The 'forgotten' part of special education that could lead to better outcomes for students (2023)

The 'forgotten' part of special education that could lead to better outcomes for students (1)

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Lord admitted he was struggling to get answers from Kate about what she wanted for her future; He said he needs the help of professionals to solve the mystery.

The 'forgotten' part of special education that could lead to better outcomes for students (2)

Kate had loved being in the school cast in musicals like Grease and West Side Story. Lord wondered if Kate's love of films and theater meant she might find jobs behind the scenes. But he could not find a way to translate these interests into employment in Braunschweig.

Related:Low academic expectations and poor support for special needs students 'harm their future'

Looking back, he was also concerned that educators weren't pushing Kate as hard as they could have, further disadvantaging her when looking for a career. Kate herself says her classes were easy and that she "almost never had homework."

But Lord doesn't blame the teachers. He blames the system.

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"Everyone meant well," he said. "But there's only so much they can do, they can offer her. She needed extra attention everywhere.”

Many districts rely on formal assessments to help schools create effective plans for students. In Washington, D.C., a county official said that public schools give some students a questionnaire that covers questions like "Do you prefer to work alone or with others?" and "Is it more important to you to earn a lot of money or to help others?" The school administration should also discuss the goals and the necessary steps to achieve them with the students and their parents.

But lawyers and barristers surveyed said Kate's experience was widespread. Many said the vast majority of targets and measures they saw were vague or even nonsensical and did not meet legal requirements. Plans often contain too few or superficial goals.

For example, if a student likes soccer, educators may indicate that they want to join the NFL. "Anyone doing this work has seen this [in a] transition plan," said Maria Blaeuer, attorney for DC-based Advocates for Justice and Education. "This is not a transition plan. That just fills in empty lines.”

College-bound students might be instructed to research colleges and fill out college applications — but plans often don't include training in other essential skills for college, such as: B. how to learn. Transition plans often have low expectations. Parents and advocates say many special needs students are guided to the "five Fs" that a parent names: food, wrinkles, flowers, filing and dirt, related to cleaning and janitorial services.

Bob Cunningham, an expert on learning and attention issues for the, said part of the problem is that in many schools, no one “owns” the transition process. "I think because a lot of what happens in relation to children with learning and attention problems is immediate, people focus on the immediate," he said.

In other words, educators often don't think about the future until it's too late.

Related:The vast majority of students with disabilities do not obtain a university degree

In Kate's senior year, her IEP reflected transition goals, driven largely by her parents. They wanted her to take an online college course and seek work in Braunschweig in a "paid position that will leverage her theatre/acting interest and skills," according to a draft by the IEP.

Parents and advocates say many special needs students are guided to the "five Fs" that a parent names: food, wrinkles, flowers, filing and dirt, related to cleaning and janitorial services.

Lord said he believes they were copied and pasted from emails he sent the school to ensure they were complying with the law. There was no thoughtful discussion as to whether Kate was okay with these plans and what could be done in high school to help her achieve them.

The plan "just lacked depth," Lord said. "We didn't have transition goals that we looked at and I thought that made sense."

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Barbara Gunn, director of student services at the Brunswick School District, joined the school district after Kate graduated and was unable to comment on her specific situation. However, she said that creating a meaningful transition plan is of the utmost importance for all students. "This team needs to think carefully about what this student wants and can do," she said. "You have to do some sort of survey of what their interests are, what they can do." When a student like Kate isn't sure what he or she wants to do with their future, a transition goal can focus on career exploration, to gauge interest in future careers.

The district is also considering beginning the transition planning process in eighth grade instead of ninth grade to ensure that adequate time is devoted to this process. Gunn said the district provides professional development for transition-focused teachers and has recently begun sending a teacher to a regional group meeting each month to discuss transition issues.

Put the plan into action

Federal law says schools should make sure students follow the steps in their plans, but there's no one watching to make sure they do. "One of the most frustrating things is that even if the goals aren't bad, there aren't any services to support the goals," Blaeuer said. "It's very superficial."

Parents often have to shoulder the burden of making sure their children have the support they need to meet their transition goals because schools simply don't devote enough resources to this part of special education. Some schools have a full-time coordinator who focuses on transition services. Typically, special education teachers—who already have a full teaching load—are responsible for overseeing transition plans.

Related:Is teacher preparation failing for students with disabilities?

Lord attempted to do his own research into the options available to Kate and approached the school with suggestions. The district offered to place Kate in a trade school, but the family decided against it. Kate was socially successful at school and trade school focused on training students in subjects such as mechanics and cookery, which Kate had no interest in.

Administrators also told the family they could contact the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services or apply for Vocational Rehabilitation, a government-funded service that helps people with disabilities access higher education and employment.

However, at her high school itself, there was little local to help Kate. Her IEP last year cited a service learning course as a way to introduce her to various employment opportunities. This course is available to both general education and special education students and provides students with an opportunity to volunteer in the community.

"As we approached the transition, my absolute goal was that it didn't fall off the map," Lord said. "It's unfortunate, she kinda has... it's so difficult."

achievement of goals

It doesn't have to be. Peter O'Halloran of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania received special education during his educational career due to developmental disabilities resulting from complications during his birth. Peter has trouble expressing his thoughts when reading, paying attention, and speaking.

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As a child, Peter said he wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice. He loved math, social studies and working on computers. In high school, Peter began to take control of his IEP meetings and frequently provided input on his future goals and aspirations.

Chris Bradley, Peter's mother, said there was some pressure but the district was generally responsive to Peter's interests. As a sophomore in high school, Peter completed a survey for the district's technical college that connected him to the hospitality industry, an area he had no interest in. He and his mother looked at a federal report of salary information for various jobs, and he realized that an office job would offer a better quality of life than a job in the food industry.

So Bradley refused to send her son to the feeding program. Instead, she urged the school to let him try to enroll in some community college courses offered through the school's dual enrollment program. He later enrolled in a new vocational technical program in office administration that gave him the opportunity to also earn credits that he could transfer to a community college.

"If I had sat back ... Peter would probably work somewhere in the hospitality industry," Bradley said. "I don't think he would have tried to go to community college."

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The college courses had an unexpected result: Peter realized that he really didn't want to go to college and changed his goal. Although Bradley said they had more opportunities to help Peter build a more supportive network in his hometown, the school took some steps to help Peter achieve his goal of independent living, such as getting him into the bank, where he learned how to set up accounts and borrowing.

"I wish people would look at people with disabilities and [know] that they are able to have jobs and live independently."

In every way, Peter was successful. After graduating from high school, he went straight into the office clerk profession as planned. He is currently employed full-time as an administrative assistant at a non-profit organization in downtown Philadelphia. He regularly speaks about his experiences with special education to local college and university classes that train teachers, counselors, and school psychologists, as well as at national and statewide educational conferences on employment, health care, and disabilities.

"It all worked out," said Chris Bradley. "I think it was really successful, but it took a lot of work. It was a full-time job for me to advocate for him.”

Kate's family has now turned to charities and services for help. Kate worked with a local group to develop a career plan and spent three weeks in Minnesota on a life skills program her parents hoped would introduce them to the idea of ​​being away from home and her improve self-representation.

On a September morning, in the college kitchen where she works, Kate looked like any other hard-working young adult. She efficiently used a machine to spit out cookie dough and placed the balls on a baking sheet. Her shoulder-length blonde hair was pulled back in a high ponytail - last summer she cut off 12 inches and donated it to Locks of Love - and she chatted with a co-worker about his plans for the day after his shift ended.

She said that while the baker's job was tough at first, "it's okay now. They're all very nice.” But she doesn't want to work there forever.

She's a big fan of American Girl dolls - she'd love to work in one of their stores as a personal shopper or, as she said, "maybe even set up showcases". Her father still thinks there might be a way to use her love of theater to find a career, or at least wants her to get a second job in town. He understands that Kate's case presents challenges - after all, it still confuses him. But he believes more ground could have been covered before their graduation.

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"I would have liked to have had a much better idea of ​​what their interests are," Lord said. "Since high school, there's been a lot of work [for us]."

Peter, on the other hand, is now enjoying the job he had planned years ago. He enjoys talking to customers and working on the computer. He is striving to become more independent, including learning how to take care of a house (he lives at home but is saving money to buy his own) and grocery shopping himself. He said there are stereotypes about people with disabilities.

"People with disabilities can have full-time jobs," said Peter. "I wish people would look at people with disabilities and [know] that they are able to have jobs and live independently."

Special Education GlossaryIEP:Every student who falls under the federal law on the education of persons with disabilities receives an IEP or Individual Education Program. This detailed plan describes a student's current achievement level, goals for the next year, the classes a student will take, and any accommodations or changes the student will receive in class.

transition plan: The transition plan is part of an individual education program and federal law requires it to be developed before a student with a disability turns 16. This plan uses student interests and other information about a student to outline goals after high school.

accommodations: Customizations include strategies such as For example, allowing the student to take more time on a test, typing an assignment instead of handwriting it, or sitting in an area that helps the student concentrate. These are described in a student's IEP.

Modifications:Modifications are changes to assignments and syllabuses designed to help students with disabilities manage content, such as: B. providing fewer possible answers to assignments or tests, or providing text at an appropriate reading level for a student.

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Positive Learning Outcomes: How To Achieve Them
  • Detailed information that spells out the goals and expectations for the students.
  • What each student should know and be able to do upon completion of the class.
  • Measurable assessment tools that gauge learning outcomes.

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1. Students with learning and attention issues often experience feelings of failure, lack of acceptance among their peers and high levels of bullying, which can increase the risk of misbehavior and absenteeism. Negative emotions can exacerbate academic struggles, and school climate can also be a significant factor.

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This study has determined that inadequate funding to schools, long distance to schools, infrastructure not being user friendly, inadequate appropriate teaching and learning materials and most teachers having no skills to communicate with pupils with disabilities especially in sign language and braille were challenges ...

What are the challenges faced by special needs education? ›

Some of these challenges include lack of curriculum guidelines, teaching instruments, lack of references, inadequate personnel, negative attitudes towards persons with disability, poor and restrictive environment, inconsistent management of schools, poor teacher —pupil ratio and cultural beliefs and practices.

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In what four ways can a teacher help a child with special needs? ›

General interventions
  • Show, demonstrate and model.
  • Utilize multisensory learning.
  • Break information down into smaller units.
  • Utilise peer tutoring and cooperative learning.
  • Use a developmentally appropriate approach.
  • Make information as concrete as possible.
  • Provide a small group of instructions.

What are the 5 big ideas in special education? ›

This bestseller is grounded in the synergy of five big ideas for connecting mind, brain, and education research to classroom practice: neuroplasticity, potential, malleable intelligence, the Body-Brain System, and metacognition.

What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.

What is the main purpose of special education? ›

Special education is defined as an 'education designed to facilitate the learning of individuals who, for a wide variety of reasons, require additional support and adaptive pedagogical methods in order to participate and meet learning objectives in an educational programme' (UIS-UNESCO, n.d.).

What can teachers use to write effective learning outcomes? ›

Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification of the different objectives and skills that educators set for their students (learning outcomes).

What are the most effective methods for assessing learning outcomes? ›

How to Assess Students' Learning and Performance
  • Creating assignments.
  • Creating exams.
  • Using classroom assessment techniques.
  • Using concept maps.
  • Using concept tests.
  • Assessing group work.
  • Creating and using rubrics.

Which is an example of effective learning outcome? ›

Examples of program learning outcomes

describe the fundamental concepts, principles, theories and terminology used in the main branches of science. assess the health care needs of different groups in society. apply the principles and practices of their discipline to new or complex environments.

How can teachers improve student outcomes? ›

What works best to improve student outcomes
  • high expectations.
  • explicit teaching.
  • effective feedback.
  • use of data to inform practice.
  • assessment.
  • classroom management.
  • wellbeing.
  • collaboration.
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What challenges do students with disabilities face in the classroom? ›

Inaccessible environments, lack of appropriate learning materials, shortage of qualified teachers and discrimination from peers are just some of the barriers they face. There are at least 93 million children with disabilities around the world — but too often education systems aren't equipped to meet their needs.

How do students with learning disabilities learn best? ›

Sequence slowly, using examples. Speak clearly and turn so students can see your face. Allow time for students to process requests and allow them to ask questions. Use graphic organizers to support understanding of relationships between ideas.

What are common barriers of learning disabilities? ›

Access to healthcare
  • a lack of accessible transport links.
  • patients not being identified as having a learning disability.
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  • failure to recognise that a person with a learning disability is unwell.
  • failure to make a correct diagnosis.

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What are some typical challenges faced by new special education teachers?
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  • Unrealistic expectations. ...
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  • Obstacles to collaboration. ...
  • Accountability pressures. ...
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  • A desire to experience a sense of belonging in their schools.

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The qualities identified with top workers in the field of special education often mimic those exhibited by parents: patience, compassion, consistency, acceptance and an passion to see their children do well. Assistants need these qualities and more, as they will be called upon to advocate for their students.

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How to help children with special educational needs
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To ensure normal brain and behavioral development and school readiness: • Encourage exploration. Mentor in basic skills. Celebrate developmental advances. Rehearse and extend new skills.

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Successful Strategies for Teaching and Supporting Students with Disabilities
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  • Don't feel pressure to be perfect.

How can we help special needs students succeed? ›

See Also
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Which is the best method to teach students with special needs? ›

Thematic linking: Here, a single theme is tied into multiple subject areas, so that they are no longer regarded as discrete subjects. This method of teaching is very effective in special education classrooms.

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Big Ideas in Special Education: Specially Designed Instruction, High-Leverage Practices, Explicit Instruction, and Intensive Instruction.

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Whether for instruction or testing, accommodations provide students with opportunities to achieve the same outcomes and to obtain the same benefits as students without disabilities. By addressing barriers, accommodations create better access to learning opportunities for students with disabilities.

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What is the most important thing in special education? ›

The key to inclusive special education programs is understanding and accepting students for who they are. This means not just helping them overcome their weaknesses but assisting them in finding and developing their talents too.

What are the four major goals of special education? ›

The Four Goals of Early Childhood Special Education
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  • Physical Development. ...
  • Emotional Development. ...
  • Social Development.

What are smart goals for special needs students? ›

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound. Having SMART IEP goals can help your child get the most out of special education. A SMART IEP goal will be realistic for your child to achieve and will lay out how your child will accomplish it.

Which is the most effective way to teach a student who has a learning disability? ›

Whenever possible provide student with visual cues by writing on the board, using the overhead, or providing the student with a brief written outline of the material to be covered in that class session. Provide student with written copies of your lecture. Give instructions/directions orally and in writing.

How can you improve the outcomes of a disadvantaged student? ›

What you can do
  1. Treat students equally; disadvantaged students can perform to the same standard as their advantaged counterparts and progress to university.
  2. Make sure students are signed up to get free meals. ...
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  4. Offer counselling. ...
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What are two strategies that can be used to help students with intellectual disabilities learn? ›

Teaching strategies
  • Provide an outline of what will be taught - highlight key concepts and provide opportunities to practise new skills and concepts.
  • Provide reading lists well before the start of a course so that reading can begin early.
  • Consider tailoring reading lists and provide guidance to key texts.

What are five methods that help students become more effective learners? ›

Help the students learn evidence-based study strategies. She gave suggestions of distributive practice (reviewing of material often not cramming), self-testing, students providing explanations of the topic, interleaving (helping student connect concepts) and encourage study groups.

What can teachers do to help students with learning disabilities? ›

How To Help Children With Learning Disabilities In The Classroom
  1. Allow extra time for completing class tasks. ...
  2. Use a tape recorder. ...
  3. Reduce need for writing. ...
  4. Keep classroom chatter to a minimum. ...
  5. Use visual aids and multi-sensory learning techniques. ...
  6. Assign them a 'study buddy'

What challenges do you face when teaching students with learning disabilities? ›

The challenges faced by teachers while teaching learning disabled children, i.e., 'Teaching material and Curriculum structure', 'Behavioural issues', 'Lack of time', 'Parental expectations and Parental issues', 'Motivation', 'Self-esteem' and 'Emotional issues.

What makes teaching children with special needs difficult? ›

teaching learners with special needs is very hard because they have their individual needs.” This means that in handling Learners with Special Needs (LSNs), individual needs must be considered. Fairness treatment should also be given to all the students.

What are the most important outcomes of learning? ›

5 types of learning outcomes
  1. Intellectual skills. With this type of learning outcome, the learner will understand concepts, rules or procedures. ...
  2. Cognitive strategy. In this type of learning outcome, the learner uses personal strategies to think, organize, learn and behave.
  3. Verbal information. ...
  4. Motor skills. ...
  5. Attitude.
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What are the 3 student learning outcomes? ›

Student Learning Outcomes

Discipline-related skill set. Accreditation and other external accountability expectations.

How can we improve student learning and achievement? ›

Improving Student Achievement
  1. Competency-based learning or personalized learning.
  2. Use of technology in teaching and learning.
  3. New and alternative sources of student support and funding.
  4. Better use of community resources.

What is one way that you could encourage your students to value mistakes? ›

Talking to students about your own experiences with mistakes and how you addressed them is a great way to encourage a new mindset about learning from mistakes. This would be perfect to discuss during the morning meeting after a big test to touch on mistakes that were made and how the children feel about them.

What are the two strategies you might use to assess the students learning outcomes and improve learning? ›

Task-focused feedback provides specific suggestions for improving student performance on assignments, tests, projects, etc., while formative assessment focuses more directly on what students know and don't know at any given time.


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