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.
While working with students with moderate to severe disabilities can be incredibly rewarding, it also poses its own set of unique challenges. The one-size-fits-all instructional approach that may work in general education cannot be replicated for students receiving specially designed instruction and related services (and rightfully so!). A personalized approach to learning for special education students requires careful consideration and a solid understanding of the federal education laws in place to protect our student population. In this eBook, we will uncover the top 5 pressing pain points that special educators face and offer strategies to help you navigate them effectively to ensure your students have every opportunity to thrive.
Heading to the beach? Looking forward to longer, slower days? Planning to teach ESY? For many special education teachers, the answers here are: check, check, check! When a traditional school year ends though, what comes next for students with moderate to severe disabilities? For many, an ESY program is an important part of their IEP that helps ensure they continue making progress on key skills.
As we continue to navigate the realm of heightened staff shortages, special education departments today look slightly different than they did a decade ago. If you were to ask a Special Education Director who makes up their team, they would likely reply that it hosts a mix of teachers who are fresh out of college, or who have transitioned from general education or an inclusion classroom into a self-contained setting. To the surprise of many, a Special Education Director may even tell you that some of their special educators are teaching while still working through the formal certification process at night. This guide is designed to help new-to-the-field special educators define best practices for writing effective IEP goals that will drive students down a path of academic and personal success.
Have you ever applied for a job and noticed that the application you were filling out had an Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE) disclaimer listed? That’s there because employers are required by law to notify applicants that they don’t (and legally can’t!) discriminate based on certain things, like disabilities. Similarly, as the EOE law is in place to protect workers, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been established to protect the rights of special education students.
Today, schools are faced with heightened challenges brought on by special education teachers and related service providers leaving the profession at faster rates than new hires are entering it. Staff shortages can lead to disruptions in learning for students, and it's essential to find ways to support and retain the teachers who make a difference in their lives. Let’s talk about some strategies that can help to offset the burdens fueled by staff shortages, from professional development and mentorship to higher pay and providing high-quality curriculum resources.
Think about your everyday life as an adult involved in your community. What do you do? What skills do you need to have to go, for example, grocery shopping? Or to a restaurant? For students with disabilities, life skills – the skills needed to manage selfcare, are correlated to improved education, employment and independent living outcomes.