I had an enlightening discussion today with a colleague about special needs students, their accommodations in the classroom, and classroom strategies. The teacher is a core-curriculum middle school teacher and has several inclusion ESE students in her daily classes. Every teacher at our school is provided with the appropriate paperwork (called an Individual Education Plan, IEP or 504 Plan) and documentation about the students’ type of disability and accommodations. The colleague I was talking with was curious to know more in depth about her students’ actual disabilities to have a better understanding of how to better serve the educational, developmental, and social aspects for the special needs students.
Below you will find a list of links that can assist teachers to learn about specific disabilities, development and academic abilities, classroom management techniques, appropriate ways to build social skills, and other facts to increase student learning outcomes and independence for special needs students.
Teacher Vision has a section of their website devoted to students with special needs. They have tips and advice, modifications for reading, math, and ESOL students, curriculum suggestions, and IEP accommodation information, among many other resources. The pages that had the best information to help my colleague were under the Tips & Advice section.
There is a link about Students with Exceptionalities. This link provides teachers with terms and definitions that are associated with special needs education. It also provides specific teaching strategies to increase learning outcomes for students with different disabilities and ability levels.
Another link in this section is called Teaching Students with Special Needs. This link provides information for teachers on indicators for students with learning disabilities. They provide and extensive list of behaviors and struggles that a students with learning disabilities may have and how to make learning more accessible for them. They also cover the opposite end of the spectrum by discussing indicators of gifted students, their learning struggles (ie. not being challenged), and how to adapt your teaching and lessons to challenge gifted students. Overall, this is a great site for teachers to learn more about better educating students with special needs.
The New Horizons website offers information for teachers and parents about inclusion, ADD/ADHD, Autism, Gifted Learners, and English Language Learners. They provide definitions and examples for the disabilities and learners along with providing links for best practices and research-based strategies. This is also a good resource for finding information about federal laws about the education of students with special needs like IDEA and 504 plans.
Children with Special Needs
The Children with Special Needs site has a section of information devoted to informing teachers and parents about special needs. This site has a link list of 13 disabilities along with information on general disabilities. It provides information about the disability and common symptoms or behaviors of the disability. They then provide a great links section with more information on classroom strategies, laws, advocacy groups, or social skill strategies when teaching students with those specific disabilities. This is a great starting point for learning more about special needs students.
Article by Laura Ketcham
Free Teacher Resources | Special Education by MangoMon