INTRO: Now that we have introduced you to our middle school, the key principles of special education and inclusion we’d like to discuss a few general recommendations for how we will facilitate access for our students with disabilities to the general education curriculum and support inclusion. In particular we’d like to discuss Universal Design for learning, Response to Intervention and a school-wide Positive Behavior support system. (Move to next slide).
In order to make learning accessible to students we recommend implementing Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all students equal opportunities to learn. Universal design provides a basis for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for all students not just students with disabilities. Universal design makes learning accessible for all students through: Providing multiple means of representing content Providing multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge Providing multiple means of engagement (for example using materials that interest students and motivations to engage them in learning CLOSING (pg 51 in book): When universal design for learning has been fully implemented, students with disabilities will be more likely to see themselves as a part of the classroom community and they won’t have to leave the general education classroom as often to receive appropriate education.
Next, we recommend implementing a Response to Intervention program. Response to intervention or (RTI), integrates assessment and intervention within a school-wide, three tiered prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavioral problems. RTI accomplishes this through the four components of screening, progress monitoring, the multi-level preventions system and decision making based on the data collected
In the Primary level of the prevention system the Focus is on all students. The instruction provided is the district curriculum and it is aligned with the standards. Instructional practices are research based and incorporate differentiated instruction. The setting for instruction is the general education classroom. At this level students are assessed through screening and progress monitoring. In the Secondary level the focus is on students who have been identified through screening as at risk for poor learning outcomes. The instruction at this level is targeted, with supplemental instruction delivered to small groups. The setting for instruction is the general education classroom or another general education location within the school. Progress is monitored for these students. In the tertiary level the focus is on students who have not yet responded to primary or secondary level prevention. The instruction is intensive, with supplemental instruction delivered to small groups or individually. The setting is the general education classroom or other general education classroom in school. Progress is monitored for these students.
This program can also be used as a means to identify students who have disabilities. If a student does not respond to the first three levels of intervention, they could be evaluated for the presence of a disability.
Another way that we will work as a school to promote student progress in the general ed curriculum is through a Positive Behavior Intervention support system (pg51). A Positive Behavior intervention support system is similar to RTI in that it has a multi-tiered intervention framework. However, it differs from RTI in that is focuses solely on social culture and making sure that students acquire needed social skills and that they have environmental supports (pg 251,405). Features of the Positive Behavior intervention Support System at the school-wide level include preventing unwanted behaviors, teaching positive social expectations and acknowledging positive behavior from students.
CLOSING (pg 50 in book): Incorporating aspects of Universal Design, RTI and a Positive Behavior system will create a universal approach to education at Tipp e Kal Middle school. This will benefit all of our students, not just our students with disabilities. Additionally, this approach will give our students with disabilities a better chance of being included alongside students in the general education curriculum.
IDEA defines a specific learning disability as “A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written.”
Learning disabilities, individually, or in combination with other disabilities, disorders or impairments, constitute the largest share (42.9% in 2011) of disabilities served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (U.S. Department of Education, 2010) These disabilities are most often characterized by deficiencies in academic achievement, specifically in the areas of reading (4-8% of students), mathematics (6-11%), or a combination of the two. Approximately 50% of children demonstrating dyscalculia have concurrent reading challenges.
Learning disabilities are distinct from and not indicative of deficiencies in intelligence, although there is a positive correlation with short-term, long-term, and working-memory issues. The latter in particular creates challenges in the area of mathematics.
There is no correlation between learning disabilities and mental health problems, although there is a higher incidence of social and emotional challenges, especially for children with reading disorders. Children may experience heightened anxiety when presented with new material or during assessments.
Nature and nurture are both causative factors. Neurological and structural brain differences have been identified, with a genetic link exceeding 50% for reading deficiencies. A child’s environment is also a factor, including the quality of instruction both at home and in schools.
New sixth graders can expect significant changes from what they knew before. Students will be on the move and responsible for their schedule. It’s also the end of a world with one teacher responsible for all core subjects. Students will now learn from teachers with specialized training in the various disciplines. Students with reading challenges may struggle in courses requiring reading proficiency such as social studies and science, especially in the area of reading comprehension. While distributed instruction might present challenges; there are also opportunities for students to profit from diverse styles and approaches.
All general education teachers, and not merely language arts educators, must recognize a shared responsibility for reading. Communication and coordination will be essential. Any academic deficiencies in a particular subject should be identified to verify if there is a specific reading component to unsatisfactory performance and progress. Teachers should always employ the best practices of UDL including differentiated instruction, graphic organizers, teacher presentation cues, every-pupil response techniques, and others. This benefits all students, not just those with disabilities. It’s simply good teaching.
Social studies and science teachers should make use of the snowball technique, which builds knowledge incrementally like think-pair-share.
General education teachers should consider curriculum-based measurement to track progress. This is consistent with the response to intervention approach. Formative assessments should be used frequently, and instruction methods should be altered when required.
Special education teachers should work with their partner general education teachers to incorporate the Self-Regulated Strategy Development model, which focuses on promoting understanding and engagement with important topics in a text in order to draw conclusions.
Special Education teachers should encourage students to work in groups for the reading of relevant material. This will foster student understanding by extracting the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the readings.
Speech/language therapists should work with general and special education teachers to identify where more intensive speech and language intervention is required. A student’s specific learning disability for reading might be complicated by hearing impairments or communication disorders. Students may need a therapist’s intervention to work on oral skills to maintain confidence as emphasis on building an academic vocabulary presents new pronunciation challenges.
The school counselor needs to support students and families and offer advice for the IEP. As mentioned earlier, students with learning disabilities have higher levels anxiety. This will manifest itself most often with brand new or more complex material, and assessments. Counselors should focus on the management of classroom anxiety.
Parents need to be active and engaged members of their children’s education. Although this may come naturally for most, others may be intimidated or need encouragement. School personnel need to be sensitive to cultural and linguistic considerations, and recognize that for some students the parent may be a single parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or other responsible adult.
Communication between teachers and parents is essential. Both parties need to know the preferred method of communication. Teachers need to know when parents will be accessible by phone, or if they have access to email.
Parents need to know how to support their student’s learning at home and facilitate progress. They also need to know not to undermine the efforts of teachers and specialists, but that they are at all times entitled to be informed and be involved.
Everyone is a member of the student’s team, from general and special education teachers to specialists to parents, and all need to actively participate in the student’s IEP. Teachers need to partner and plan and parents and students need to know that they are not passive bystanders.
Students with mathematics difficulties may encounter struggles in science. Some may also find difficulties in enrichment courses such as home economics and music, which use concepts such as decimals, fractions, and timing. Conversely, musical and other aptitudes may be a strength for some students that could be leveraged.
The student’s general education teacher should scaffold key concepts when introducing new material, chunking whenever possible. This will make it easier for students to digest new information without getting overwhelmed and frustrated. General education teachers should employ modeling such as “I do, we do, you do.” In the “you do” phase, it is essential that teachers circulate throughout the classroom to assure that ALL students are following along. Having students use individual dry-erase tablets is an excellent, low tech/cost method of doing formative assessments.
The special education teacher needs to identify students with working memory issues, and work with them to use graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, and technologies that may assist their memory issues. Special education teachers should also circulate and work with students in small groups or 1:1 as needed to break down word problems or any concept that is novel or complicated.
Although their role for students with mathematics challenges is not immediately apparent, speech/language therapists may be of assistance if there are issues with reading or receptive language disorders, as these might make word problems especially difficult.
As with reading challenges, school counselors should provide support for the student’s IEP, and address any identified student anxiety issues.
Parents are often the student’s primary go-to for math homework assistance. As students progress through primary and secondary education, parents might find this role to be more of a challenge as their math skills may exhibit some atrophy, but they should be able to assist their students in middle school. They need to learn both the material covered and how it’s taught to assist with homework with a classroom-aligned approach.
Autism is a developmental disability that affects communication skills, both nonverbal and verbal. Therefore, social interaction and academic achievement are usually affected as a result. It is important to remember that although autism has distinct characteristics, such as atypical social development, the manifestation of symptoms varies from person to person. Furthermore, autism can occur among all intelligence levels, ranging from classifications of intellectual disability to gifted.
Language and verbal communication play a large role in academic achievement. Furthermore, impairments in social skills can lead to problems in other areas, such as behavior. For this reason, students with autism should receive support that is conducive to language development. In the classroom, this can be done through group work, paired work, peer to peer tutoring, and other activities that incorporate social interaction and communication.
Additionally, it should be noted that students with autism usually have trouble interpreting non-literal language, such as humor and sarcasm. For this reason, it is recommended that instructors explain tasks in literal, straightforward terms and accompany lecture with visual displays, such as powerpoint slides.
Also keep in mind that students’ nonverbal language should receive particular attention if they are having difficulty expressing ideas.
Aggressive and self-injurious behavior associated with autism can interfere with a class’ ability to learn, and also a teacher’s ability to teach. For this reason, it would be beneficial to implement practices that promote appropriate behavior, such as discussion of classroom rules, social stories, functional behavioral assessment, and positive behavior support.
Discussing classroom rules and appropriate behavior would help students to understand that respect is an important aspect of a healthy school environment, while social stories give students the opportunity to prepare for and practice social interaction. Finally, Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Behavioral Support are strategies to decrease and eliminate problem behaviors while teaching students a wider set of alternative, appropriate behaviors.
Definitions: IDEA definition is more fitting and inclusive for how a person (or student) experiences and learns. “An impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.” - The legal definition is a clinical measure and is used for eligibility for federal Social Security benefits. - Acuity is determined by having an individual read the letters on a chart, with each line composed of letters written in a certain print size. - Field of vision is the area around them that they can visually detect when looking straight ahead. If this is less than 20 degrees, a person is determined to be legally blind. This is also called tunnel vision. Low Vision: individuals can read print, but usually with optical aids (example: magnifying glass). Some may read both braille and print. May or may not be legally blind. Functionally Blind: Individuals typically use braille to read and write. Many use their vision to move around their environment or to complete other tasks by combining tactile and auditory information. Totally Blind: Individuals cannot use receive meaningful information in the visual sense. Individuals must use tactile and auditory information to learn about their environment. Reading and writing is completed through braille. Causes: Congenital: occurs at birth. Adventitious: occurs after first having unimpaired vision. Can occur after an event, (accident, other trauma) or advent (hereditary).
Special/ General Education Teacher: - Communication between TVI, O&M, special, and general education is very important for including the student in the general curriculum. The TVI and O&M specialist will have the students life skills outlined which include independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, self-determination skills, and the use of AT. The additional skills students with VI must learn and work on are part of an expanded core curriculum. - Room organization: This is dependent on the individual needs of each student with a VI. Some may be able to move around a classroom with ease, and others may need more clear paths. For our presentation, we are speaking in the general terms, so a typical classroom set-up with considerations for easy group work (i.e. desks arranged in groups) would be best. Students with VI can then work in a group easier without having to move about the class as often. Keep posted materials at eye level and with large, bold, and contrasting print and colors for easier reading. Make braille copies of classroom rules and expectations and clear braille overlays of other posted materials when appropriate. IEP: The student’s IEP will include information about reading and writing aids (such as braille requirements, bold lined paper, felt tip pens, audio books, or word processing aids), list any assistive technologies, and any special instructions for instructional materials and assessments. Use of AT: Teachers should work with parent(s), TVI, and O&M specialists to understand the use of AT in their classroom. Special education teachers can aid general education teachers in how to include their use into their instruction based on the specific needs of the student.
Speech/ Language Therapist: - Knowledge about and uses of different AT devices will aid the student in the academic success. Promoting the use of audio aids, their use, and inclusion in the classroom will create a better learning environment for the student.
School Counselor: - Encouraging the student to work as part of a group in class and participate in class discussions will be best for their development socially and academically. The school counselor may need to meet with the student multiple times throughout the school year to check on their academic progress and to ensure they are working on meeting their individual goals.
Parent: - Work with educators and inform them of past academic performance and current academic objectives. - Inform educators about special accommodations for assessment or for classroom instruction. - Parents should be an active part of their child’s IEP by explaining success they have had at home when working on homework, use of AT devices, and any modifications needed for the classroom, and ask questions at IEP meetings.
Special/ General Education Teacher: - Set-up of the classroom will be key for students with VI both for academic achievement purposes but also social development. By promoting group work by clustering desks, students can easily work together allowing students with VI to participate in group activities. - Include the student in class discussions. The teacher may need to use AT devices to aid the student in reading and writing during the class, but if proper measures are taken, and sufficient time is allotted, students with VI can participate in discussions.
Speech/ Language Therapist: - Students with VI may not be aware that when someone is speaking to them not turn away. Show how a person’s inflection in their voice can indicate emotion. The TVI will be a great aid and resource for working with students with a VI.
School Counselor: - Works close with students with VI, speaking to them about their social life, inclusion in the classroom, and with friends/ peers; build self confidence. - By encouraging students to explore their environment, they can become more aware of what is around them, in their neighborhoods, parks, and schools. This can aid in a students interactions with their peers by providing topics of interest and encouraging social interactions.
Parent: - Encouraging their child to speak to others about their disability, how the coup, and how they communicate with the world around them will help in their personal development outside of the classroom. A parent’s ability to work with their child on common life skills will be essential to their participation in class and in their environment. - Communicating their child’s likes and dislikes will help educators formulate lessons and in-school activities their child can be a part of. This also helps in their child feeling included in the general curriculum and as a member of their class.
Presentation for Local School Council
Neal Ansani – Physical/Speech/Language Therapist
Jessica Obringer – School Counselor
John Stauffer – Parent
Marjorie Grace Tagare – General Education Teacher
Jeffrey Batt – Special Education Teacher
Tipp E. Kal Middle School
High Parental Involvement
Generally Recognized Types of
1. Specific Learning Disorder
2. Speech or Language Impairments
3. Intellectual Disabilities
4. Emotional or Behavior Disorder
5. Other health impairments
6. Other disabilities combined
Core Tenets of Special Education:
1. Zero Reject
2. Nondiscriminatory Evaluation
3. Appropriate Education
4. Least Restrictive Environment
5. Procedural Due Process
6. Parent and Student Participation
Four Outcomes of Special Education:
1. Equality of Opportunity
2. Full Participation
3. Independent Living
4. Economic Self-Sufficiency
Students with disabilities participate in general education curriculum
Benefits of Inclusion:
1. Social and Communication Skills
2. Positive Peer Interactions
3. Improved Academics
4. Mastery of Curriculum
Greater success in achieving desired outcomes of Special Education
▪ Provide Multiple Means of Representation
▪ Language, expressions, and symbols
▪ Provide Multiple Means of Action and
▪ Physical action
▪ Expression and communication
▪ Executive function
▪ Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
▪ Recruiting Interest
▪ Sustaining effort and persistence
(National Center on Universal Design for Learning)
Four Key Components:
▪ Progress Monitoring
▪ Multi-level Prevention
▪ Data-based Decision
Tertiary Level of
Secondary Level of
Prevention (~18% of
Primary Level of
Prevention (~80% of
▪ School-wide PBIS is:
▪ A multi-tiered framework for establishing the social culture and
behavioral supports needed for a school to achieve behavioral
and academic outcomes for all students.
▪ Evidence-based features of SWPBIS
▪ Define and teach positive social expectations
▪ Acknowledge positive behavior
▪ Arrange consistent consequences for problem behavior
▪ On-going collection and use of data for decision-making
▪ Continuum of intensive, individual intervention supports.
▪ Implementation of the systems that support effective practices
Definition: “A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved
in understanding or in using language, spoken or written.” (Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act, 2004)
▪ Constitutes the largest share of disabilities served by IDEA (42.9%)
alone or in combination with other disabilities, disorders or impairments
▪ Deficiencies in academic achievement:
o Reading (4-8% of children)
o Mathematics (6-11%)
o Combination (50% w/dyscalculia also have reading challenges).
▪ Distinct from and not indicative of deficiencies in intelligence.
▪ Positive correlation with short-term/long-term/working-memory issues.
▪ No correlation with mental health problems, although there is a higher
incidence of social and emotional challenges and anxiety
▪ Nature and nurture are both causative factors:
o Neurological/structural brain differences w/genetic link >50% for
o Quality of instruction both at home and in the schools.
(Turnbull et al., 2013)
Middle School Considerations: New sixth graders can expect significant change and
▪ Students will be on the move, and responsible to adhere to a schedule.
▪ It’s the end of a single teacher responsible for teaching all core subjects.
▪ Reading comprehension challenges may impact social studies and science.
General Education Teacher
▪ Teachers must recognize a shared responsibility for reading.
▪ Academic deficiencies should be identified for specific reading components.
▪ Teachers should use best practices of UDL such as differentiated instruction.
▪ Social studies/science teachers should make use of the snowball technique.
▪ Use curriculum-based measurement to track progress. (Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Use formative assessments frequently, altering instruction methods.
Special Education Teacher
▪ Work with general education teachers to incorporate SRSD to promote
understanding/engagement of text to draw conclusions. (IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Have students work in groups to read new material, fostering understanding
by extracting the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the readings.
▪ Work with teachers to identify where intervention is required.
▪ Address where LD is complicated by other impairments/disorders.
▪ Work with students who need oral skills help/new vocabulary
▪ Support students and offer advice for the IEP.
▪ Students with learning disabilities have higher levels of anxiety than
those without. Focus on management of classroom anxiety.
▪ Need to be active and engaged members of their children’s
▪ Teachers/parents need to know best/preferred method of
▪ Need to know how to support their students’ learning at home and
All stakeholders need to actively participate in IEPs. Teachers need to partner and
plan. Parents need to know that they are not passive bystanders. (Turnbull et al.,
Middle School Considerations: Students with mathematics difficulties may encounter
struggles in science and enrichment courses which require measurement and facility with
decimals and fractions.
General Education Teacher
▪ Scaffold key concepts when introducing new material, use chunking.
▪ Employ modeling: I do, We do, You do. Circulate to assist and assess.
Special Education Teacher
▪ Identify students with working memory issues.
▪ Develop or employ graphic organizers, mnemonic devices & technologies.
▪ Work with students in small groups/1:1 to break down complex problems.
▪ Focus on receptive language disorders which make word problems difficult.
▪ As with reading: provide IEP support, and address student anxiety issues.
▪ Learn new material and how it’s taught to effectively assist w/homework.
(Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Developmental disability that usually
manifests by the age of three
▪ Affects verbal and nonverbal communication
▪ Distinct characteristics include:
▪ Atypical language development
▪ Atypical social development
▪ Differences in intellectual function
▪ Movement and sensory disorders
▪ Repetitive behavior
▪ Problem behavior (self-injurious and
▪ Can occur among all intelligence levels
(Turnbull et al., 2013)
General Education & Special Education Teachers
▪ Promote friendships through group activities (Turnbull et
▪ Incorporate visuals when lecturing (Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Explain using straightforward language (Understanding
▪ Encourage speaking in full sentences (IRIS Center, 2014;
Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Become familiar with assistive technology
▪ Be aware of nonverbal communication (Notbohm, 2012)
General Education Teacher
▪ Discuss appropriate classroom behavior
(Understanding Autism, 2013)
▪ Use social stories to prepare students for
interaction (Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Develop a Functional Behavioral Assessment
for aggressive and or self-injurious behavior
(IRIS Center, 2014; Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Implement Positive Behavior Support
(Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Wide Range in Impairments
▪ Low Vision
▪ Functionally Blind
▪ Totally Blind
(Turnbull et al., 2013)
Special/ General Education Teacher
▪ Expanded Core Curriculum (Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Organize the classroom with accommodations in mind
(IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Use of assistive technologies (IRIS Center, 2014;
Turnbull et al., 2013)
Speech/ Language Therapist
▪ Become familiar with AT devices (IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Encourage class participation (IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Active member of the IEP team
▪ Communicates with teachers
▪ Suggestions for working with and the learning
needs of their child (IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Assistive Technology Use
Special/ General Education Teacher
▪ Inclusive in the general education classroom
▪ Group work (IRIS Center, 2014; Turnbull et al., 2013)
▪ Encourage class participation (Turnbull et al., 2013)
Speech/ Language Therapist
▪ Work with the TVI to prepare the student for coursework
and life outside of school
▪ Identify and explain social skills of communicating (IRIS
▪ Work on social issues
▪ Support student exploration of their environment (IRIS
▪ General likes and dislikes of their child (IRIS Center, 2014)
▪ Encouragement (IRIS Center, 2014)
Unification of educators, administrators, and professionals
understandings of students with disabilities
Assistive technology use in the classroom
Inclusion methods and teaching strategies
Use of visual and audio instructional methods
Open and fluid
Working as a team of educators, professionals, and families
Encourage family involvement in the IEP process
School Counseling and Paraprofessional Involvement
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