Special Education Teacher

Special Education Teacher

EdnaKrabappel

Chicago, IL

Female, 32

From ’03-‘06, I was a special education teacher in Philadelphia as part of Teach for America. I taught children with mild to moderate special needs (primarily learning disabilities, attention deficits, cognitive disabilities, and behavioral problems) in grades 2 - 8 in all academic subjects. I saw a lot of things and learned a lot...especially the art of patience.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

35 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on April 03, 2018

Best Rated

Were you part of a teachers' union? Do you think they have an overall positive or negative impact on the country's public schools?

Asked by Leoef about 6 years ago

Yes, it was highly recommended to me and I joined, being a naive first-year teacher. After more time in the field and more time to think about it, I would not choose to join a union again. I value the rights of children more than I value my right to have an extra 30 minutes for lunch, an extra free period each week, the right to keep my job even if I'm horrendous at it (through tenure), and the right to refuse to attend certain meetings which may be planned for before school, after school, or during my lunch. These are the types of things I have seen teacher unions spending most of their time arguing about and I feel the pettiness between adults gets in the way of educating children.

How come sometimes it takes years to figure out that a kid is dyslexic? Shouldn't this be something we test for as early as Pre-K/Kindergarten?

Asked by Greg about 6 years ago

This is an excellent question. Research, as well as my personal experience, has shown that early intervention in any academic or behavioral problem is critical in efforts to effectively correct the problem or identify appropriate accommodations to ameliorate the skill areas where the student is having difficulty. Schools are starting to catch onto this idea and it is becoming much more common for students to be given a whole battery of assessments very early in their school careers. It is also more common for school districts to offer early intervention services to students in their district boundaries who are younger than Kindergarten age - and referrals for such services come from a parent or pediatrician who notice a problem in some area related to early academics (such as a speech impediment, motor skill delay, or behavioral issue). Tests of early literacy, which would help to identify dyslexia, are now administered to students in many school districts - moreso in suburban/middle and high-income communities. This trend is likely to continue and hopefully, before long, students in all communities will receive such assessments and problems such as dyslexia will be identified much earlier.

Were the parents appreciative of your work?

Asked by LukeBergstron about 6 years ago

Most were extremely appreciative and saw how hard I was working to help their child. It can be difficult to cultivate positive relationships with parents who are very overworked or disengaged in their child's education. On the converse, it can also be difficult to cultivate positive relationships with parents who are overly attentive and aggressively involved in their child's education. The key, as I've seen it, is to focus as much as possible on the positives and call home only when there is an emergency - Parents lose interest in supporting you quickly if you are calling them every day to tell them the laundry list of things their child is doing wrong - and to remind them whenever possible that your foremost interest is working WITH them to help their child find success and enjoyment in school.

How frequently would your special needs students get integrated BACK into the general student population? Would they sometimes only require a year or two of special needs classes before re-integration or do special needs students typically stay in special needs classes throughout their entire K-12 education?

Asked by Kyle about 6 years ago

This is a complicated issue, but in my experience it is pretty rare. Students who require special education will often continue to benefit from the specialized instruction and accommodations they're receiving on an on-going basis so school teams are almost de-incentivized to reintegrate students to full-time general education. After you identify services that will help a child be successful academically and enjoy school, it can be extremely difficult to decide how and when to remove those services. I think it is certainly more common for students with mild special needs (such as mild ADHD, specific learning disability) to be able to function well in a general education classroom with appropriate accommodations and/or an excellent teacher who does a great job of differentiating instruction to meet all students' needs. That said, most students with special needs, in my experience, do continue to have some type of specialized instruction or accommodations throughout the rest of their school life. It is more common for services to be scaled back in intensity, frequency, or setting rather than be removed entirely. Given all things considered, though, this isn't necessarily such a bad thing - if it were my child I might prefer the setting and services that help my child enjoy school and find success rather than pushing them into general education at all cost.

What did you learn about yourself as an educator and as a person in the course of your work with special needs children?

Asked by PaulieD about 6 years ago

So, so much. Looking back I wish I had known half of what I know now after attending my graduate training program in school psychology. Most teachers know very little, as I did, about how to meet students' social-emotional needs. Children who have difficult or turbulent home lives need stability and consistency, as well as unconditional love, from their teachers. Also, growing up in a high-income, suburban community with very little racial diversity, I learned a lot about myself and my ignorance of racial issues underlying educational inequalities in our nation once I had taught in inner city Philadelphia and received training through Teach for America. Addressing social justice issues in education has become a focus of my graduate preparation and I plan to continue this focus as I work with students as a school psychologist.

Should special-needs students be separated from other students?

Asked by Sarah1983 about 6 years ago

No, I support inclusion of students with special needs in the general education setting as much as possible. They benefit from watching and emulating typical peers and their non-disabled peers benefit from being around children with academic and social-emotional needs different from their own. The real world isn't segregated by IQ or ability, so educational settings shouldn't be either. Special education law states that children with special needs MUST be educated to the maximum extent appropriate alongside their non-disabled peers. However, the vagueness of the phrase "maximum extent appropriate" creates problems as parents and schools work together to decide the best placement for a child with special needs. Some school personnel take advantage of parents who don't know their rights and fail to uphold the intent of the legal mandate to include children in the least restrictive educational setting possible.

Does it bother you when other people use the word "retard"?

Asked by younevergofullR about 6 years ago

Personally, no. In fact, I have been known to use the word in an inappropriate context on a number of occasions. I know it's not okay and there are many people who it does offend greatly, so I continue to work to delete it from my vocabulary. I probably won't be the person to correct others I overhear using the word, though.

What happens when parents insists that their kid should NOT be in a special needs classroom but the school disagrees? Who usually wins out there?

Asked by kramerica about 6 years ago

When the parents and the school special education team disagree a legal Due Process case ensues. Parents and school officials sit down with a mediator, and then an Administrative Law Judge if mediation doesn't work, and speak their case - complete with witnesses, experts, and lots of research and documentation of similar cases. This costs A LOT of money for everyone involved, but given that their pockets are usually deeper, schools often prevail - regardless of whether they're in the right or not. It's more common for parents to sue schools because they're unhappy with the IEP team's recommendation rather than the schools suing parents. While the adults fight it out, the child's current placement must be maintained, even if it's woefully inadequate, until the proceedings are finished. So while one side always wins....I'd say the child typically loses in these situations.

If you were made the country's Education Czar for a day, what changes would you implement for public schools, and special ed programs in particular?

Asked by Artof20 about 6 years ago

(1) Mandatory preschool for all children. The importance of early intervention to identify and address children's learning and social-emotional problems has been established in research. Despite this, there remains a lack of access to education for young children who may need it the most. (2) Equalized funding for public schools. I would abolish the current property tax-based system and provide additional funding for public schools in low-income communities. Otherwise, there is very little hope of making any significant impact on the achievement gap between children in high-income and low-income communities. (3) Improvements to the process of assessing children with special needs. Most children with special needs are still required to take state and district assessments (high-stakes tests) based on their chronological grade level, despite the fact that they may be 2 or more years behind their peers academically. This testing is a complete waste of time and tax-payer money and provides utterly useless information about the child's skills as it is designed to measure their progress based on standards which are beyond their current program of instruction.

Have you seen the movie "Waiting for Superman"?

Asked by Gameon4 about 6 years ago

I sobbed at the end of this movie. It was heartbreaking to see the parents and children become so engaged in the hope for a better education and a better life, only to have their fate decided by a lottery drawing. I don't know if more charter schools is the answer - we need more GOOD charters, not just more charter schools - but I hope that Race to the Top and other education initiatives help increase access to quality education for ALL students, not just the children whose parents can afford to pay for it.

What makes someone decide to teach special ed, as opposed to a mainstream classroom? Is this usually by choice?

Asked by redEye about 6 years ago

It is a choice and, in my opinion, anyone who teaches special education likely has a lot of patience, caring, and a belief that with the right help, anyone can enjoy school and find success. For me, the decision was part idealistic and part practical. My mother was a teacher's assistant in a special education classroom while I was in elementary school and I would come to visit her often. Her patience and caring for the students with which she worked was inspiring to me and I was proud to have a chance to work with students in a similar way. I truly believe that school should be a place that all children enjoy and want to come to, so I found teaching special education an opportunity to help students who are struggling academically or behaviorally. The practical part of my decision was the fact that there was a greater need for special education teachers and so it was easier to get a job in the school/community I desired. I don't know if this is a larger trend or if it's still the case now, but when I was seeking a job, there was a high need for special education teachers.

Were you told what each of the students' disabilities was before the school year?

Asked by PoBoy98 about 6 years ago

No. Typically I received IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for my students within the first week of classes. The IEP is a legal document which describes (in varying detail) the student's disability/ies, areas of strength and weakness, their current level of performance in areas of deficit, academic/behavioral/social goals for them to achieve throughout the next year, and their specific placement in a special education and/or regular education classroom. I was legally mandated to uphold the requirements of the IEP and help the students reach their IEP goals, providing documentation of their progress over the course of the school year.

Did you ever get stuck with a kid that was just beyond "special needs?" I mean someone who couldn't function in a classroom of any kind? What did you do? Are you stuck with that kid permanently, or can you get him/her removed?

Asked by kramerica about 6 years ago

I have not personally had this experience as a teacher, but since leaving the classroom I have seen this in my administrative roles in schools. There are definitely children who have special needs which cannot be met adequately in a traditional school setting or special education classroom in their public school. This is where private schools come in - private therapeutic schools provide very small classes (5-10 students) with severe disabilities or behavioral problems. Some of these schools are residential and students live on the premises, while others use bus or taxi transportation. Students in a public school who need such a placement are typically placed in these VERY costly schools after much careful decision making and debate. Taxpayers foot the bill for these placements, so schools often try to meet children's needs within the public schools whenever possible. One sad thing to note is that it can be very difficult for students to transition back to a traditional school after attending a private therapeutic school, so placing a young child there may mean that they'll never attend school with their non-disabled peers.

What was the most extreme special needs classroom catastrophe you ever saw? An act of violence or some self-inflicted injury...?

Asked by Jims Noggin about 6 years ago

Good question! In my time teaching in Philadelphia I saw some pretty crazy stuff. Physical fights and generally bizarre behavior were not uncommon. The craziest thing I personally witnessed was a child threatening me and some of his peers with a pair of scissors. He was affected by schizophrenia and heard voices. When he was not in his medication his symptoms were quite bad and he often accused peers and I of saying things we never said. He rarely responded violently, but he was also somewhat alienated by his peers, and on this occasion he seemed to hit a breaking point. It was very intense and scary, but luckily no one was seriously injured. And I learned my lesson - only safety scissors in my special education class after that! I kept the big scissors locked in my desk drawer.

Was it difficult to divvy up your time given that all of your kids had different needs, depending on their conditions?

Asked by pwneddood about 6 years ago

Yes. This is a definite organizational nightmare. I had as many as 15 kids at a time, may or may not have had another adult aide to help me, and they each had at least 3 IEP goals which I was responsible for monitoring. A side effect of this problem which I've noticed over the years is that many case managers (special education teachers usually) generalize their IEP goals so they can better manage the needs of multiple students in a single class. This is technically against the law as an IEP is intended to provide an INDIVIDUALIZED plan for a child's education to meet his or her unique needs.

How much do kids make fun of each other's disabilities, and how do you handle it?

Asked by PatriceKQ about 6 years ago

Yes, of course, all the time. Kids can be extremely cruel to one another. It is essential to create a safe environment in your classroom and set the expectation that "We just don't speak to each other that way in here." As much press as bullying and school violence have been getting lately, this is clearly becoming more and more an issue. Teachers must be aware of how children are treating each other and show zero tolerance for bullying and threats of violence. No child should die or be driven to suicide because I failed to make them feel safe in my classroom.

can a special ed teacher teach general classes as well

Asked by jasmine over 4 years ago

Typically you are certified as either a general education teacher or as a special education teacher but not both, so most of the time you are not allowed to teach classes outside of the area you are certified in. In recent years, special ed teachers have been providing more "push-in" support to students with special needs, however, which means that they are more likely to be working alongside general education teachers in a general education class to support students there instead of having their own special education classroom and pulling students out to work with them in a separate room. 

I heard of special ed teachers getting physically wounded by some of their students either by scratches or getting punched. Any advice for a new special ed teacher to avoid incidences like these
and/or what to do in that situation?

Asked by Candy12345 almost 5 years ago

It is best to avoid physical contact with students whenever you can - unless you are specially trained to restrain students when they are having a tantrum which threatens their own safety or the safety of others. However, sometimes unintentional injuries do happen. You can help avoid some of these incidents by creating a safe environment in your classroom and setting the expectation that no one is allowed to hurt themself or anyone else in your classroom, hold regular meetings or discussions with your students to discuss classroom functioning, social-emotional awareness and interpersonal/friendship skills, and consistently enforcing the expectation that no one is allowed to harm others or themself. Enlist the support of your school social worker, school psychologist, counselor, school police officer, or administrators if you feel that you're having difficulty establishing a positive classroom environment. 

As a special ed teacher, how would you handle a child who was coming at you in an aggressive way and with a type of weapon from home (i.e. knife) or school (i.e. sharp pencil)?

Asked by Candy12345 almost 5 years ago

Unfortunately, I can speak from some personal experience on this question. I intervened when a student in my classroom grabbed a pair of scissors and went after another classmate with them.  Fortunately, I was able to get the scissors away from him and keep the student from hurting anyone else, including me. I did learn from this experience the importance of not leaving a pair of scissors out on top of my desk, however. Often, when a student brings a weapon to school (or finds one there) to use in an aggressive manner, you have had some warning signs ahead of time to know that this is a student who is volatile, in need of social-emotional support, or has had a pattern of aggressive behaviors in his/her past. In these cases, teachers should ask for support from their school social worker, school psychologist, counselor, or an administrator to be sure that everything that can be done is being done to support the student with mental health support, violence threat assessments, suicidal threat assessments, and disciplinary actions as appropriate to prevent an incident from happening in your classroom. In the case of students who unexpectedly wield a weapon in your classroom, seemingly without warning, just do your best to keep your other students safe while attempting to calm and/or disarm the student and getting help from another teacher, administrator, or school police officer.  

Difficulty completing written tasks, screams answers out of turn, does not do homework, teases everyone in class, they do not want to play with him. What do I do in all this cases? Pretty good idea though, but would like your input please.

Asked by gabe almost 4 years ago

Some ideas you can try are positive incentives and praise when the student shows appropriate behaviors. Sometimes students exhibit negative behaviors to gain attention from others and when you ignore negative behaviors while praising and incentivizing positive behaviors, you may see them engaging in more positive behaviors to get attention. Specific skill instruction in social skills can also be helpful. Your school social worker, school psychologist, or counselor might be helpful in giving you ideas for how to do this. This might help the child better understand how to interact appropriately with classmates and adults in a classroom, recess, lunch, or other school setting. Coordinating with parents to understand the child's day-to-day life at home, any family stresses that impact the child's functioning at school, and any medical or developmental issues that might impact the child's functioning at school can also be very important. If the child is a danger to himself or others, or their behavior impacts their ability to learn or the ability of others to learn, the child might be in need of special education to support the development of self-regulation of emotions or behavior in order to access their education. Speak with a special education teacher, a social worker, school psychologist, or your administrator to discuss what to do next if this is the case.

How would you define the autism spectrum disorder?
What are the terms of these students?
What are the needs of a child with autism spectrum disorder?
What are the medical implications?
What are the concerns in the classroom?

Asked by stacey almost 4 years ago

You can find some good general information about Autism here: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml

I am currently in school and will be student teaching next semester. I am working on a project and would appreciate some input. What are some modifications that I could make for a student when teaching 2nd grade and teaching how to tell time?

Asked by Lauren over 3 years ago

Special education modifications to assignments often include things like adding visual, verbal, or gestural cues when giving a direction or asking a question, reducing the number or type of response required from the student, or extended time to respond. For a 2nd grader learning to tell time, you might give them a larger clock to use to learn the numbers, repeated practice counting by 5's up to 60, songs or rhymes about telling time and counting minutes on a clock, practice with a clock that they can manipulate the hour and minute hands of, pictures of clocks that ask them to color in the elapsed time to figure out how many minutes after the hour have passed and how many minutes until the next hour, etc. Hope this helps!

Hi there,

Is it good to have the same personal assistant to a kid with special needs as ADHD or autism all the time or to change the personal assistant every now and then?

Thank you

Waiting for your reply

Best regards

Amy

Asked by Amy over 3 years ago

Great question! Good adult support is very thoughtfully designed, implemented, monitored over time, and faded as the child is able to complete more activities on their own. The IEP team should sit down to thoroughly discuss during which activities the child truly needs adult support and during which activities they can function without direct adult support from a teaching assistant. Only children with significant medical, physical, or serious emotional/behavioral problems could need an adult assistant for a large percentage of their school day. It is better to change an assistant over time so the child does not become overly dependent on a specific individual to meet their needs. The very best teacher assistant is one who works themselves out of a job - by helping the child become more and more independent. It is not mean to challenge a child to try doing more things on their own. It is the goal for every child to become an adult capable of independent functioning.

This is a follow-up to the previous question. Thanks! What problems or difficulty do Special Education teachers encounter when communicating with parents and other professionals.

Asked by Bryan over 4 years ago

It can vary greatly, depending on the individuals involved. Sometimes a barrier may be that parents are not responsive to communication from teachers or administrators at school and they do not engage in communication or collaboration with school staff to support their child. Conversely, sometimes a barrier is that parents are very communicative and advocate for their child actively but school staff on the child's IEP team are not responsive in addressing the parent's requests for a specific intervention or program to be used with their child. Another common barrier can be that Special Education teachers and General Education teachers do not communicate effectively. It is the responsibility of the IEP case manager to be sure that all other staff who work with a child with special needs know about the child's needs, accommodations, and support services so they can all adequately support the child.

When and under what circumstances do Special Education teachers have to communicate with parents and other professionals.

Asked by Bryan over 4 years ago

Special education teachers and colleagues should be communicating almost daily to be sure that all who work with a child with special needs are aware of and understand how to meet the child's individual needs appropriately. This is considered best practice, but there really are not legal guidelines for communication between staff members to coordinate services for children with special needs. This is often determined by school district or school administrator's expectations for staff communication. Communication with parents of a child with special needs is expected to occur at a minimum of three times per year. You are required to give periodic updates of a child's progress on IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals at least three times per year. Best practice is often to communication with parents more often than this, but this is a minimum requirement included in special education law.

I have two questions.
1. Can you teach special education with a degree in elementary education?
2. How do you cater to each individual child's needs?

Asked by Laura about 4 years ago

In most states you are required to have a Special Education teaching certificate in order to teach special education. However, this does not necessarily require a degree in special education. It might be required that you complete coursework in special education or pass a certification exam on special education topics, but not necessarily have a major in special education. Check with the State Department of Education or the Professional Licensing/Certification Office to be certain of the requirements in your state.

Differentiation of instruction is the method of meeting the needs of children in a classroom. Even children without any type of special need can vary greatly in their skills. A teacher is prepared during their university coursework to understand how to effectively assess, measure, and support children with varying needs in a single classroom. Preparing scaffolded activities that include reminders of skills previously learned that lead up to a new skill being taught, as well as activities that include enrichment opportunities to build upon a new skill and apply it in a new way, are some examples of differentiation. Small group work within a classroom can also be helpful to make it easier to support children of similar needs some of the school day, while providing opportunities for children who struggle in a given skill area to work alongside peer models who are stronger in that skill area.

Can a student with an EI certification have his cert changed to OHI with documentation of ADD from a dr?

Asked by Ali about 3 years ago

An IEP team can change a student's eligibility by convening a re-evaluation of the child's eligibility for special education. In this process the team will gather assessment data and information from parents about the child's current developmental skills and needs. This may include a medical diagnosis of an attention deficit disorder but should not be limited to this single piece of information. No decision about a student's educational needs should be made based on a single assessment score, evaluation result, or doctor visit. After gathering information from multiple sources (report from teachers, report from parents, doctor's evaluation, assessments by the school psychologist, etc.) the team may very well decide that it is appropriate to change the child's eligibility category to Other Health Impairment rather than another category of eligibility. This is a team decision (not one that can be made only by the school staff or only by the parents). A change in eligibility should be made when doing so will help the child access special education interventions and related services they need to address their educational needs and help them to make adequate progress in their academic development.

i have work in a program with down syndrome students there one student a bright 18 year old with her head down a whole day crying she wants to go home however not verbalizing what can be done

Asked by kg over 3 years ago

This sounds like an awful situation, I am sorry to hear about the unhappy student in the classroom where you work. It can be very difficult to find an appropriate match between an educational program an each student's academic and functional skill needs and abilities. Is it possible that this student is unhappy because her abilities surpass the instruction that's being offered in her classroom? If this is the case, it might help to let her parents know that she is unhappy and they can speak with the teacher or principal about finding a program or level of support that better meet's the student's needs. Is it possible that the student's social-emotional needs are not being attended to? Sometimes students with intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome have difficulty explaining their feelings in an age appropriate manner. For a teenage student with a disability this is especially difficult, because typical teenagers are prone to rapid changes in mood and extreme emotional highs and lows. If this is the case, it could help to consult with the school's social worker, counselor, or school psychologist to see if additional social-emotional support could be offered to this student.

Can you explain this to me in simple terms? "Scores/Interpretation: Areas and Total Test: Grade and age-based standard scores (M=100, SD=15) grade and age equivalents, percentile ranks and Growth Scale Values. Subtests: grade and age based scale....

Asked by Panda gal over 2 years ago

See responses below...

I have a first grade student who was recently placed in the resource room for work completion. Now the situation is worse. He waits to do all his work in the resource room. What can we do to get him back to working in the classroom?

Asked by Judi about 1 year ago

It's difficult to guess why the student is more willing to complete work in the resource room - could it be because the resource room is quieter, calmer, or has fewer distractions? Perhaps the student feels the resource teacher is better able to support him/her to complete work then the general education teacher? Perhaps the child is avoiding the general education classroom because of problems with a peer? Without knowing what is motivating the change in the child's behavior, it's difficult to know how to address it. Some ideas to try in general are presenting rewards or incentives for work completed in the general education classroom, letting the student choose certain items of work to complete in the resource classroom and requiring the student to complete other work in the general education classroom, or using time completing work in the resource classroom as a reward for work completed in the general education classroom. You could use a token reward system where the student earns tickets, stickers, or other small items each time work is completed in the general education classroom and use them to cash in for a prize of your choosing. Then over time you make it harder and harder for the student to earn the prizes so more and more work is expected to be completed in the general education classroom. It would also be good to consult with a school psychologist or social worker to see if they can assist you in supporting this student to complete more work in the general education classroom.

...scores (M=10, SD=3), and grade and age equivalents. It's from Key Math 3...

Asked by Panda gal over 2 years ago

This is a description of the The scores obtained from the key math assessment. M stands for mean, and a mean standard score of 100 is average on this assessment. SD stands for standard deviation, and a standard deviation of 15 points from the mean marks the top and bottom of the average range on this assessment. This means a child score that falls between 85 and 115 is within the average range on this assessment. A subtest scaled score has a mean of 10, so a score of 10 is exactly average on this assessment. Standard deviation for scaled scores is three on this assessment, which means that scores between seven and 13 on an individual subtest for the key math assessment are within the average range.

What is your role and responsibilities within the resource settings???

Asked by Delsen over 1 year ago

Typically, a resource setting refers to a special education classroom outside of a general education setting. Often it is a smaller group of students and only include students with some type of special need or IEP. Often there will be a special education resource teacher as well as a teacher assistant in a resource setting. A resource classroom is intended to provide small group individualized instruction for children whose needs cannot be met in a general education classroom. This may be due to academic or behavioral needs, and may include specially designed instruction such as explicit teaching repeated exposure to the general education concepts, or simply a slower pace of instruction and then is offered in the general education setting. The resource teacher may be responsible for meeting the IEP requirements for as many as 10 to 20 students with special needs, depending on state policies for teacher to student ratio in special education. The resource teacher is also responsible for coordinating IEP supports in a general education setting if a student spend some of their day and a general education classroom. So this means the resource teacher may be providing ideas or support to a general education teacher to help a student when they are in the general education classroom, or meeting with the related service personnel such as a speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or social worker to discuss a students therapeutic supports listed in the child's IEP.

I am a special ed. teacher. The school day begins at 8:15, but my students do not get to school on transit until 8:15, and from there, go to breakfast. The school has begun holding all assemblies at 8:15 so my st. can't go. Handle this how?

Asked by Ashley about 1 year ago

This is definitely not best practice for including students with disabilities with their general education peers, and it is potentially a violation of the student's rights to access and participation in non-academic general education activities. Special education teachers must often act as advocates for their students to help ensure that they have equal access to all non academic activities. If you are unable to get the time of assemblies changed by speaking with the building administration or school district administration, you should encourage parents and teachers to address the concern with the school district administration and school board. If the school still does not take action, you can file a claim with the office of civil rights to be sure that the schedule is changed to accommodate all students.

What is your background? (years, education)
What drove you to choose special education?
What is your role as an special education professional?
What does it mean to you when you hear assessment?
How do you assess your students?
What type of techniques or tools of assessment do you utilize?
How do you communicate about student assessments? With teachers? To parents? Others?
What is the most difficult aspect of assessment?
What do you think is the most important aspect of assessment?
Tips for working with special education students? And their parents?

Asked by Special ed researcher 2 months ago

I had a 4 year Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a 2 year Master's in Special Education and Elementary Education prior to completing certification as a Special Education Teacher. Many teachers have a 4 year Bachelor's degree in Education or Special Education and no additional degrees are required. Most states have additional requirements for taking a specific assessment related to education or special education knowledge prior to receiving certification to teach.

As a special education professional my main role was to create instructional plans for the students in my class to achieve their IEP goals. I would use the general education curriculum and other resources to create lessons and assessments to determine if the students had mastered the skills included in their IEP goals. This also often included collaboration with the general education teachers to be sure that my instruction in the special education resource classroom was effective in meeting the student's academic needs.

There are many types of assessment used in special education classrooms. There are formative assessments used to find out what information a child already has or has not mastered in order to plan classroom instruction. These may include quizzes, chapter tests, or unit assessments. Summative assessments are given at the end of instruction to see if students have mastered material already covered and may include final examinations for a large unit or for an entire course. Standardized assessments may be used to measure the general knowledge and concept mastery for students in a specific grade level. These are the state or national examinations administered each year (in most grade levels) that help states and federal governments determine if school's are functioning adequately in providing public education to students. Finally, there are other standardized tests or rating scales that may be completed during an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services. Some of these may be completed by a special education teacher but most are completed by other school special education personnel (social worker, school psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist).

Communication of assessment results should be done in writing as well as in person so you can answer parents' questions about what an assessment is measuring and what the results tell them about their child's progress in school.

The most difficult aspect of assessment is often making sure the assessment is being conducted in an appropriate manner to effectively measure the child's skills. The wording of questions, setting of the assessment, method of getting a student's responses, and the time given to the student to respond all affect the accuracy of the assessment results, which are often used to make instructional and educational decisions for students.

What accommodations are implemented in the general education classroom for students with disabilities and he would make this accommodation

Asked by Kathy 9 months ago

There is a lot of variation in what type and how many accommodations a general education teacher may implement in a classroom for a student with disabilities. It could be as simple as rephrasing or repeating directions, or as complex as modifying all classroom work for a student. Typically accommodations are created by the IEP team together in an IEP meeting and the teacher, special education teacher, social worker, psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist could all be involved in delivering accommodations, depending on what the specific accommodation is.