Our blog has been designed to keep our educators, parents and clinicians up-to-date on trending topics in special education.
Play is an integral part of a child’s development. It is how children develop and improve their cognitive and physical skills, as well as their overall emotional well-being. Play is also how children practice social skills, build and establish relationships, develop their language and communication skills, and learn about their world and themselves. To foster and develop appropriate play skills, as educators we must create an environment in which children can explore and express themselves. To do so effectively, it’s important for educators to pair themselves with a preferred play in which the child wants to engage with and learn from.
Special education leaders want to uphold the laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities to ensure they truly have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Yet, thousands of mediation requests, due process complaints, and state complaints are filed across the nation every year. In this guide, we cover the federal laws that guide special education policies, the key threats to litigation, and best practices that minimize districts’ legal entanglement and maximize student learning.
The benefits of providing an equitable and inclusive education for students with moderate to severe disabilities cannot be underscored enough. While outcomes are (and should always be) top of mind, ensuring access to high-quality educational opportunities is not just about the results – it’s required by federal law. Providing students with an adapted curriculum that aligns with special education laws is one way to guarantee compliance. In this blog, we’ll provide special educators with guidance on which key components of an adapted curriculum will ensure the educational rights of all students with disabilities are being met.
Do you ever get into a groove during a planning period only to realize you have less than 3 minutes to transition what you’re doing before all of your students rush back through your door? Panic sets in when your much needed prep time comes to an end and a quick feeling of overwhelm takes over. Been there? Life is full of transitions though, isn't it? We find ourselves sailing through different stages, like a ship coursing through the changing tides. For students with moderate to severe disabilities, navigating these transition times can often feel like setting sail into uncharted waters. But, with the right tools and strategies, we can help empower our students to navigate transition times with ease.
Teaching in a self-contained classroom this year? Or maybe you’ve been teaching in a self-contained setting for years and are looking for some tips to help you restructure? Either or - you’ve come to the right place! Structuring your self-contained classroom can take quite a bit of planning and organization to make sure that a supportive and engaging learning environment is the result. While students with low incidence disabilities in your classroom may have similar academic needs, each student still requires personalized instruction - which can make striking a balance between overall classroom structure and maintaining individual needs challenging. In this blog, we’ll provide you with different measures you can take to build a classroom environment that enhances instructional time, strengthens independence, promotes positive behaviors and maximizes student outcomes!
It’s common for people to use the phrases Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Discrete Trial Training interchangeably. Yet, those of us who work in ABA know that while there is a relationship between the two, they are not the same thing. For example, you may say school and classroom interchangeably in conversation, yet most recognize that there is a clear difference. The school is the main structure, and the classroom is a segment of the school. Make sense? Discrete Trial Training, often called DTT, is just one piece that falls under the broader picture of Applied Behavior Analysis. Let’s take a closer look.
For many individuals with autism spectrum disorder, communication and social interaction may present a challenge. If a teacher were to approach a typically developing student and say, “Hey, Sally! How was your weekend?” - Sally may make eye contact with this teacher and say, “Great! How was yours?” For many students with autism, this interaction looks different. If the same teacher said the same phrase to a student with autism, “Hey Sally! How is your day going?,” the particular student may look toward the ground, or cover their ears, or reply back in a repetitive sequence. Social skills can be learned, however. Prosocial behaviors can be taught by a variety of professionals using a multitude of techniques, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), to students with autism.
While it is common practice for students in general education to have access to a standards-based curriculum, this is not always the case for students with moderate to severe disabilities receiving special education services. Despite the need, districts are often met with limited funding and resources, among other reasons, that may prevent the purchase and implementation of an adapted curriculum. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of an adapted curriculum and how to determine if an adapted curriculum is the right fit in your district.
When you were younger did you participate in extracurricular activities? Maybe you were on your school’s baseball team or competed in local gymnastics. For many, it’s not out of the ordinary to join an activity and not know anyone else on the team. Perhaps you had to run up to another peer, introduce yourself and make conversation on the first day of practice. It’s normal to feel shy in new situations, but for typically developing individuals, this type of socializing can be intuitive. Meaning, typically developing children are usually able to pick up on social cues for how to interact in new environments. However, for individuals with autism, developing social skills like introducing oneself or asking another to play can pose a significant challenge.
As an educator, fall, winter, spring and summer vacations are often welcome breaks from the hustle and bustle of standard school routines. I think we can all agree that rest and relaxation are key in preventing burnout, right? This holds true for your students with moderate to severe disabilities, too. While we want to ensure that relaxation is baked into a break from school, it’s also important to provide parents/families with tips to provide structure, predictability and a sense of security for your students with extensive support needs during a break from their usual routine.