Supporting the Success of Students With Disabilities in the General Education Curriculum

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (2004) requires that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum.  To accomplish this, Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams identify student needs as well as supports and services to address those needs.  Once that is in place, students with disabilities must be provided specially designed instruction within the context of the general education curriculum as specified in the IEP.

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Feedback – Teacher to Student

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Amy is nine years old and receives special education services as a student with a Specific Learning Disability. After receiving her first graded assignment from her teacher, Ms. Smith, Amy was devastated. On the first day of school, Ms. Smith instructed the class to write a paragraph about their summer vacation. Amy was enthusiastic to write about her family’s trip to Disneyland. Despite her challenges with writing, Amy worked hard to begin each sentence with a capital letter and end with a period. She paid careful attention to the writing skills she had learned the previous school year. She capitalized proper nouns, sounded out words for spelling, and wrote neatly between the guide lines. Amy was proud as she turned in her essay and anxiously anticipated her writing conference with Ms. Smith. [Read more…]

Aligning and Coordinating Instruction for Students With Disabilities Across Tiers

Students with and without disabilities are expected to master grade-level standards. For students with disabilities who are eligible for special education services, an individualized educational program (IEP) provides academic and behavioral supports designed to level the playing field and create opportunities to succeed in the general education curriculum (Florida Department of Education, 2013). While IEPs should be standards-based, they are not verbatim restatements of grade-level standards or lists of standards from lower grades (Virginia Department of Education, 2011). The annual goals stated in an IEP should be based on the student’s present level of performance and should provide a detailed structure for assisting the student in building the skills required to meet the demands of grade-level standards. This detailed structure is the foundation for specially designed instruction (SDI) (Batsche, 2015). [Read more…]

Dyslexia: Insights and Current Understandings

Through what lens, do we examine dyslexia?  Medically, educationally, legislatively?
Definition?  Prevalence? Resources?

Much recent educational conversation centers on dyslexia.  Parent groups have formed to address their concerns regarding their children’s progress in reading and academics after a diagnosis of dyslexia.  Long-standing professional organizations work in the area of dyslexia through research, pedagogy, curriculum, and other avenues in education.  Much attention has been given to addressing the needs of students and adults with dyslexia.  Eighteen states have adopted legislation involving dyslexia, and 25 states have either issued a dyslexia handbook or recognized October as Dyslexia Awareness Month (USA Today, October 30, 2014). [Read more…]

Planning for Effective Intervention Blocks

Many schools include in their master schedule time each day to provide instructional intervention, reteaching, or remediation for students who have difficulty mastering academic concepts and require additional support outside of the general education classroom (Canady & Rettig, 2008). When intervention blocks are carefully planned and continuously monitored for efficiency and effectiveness, they can benefit both students and teachers. For example, in a study of elementary students with learning disabilities who received small-group instruction outside of the general education classroom, researchers found that students made the most substantial academic gains when instruction was [Read more…]