For those students with disabilities, the classroom setting may present certain challenges that need accommodation and consideration.
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Most of my students know little to nothing about their disabilities. I am unsure if this is due to lack of parental and teacher knowledge, sensitivity towards a very touchy subject or something entirely different; though I imagine it is a combination of many things.
Regardless of the reason, the problem is that students have very limited knowledge of their disabilities.
This lack of self-knowledge seems to breed the stigma that many of my students feel in relation to school and learning. A large portion of the students I teach have a very difficult time participating in class discussions, rarely if ever ask questions about the content in their general education classes let alone questions about their disabilities.
In addition, most never speak up for the learning accommodations that they are entitled to. Through this unit students will be encouraged to ask questions. We will talk about why it is important to ask questions about their disabilities. Through this questioning, the students will become more comfortable with their learning difficulties.
This comfort will help to produce confidence in their ability which will in-turn breed self-advocacy, a component of the all-important and ultimate goal, self-dependence.
My strategy is to use, and rely heavily upon questioning to both start and sustain the process towards students acquiring self-confidence, self-advocacy and self-dependence. Rationale My goal as a special education teacher is to move students with learning difficulties towards independence in the general education classroom.
This happens by increasingly scaffolding student skills and strategies, enabling them to move to the next least restrictive environment and succeed with less support.
The students I teach are in one of the least restrictive environments available to learners with disabilities. They have a class with me in which we work on skills and strategies they can use in their general education classrooms to help access the curriculum.
These strategies can be specific ways of taking notes, listening to an audiobook of the assigned reading while they follow along, or extra time on a math quiz, just to name a few. This idea of independence for learners with disabilities has gained momentum over the years and coalesced in a theory called Self-Determination.
One of the overarching issues which I feel is one of the most important tenants of a self-determined learner's skill-set, is self-advocacy. Struggles with self-advocacy can take many shapes. One issue I frequently come across is student embarrassment or timidity in approaching a teacher who needs to be alerted or reminded that a particular accommodation is in place or would be beneficial; another is lack of student self-knowledge, specifically related to their disability.
These struggles are the first to be dealt with in the self-directed learner's model, as illustrated by the combination of the first two tenants in a skill set as devised by Ward and Kohler.
In the case of most special education students, this is where their special education teacher jumps in. As a special education teacher whose students infrequently exhibit attributes of a self-determined learner, I find that I often work in triage; working towards a strategy or solution only after a problem arises in a student's general education class.
A student that cannot make any sense of her notes come to me after failing a test and tells me why. She explains that she has a hard time following the teacher and taking notes at the same time. This is something that we can attribute to her specific learning disability in auditory processing speed.
After discussing the problem we try out a strategy we think may work: If this student would have advocated this problem with her general education teacher when the year started an agreement of this kind could have been reached before her failing test grade and all of the anxiety that came with it.
It would be difficult for this to happen however, if the student knows little to nothing about her disability and how it works. When a general education teacher forgets to implement an accommodation that is written in a student's IEP, often times the student or guardian of that student contacts the special education teacher who in turn discusses the situation with the general education teacher.
The special education teacher also uses the information gleaned from discussions with students and parents like this to create appropriate accommodations and goals for the student's IEP.
In the case of some of my incoming students, some will surely be unaware of what an accommodation actually is, as well as how or why they should ask for it. If students do understand all of this information, they often times feel embarrassed about asking for it and navigating the questions from their peers that naturally result.
It is difficult to field questions about something you know little about. I don't believe any of my shorter students would feel shame in using a step stool to accommodate their needs in retrieving a bowl that I placed on a high shelf while flat footed.Some disabilities are given names to help categorize children: aphasia, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia.
But these names are just labels that describe a range of symptoms. Disability Awareness Activity Packet The activity for “Autism” for example, could also be used to illustrate Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The Discussion: Allow 15 minutes for the exercise in pairs, then have everyone return to the main group. The three different types of ADHD Etiology, prevalence, and symptoms of SLD and ADHD according to the DSM-5, and Introduction to Specific Learning Disabilities Historical Background Hallahan and Mercer () have outlined five periods in the historical development of our there will be a more detailed discussion of five specific types.
Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is an identifiable category of disability in both the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of (IDEA ), and Colorado law, Exceptional.
Teaching Students with Disabilities. There is a newer version of this teaching guide. Visit Creating Accessible Learning Environments for the most recent guide on the topic.
by Danielle Picard, Graduate Teaching Fellow Print version Students of all abilities and backgrounds want classrooms that are inclusive and convey respect.
Autism. Sometimes the media, the public, and even educators confuse autism with learning disabilities. They are two separate disorders. According to the Autism Society of America, autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.