High Leverage Practices and Specially Designed Instruction: Powerful Means to Address Students’ Learning Needs and Ensure Positive Academic Outcomes

Patricia, a 24-year veteran teacher with secondary co-teaching experience in English 9 and Earth Science, poses the following question:

“How do we, my co-teacher and I, deliver a standards-based curriculum in a manner that is accessible and effective for ALL our students including those with disabilities?” [Read more…]

Power Tools: IEP Planning and Specially Designed Instruction

By Susan Jones, M.S.Ed., and Shelley Littleton, M.Ed.

Every new school year brings the opportunity to reflect and look forward. If organization, data collection, and designing specialized instruction for your students with disabilities are a challenge for you, search no more. We have two resources that will help in all these areas. [Read more…]

Do You Provide Visual Supports in Your Classroom?

By LaShauna Britt, M.Ed., Daria Lorio-Barsten, M.Ed, BCBA, and Kara McCulloch, M.S.

Happy New Year! Now is that time of the school year when teachers start to rethink their classroom behavior management systems. We wonder, “How effective is our current classroom management system and does it address the needs of all of our students?” We might also ask ourselves, “Have I provided visual supports within my behavior system?” These questions are helpful to consider before assessing or implementing your need for visual supports within your class.

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From Disjointed to Aligned, Targeted, and Intensive Intervention

Many students with disabilities (SWD) and other struggling students receive intervention support from multiple service providers (e.g., general education teacher, special education teacher, speech teacher, Title I teacher, ELL teacher).  While these layers of service may seem to provide a more intensive level of support, multiple layers of support provided by different practitioners may result in a “disjointed” or “piecemeal” (Pearson, 2013, p. 287) experience for students that falls short of the intent of intensive intervention.

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Implementing Specially Designed Instruction in the General Education Classroom

Authors:  Shelley Littleton, M.Ed., and Mary Murray Stowe, M.Ed.

Specially designed instruction (SDI) must be delivered to address the unique needs of students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004).  SDI may be delivered within the general education classroom.  Removal to a separate classroom is NOT necessary to provide this type of instruction and may in fact impede access to the general education curriculum.

Access to the general education curriculum is one of the most compelling rationales driving construction of appropriate IEPs besides being a legal requirement of IDEA, 2004.  The following three IEP requirements are designed to move student involvement and progress in the general education curriculum forward:

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Maximizing Instructional Time through Structured Conversations

Every school year teachers ask themselves, “How can I create a class where students collaborate with one another as well as with me?” The answer to this question is cooperative learning. [Read more…]

Laying the Foundation for Standards-based Data-driven Specially Designed Instruction

Specially designed instruction (SDI) provides students with disabilities (SWD) the opportunity to make progress in the general education curriculum (IDEA, 2004). A student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is supposed to provide the roadmap for special and general educators. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for special educators to become overwhelmed with the simultaneous demands of IEP development, scheduling IEP meetings, and standardized testing in the spring. [Read more…]

Specially Designed Instruction: Realizing the Potential of Co-Teaching

The principle of least restrictive environment (LRE) requires schools to provide instruction in the general education classroom for students with disabilities unless the “nature and severity” of the student’s disability prevents it (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act [IDEA], 2004). Additionally, the IDEA mandates access to the general education curriculum with instruction from qualified teachers. To meet the LRE and access requirements, many schools choose co-teaching as a service delivery model. Access to a co-taught classroom alone, however, does not satisfy the legal requirements. Access must also result in improved academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

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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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Strategic and Specially Designed Instruction: Leveraging Data Sources to Ensure General Curriculum Access

Students with disabilities are faced with a variety of challenges as they encounter the general education curriculum. To ensure that students have meaningful access to and make progress in the general education curriculum, the special education teacher must strategically design supports and instruction. Developing an individualized educational program (IEP) requires a thoughtful review of all of the available data sources before drafting the IEP. [Read more…]