Empowering Students With Disabilities

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Description

About This Course

Teaching students with disabilities is a rewarding challenge, and this course gives you the tools you’ll need to succeed. No matter what grade you teach—from preschool through high school—you’ll learn powerful strategies you can put to work immediately in your classroom. In addition, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand and cope with the most common disabilities you’ll encounter.

You’ll start by putting yourself in the shoes of students with special needs as you explore a wide variety of disabilities ranging from autism to cerebral palsy. Simulations and real-life stories will give you a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a learner with special needs, and y…

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About This Course

Teaching students with disabilities is a rewarding challenge, and this course gives you the tools you’ll need to succeed. No matter what grade you teach—from preschool through high school—you’ll learn powerful strategies you can put to work immediately in your classroom. In addition, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand and cope with the most common disabilities you’ll encounter.

You’ll start by putting yourself in the shoes of students with special needs as you explore a wide variety of disabilities ranging from autism to cerebral palsy. Simulations and real-life stories will give you a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a learner with special needs, and you’ll see how common disabilities affect classroom behavior and learning.

Then comes the best part: solutions! In each lesson, you’ll find dozens of tips for fostering the reading, writing, and math skills of students with special needs. In addition, you’ll master techniques for helping these learners behave appropriately and make friends in your classroom. You’ll also get the inside story on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and transition plans, and you’ll learn the most effective ways to collaborate with parents and professionals.

By the end of this course, you’ll feel confident in your ability to help any student who comes through your door. You’ll also discover that while the challenges can be big when you’re teaching students with disabilities, the victories are big as well.

About The Instructor

This course includes a knowledgeable and caring instructor who will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions. The instructor for this course will be Sara Hardin.

Working with special needs students became a passion for Sara Hardin in seventh grade, when she volunteered at a summer camp for physically disabled children. Their willingness to keep trying new things despite serious obstacles impressed her and inspired her to become a special educator. She has taught special education for nine years, mostly at the elementary level. She completed her master’s degree in special education in 2000.

Syllabus

A new section of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

Danny has a seeing-eye dog. Carmela needs extra help with math. Yoshi has autism. And they're all in your class this year! In our first lesson, we'll look at the growing numbers of children with special needs, and talk about how you can welcome them to your classroom and set the stage for successful learning.

Friday - Lesson 02

How do kids get placed in special education? As you’ll discover, it’s not a snap decision. Today, we’ll trace a student’s path through every stage of the placement process and look at the role a teacher plays from start to finish. In addition, we’ll analyze the parts of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). And finally, we’ll talk about the modifications spelled out in an IEP and how they affect your assignments, classroom environment, or testing procedures.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

It takes a whole team to help a child with special needs succeed—and today you’ll meet the members of that team. After a quick look at the power of collaboration, we’ll explore the roles of the special education teacher and the paraprofessional. Next, you’ll meet the specialists who can help you with everything from speech problems to assistive technology to adapted PE games. We’ll finish up with a look at how guidance counselors, social workers, and school nurses can lend you a helping hand.

Friday - Lesson 04

In this lesson, we’ll talk about reading, writing, and math disabilities—the most common learning disabilities (LDs) you’ll see in the classroom. First, you’ll get a chance to see how it feels to have an LD. After that, we’ll talk about the memory problems of students with LDs and how they affect everything from reading a book to solving a word problem. And finally, we’ll look at fun learning strategies that will make your lessons memorable for kids with LDs (and your other students as well!).

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

Imagine how frustrating it would be if you couldn’t speak clearly, understand other people, or express your thoughts and feelings well. That’s what life is like for children with speech or language disorders, a topic we’ll investigate today. In addition to learning what it’s like to have these disorders, we’ll explore simple tricks that can beef up your students’ communication skills.

Friday - Lesson 06

They bounce off the walls, talk nonstop, stick erasers up their noses, and can’t sit still for two minutes. They’re kids with ADHD—one of the most common disabilities you’ll see in your classroom—and today we’ll talk about what their lives are like. After that, you’ll learn ways to address the attention and organizational problems that can make schoolwork such a challenge for these children. We’ll also look at the “Other Health Impaired” category, which includes ADHD, and see which children are eligible for an OHI label.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Students can shine in many ways, and today we’ll look at how students with intellectual disabilities can be stars in your classroom. First, we’ll see what it’s like to be a student with Down syndrome or another intellectual disability. Next, we’ll look at how you can help students with these disabilities by focusing on both academic and adaptive skills. And finally, we’ll explore three great ideas for meshing math, reading, writing, and daily living skills in your lessons.

Friday - Lesson 08

They’re your biggest challenge: kids who hit, kick, curse, yell, skip class, steal, cheat, and lie. Today we’ll look at children with behavior disorders and examine the roots of problems like conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. We’ll also discuss three important tools for handling behavior problems: behavior contracts, functional behavioral assessments, and behavior intervention plans.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

Children with autism will give your teaching skills a workout with their unique combination of strengths and impairments. In this lesson, we’ll explore three areas in which these kids need help: communication skills, social skills, and the ability to handle transitions. How can you address all of these needs? With a single powerful tool—social stories—that you’ll master today.

Friday - Lesson 10

In this lesson, you’ll meet kids with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, hearing or vision impairments, developmental delays, and a host of other challenges. In addition, we’ll take a closer look at the assistive technology—both high-tech and low-tech—that can help kids with these disabilities triumph academically.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

Today, we’ll talk about “best practices” for teaching children with special needs. And here’s good news: Many of these ideas will work for your entire class! First, we’ll explore how to balance students’ IEP requirements with your curriculum standards. Next, we’ll investigate a great technique for helping students grasp difficult material: directed instruction. And finally, we’ll tackle that tough question: How can you grade students with disabilities fairly?

Friday - Lesson 12

Transitions can be scary for all of us, and that’s especially true for students with disabilities. In this lesson, we’ll look at ways to smooth three big transitions our students make: from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to real life. We’ll also take an in-depth look at the transitional IEPs you’ll create for your high school students with disabilities.


Requirements

Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plug-ins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at http://www.adobe.com/downloads by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader).

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