CBM

I would use CBM in my own classroom in many ways. I would use the data during IEP meetings and as a resource whenever I ask colleagues or other professionals for advice on how to better reach a student (IRIS, p. 1). CBM could also allow me to adjust my teaching depending on how students are moving toward their goals (IRIS, p. 6). There are three different options for end-of-year goals and I believe that the ones that I would use in my classroom for all students would be end-of-the-year performance goals as well as intra-individual framework for students with IEPS (IRIS, p. 6). When adjusting goals based on CBM, I will need to make sure that if the last four data points are above the line, I will increase the goal, and if they are below the goal line, I will adjust instruction (IRIS, p. 7). CBM data is also a useful motivator for students and communication tool with parents (IRIS, p. 8).

There were many tips and strategies that I may use in my future classroom. One that I found useful was the vocabulary attributes chart (Winebrenner, p. 114). It helps students link new vocabulary to prior knowledge and other vocabulary. Another strategy that I thought was fun for the whole class was spelling baseball (Winebrenner, p. 119). This would be a really great game to engage all levels of spelling abilities. After choosing a strategy in the Winebrenner book, I would use CBM data to determine whether the strategies were working and adjust the strategies I am using from there.

I do not have any additional questions about CBM. I would like more practice graphing student data, though.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can be useful in many ways. It can be used to communicate, perform academic tasks, participate in social and extracurricular activities, move or travel around the school, use proper seating and positioning, or access materials (IRIS, p. 1). Assistive technology gives students a way to be successful in tasks that a disability may prevent them from doing so. It can also be used to improve a student’s ability to perform a task or understand a concept. The names of these ideas are remediation and compensation. Remediation is providing additional instruction to improve a skill, while compensation is using technology to make up for difficulties (IRIS, p. 4). When students can independently use the technology and it consistently improves their scores versus when they are not using the assistive technology, you know that the student needs the technology in order to be successful (IRIS, p. 4).

Assistive technology supports students with disabilities in the classroom. It also supports teachers when they are all aware of how it works and how it can be a useful tool in their classroom. It is very important, though, that the student agrees with, wants to use, and is on board with the assistive technology that is being provided (IRIS, p. 5). When the student is not properly trained with the device(s) or does not agree with using the technology, the support that the special education team believes they are providing is not there for the student.

I do not have any questions about the concept of assistive technology. I do wonder about more tools that are out there and how to use them. I have seen some really cool things with google classroom but only briefly.

Autism

There are many specific accommodations and modifications that teachers might use with students with autism. One accommodation is to keep a well-organized and consistent classroom (DANYA, p. 11). This would be beneficial to all students but especially to students with autism because of their need for sameness and routine. Another aspect of the classroom is to keep a daily schedule in one place as well as defining classroom areas (DANYA, p. 11). Students with autism will be able to always refer to the schedule and know what is coming next as well as be prepared for how they will act in different areas of the classroom. I found that the accommodation of seating a student in a low traffic area (DANYA, p. 11) as especially helpful because it will decrease the likelihood of overstimulation. Another helpful modification would be to prepare the student for sounds such as bells or alarms (DANYA, p. 12). These loud sounds that are often non-routine can be especially upsetting to a student with autism. Take care to use bulbs in the classroom that do not flicker (DANYA, p. 12) as these can be irritating and set off unwanted behavior in students with autism. An intervention strategy for students with autism is called social stories. This strategy involves telling a descriptive story to the student that gives them better perspective on how to act in the situation if they come across something like it (Strategies, p. 97).

I am still confused about what exactly a PDD is (DANYA, p. 3). My guess is that it affects multiple aspects of the child’s development but I am still not sure. Also, I am curious to learn about an example of echolalia (DANYA, p. 5). I think this might help me better understand what it is.

Attention Deficit Disorder

There are many strategies that may be helpful for students with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. One strategy is to have the students make lists of things that they need to do (Turnbull, p. 172). This would be helpful because students with ADD or ADHD often have difficulty with organization and making lists can improve organization or at least the likelihood that tasks will be done. Another strategy is to test students independently or provide pull-out tutoring in a school resource room (Turnbull, p. 167). This would be helpful because students that have trouble focusing when there are too many stimuli in a room will be allowed to focus their attention on their work when distractions are not present in their work space. Students with ADD or ADHD may benefit from being providing with a daily schedule and strategic seating placements (Turnbull, p. 183). The daily schedule could be beneficial because students will be able to refer back to it and keep sense of what is happening now and what will happen next. Strategic seating could be beneficial to students struggling with the noises or work habits of other students in their close proximity. It may also be helpful to role-play friendship skills for students who are impulsive in social situations, butting into conversations or carrying on too long about a topic (Turnbull, p. 183). Students with ADD or ADHD may benefit from being shown how skills will be used in real life (Winebrenner, p. 148) so that they can connect meaning with the material. Teach students new skills in small chunks or provide a problem-solving box (Winebrenner, p. 157) if they are having difficulty with keeping all of the steps in order and need more time for practice (Winebrenner, p. 149).

There are many strategies that are, sadly, utilized which are unhelpful to students with ADD or ADHD. One of those strategies is asking students, when they are struggling, to copy work from the board or textbook (Winebrenner, p. 149). This is unhelpful because students with ADD or ADHD will most likely become frustrated when asked to do things like this because they do not ask students to really work on the skills being practiced, unless they are practicing handwriting. Another strategy that I have seen in schools many times with students with ADD or ADHD is being constantly talked to by the teacher. In places where I have seen this occur, students often become unengaged in school because they feel it is a place where they do not belong. Also, they may begin to feel like they are always doing something wrong and that doing things wrong is the only thing that they are good at.

The only concern I have about meeting the needs of students with ADD or ADHD is this: how do you have group work or informal small group discussions when students have extreme difficulty with too much stimuli distracting them? How can you get them to work even when the room is not their idea of an ideal learning environment?

Learning Disabilities

I did not have any “ah-ha” moments as a result of this reading. It did make sense to me, though, that IDEIA changed the criteria for determining if a student has a specific learning disability to not require a large discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement (NICHY, p. 3). This would be helpful because if students have a specific learning disability they usually have average or higher intelligence but struggle with really specific tasks related to learning which would most likely not give them a large enough discrepancy to qualify for special education services.

One specific strategy that I might want to use with students with learning disabilities in the classroom is simple mapping. Simple mapping consists of drawing what you say onto a simple picture format using as many shapes and colors as you can, thinking out loud for students, they follow along and summarize in the spokes attached to each shape (Winebrenner, p. 137). Another strategy is a content organization chart. You use different geometric shapes, giving each student a personal copy of the sheet, and model with students following along skimming the material and writing down categories of information in each shape (Winebrenner, p. 141-142). Lastly, I would use the 3S TN (Qs) strategy. This involves surveying, skimming, and studying material; asking questions and taking notes along the way (Winebrenner, p. 143-144).

One question that I have for class is, what is (or is there) the difference between a student who finds certain tasks more difficult and a student with a learning disability?

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Education

To be a culturally and linguistically responsive educator means many things. One needs to be culturally competent. This means that one can learn from and respectfully relate to others’ backgrounds, culture, traditions, etc. (IRIS, p. 2). Also, teachers need to be aware of their students’ past experiences and home life. When teachers are able to do this, they can take into account all of the learners in their classroom and create meaningful learning experiences which will lead to deeper understandings. Teachers can become culturally competent and responsive in a variety of ways. Teachers can attend professional development workshops, do research and practice on-going reflection (IRIS, p. 2).

There are many strategies that teachers can use to support linguistically diverse students in the classroom. First, teachers need to be aware of stages of language acquisition (IRIS, p. 5). When teachers know these stages they can better understand what types of responses or reactions students will show when they are learning a new language. Providing manipulatives, real pictures or graphs, labels; using word walls and cooperative learning are all ways to support linguistically diverse students in the classroom (IRIS, p. 6). Create calendars for homework and projects and allow students to write them down in their native language (Winebrenner, p. 166). Be sure to teach test-taking skills such as reading directions carefully, looking over the test before beginning, and making students aware of the type of test it is (Winebrenner, p. 171). Lastly, use multicultural literature that use words in languages other than English to show that individuals from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds contribute to literature and so can students (IRIS, p. 3).

The Referral Process

The most interesting part of the special education referral process that I found was the involvement of parents. We often talk about how every student is different in our classes, but we rarely discuss how extremely different families of our students will be. The knowledge that some parents have of their children concerning school may be limited while other parents will have broad and extensive details to share in an IEP referral meeting. Some parents may even not respond to any effort made by the school to contact them for a referral meeting. Parents will add yet another element of uniqueness to each student’s IEP referral process.

There are many parts of the IEP referral process that are challenging. The part that I believe would be the most challenging for schools would be parental participation and scheduling. Schools must make it so one or both of the parents are able to attend the referral meetings (Wrightslaw, p. 25). There is another whole slew of professionals that the school must work to make a referral meeting attainable for. It would be very difficult to create meeting times that work for all individuals but this is necessary to create the best next step for the student being considered for special education services.

The parts that would cause me the most concern as a classroom teacher would be the parents right to revoke the IEP at any time (Wrightslaw, p. 24), the less specific elements of 504, and developmental delays role in the referral process. If parents revoke consent for a student’s IEP I would have trouble adjusting my plans for the student. Would it be appropriate to immediately stop all accommodations and modifications for the student? Would my opinion even matter if the parent revoked their consent for the student without warning? As a classroom teacher, if I was working with students ages 3-9, they would eligible for special education services or a section 504 plan if they were experiencing a development delay (deBettencourt, p. 17). I feel that I would have a considerable amount of difficulty with recognizing this specifically and not categorizing it as something else. Also, when the student turns 10, is he or she no longer eligible for special education services or a 504 plan if it only applies to their developmental delay? Lastly, I would have trouble, as a classroom teacher, with the vagueness of section 504. Eligibility for a 504 plan is less specific and has less regulations so I would have a hard time assessing whether or not a student was improving without support from the special education staff in my school.