Thursday, August 23, 2012

Special Ed. Kids May Mainstream In Your Class Special Education Tweets of the Day 8 22 12

Stephano in his class in Kosovo.

Many schools mainstream kids with learning disabilities or other handicaps. The best advice I give to General Ed teachers is to accept these students as your own, ask questions of the Special Ed. professional, the district psychologist, or even the county Special Ed professionals who are experts on this child.  Don't try to passively (or aggressively)  get out of servicing this child. It only makes matters worse. Get to know the parents immediately, letting them know you are accessible. Give them your email, school phone and relay personally the grading cycle, and progress information cycle you generally use; be open to more frequent input if they request it. Read the IEP, see the student's specific goals and objectives and the timetable. Be involved. Read up on the general terms of the child's handicap. I am of the opinion that all teachers are Special Ed. teachers now. We will step up to the plate as teaching professionals and our teaching will improve for everyone.

My advice on teaching methods. Actually, these are good for all classes, anyway.

  • Use visual prompts. A graphic organizer, notebook, notetaking from the board while teacher writes, specialized vocabulary and concepts on the bulletin board. Let the class clearly see what you are saying and doing. Show them how to read the vocabulary words through syllabicate, decode and context methods. What is important remains in sight for an appropriate amount of time.

  • Use auditory prompts. Rephrase important concepts several ways, include the class and individual students in repeating and rephrasing. This really works. Be sure the class can repeat important vocabulary without mispronouncing. Speak the vocabulary in syllables while pointing to a written form of it. Have the students discuss with each other in groups and one on one, using your proximity to monitor their progress.

  • Use writing. Have the student write what they want to learn, are understanding, have learned. Write, write, write. Have them read each others writing and make comments, not only to correct spelling and writing conventions, but presentation of thought. You will also read what they write and comment. This is so powerful it can't be overstated.

  • Use group and partner interaction. The kinesthetic and/or Attention Deficit learner cannot sit for long periods of time; actually it is very unhealthy for any of us to sit for an hour.  Moving to groups, think-pair-and-share, stand up to repeat information...the possibilities are endless to keep the kids from becoming statuary in your classroom. They may be compliantly sitting and appear to be listening--but  their minds are far from you. Action will engage their concentration. The learning retention spikes with activities. Train the classes to follow your instructions. I know this works, I use it. There are many effective methods, such as Kagan, for K-12.

  • No teasing or bullying. Aside from a class disruption, this behavior is breaking the law. Make it absolutely clear that no one for any reason  gets teased or bullied, and that you, as a contracted professional, would use all resources to condemn and punish such behavior. Then DO THAT! Autistic kids with certain mannerisms, girls and boys with wheelchairs, students with speech difficulties---no one is fair game for teasing or bullying. And that includes race, religion, economic status or ethnicity. Or nose size, hair style, or age of tennis shoes. Everyone has a right to an appropriate classroom and school experience.

Here are some links with general knowledge about frequent disabilities kids have who are mainstreamed into general ed. classes.

 1. Intellectual Disabilities in Your Classroom: 9 Tips for Teachers

2. Emotionally Disturbed Students

 2 a The Bipolar Puzzle: Kids and Bipolar Disorder 

4. Choosing The Right School For Special Needs 

5. Most Frequent Disorders for students maintreaming:

 Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders 

Learning Disabilities 

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms of ADHD 

7. Autism Speaks

  Children with physical handicaps who need special equipment such as wheelchairs or visual aid equipment should be able to expect courtesy and kindness from General Ed. teachers (and all staff.) Their world always involves inconvenience to a degree we don't know. Rearranging the class to help them is a small inconvenience.


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