Diverse Teaching Strategies

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Technology and Emotional Behavioral Disorders

This week’s topic of Technology and Emotional Behavioral Disorders is discussed around the following articles:

  1. http://at4schools.wetpaint.com/page/Technology+Aided+Strategies+for+students+who+are+Emotionally+Disturbed
  2. http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2005/proceedings/2466.htm
  3. Using the Computer with Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Key strategy for dealing with students with these type of disorders is POSITIVEnon-confrontational mannerisms. This is so important for your student, classroom, and student community. Through my own experience with students with these types of disorders, I have found these students to be challenging, insightful, and intelligent. I have seen these students be successful in school when they are in a classroom that has a caring, loving, and consistent adult role model.

The first article has some great tips about how to integrate technology into your classroom for students with emotional behavioral disorders. I have used most of these strategies in my classroom and have had success with them. The strategies that I felt worked the best were behavior charts with younger students, iPods with middle school students, and Brainpop, Inspiration, and Wii with my middle school students.

The second article talks about more statistics about which students are more likely to have these types of disorders. It specifically talks about how the lack of training for staff and implementing computers for a contained classroom of students with this type of disorder was being experimented with.

The third article is quite old and has some good information, although I believe these types of disorders are more widely understood now as to twenty years ago. It does offer some great ways to group students and use cooperative learning strategies to help these student learn to work with others and manage their behavior when working with others.

I believe the key strategies for students that suffer from emotional behavioral disorders is patience, consistency, and positivity. In my experience, I have found in general that students that have these types of disorders are intelligent and inquisitive. Integrating technology into your classroom for these students shouldn’t be a difficult or time consuming task. What I felt worked for me was to over-plan for these students. I always had something in my back pocket for days when the student needed a little extra attention or a quite place to calm down.

I stayed consistent with my discipline in the classroom. This was challenging with the student, but necessary for him/her to understand that there were consequences for behavior that was not safe for the classroom. As time went along, this consistency helped my student have less meltdowns and looked forward to music class. My consistency with classroom cues, rules, and songs helped the student know what to expect each time in class. That not only helped these students but all my students feel comfortable in my classroom.

Allowing iPods in my classroom was a key motivator for my students, especially for my students with emotional behavior disorders. It gave them a way to shut out the noise in the room as well as give them a focus to calm down with. I would assume if you have access to iPads, that these instruments would be great way to motivate students to learn as well. The many different apps that are available to supplement your curriculum is exciting! This excitement can help motivate behavior for students that struggle with these types of disorders.

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Funding and How it affects your Teaching Strategy

This week’s topic is based on the following readings:

  1. Funding Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities
  2. http://www.health.ny.gov/community/disability/on_target/target8.htm
  3. Building An Initial Information Base: Assistive Technology Funding Resources for School-Aged Students with Disabilities

Each of the articles above contained a lot of information concerning how to find and secure funding for assistive technology devices for students. They all outlined requirements, required paperwork, pitfalls, and sources of funding. Instead of answers though, it left me with more questions. Why is the objective of funding so difficult, time consuming, and seemingly overwhelming?

The one idea that stuck out the most for me was specified in the first article, “Locate an advisor who can support and guide you through the funding maze. This may be a social worker, therapist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, or virtually anyone who has knowledge and is willing to help you with jargon and paperwork.” This seems to be a huge necessity for anyone trying to secure funding for assistive technology in their classroom for their students. A classroom teacher has such little free time to be able to research and secure funding without help. I can’t imagine trying to do this on my own!

Then I think about the parents and how are they going to be able to make their way through the paperwork without help from an outside source, such as a social worker. Just making my way through the readings and understanding the application process and then the appeal process was overwhelming for myself. It just seems ridiculous that there are so many hoops to jump through when you are just trying to give a student an opportunity to learn with a device that will help them succeed!

How do you develop a teaching strategy for your students who are waiting for funding for a device that is imperative to their learning? Ingenuity and creativity is necessary for you as the teacher to help the student while he or she waits for funding for a piece of assistive technology.

How? Talk to your special education department coordinator. Contact the local social services office and ask about lending or renting possibilities. Local advocacy groups such as the Arc of Monroe, American Association of People with Disabilities, or the local Veteran’s hospital. These groups apply for funding on a daily basis and will have more knowledge about where to go for help.

This website might be helpful: http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/pathfinder/resources/page.aspx?id=1967

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Understanding the Law for your Strategy

This week’s readings center on the laws that protect and allow for diverse learners of all capacities in our communities, government, and schools.

http://www.fctd.info/resources/techlaws.php
http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Foundation/Laws/atlegislation.php

These links above have an extensive amount of information relating to the laws and how they protect and allow for assistive technology for students that need or would benefit from the use.

The first link, includes links to eleven different laws enacted by Congress that discuss assistive technology and its potential users. As an educator, you should be fairly familiar with these laws and how they pertain to your classroom. This knowledge will help you devise teaching strategies that will allow the diverse learners in your classroom to succeed. An example is the Telecommunications Law of 1996, Title 3 that extensively covers the requirements of close captioning and video descriptions requirements for video program accessibility. So a great strategy would be to use the close captioning feature when presenting video programs. This feature is mandated on all material created after 1996 so all learners can access it equally. This is an assistive technology that has been a requirement for 17 years already!

It is important to read through these laws to be sure that you are providing a classroom that is accessible to all learners.

“Prior to 1988, several laws addressed the potential of AT use by individuals with disabilities, but none mandated its use. Since then, laws specifically addressing the AT needs of persons with disabilities have been passed.”
-excerpt from http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Foundation/Laws/atlegislation.php

With today’s technology advances and continuing creativity in the field of technology, teachers have more opportunities than ever to provide assistive technology to their students and know the laws guarantee these possibilities.

Some assistive technology strategies guaranteed by law can include some of the following items:

  • close captioning use
  • Telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD)
  • Larger keyboard for computers
  • voice recognition software
  • iPads or tablets

There is more assistive technologies being created every day. The above is just a small list of ideas for you to get started! Designing your teaching strategies with universal design in mind will help accommodate all students.

Why not use assistive technology for all of your students?

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