Archive for the ‘Children with Disabilities’ Category

We Need to Learn How to Teach Special Needs Students More Effectively

October 13, 2016

 

Special needs students can be trying at the best of times. They can test your patience, are often unresponsive to your wishes and can cause you great stress. But even still, they deserve a quality education. They also deserve to be treated fairly and properly.

It was upsetting to watch this video above, and even though a video doesn’t paint the entire picture and the teacher in question deserves the opportunity of reply, it is a shocking look. Nothing and nobody could ever cause me to drag a student by the hair!

But this shouldn’t be about a teacher’s conduct. It should be about the merits of a system that glosses over the practical needs of teachers such as what to do with students who are volatile, harmful and erratic? What do you do when you are confronted with a special needs student who doesn’t have the capacity to moderate their reckless behaviour?

The teacher in question will get her consequence, but the rest of us will be poorer for a lack of real leadership on this very important issue.

 

Click on the link to read my post on Special-Ed Teacher Includes Her Students in Her Wedding

Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Girl’s Heartwarming Letter

Click on the link to read my post on The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

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Special-Ed Teacher Includes Her Students in Her Wedding

October 6, 2016

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Good teachers care about their students and this teacher is much better than simply ‘good’:

 

A special education teacher has touched the hearts of thousands by including all of her pupils in her wedding.

Kinsey French teaches at the Christian Academy Providence School, which specializes in speech and occupational therapy for children with Down syndrome. 

The teacher, from Louisville, Kentucky, wanted to have the children at her side at her wedding.

She told WLKY: “They were like family to me.  They were my first class and they’ve been my only class and so I knew I couldn’t have a special day without them”.

 

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Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Girl’s Heartwarming Letter

Click on the link to read my post on The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Autistic Girl’s Heartwarming Letter

November 12, 2015

autistic-girl-letter

I love this letter!

 

A letter between a Queensland girl, born with autism, and her mother has gone viral just hours after it was shared to Facebook.

The letter, an exchange between seven-year-old Cadence and mother Angela, was written after Cadence – overwhelmed by negative news stories about children with autism – took shelter beneath her schoolteacher’s desk.

A photograph of the letter was then posted to the I am Cadence Facebook page yesterday, where it has since received more than 340 likes and 640 shares.

In the letter Cadence asked her mother whether “being autism” made her “bad”, citing instances of autistic children being retrained in order to “keep others safe”.

She then goes on to declare that, “I was born autism but that doesn’t mean I was born bad”, before asking her mother “Are you crying?”

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

August 12, 2015

 

bullying-the-disabled

It’s time to commence with another school year. Spare a thought for the trepidation faced by students harassed for having disabilities.

The following is a great piece on this very issue written by Chester Goad courtesy of The Huffington Post:

 

Typically going back to school means seeing old friends and making new connections, and while most kids are nervous about going back to school, some kids are actually terrified.

Research suggests that between 150,000-200,000 students are bullied in our schools every day. Many school systems have even added hotlines and “Student Resource Officers” (SRO’s) who can help identify and prevent bullying. Still bullying happens, and statistics show that students with disabilities are more at risk. In fact, anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the local cultural norm is a target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies.

Growing up is hard but growing up with a disability brings a different set of challenges. Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators, parents, and other students aren’t paying attention. What does all this mean?

It means families should talk more. It means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to avoid intervention. Yes, it’s that complicated.

In 2013, the increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied prompted the U.S. Department of Education to release a “Dear Colleague Letter” reminding schools of their responsibility to provide a bully-free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, but especially those with disabilities.

Parents of students with disabilities or any sort of difference should be vigilant and listen to their kids when they’re discussing school. Pay attention to changes in behavior, especially aggression and meltdowns. If your instinct tells you there may be an issue with bullying, talk with teachers or other adults and ask about changes in behavior or attitude. It’s a challenge for us as parents not to want to handle things completely on our own, but parents should avoid confronting others about bullying until they have all the information, and it’s best to leave the confrontation part to the school. Discuss the issues with teachers or administration. They may be able to give you valuable insight before you talk with the other parents or take your concerns to a different level.

Some adults are inclined to let bullying go assuming that kids will just “work it out,” and some students do work out one-time incidences, but sadly, true bullying involves a pattern of inappropriate behavior and when left alone can worsen circumstances for everyone involved. In some instances, students may truly not understand that their actions are being perceived as bullying. They may simply be seeking attention. However, in other situations they know exactly what they’re doing. Parents should never just “let it go” or trust the situation to work itself out.

Talk to your kids, and listen. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying.

Student suicide rates are on the rise. Quick, proactive communication and education is key, and could save lives.

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention (because intervention by peers is considered the most powerful deterrent to bullying), and to foster open positive relationships between parents and schools.

Going back to school is always going to be a little nerve wracking. Kids will always worry about classes, friendships, and keeping up with the latest fads. But they should never have to worry for their safety.

 

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

May 7, 2015

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I think we all need to understand how to teach children with autism more effectively, but few of us would ever pull a stunt as difficult to defend as this teacher is alleged to have done. I hear she has a reputation of being an excellent teacher, but I’m sure this would not go down as a career highlight:

 

 

A Cobb County, Ga., special education teacher was charged with cruelty to children after allegedly putting a student with autism in a trash can and comparing him to Oscar the Grouch.

According to the warrant issued by Cobb Schools’ Police, an employee at Mt. Bethel Elementary witnessed special needs teacher Mary Katherine Pursley holding a second-grade boy upside down by his legs above a trash can. The witness saw Pursley lower the boy into the trash can up to his shoulders, the warrant says.

Police say the incident happened during the after-school program. The boy came inside upset about another student bothering him. He was reportedly screaming and would not calm now.

According to the warrant, that’s when Pursley talked with the victim about Oscar the Grouch and his “trashy behavior” and told him, “If he has trashy behavior like Oscar, he’d go in the trash can.”

After hanging him upside down inside the trash can, Purley allegedly asked, “Are you going to stop yelling now?” The boy was crying, yelling, and screaming “stop.”

The unnamed employee stepped in to confront Pursley and immediately notified administrators and police.

Pursley was removed from her teaching position, and a warrant was issued for Cruelty to Children in the first degree.

The Cobb County school system released a statement in reaction to the arrest:

“The District is aware of a teacher charged by police with Cruelty to Child. It is a personnel matter under investigation and no comment can be given. Safety and security of Cobb students continues to be our number one priority. Our attention is on making every remaining day of school for our students safe, healthy, engaging, meaningful and focused on academic excellence.”

A district spokesman did confirm Pursley is currently a special education teacher at Mt. Bethel Elementary School. She’s been with the district for 21 years. Right now, she’s on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office confirms she was released Tuesday on a $5,000 bond.

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

Click on the link to read my post on Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism

School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

March 12, 2015

 

I know it’s a shameful plug of a product but this ad is quite wonderful. It shows us up for not investing enough time to communicate and fully connect with people who have disabilities.

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

Click on the link to read my post on Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism
Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

October 18, 2014

 

Blind kids don’t score touchdowns. Or do they?

Justin Olenginski scored his first touchdown on Oct. 11. It was an extraordinary moment for the 15-year-old, who was born blind and has special needs that prevent him from participating in sports.

His Dallas, Pennsylvania, community wanted to give him a memory he’d never forget, ABC News reports. So, the freshman’s high school football team named him captain for that Saturday’s game. After halftime, the announcer called Olenginski onto the field. While the other players watched, he took the quarterback’s handoff and walked down the field — with another player guiding him — to score a touchdown.

When he reached the end zone, the crowd erupted, fireworks were set off and his older brother, Michael, a senior and captain of the team, lifted him into the air as players from both teams crowded around them.

 

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

Click on the link to read my post on Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism
Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Click on the link to read my post on Disabled Children: A Missed Opportunity for Us All

 

Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

March 2, 2014

 

dyslexia

While I cannot comment on a report that claims there is no easy definition for dyslexia, I do agree that learning difficulties and ADHD labels have been helpful to poor teachers looking for an excuse.

Mr Hitchens has gone a lot further than I would, but the fact that many teachers rely on labels such as dyslexia to avoid full responsibility for a child’s lack of progress is hard to dispute:

I doubt there has ever been a society so easily fooled by pseudo-science and quackery as ours is. Millions of healthy people take happy pills that  do them obvious harm, and are increasingly correlated with inexplicable suicide and worse.

Legions of healthy children are drugged into numbness because they fidget during  boring lessons, and countless people are persuaded that they or their children suffer from  a supposed disease called ‘dyslexia’, even though there is no evidence at all that it exists.

A few weeks ago I rejoiced at the first major cracks in this great towering dam of lies. Dr Richard Saul brought out his courageous and overdue book, ADHD Does Not Exist.

I also urge everyone to read James Davies’s book Cracked, on the inflated claims of psychiatry since it sold its soul to the pill-makers.

Now comes The Dyslexia Debate, published yesterday, a rigorous study of this alleged ailment by two distinguished academics – Professor Julian  Elliott of Durham University, and Professor Elena Grigorenko of Yale University.

Their book makes several points. There is no clear definition of what ‘dyslexia’ is. There is no objective diagnosis of it. Nobody can agree on how many people suffer from it. The widespread belief that it is linked with high intelligence does not stand up to analysis.

And, as Parliament’s Select Committee on Science and Technology said in 2009: ‘There is no convincing evidence  that if a child with dyslexia is not labelled as dyslexic, but receives full support for his or her reading difficulty, that the child will do any worse than a child who is labelled dyslexic and then receives special help.’

 This is because both are given exactly the same treatment. But as the book’s authors say: ‘Being labelled dyslexic can be perceived as desirable for many reasons.’ These include extra resources and extra time in exams. And then there’s the hope that it will ‘reduce the shame and embarrassment that are often the consequence of literacy difficulties. It may help exculpate the child, parents and teachers from any perceived sense of responsibility’.

I think that last point is the decisive one and the reason for the beetroot-faced fury that greets any critic of ‘dyslexia’ (and will probably greet this book and article). If it’s really a disease, it’s nobody’s fault. But it is somebody’s fault. For the book also describes the furious resistance, among teachers,  to proven methods of teaching children to read. Such methods have been advocated by  experts since Rudolf Flesch wrote his devastating book Why Johnny Can’t Read almost 60 years ago.

There may well be a small number of children who have physical problems that stop them learning to read. The invention of ‘dyslexia’ does nothing to help them. It means they are uselessly lumped in with millions of others who have simply been badly taught.

It also does nothing for  that great majority of poor readers. They are robbed of one of life’s great pleasures and essential skills.

What they need, what we all need, is proper old-fashioned teaching, and who cares if the silly teachers think it is ‘authoritarian’? That’s what teaching is.

Click on the link to read my post on Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism
Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Click on the link to read my post on Disabled Children: A Missed Opportunity for Us All

Click on the link to read my post on Meet the 14-Year-Old on his Way to Becoming a Nobel Prize Winner (Video)

Valuable Tips for Teaching Children With Autism

November 26, 2013

 

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Courtesy of blog.gryphonhouse.com:

1. Remember that autism is a spectrum disorder.

Children with autism display a range of behaviors and abilities, and they exhibit symptoms that range from very mild to quite severe. The word autism can describe a child who fits anywhere within that range.

2. Always use child-first language when describing the child.

The child with autism who is in your classroom is just that—a child with autism, not an “autistic child.” Child-first language helps others see that you view the child first and the disability second.

3. Focus on the child’s interests.

When trying to encourage a child with autism to play, focus on the interests of the child and make interactions with others as natural as possible.

4. Remember that novel situations can be overwhelming.

Recognize that children with autism may have difficulty adjusting to new play situations and new play materials.

5. Recognize that the environment is important.

Children with autism need a special place in the room where they can go without distraction and without all the sensory input they receive elsewhere.

6. Begin social-skills training early.

Learning how to respond in social situations should begin as early as possible. It is a critical skill for children to possess and enables them to interact with others more easily.

7. View parents as partners.

Parents often agree that the one thing a teacher can do to understand their perspective is to be respectful of their opinions and treat them as valued contributors.

8. Value the uniqueness of each child.

Each child is unique, and while she may have characteristics typical of other children with autism, she will have other characteristics that are not.

9. Remember that there is no one single method that works.

There is no magic pill or specific program that can “cure” or “fix” autism. While many programs and methods have been tried and are successful with some children, they may not be successful with others. Look for methods with a solid research base.

10. Consider that learning about autism is a process.

Learning about autism is not about a product; it is about a process of gathering information and making informed choices, based on the needs of the individual child.

 

Click on the link to read my post on Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Click on the link to read my post on Disabled Children: A Missed Opportunity for Us All

Click on the link to read my post on Meet the 14-Year-Old on his Way to Becoming a Nobel Prize Winner (Video)

Click on the link to read my post on Treatment of Autistic Children Says a Lot About Our Failing System

Autistic Boy Gives an Inspiring Graduation Speech

July 20, 2013

 

 

As we leave here today I have a challenge for all of you. We are all different. Not less, just different. We all have things we’re good at, things we need to work on, and things we need help with. Whenever you see someone else who is different, instead of just judging them or being a bully, I challenge you to offer help and treat that person with the kindness you have shown me over the last six years. Remember, all of you can make a difference in someone’s life. You’ve already made a difference in mine.”

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on Girl Banned from Museum because Her Wheelchair May Dirty Their Carpet

Click on the link to read my post on Disabled Children: A Missed Opportunity for Us All

Click on the link to read my post on Meet the 14-Year-Old on his Way to Becoming a Nobel Prize Winner (Video)

Click on the link to read my post on Treatment of Autistic Children Says a Lot About Our Failing System


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