Assistive Technology

For Thursday, think about how you might use assistive technology in your classroom.  How can it be useful?  Who can it support?  What questions do you still have about assistive technology?


Assistive Technology should be used in the classroom to help students to meet their academic goals and to participate in a general education setting. Students with disabilities can benefit from using AT by using it to communicate, perform tasks, participate in extra curricular and social activities, access materials, etc. It is important that the student acknowledges that the tool is not a toy and that it is used to benefit the student in meeting their academic goals. When trying to decide whether or not a student with disabilities could benefit from AT (during IEP process), it is important to look into their strengths, levels of functioning, areas of concern, accommodations and strategies used for the student, and the particular type of AT the student would most benefit form in the classroom. When student is assigned AT, it is important to see if the student is benefiting from the assistance and whether or not the student likes it. Examples of AT include, portable DAISY reader, portable keyboard, sticky notes and index cards to stay organized, or a handheld recorder to dictate notes. It is important that not only the student knows how to use and benefit form the AT services, but also the teacher. If the teacher includes AT devices in the classroom for students with disabilities, the classroom, student, and teacher will benefit.


What specific accommodations or modifications might you use with students with autism (hint: answer to this question can copy/paste to your A&M project)?  What concerns or questions do you have about working with students with autism (I will compile a list of these and bring it to class)?  Make sure to reference the readings in your answer.


Communication Disabilities

Based on what you read and what you now know, what are some key strategies you are going to want to use when working with students with communication disabilities?

What questions or points of confusion do you have about working with students with communication disabilities?

Children with communication disabilities face difficulties with classroom activities, social interactions, instructional discourse exchanges and development of literacy skills. Communication disorders include, speech disorders, language disorders, receptive language disorders and expressive language disorder. There are two types of speech and language disorders, organic disorder and functional disorder. Under the IDEIA a speech and language impairment is a communication disorder. Focused contrast, modeling, event cast, open questions, expansions, recasts and redirects are all interventions to use for speech and language disabilities.

Focused contrast is when you let a student listen to the difference in the pronunciation of words. If a student is saying a word wrong, for example tree instead of three, you respond with, “I noticed you said ‘tree’ and i said ‘three”. During this approach, the teacher provides many examples allowing the student to repeat the example to form the proper pronunciation. Modeling allows a student to learn structure that they have not mastered. If the student is struggling with pronouncing the -ph sound, modeling the sound for the student and allowing them to practice with help with their structure. Event cast provides an on going description of an activity. Open question allows a student to answer with a variety of options. Expansions allows students to expand on vocabulary in context. If a student says “a beautiful day”, the teacher would respond with “a beautiful sunny day”. Recast is when the teacher repeats what the student said, but adding in proper grammar. It is important to know the students objectives, identify the strategies used in the different models, and  use the strategies as much as possible during every interaction. These strategies are most useful when provided in a meaning context allowing students to see and know how their language differs.

Questions: The article did not go into detail with event cast and open questions. How will both those interventions help students with language disabilities?

ADHD Interventions

Students with ADHD and ADD tend to get off task and distracted during class. To help enhance the education experience for students with ADHD and ADD it is important to create interventions. Students can benefit from taking breaks during assignments, requesting multiple test sessions, allowing students to stand up every ten minutes etc. It is important for students to have accommodations as well. Students can benefit from where they are seated in class, how the furniture is arranged and the different audio and lighting features throughout the classroom. Students with ADHD will be distracted in class, and it is up to the teachers to help find methods that benefit the students experience.

While reading the article, Executive, It was interesting to read how ADD effects students making it “difficult in getting started on tasks”(Brown). From what I understood about ADD and ADHD, students became distracted easily and have difficulty completing tasks after starting them. I like how this article broke down ADD into six different sections. It was interesting to learn about the different functions and how they are affected differently. I felt as though it gave me a better understanding of the different things students with ADD are affected with and how they contribute to different aspects of the syndrome.

While reading both articles, I did not come across many ideas that did not help students who have ADD and ADHD. I would like to learn more about strategies that have been used that worked, and not worked for students with ADD.

Co-Taught Classrooms

Based on what you have learned about the law and supporting all students (through UDL, DI) how might co-teaching support students?  How might you use co-teaching?  What might be some of the challenges that you will face in implementing co-teaching?

I had an experience with a Co-op teaching in my practicum last semester, in a seventh grade math class. My teacher had six classes total. Our go those six classes, two of them contained twenty five students and of those twenty five there were ten students in each class that had IEPs. The classes were split by intellectual levels. The other four classes were mixed, while those two had the kids who struggled with math the most. Mr. Devarney and Mr. Donahue were the two teachers who co-taught those classes. Mr. Donahue worked with all the special education students in the middle school. He co-taught all math classes in the middle school, along with some of the language arts classes. Also, while observing for my students with disabilities class, I worked in a class that had a co-taught language arts class. Students benefit from the co-op classes because they receive a versatile experience. They are able to receive the educational aspects from the general education teacher, along with receiving the supports from the special education teacher. The special education teacher knows and understand what are on the IEPs, in-depth and knows how to handle and understands what the students need. Co-teaching does face some challenges. In the co-taught classes it is a must to state who will be running the class that day, for the students sake. It is not okay to confuse the students. Material driven vs learning to their ability will get in the way of co-taught classes as well. Students will suffer when the two teachers can not agree on common grounds, and what the outcome from the lesson should be. Overall, Co-taught classes are beneficial to the students.

Referral Process

What is most interesting to you about the special education referral process?  Which parts do you think are most challenging for schools?  After reading about the process, what parts do you think would cause you the most concern as a classroom teacher?

I do not believe that I can specify on a particular part in the referral process that I find the most interesting, the entire process is one in itself. It is all about benefitting the student and finding what works best for their learning process. Students should not have to suffer their education and learning because they have problems that need to be addressed. As a future teacher I want to provide my students with the best education they can receive, and knowing the referral process with help benefit the student and I.

As much as I find the referral process interesting, there are parts that make it difficult for schools.  One would be having parents on board with the entire process. Some parents find it hard to believe what their child may be going through, and to have them deny the referral would be the worst thing for the students to go through because they would not receive the proper modifications or adjustments to their curriculum. Another part that would make it difficult for schools is finding the right teachers who can handle the modifications and accommodations they need throughout their entire classroom. It is important to have teachers who are on board with classrooms meeting the needs of the students, and not students meeting the needs of the classroom. The students need to be challenged to their ability of learning.  Teachers need to be aware of their students behavior and learning abilities to meet their needs in the classroom.

Special Education Laws

What do you understand about law now that you didn’t before?  Why do you think laws might be important to support students with disabilities?  What questions or points of confusion do you still have (I will read these before class and answer ALL your questions)?

Before getting really into the different laws, section 504 always confused me. After reading Which Laws Do What, section 504 was easier for me to make sense of. It provides legal rights for people with disabilities, that include accommodations. It also includes a free and public education in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities. It is important to have laws that support students with disabilities to ensure that they are receiving the best education that suits them. Without these laws, the population of students with disabilities that need special services, modification and accommodations would be over looked. The website that lays out the different laws was very helpful. I like how it listed the certain things that are found under each law, and specified what was found under which law.


Why are some things covered under both laws, all laws, or no laws? How do they determine which law goes under which section? What is the biggest difference between the three sections?