Thursday May 23, 2013
I'm writing this on my iPad on a flight to Chicago for the Autism-one conference, where I hope to learn what is happening around the country for young adults on the autism spectrum who are ready to leave school and enter the economy. At the same time the centers for disease control recently released a new study that used parent reports to assess the prevalence of autism. Rather than using doctors reports (not all children have doctors' diagnoses) or school district reports (some students have 504's instead of IEP's parents report more students from kindergarten to 12th grade. According to the report released March 21' the incidence may be as high as one in 50 in this age groups.
It's clear that we may be facing a crisis when these children reach adulthood. Studies show that as few as 12 percent of adults with autism are employed, whereas over 60 percent of all adults are employed.
One of the barriers to employment for our kids (I teach children with autism: they're my kids too,) is that they lack social skill. Okay, they're weird. But what's wrong with weird? One of the causes of the high incidence of bullying of kids with autism is that typical kids don't understand them! I had one student who was accused by a young woman of stalking her. When I got permission to share Read More...
Sunday May 19, 2013
Randi Weingarten, the president of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) had another paid column in the New York Times, a column published in fullon Huffington Post. While saluting the quality of what the Common Core State Standards will achieve, Randi takes on the haphazard way in which New York State is implementing the core standards, especially in the area of high stakes testing. She argues that children in grades three through eight were tested on materials (that support the CCSS standards) that they have never seen.
New York has adopted the Common Core State Standards. Nevada has, as well. We are also asking the state legislature to wait until the new high stakes test is written and the standards have been in place before they become part of teacher evaluation. The scores, according to state law, will represent 40 percent of a teachers' evaluation, and is designed to be linked to teacher compensation. What about the gym and art teacher? What about the students (like mine) who don't get regular grades and will not be taking the Curriculum Referenced Test?
In the meantime, we do need to get acquainted with the standards. I will spend much of the coming summer writing curriculum and activities to support you as you gear your instruction to the Common Core State Standards. My newest article, a shoe box center for measuring, is based on the Common Core State Standards for Math.
So, what's happening in your location? Are they holding the Common Core State Standards over your head, or are they supporting you as you attempt to implement them?
Saturday May 18, 2013
As we wrap up the school year, it will mean different things for many of us. This year I did not get a job teaching ESY. I loved the extra money, but know I have lots and lots of things on my plate. For those of you who do have ESY, I have lots of Early Intervention Units I designed specifically for the summer. I also plan to add a dinosaur unit for all our little dinosaur enthusiasts: it will also give me a place to create dinosaur dot to dots. Ironically, I have found easy dot to dots of dinosaurs at Edhelper, but don't particularly care for the quality. I attempt to make my pictures look "real" and also make the numbers and dots easy to see and easy to read.
I plan to spend my summer working as an ABA therapist as part of my preparation for my Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I will also be working hard to raise funds for the non-profit we are starting to provide employment for young adults with developmental disabilities.
I also intend to spend a significant amount of time cleaning up and reorganizing my content. I hope, when you head back to school, you will find it easier to find the resources you need as you start up a new school year!
Sunday May 12, 2013
If you, like me, have struggled with IEP goals that don't make sense, or can't be measured, you will understand the golden rule of special education: Pass a student on as you would have a student passed on to you. It means:
- Being sure all your paper work is in order. Have you put everything in its place in the confidential file?
- Before you wrap up your IEP's have a peer read them. Can they be easily understood? Have you avoided value laden or subjective language, especially in behavioral goals?
- How about Behavior Improvement Plans? Can anyone follow them, or are there reinforcers that only you can supply?
- Share students' strengths and weaknesses in a narrative. Or you can use the form I created.
I have put these, and other end of the year resources together to help you finish up your year and send on your students in proper form.