Special Education with Care
Inspire Special Education Department Newsletter
Welcome to the March 2019 Newsletter!
Spring is just around the corner! We can definitely see a difference in our students this time of year. We have a long stretch of instruction without interruption and consequently, it is also the time when students want to be outside and having fun. Please encourage your child to continue to work to his/her fullest potential, even when the weather is calling them outside. We are excited for them to “show what they know,” as the school year begins to wind down. Thank you for all your daily hard work and please let us know how we can assist you.
In This Issue:
- Hot off the Press: New InspireCares Website Resources; iReady resources; Professional Perspective - A NEW SEGMENT!
- Transition Services Corner: New Sped Department Transition Website;
- Did you know: Parent Organizations and the California Department of Education; Zappos Adaptive;
- Academic Support Resources: Strategies for Solving Math Word Problems;
- Behavior Bits: How to Teach Children Self-Control;
- Sensory Corner: 6 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With Visual Sensitivity;
- Caught on the Net: Free Academic Websites/Apps.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
InspireCares Website Resources
We are continuously updating our InspireCares website's Resources section with new resources. Please look for a "NEW" indicator next to the updated resource. The indicator will stay active next to each new resource for one month.
We have added a lot of new resources under all Resources categories on the website. Please visit our newly created Supporting Our Children's Mental Health: A Resource for Parents and Caregivers. and Educationally Related Mental Health Services training recordings.
Please explore and continue to provide your feedback via a feedback survey on the website!
iREADY: Provide Students with a Notes Worksheet to Use During iReady Lessons
If you notice your student passively working through the iReady content at times you can utilize a guided notes handout for your student to use as they progress through an i-Ready lesson to then use for reference or on their final quiz. You can help your child with note taking by modeling at first, scaffolding and then slowly releasing the responsibility fully to the student.
TRANSITION SERVICES CORNER
New Sped Transition Website
SPED Transition is happy to announce the launch of our new one-stop SPED Transition website! Our new SPED Transition website can be found by clicking here . The website features a wealth of information on the Inspire SPED Transition program, an archive of Inspire Transition newsletters, a regularly updated list of student and parent workshops, and a collection of outside Transition resources.
Please take a minute to explore our new website and reach out to your Transition teacher with any feedback or questions!
DID YOU KNOW?
Parent Organizations and the California Department of Education
The California Department of Education, Special Education Division, works closely with the federal and state funded parent organizations to increase parent participation and collaboration between parents and educators to improve the educational system.
Parent Training and Information Center - Each PTI is a parent-directed, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded by the U.S. Department of Education, authorized under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and often enhanced by private sources. Every state in the United States has a funded PTI.
California Community Parent Resource Centers - The CPRC, as described in 20 United States Code 1472, will help ensure that underserved parents of children, ages birth through 26 with disabilities, including low-income parents, parents of limited English proficient children, and parents with disabilities, have the training and information the parents need to enable the parents to participate effectively in helping their children with disabilities.
SB 511, Family Empowerment Centers - Senate Bill 511, enacted as Education Code 56400-56414 , established the FECs funded by IDEA state set aside. The FECs provide services to families with children with disabilities who are from the ages of 3 to 22. The intent of the legislature is to ensure that parents, guardians, and families of children and young adults with disabilities have access to accurate information, specialized training, and peer-to-peer support. Each FEC is a non-profit 501 (c)(3). Funding for the FECs is based upon a specific formula. A rate of $150,000.00 allocated annually to each center to provide the basic services. Additional funding for each FEC is determined according to school enrollment of the region served.
We are highlighting this resource with you as a lot of our families struggle with finding adaptive solutions for their children's everyday living. We are not associated with Zappos but merely wanting to share this wonderful resource with you.
A few years ago, a Zappos employee took a call from a customer whose grandson received the wrong shoes. Sadly, the employee was unable to find a replacement for what she needed. Our customer was frustrated — and rightfully so. She shared that her grandson, Gabriel, has autism and is unable to use shoes with laces due to the challenges of tying them. As Gabriel ages, it becomes increasingly difficult to find footwear for his needs. That call made a lasting impression on our employee, and he vowed to do something about it. Following several months of immersive research, education, and talking with families and people with disabilities, he helped create a team dedicated to sourcing products that are functional, fashionable, and meet all types of needs. Zappos Adaptive aims to connect people with products that make life easier. Check out their website click here for more information. (Please note that any purchases made are your sole responsibility).
Professional Perspective - A NEW SEGMENT!
We would like to present a new segment to you where we highlight a professional member of our special education department. Please meet Jennifer Woods, one of our Special Education Case managers for the South Region. We hope you enjoy her story and her professional perspective. Please tell us what you think!
ACADEMIC SUPPORT RESOURCES
Strategies for Solving Math Word Problems
Math word problems tend to be especially challenging for students with Learning Disabilities (LD). Students with LD often lack "Concept Imagery", or the ability to visualize the whole problem by creating a complete mental image. They often jump right into calculations and computations without understanding what the problem is asking or what they're looking for.
These types of students may also struggle to understand the words or wording within math word problems correctly. The inability to correctly interpret and understand wording greatly impacts their math reasoning skills and often leads them to make the wrong calculations and arriving incorrect conclusions.
Remembering and manipulating information and details in their working memory is another challenge some students with LD face as they try to see the whole picture. Slow processing of information, followed by frustration and anxiety, will often lead them to try and get through math word problems as quickly as possible – which is why they often jump straight into computations in their attempt to make it to the finish line as quickly as possible.
SQRQCQ (Survey, Question, Read, Question, Compute, and Question) is metacognitive guide the provides students with LD with a logical order for solving math word problems. It provides just enough direction to guide them through the reasoning process without overwhelming them. SQRQCQ is also a mnemonic that is easy for students to remember and which they can fall back on when completing homework or taking tests.
Step 1 - SURVEY the Math Problem
The first step to solving a math word problem is to read the problem in its entirety to understand what you are being asked to solve. After you read it, you can decide the most relevant aspects of the problem that need to be solved and what aspects are not relevant to solving the problem. The idea here is to get a general understanding.
Step 2 - QUESTION
Once you have an idea of what you're attempting to solve, you need to determine what formulas, steps, or equations should be utilized in order to find the correct answer. It is impossible to find an answer if you can't determine what needs to be solved. Basically, what are the questions being asked by the problem?
Step 3 - REREAD
Now that you've determined what needs to be solved, reread the problem and pay close attention to specific details. Determine which aspects of the problem are interrelated. Identify all relevant facts and information needed to solve the problem. As you do, highlight them and then write them down.
Step 4 - QUESTION
Now that you're familiar with specific details and how different facts and information within the problem are interrelated, determine what formulas or equations must be used to set up and solve the problem. Be sure to write down what steps or operations you will use for easy reference.
Step 5 - COMPUTE
Use the formulas and/or equations identified in the previous step to complete the calculations. Be sure to follow the steps you outlined while setting up an equation or using a formula. As you complete each step, check it off your list.
Step 6 - QUESTION
Once you've completed the calculations, review the final answer and make sure it is correct and accurate. If it does not appear logical, review the steps you took to find the answer and look for calculation or set-up errors. Recalculate the numbers or make other changes until you get an answer that makes sense.
Tips on Teaching Children Self-Control
From managing impulsive behavior, resisting distractions, and learning the art of delayed gratification, to regulating emotions in the face of conflict and feelings of discomfort, self-regulatory behavior is key to success in all areas of our lives, and since children with poor self-control tend to exhibit more behavioral problems than their self-disciplined peers, teaching children self-control is very important for the long-term success.
But how do we teach our kids the art of self-discipline and self-regulation without spending all of our free time battling meltdowns, temper tantrums, aggressive behavior, and feelings of defeat?
The good news is that learning how to teach children self-control isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Yes, it takes time, patience, and dedication on the part of the parents and caregivers, and there will be days that your child may not comply with your wishes, but the long-term benefit of working with your child to help develop his self-regulating behavior far outweighs the short-term pain.
Here are some strategies and activities to teach children self-control:
Be clear about rules and expectations
This is especially important in young children. By explaining what the rules are, what’s expected, and what is and isn’t appropriate, and taking the time to give your child regular reminders, you are setting him up for success. The easier the rules are, and the more consistently you reinforce them, the easier it is for your kids to meet your expectations.
Follow a predictable routine
By setting clear boundaries around different activities – learning, independent play, outdoor time, quiet time, eating, etc. – you can help teach the different types of self-regulation needed for learning and beyond.
Remind! Remind! Remind!
The younger a child is, the more easily he can (and will) be distracted, so taking the time to give him reminders at regular intervals will go a long way in helping him learn the art of self-control.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive Reinforcement is a fabulous technique parents and caregivers can use to increase the likelihood that a child will repeat a desirable behavior. Sticker charts are a simple, yet effective, form of positive reinforcement that can be extremely motivating for kids.
Always follow through!
As parents, we often hear about the importance of being consistent and following through with consequences. If you fail to follow through, your child won’t take you seriously, learn accountability, or figure out the difference between right and wrong. And while this makes perfect sense, what many parents forget is that the same holds true for rewards. If we neglect to make good on our promises, we take away the motivation our children need to make positive changes to their behavior, which can significantly impact our ability to teach our children self-control and self-discipline.
Model positive behavior
Another important, yet often overlooked parenting strategy is the importance of being a good role model. Our children look up to us and oftentimes want to mimic every single thing we do, and when we take the time to actively demonstrate our own self-regulatory behavior, we are setting our kids up for success.
Make self-discipline fun
When it comes to teaching self-control, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Every child has a different temperament, and what works for one may not work for another. The good news? There are HEAPS of great self-discipline activities for kids that feel more like play than work, offering a fabulous, stress-free way to help children with self-control issues.
Here are 3 fun self-control activities and for kids and parents!
Originally designed to help kids with autism gain better control of the loudness of their voices, this Control-O-Meter by Autism Teaching Strategies can be used to help with various behavioral and self-control challenges. Use the link on the left for an example of the Control-O-Meter for personal space practice.
Use words like this: “People can be very playful and then switch to being very serious in a matter of minutes. It’s an important social skill."
Play with it and model for your child. Try using the Control-O-Meter to show your child various behaviors. As you move the arrow, explain how you progress through the behaviors.
Allow your child to practice. Move the arrow around and as they prectice various behaviors discuss the process with them. Try keeping the Control-o-Meter around during learning and social activities. You can use it instead of verbal prompts.
Feelings and Coping Skills Parking Lot
On a cardboard piece create 'parking spots' large enough for toy cars to fit in by drawing them on the board. Have the child identify various difficult emotions they experience and write them (or write for them) in parking spaces on one side of the 'parking lot'. Write various coping strategies you would like to teach the child or review with the child in the other parking spaces on the opposite side. Give the child a scenario that they must identify an emotion. For example, "How would you feel if someone broke your favorite toy?" Ask the child to "park" their car in the feeling they would experience (drawing feeling faces along with the words provides more visual support). You can use this time to discuss this feeling, have them make a face to show the feeling, etc. Next have the child take that same car, or another car (if you have more than one), and ask them to choose a coping skill they would use to manage that feeling and park their car there. Practice that coping strategy. Continue until all emotions and skills have been identified or choose a different approach by working on one emotion/skill at a time.
All you need are some dollar store bubbles, and you have some 'Self-Control Bubbles'! Take your child outside and explain to him/her that you are going to blow some bubbles in their direction, and the first time you do they can pop away as much as they want. The second time, explain that you are going to blow more bubbles, but this time they MUST NOT pop a single one... even if it lands right on their nose! Explain that the feeling of really, really wanting to do something, but holding back, is called self-control. Praise them for using self-control. Make sure to encourage your child to think about how it feels to have self-control. As the weeks go on refer back to this activity any time your child is struggling with the behaviors that require practicing more self-control.
Understanding Sensory Processing Issues
What are sensory processing issues? The term refers to difficulties managing information that comes in through the senses. These issues, sometimes called sensory processing disorder or sensory integration disorder, can have a big impact on learning and on everyday life.
Sensory processing issues are difficulties with organizing and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Kids with these issues may be oversensitive to sensory input, undersensitive, or both.
There are two types of sensory processing challenges, and many kids experience a mix of the two. One is oversensitivity (hypersensitivity). This leads to sensory avoiding—kids avoid sensory input because it’s too overwhelming. The other is undersensitivity (hyposensitivity). This causes kids to be sensory seeking—they look for more sensory stimulation. Some kids may be both sensory avoiding and sensory seeking. They may be oversensitive to some sensations, and undersensitive to others. A child’s reactions can also change from one day to the next, or even throughout the day, depending on the environment or situation.
Tone things down
Bright colors and “visual clutter” can overwhelm some kids. Help your child keep her room neat and keep distracting posters and knick-knacks to a minimum.
Ease up on eye contact
Some kids with sensory processing issues find it hard or distracting to make eye contact. It might make it hard for her to concentrate on what you’re saying. Try telling her she doesn’t need to look directly at you, but she does need to listen and show that she’s heard you. If seeing what you’re doing is important, ask her to look in your direction.
Address safety concerns
Some kids with sensory processing issues have trouble visualizing where their body is in relation to other objects. They may even have a tendency to bump into things or trip over them. Decorating in simple, contrasting colors can help. You can also use colored tape to highlight doorframes and other potential trouble spots.
For kids who find bright lights painful or upsetting, dimmer lighting can be soothing. Consider using colored light bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps—the light is softer. You can also invest in a flexible multi-head floor lamp. You or your child can adjust the positions of the bulbs for her comfort.
If your child is oversensitive to sunlight, there are a few things you can do to limit her exposure. Get your child sunglasses to keep in the car or in her backpack. Try moving her desk away from direct sunlight. You can also invest in portable shades that can be suction-cupped to car or windows.
CAUGHT ON THE NET
Helpful Websites and APPs
With so many educational resources available online it is at times challenging to decide which ones to try. In each Newsletter issue, we will highlight several free educational websites or apps that support the core academic subjects as well as behavior and come from reputable organizations. We hope you will find them helpful!
XtraMath® is a Math Facts fluency program. By logging in each day for a short period of time your child is able to practice math facts. As a parent you receive progress reports via email and detailed reports can be accessed online any time. ExtraMath does not display advertisement and signing up is free and easy.
Browse hundreds of TED-Ed animations - short, award-winning videos that will spark the curiosity of your learners. You'll also find thousands of other video-based lessons organized by the subjects. Add interactive questions, discussion topics and more to your favorite TED-Ed Animations, TED talks or any video on YouTube. Easily share lessons with your students and track the results.
Sightwords.com is a comprehensive sequence of teaching activities, techniques, and materials for one of the building blocks of child literacy. The site combines the latest literacy research with decades of teaching experience to bring you the best methods of instruction to make teaching easier, more effective and more fun. This website includes a detailed curriculum outline to give you an overview of how the individual lessons fit together. It provides detailed instructions and techniques to show you how to teach the material and how to help a child overcome common roadblocks. It also includes free teaching aids, games, and other materials that you can download and use with your lessons.