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Working in the Field – Special Education Work Program

Preparing for the working world can be a challenge for any student. At Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama, there is an emphasis on this area.

bob jones high school

For special needs students at this school, employees from local businesses and communities visited the school to help them learn about different careers. Since many of these students attend school for a longer period of time than most, programs like this allow them to learn and work at the same time.

One company, HudsonAlpha, allows some students to help prepare and package DNA kits. This is just one example of the companies that help prepare students for the work force through the six week long program.

By letting students be involved in these businesses, they are gaining the experience that they may need when they graduate. It allows both the students and the community know that they are just as hard-working and dedicated to their jobs as other students and community members.

The variety of businesses, from restaurants to hotels and gardens, allow students to work on a job skill of their choice. These businesses train the dedicated students to be productive in their field of work. Employees of these companies have stated how dedicated and willing to learn these students are. Along with work skills, students also pick up on etiquette skills and how to interact in a work environment.

The students in this program prove that with hard work and dedication, they can easily adapt into a working environment and accomplish their goals.

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A Sound Idea – Program for Students with Autism and Hearing Impairments

Many programs are created to give students with special needs a chance at growing and learning at their own pace. Many of them focus on one or many disorders. In Brattleboro, Vermont, they are catering towards two specific disorders.

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In recent years, the number of autistic children has increased. In addition, many of these children also have been classified as deaf. The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has decided to start the first deaf-autism program in the country. The program is a better way for these students to communicate with each other, which was more difficult to do in previous years.

The program has a lot of the same approaches and curriculum as it had in the past, but many of the details have been edited to better fit for the deaf students.  The non-profit organization already serves 625 deaf and hard of hearing people in Vermont and southern New Hampshire. Eight students have already enrolled in the deaf-autism program.

With help from several grants, they plan to expand and grow with their program to accommodate more students and open more programs around the country. They want to also make sure the appropriate staff are selected and trained so that the students get the most out of the program.

Since this program addresses the most important needs for these students, they can benefit from the learning experience in a new way. In addition to the learning taking place, there will also be research done to discover more effective learning methods for the autistic students, both hearing and deaf.

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Buddies for Life – Special Needs Student Bonds

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships with volunteers and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the past 21 years that they have been in existent, Best Buddies has grown to more than 1,500 chapters all around the world.

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One particular chapter, Best Buddies Australia, is made up of 150 volunteers who pair up with members who are intellectually disabled people and spend time together, playing sports, shopping, video games and other everyday activities that are involved with any friendship.

The organization is so simple because it does not require training or mentoring services. It is based on true simple friendships. Participating in everyday activities allows both participants to form a bond that may be stronger than others they have in school and with the peers they see at school.

In the schools that participate in Best Buddies Australia, there are up to 15,000 students with disabilities and 50,000 students with learning needs. As schools and organizations like Best Buddies integrate special needs students into mainstream schools, they are allowing for these students to have the same experiences as the other students.

Many schools provide special classes or opportunities for student with disabilities, but not many of them let students integrate and really be in an environment where the rest of the students are. Best Buddies is an organization that really lets those students form friendships and bonds that happen everyday. These one-on-one friendships are only the start of helping those with disabilities immerse themselves into the world.

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Summer Guidance for Students

Children with special needs or other learning disabilities usually need extra help in the classroom, but they oftentimes need help outside the classroom in social situations and other interactions with people.

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Teaneck’s Extended School Year is a six-week summer program that is offered to the special education students in New Jersey school districts. The programs focus on behaviors like nonverbal communication, problem solving and appropriate social behavior.

With students ranging in differences from all over the autism spectrum, there are many different needs and behaviors that have to be addressed. One thing in common is that all of these students need help in socializing with one another. With the help of this program, six different social skills modules will be covered.

Because social skills are such an integral part of education for autistic students, the summer program is also used to help them keep up with these behaviors through the summer months. Some students may have trouble communicating with others while some may have a harder time socializing.

A main focus is on nonverbal communication, which can alter relationships with teachers and students in the classroom if misunderstood. Combined with help from the West Bergen Mental Health Center, parents are also offered classes and guidance in supporting their children.

By combining education and health, the friendly and knowledgeable staff hopes to offer helpful and effective help to help children with special needs lead more efficient lives. Keeping up in the summer months is a crucial step in bettering social and behavioral interactions during the school year.

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Creative Expressions – ART for Special Needs Students

For students with special needs, they oftentimes have a different way of learning and doing things. Art is just another one of those things that can be interpreted and performed in a unique way.

Students at the Cardinal Hayes School for Special Children are being taught ART Realization Technologies, or ART. This training session allows for students who may have one more disabilities or handicaps to express themselves in an artistic way.

special education art

Usually, when students with special needs do artwork in a school, a lot of the work is done for them, making the work easier, as it is catered to them. Through this program, they can learn other means of expression

ART allows students to take part in the different areas of art. They can vary their roles, being the tracker, being the one who draws and the student who lets the drawer know what should be drawn. The trackers decide what to draw from a series of interests from the students, which can include anything from a head shake, a blink or verbally responding. They can then ask more detailed questions, like where they want to position the art or how big it should be.

Techniques to help these methods become possible in schools include using a ruler to indicate where on a vertical line a drawing should start. Students can also use a target laser that is on a headband to move their head to show what should be drawn on the canvas.

This type of art therapy, along with many others, allow students to express themselves in new and creative ways, which is important to anyone getting an education.

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Learning in All Ways – Students with Learning Disabilities

Even though they may not have all the supplies and budgets needed to start up a program, Pam Kortum and the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association definitely possess the passion needed to make a change in the lives of students with disabilities.

As the parent of two children with learning disabilities, Pam spent years trying to find a place in St. Louis that would be appropriate for her own children, until she decided to start her own. They offer a range in programs and there is information for parents, training for teachers and help for students of all ages.

These services would be useful for parents or teachers who have never dealt with students with disabilities and may not know the appropriate way to handle a situation, react or deal with the children. They even offer services for students in college who may need help staying on top of their course load.

With an early childhood outreach program, students can receive tutoring and speech help from staff and also language evaluations. These services are a way for students to learn that there is nothing wrong with having a learning disability and that there are ways and people that are willing to help you get through them.

This program is a great example of showing kids that they can do anything they set their mind to, even if they have some obstacles in the way. With the support and efforts from the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association, those students can find their way in doing so.

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A Step in the Right Direction – Special Needs Program

For many students with special needs, traditional classroom settings are not always the best option for the ideal learning experience, especially as some of these children need time and room to move about if they get restless.

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The Southern Oregon Education Service District will be opening a program, STEPS Plus, at the old South Medford High School for about 20 K-12 students with severe special needs.

Based on the STEPS program, serving students 5-21 with severe or multiple disabilities, the “Plus” program will provide more intense assistance. Because these students need more one-on-one support and different environments, they will be more ready and willing to learn because the environment will be set up exactly for their needs.

Along with the Medford district, the Education Service District will renovate 6,500 square feet of the former South Medford High School and customize it to meet the needs of students with high sensory needs and other behavioral and cognitive disabilities.

With an office and three classrooms full of special equipment and mirrors for observation, the students will have room to flourish. One room, the sensory-motor room will have both a trampoline and sleeping bags for students, depending on their needs in terms of space and area.

Two groups of 10 children will attend the program for 3 hours a day and will also visit with a special education teacher and aide, speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, autism specialists and a psychologist one day a week.

For parents who have struggled to find a place specifically for their child, STEPS Plus is certainly a step in the right direction.

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Uniting Students Through Art

Art is a great way for students to express their own creativity and ideas. For students with special needs, it provides them with a chance to do just that.

Hernando County ESE students in Brooksville, Fl collaborated with professional artists through a grant-funded program to create their very own artwork. The artists came to one of the three schools participating where they visited and taught students about art.

“Hand ‘n Hand,” is the name of the program, which was a collaborative effort between the Hernando County School District and VSA arts of Florida. The program is funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Hernando County.

VSA advocates learning, enjoyment and participation in the arts for the disabled. By pairing students with artists, this enjoyment of the arts can be achieved.

The artists participating in this program find it challenging, yet rewarding once they have built that relationship with the students to create a masterpiece. Not only do the students get to build their artistic skills but they get to build their concentration skills, too. They get another opportunity to learn. This is important because children, especially those with special needs, all learn in different ways.

Many of the artists involved with the program want people can see that these kids are capable of doing the same activities that the other kids do. They get creative and use new and innovative art projects when working with the students.

The whole purpose of the program is to showcase the art of the special needs students. After the completion of the program the art is displayed for members of the community to see. Since the students love art, this is a great way for them to learn about it and feel rewarded for their hard work.

Photo By: Jose Kevo

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A Special Program for Special Education

Sometimes it is hard to find a specific program that is right for your child. The good news is that if children are diagnosed as being a special needs student at an early age, there are plenty of opportunities to help them.

At Mercy Children’s Hospital in Ohio, an early intervention program provides specialized learning specifically for autistic children. Their intensive preschool provides early intervention for children diagnosed with autism at such an early age.

The program serves a dozen autistic children for 24 hours a week. With 1,500 hours of total therapy, children are heavily prepared for school and other social situations they may come across at an early age. Because autistic children require individualized instruction and research shows the autistic children have better outcomes if they receive early intervention, the hospital program mainly focuses on individualized instruction.

Because each child has different needs and ways of learning, they all receive instruction in speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral consulting. Some students have proved so successful with this program that they quickly transferred to regular preschools.

ProMedica Health System is considering offering an early intervention program for autistic children. With the help of other local community groups, they hope to open an autism center at Toledo’s Children’s Hospital for families to utilize related services.

Parents have praised the program for how much it has helped their children not only communicate but be less frustrated and do more for themselves. With the program proving successful, hopefully others will follow in their footsteps and open more opportunities for our children.

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Be Somebody with the NOBODY program- Special Education

Special education students and teachers share how the NOBODY program impacted their students and made a difference in a big way.

The NOBODY program aims at getting everybody involved with this character building project. All students, regardless of their background or learning disabilities gain hope and confidence by using their own actions, interests and abilities. Students involved with the project get the chance to add things to the character, present stories and fill a scrapbook with their experiences with their new friend.

The NOBODY teaching resource is an innovative way to develop both character and self esteem. When the guidance counselor first introduced NOBODY to the class in this video, the children were very intrigued. They described this “doll” as having no age, interest, gender, etc. They realized that they would need to help give it all of these qualities and more, making it a “somebody.”

The students go on to talk about how they took him home, added things to him and gave it character and interests. One student talks about using NOBODY to help build relationships with his family. He explains how his family has a tradition to play cards and how he added a card to the doll to represent that. Through NOBODY, he realized the importance of his family’s love and support.

Some of the characteristics of many of these special needs students are that they do not show much empathy. Through this program, the teacher noted how caring and nurturing the students were with NOBODY. They took him on field trips and included him into the class as a whole.

This program offered a great way for children to evolve while also builing self esteem.

Visit Whoisnobody.com for more information about this resource.

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