because it helps them to see how much time should be spent on a task oppose to allowing them to take their time. This also helps prevent future classroom disruptions. Just as a heads up! Before you use this application make sure the kids see what it looks like before the actual activity. If not they will be more focused on the board oppose to their work. http://www.online-stopwatch.com/