Saturday, September 28, 2013

Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development

I find there are three stages in Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development where faith can play a significant role in social development. During the Identity vs. Role confusion stage, adolescents are trying to find their identity and fit in to society. They hope to do so in a positive manner. They also begin at this stage to start thinking more philosophically and spiritually. Through their ability to become devoted to friends and causes, they may find themselves joining a peer group that has a Christian background. This gives many a feeling of identity. This is also the stage that most adolescents’ faith is being tested. If their peer groups are delinquents, or they have developed an inferiority complex from the previous stage of development, they may find themselves becoming delinquents as well. The next stage that I feel faith may contribute to the emotional and social development of the individual is the Generativity vs. Self-absorption or Stagnation stage. Many individuals in this stage begin to teach their children about their culture, if their culture is a Christian culture, the individual may want to pass their ideals on to their children. They begin to look at the bigger picture. In other words, they no longer see the world as a place that holds them as the epicenter, but now may see the world as much bigger than them. They want social change and to help their brothers. They usually turn to faith to find the answers on how to help. On the other hand, if the person is more self-absorbed, they do not see the world in the same way. They may want to strive to help only themselves. Their end goal may be material, even if they feel that they are faithful, or Christians, they may be more devoted to the capitalist dream than to Christianity. The final stage that I feel faith may play a big part in is the Integrity vs. Despair stage. We all learn at a young age that death is inevitable. Whether you have faith in an afterlife or not often determines whether you fear death or not. A person with a lack of faith may fight death all the way, but those with a strong sense of Christianity, may be more accepting their inevitable fate.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Personal Stages of Moral Development

Pre-conventional level ~ The pre-conventional level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development, and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner. A child with preconventional morality has not yet adopted or internalized society's conventions regarding what is right or wrong, but instead focuses largely on external consequences that certain actions may bring.

Stage One – At preschool age, I thought that everything I did was morally wrong. In essence, I felt I was a morally bad person because I was punished for everything. I did know that some things were worse than others because I did get punished more severely for some things than others. For example, talking above a quiet whisper was a stronger punishment than other actions, so I knew it must have been bad to talk to people unless I was spoken to first. Therefore, I would not initiate conversation with people.

Stage Two – My siblings and I would take up for each other. We knew if we did not, the punishment would be worse. We would lie for one another and keep secrets for one another. What I got out of this was they would give protect me if I would protect them.

Conventional level ~ The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. Those who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development. Conventional morality is characterized by an acceptance of society's conventions concerning right and wrong. At this level an individual obeys rules and follows society's norms even when there are no consequences for obedience or disobedience. Adherence to rules and conventions is somewhat rigid, however, and a rule's appropriateness or fairness is seldom questioned.

Stage Three – I reached this stage of moral development when I began elementary school. I liked the positive attention I received from the teachers at the school and did everything I could to get positive feedback. I was a straight A student because I liked feeling as if I were a “good girl.” I began to act like a perfect little angel because I wanted to be accepted by the church. Everything I did had to be perfect.

Stage Four – I reached this stage in middle school or high school. I strove to uphold the law. However, since I got arrested for doing things I did not feel was wrong (running away); I decided there no matter what I did, I would end up in jail anyway. Therefore, I began doing things to break the law (drinking, drugs). I still made excellent grades in school and went to church, but I led a double life.

Post-conventional level ~ The post-conventional level, also known as the principled level, is marked by a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual’s own perspective may take precedence over society’s view; individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. Post-conventional moralists live by their own ethical principles—principles that typically include such basic human rights as life, liberty, and justice. People who exhibit post-conventional morality view rules as useful but changeable mechanisms—ideally rules can maintain the general social order and protect human rights. Rules are not absolute dictates that must be obeyed without question. Because post-conventional individuals elevate their own moral evaluation of a situation over social conventions, their behavior, especially at stage six, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.

Stage Five – I did begin to feel that others opinions were important while I was in my late teens, early twenties. I believe it was around the time I moved out on my own. I bypassed Utilitarianism and Relativism fairly quickly.

Stage Six – I do not believe in Utilitarianism or Relativism. I am more of an Absolutist and always have been. I do not believe that laws should be adjusted for the person or the greater good. I feel that each person should obey the same laws and get the same punishment for their crimes. I feel I am in this stage as we speak.

I do believe that women go through the three stages that Gilligan described. However, when young, all children (even rich white males) are selfish. Because of this, I don’t think that is enough to consider this a stage of moral development. I know that women give up a lot when they have families of their own. They do not give things up because they have to, but because they want to. However, in my experience, this is not a stage of moral development either. We do things to please our families not because we think it is morally right, but because we love them. I think most women balance what makes them happy with what makes their families happy, but men do the same thing. I think Kolberg’s sixth stage of moral development is the same stage as Gilligan’s third. It is about balance. I know that women and men are different, but most of us learn right in wrong in the same way. I do not think there is enough evidence or depth to Gilligan’s theory. I also do not feel her theory has anything to do with morals.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


We ordinarily think about special schools as having particular value for students with acting-out behavior. Special classes and special schools, however, also provide environments where students with internalizing disorders feel safe and can flower.

Pauline entered the school bedraggled. Tall and slender, she hobbled in more like a wounded crow than a graceful swan. This was Pauline's first day in a special school for students with emotional and behavioral difficulties. She was now 14 years old.

For the past three years in secondary school her life had been a story of daily trauma. Due to her height, she had very quickly become the butt of jokes among her peer group. The jokes led to bullying—verbal taunts and eventually physical attacks. Teachers tried to intervene, but always the hunting pack of students would seek out its prey, and Pauline would again fall victim to abuse from her peers.

Pauline changed from being an outward-going student of average ability, always eager to contribute in class. She became withdrawn, pale, shoulders hunched, frightened to speak or to be spoken to for fear of ridicule. When teachers, unaware of the peer pressure she was suffering, urged her to play a more active role in class, she became distraught. School was no longer a safe place; Pauline began to play truant. When her parents discovered this, they forced her to attend school daily by taking her there themselves. This caused Pauline physical distress to the extent that she would vomit. Her peer group turned on her even more, barring her from entering the bathroom when she needed to be sick (pretending, if a teacher passed by, to be helping her).

Pauline's emotional state did not cause her to display aggressive behavior, but it certainly reflected a disturbed child who found her whole school environment disturbing and alien. Such was her mental state that she began to underachieve in all lessons. There were suggestions from teachers that she had specific learning difficulties. She was certainly suffering from curriculum malnourishment. The curriculum diet she was receiving was failing to give her any sustenance. She was failing to thrive in her school environment, merely existing as a lonely, hyper-anxious, vulnerable child. She had lost her dignity.

At the instigation of the educational psychologist, an alternative placement was sought in a special school for students with emotional and behavioral difficulties. As the weeks passed in the special school, Pauline began to make contact with the teachers. She would never speak in class, but after a lesson ended, she would hang around to discuss some point with the teacher. Teachers were soon convinced that she did not have any significant learning difficulty.

Her attendance was good. Gradually, the dreadful pallor began to fade; her eyes lost some of their traumatized glare. She eventually shared with the school counselor the extent of her personal pain and anguish over the previous three years. She described it as "a daily nightmare." She had found the secondary school of 1,500 students totally disorientating. Once her peer group abandoned her, she described herself as "floating in a sea of people," none of whom she recognized, or who recognized her.

In the small special school of 40 students, Pauline found peace. She learned to trust again—first adults, and then fellow students. She became an active participant in classroom learning experiences, no longer the peripheral onlooker. Her capacity to care for others became clear, and she befriended many isolated individuals.

Her time at the special school was short. She left at the age of 16, and not all problems had been solved by far. Three years of lost education cannot be regained in two. New situations or change still caused Pauline anxiety. But when she left the school, she had a renewed sense of self-worth. This "restrictive environment" had been her safe haven; it had given her back her dignity.

1. How would you respond to someone's argument that Pauline belonged in a general education class in a general education school, not the special school?

I would explain that Pauline was traumatized by her school experience, and she is now suffering from high anxiety due to the experience. I would also explain that anxiety is not easily remedied in a loud and crowded space such as a large school. However, the small school setting could help her learn in an environment in which she feels safe. I would further explain how research shows that children in survival mode have a great deal of difficulty learning

2. If you were a teacher in a general education school, how would you respond to bullying of students like Pauline?

I would advocate on Pauline’s behalf by suggesting the administration really does something about the bullying problem instead of making it worse. I get so frustrated with administrators who say if they do something about bullying, it will only cause more problems for the victim (oops – tangent). I would also suggest that a respect policy be devised, implemented, and practiced in the school as seen on the behavioral supports video we watched in class. In the classroom, I would make sure Pauline felt safe and would not tolerate any bullying, teasing, or belittling. If I saw that Pauline was uncomfortable with anything I asked of her, I would not push her and would allow her space. I would also build a relationship with Pauline so that she would be more comfortable in my classroom.

3. What would be required to make all schools small, supportive, and inviting places for students like Pauline?

They could make the classes smaller, hire more staff, stagger schedules for students (begin and release times for classes could be staggered), split the classes in the cafeteria to prevent overcrowding, and schedule restroom breaks. This would not have to be done for all of the students, just for students who are overwhelmed with crowds and noise, i.e. Pauline, students with an ASD, students with high anxiety, etc.

“DON’T JUDGE ME… You can’t handle half of what I’ve dealt with. There’s a reason I do what I do… There’s a reason I’m what I am.”

~ Anonymous

Friday, May 31, 2013

Response to Intervention

Elliot, Judy. (2008). Response to Intervention: What & Why?. School Administrator, 65.8, 10-12.

Elliot defines RTI as “the practice of providing hig-quality instruction and intervention matched to student need, monitoring rogress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and applying student response data to important education decisions.” Elliot asserts the there is a need for every student in the education system to have their learning needs met to ensure future success. Elliot suggests that RTI requires culture to acknowledge and understand all students can learn, resources must be aligned to facilitate student growth, and “appreciation and continual use of data in making instructional and programmatic changes.” Elliot states RTI is researched based and in order to be successful, educators must understand all children can learn, intervention should be implemented early, RTI is a multitiered model for instruction, and problem-solving methods should be used to make decisions within the multitiered model. Elliot defines the three tiers as follows: tier 1 – all students; tier 2 –target instruction; and tier 3 – intensive instruction.

Mesmer, Eric M.; and Mesmer, Heidi. (2008). Response to Intervention (RTI): What Teachers of Reading Need to Know. Reading Teacher, 62.4, 280-290.

Mesmer and Mesmer give a history of RTI and explain the laws surrounding RTI. Mesmer and Mesmer suggest that the RTI process should be implemented in 5 steps. In step 1, Mesmer and Mesmer suggest establishing universal literacy practices. In step 2, Mesmer and Mesmer suggest that educators should implement “scientifically valid interventions” (283). In step 3, Mesmer and Mesmer suggest educators should monitor the progress of students receiving interventions. In step 4, Mesmer and Mesmer suggest that educators come up with individualized interventions for their students that are still struggling. And in step 5, Mesmer and Mesmer suggest that a team try to determine the need for special education services for students who continue to struggle. The authors explain that RTI is designed to benefit the students by incorporating assessment and interventions. The authors are concerned about the requirement of RTI being implemented by using scientifically based instruction. Mesmer and Mesmer argue that many companies may label products as scientifically based because an experiment was done on the product. Therefore, it may be difficult for educators to find beneficial products and programs.

Reutebuch, Colleen K. (2008). Succeed With a Response-to-Intervention Model. Intervention in School & Clinic, 44.2, 126-128.

Colleen K. Reutebuch is a professor and research associate at Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Reutebuch defines Response to Intervention as a framework in which high-quality instruction and intervention is matched to the needs of the students. Reutebuch continues that RTI includes progress monitoring and assess-ment in order to make educational decisions on the students, as well as improving the outcomes of students in both special and general education. Reutebuch explains the guidelines set up by the federal government are a framework in which states and local school districts can develop their own appropriate model. These guidelines include: implementation of research-based instruction, early intervention, multi-tiered intervention, individual problem-solving protocol, fidelity checks and consistency, identifying at-risk students, differentiated instruction, frequent assessments, multi-disciplinary teams to determine special education needs, professional development, follow-up support, grouping formats, collaboration of personnel, determining instructors at various tiers, setting short-term goals, developing an entry and exit plan, culturally responsive practices, implementation of constant support, family involvement, and an understanding of RTI and student achievement. Reutebuch guides the audience through each of the guidelines and explicitly explains how the guidelines should be implemented.

Samuels, Christina A. (2009). High Schools Try Out RTI. Education Week, 28.19, 20-22.

Samuels’ article focuses on the lack of research on the implementation of a RTI model a secondary level, which is also addressed in the Elliot article. Samuels uses high schools in Colorado to show how RTI is being implemented and to outline the difficulties in implementing RTI at the secondary level. Samuels uses Palmer High School in Colorado as a model of effective implementation of RTI. The teachers at the school have pooled their resources so that each department could develop programs to address the needs of struggling students. These programs were organized into “tiers of increasing intensity, while adding other types of interventions for students.” The school also opened a tutoring center in which the students who are struggling can go to after instruction in the inclusive classrooms is given. The teachers monitored their low performing students to see if the programs resulted in higher grades. The educators found that students who used the programs were more successful than students who did not. Samuels’ article does not address the fact that many students with disabilities lack the self-determination skills needed in order to evaluate whether or not they need to go to tutoring.

Tilly, David. (2008). Questions to Guide RTI’s Use. Educational Leadership, 64.8, 22-23.

Tilly’s article defines Response to Intervention as a “framework for organizing instruction in schools using research-validated procedures and decision-making structures.” In Tilly’s district, Heartland Area Education Agency 11 in Iowa Tilly states RTI has been implemented for eighteen years. Tilly states that consensus must be built in order for RTI to be effective by providing information and allowing educators to question and challenge information as well as involving staff when the principles of teaching and learning are discussed. Tilly suggests that false notions, such as the need to know students’ IQs, that students’ learning can be accelerated by placing them in special education, and the disability label determines the instruction for the students. Therefore, Tilly suggests teachers undergo professional development in order to debunk these issues. Tilly suggests using current practices to build on for the RTI infrastructure by establishing a leadership team who identifies modifications to be implemented to current practices without holding on to existing regularities. Tilly further suggests that implementation be reviewed and refined often in order to ensure effectiveness and maintain long-term student learning.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

“I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child with special needs. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those with special needs.”

~ Anonymous

Friday, May 3, 2013

Alternative Assessments for Students with Disabilities

Ahlgrim-Delzell, Lynn; Browder, Diane; Flowers, Claudia; and Spooner, Fred. (2005). Teachers’ Perceptions of Alternative Assessments. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30.2, 81-92.

The authors state the purpose of the study is to “examine teachers’ perceptions of alternate assessments.” The authors surveyed 983 teachers from 5 states by using two inventories one with a 5-point scale rating and one with a 4-point scale rating to determine what influences the alternative assessment outcome and the impact of alternative assessment. The samples used were representative for each of the five states surveyed. The study shows that teachers often agree that students with disabilities should be included in general education settings and should be held accountable, but they did not agree that the alternative assessments were beneficial and added more paperwork and time to their schedules. Therefore, the researchers suggest that more resources should be offered to alleviate the demands of alternative assessments. The researchers state limitations to the study include confounding factors, and a lack of evidence that suggests their findings would improve the outcomes of students with disabilities. Also, the researchers warn about generalizing the results to states that were not sampled.

Crisp, Cheryl. (2007). The Efficacy of Intelligence Testing in Children with Physical Disabilities, Visual Impairments and/or the Inability to Speak. International journal of Special Education, 22.1, 137-141.

Crisp indicates that the design of intelligence assessments may inhibit an accurate score for students with disabilities. Crisp states that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires all students, even those with disabilities to be held accountable on academic assessments, but it does not acknowledge that some of the students with disabilities may never attain the academic level of their peers. Crisp asserts that each person with a disability is an individual and must always be put before their disability, and each disability is different in that individual. Crisp argues that standardized tests fail to take the nature of the disability into consideration, and many fail to allow accommodations to be made to the test because doing so would hinder the integrity of the test. Crisp provides a list made by Fagan of those who are unable “comply with the requirements of standardized testing: cerebral palsy, all of the muscular dystrophies, dystonia, brain injury, some language disorders, developmental disorders, mental disorders, and cultural differences. Crisp provides several more appropriate options for measuring intelligence.

Dykeman, Buce F. (2006). Alternative Strategies in Assessing Special Education Needs. Education, 127.2, 265-273.

Dykeman states that Response to Intervention relies on standardized, norm-referenced assessment to determine special education needs of students with disabilities. Dykeman argues that functional assessment, authentic assessment, curriculum-based measurement, and play-based assessment should be used within the RTI model, but psychometric issues of reliability, validity, and fairness have become issues when determining the needs of students. Dykeman explains how students with disabilities are assessed and outlines the guidelines of diagnosis according to IDEIA 2004. However, Dykeman argues that IDEIA 2004 does not tell how assessments and evaluations are to be conducted. Dykeman argues, as does Crisp, that standardized, norm-referenced tests cannot always be indicative of the cognitive abilities of students with disabilities. Therefore, Dykeman suggests the use of the alternative assessments he discusses, which the language of IDEIA does encourage. Dykeman suggests more evidence based assessments be used that address the individual needs of students in order to allow fairness while determining special education needs.

Roach, Andrew T. (2006). Influences on Parent Perceptions of an Alternate Assessment for Students with Severe Cognitive Disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31.3, 267-274.

Roach states the purpose of his research was to “understand the variables that influence parents’ perceptions of the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment.” The study included special educators in both elementary and secondary systems across the state of Wisconsin. The sample of students included was representative of the gender population and grade levels in which the study was done in Wisconsin. Demographics on parents were not gathered, but parents were given pencil and paper rating scale surveys to ascertain their understanding of the WAA. The findings show that parents were positive about the WAA process, supportive participation of all students, and pleased with the alignment of the WAA to Wisconsin’s academic standards. Roach also found that student age was directly correlated to parent’s perceptions of the WAA. Parents with older students were less likely to be satisfied with the WAA, which mirrors parents’ perceptions of inclusion. Furthermore, Roach found that parents were confident in the WAA results, and those parents who were more involved with their students education were more satisfied with the outcome. Therefore, Roach suggests that resources, support, training, and support materials be provided to facilitate parent understanding of the WAA.

Vacca, John J. (2007). Incorporating Interests and Structure to Improve Participation of a Child with Autism in a Standardized Assessment: A Case Study Analysis. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22.1, 51-59.

Vacca, an assistant professor of Individual and Family Studies at the University of Delaware, states that research indicates standardized assessments fail to predict concrete suggestions on supporting students with autism and fail to offer insight as to how behaviors of these children will be manifested in multiple environments. Vacca also points out that some attempts to assess children with autism by using standardized testing is unsuccessful, so researchers are looking at alternative assessments, which include interest areas to provide supports and instructional strategies for students with autism. Vacca accommodated the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-Second Edition by using interest areas to assess the developmental level of a child with autism, who was once deemed untestable. Vacca found that the use of the interests particular to the child helped the child complete the BSID II. Therefore, Vacca recommends that assessments for children with autism be accommodated by using the child’s interest area.
“A worried mother does better research than the FBI.”
~ Anonymous

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Jimmy: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


The purpose of the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) video is to bring awareness about the disorder and to give a voice to people who live with the disorder as well as their families.

Essential Points

Inattention. Jimmy drifts off during conversations. He said it is like “I go back in my mind.” He also tells the interviewer drifting off happens a lot in school. Later in the interview, Jimmy did not immediately answer the interviewer. Jimmy told her that his mind “went” and a “cartoon just popped in” his head.

Impulse Control Difficulties. When the interviewer asked Jimmy if he moves around a lot, he told her that he does not. His mother laughed a little after he said it. From the start of the interview until this point, Jimmy was in constant motion. He could not sit still. His actual behavior compared to his own idea of his behavior was significantly different. He does not realize that he is in constant motion. When asked about his restlessness, Jimmy does say that it is worse when he has to sit still.

Affects of ADHD on Education. With Jimmy, he does well in school if he is on his medications. However, it is very difficult for Jimmy to get on a routine and schedule. Though he is disorganized, Jimmy has a good memory while he is paying attention. Jimmy does well with math facts and bulleted lists. Jimmy’s mother said that the increased ticks, which are the side effects of the medication, is a good trade-off for his homework being easier. However, Jimmy does admit that he looses things often, but he also eventually finds them. He also says that sometimes he leaves things at school that is supposed to come home, such as homework. Jimmy also said that it is difficult for him to transition from one activity to another. He told the interviewer that it is difficult to do large projects, and writing is the hardest part of going to school. According to Jimmy, copying information goes pretty fast, but writing takes a long time if it is his own ideas. His mother said with the help of an occupational therapist, Jimmy’s handwriting went from being illegible to legible.

Social Implications. Jimmy admits to having problems with his social skills. He tells the interviewer that he often cuts into conversations; interrupts people when they are talking, and speaks so fast people do not understand him. Jimmy does say that he can slow down his speech when the fast pace is brought to his attention. He says that he often becomes obsessed with things, such as Lego’s. Jimmy states that his friends let him know when he is becoming obsessed, and they let him know he needs to do what they want to do as well. Jimmy told the interviewer that he has told his closest friends that he has ADHD, and they understand why he acts as he does.

Affects of ADHD on the Family. In the video, Jimmy relies on his mom quite a bit. She often answers for him, or repeats the question if he does not understand it. She gives him cues to quit fidgeting, such as a light touches on his arm. Because Jimmy is so disorganized, he depends on his mother to keep up with his things. She prepares his backpack for school the next day. She tells the interviewer that Jimmy is forgetful, but he is also easily directed. He and his mother have to work together. She tells the interviewer that having a name helps a bit, but she does not want it to be used as an excuse for his behavior. She says that he has no problem sleeping, but she is concerned about his decrease in appetite, which is another side effect of the medication. Jimmy’s mother says he does not eat lunch. Therefore, she has asked him to at least drink milk at school, and she makes him a large breakfast. Another concern she has is having Jimmy on medication. She said she does not want to have him on medications, but she knows it helps him to learn skills he needs for the future. Jimmy’s mother also states that they have to work as a team, and they have found a balance. The interview closes with us learning that Jimmy’s ADHD is not only exhausting for Jimmy, but it is exhausting for his mother as well.

Application of the Essential Points

I feel this video will help me to be more considerate to the needs of my students with ADHD. Because of this video, I plan to study a bit more on effective redirecting techniques for students with ADHD. Because of my nephew with ADHD, I could relate to Jimmy’s mother. However, I never realized how much Zachary could and could not control until I watched this video. Now, I know that Zachary is not just ignoring me. He is most possibly drifting off because the activity we are involved in is not stimulating enough. Therefore, I will have to find ways to keep my students with ADHD, like Zachary, from not blanking out in the classroom. Now that I have heard from Jimmy that sitting still for long periods of time, I plan to find ways to get the students up and moving in the classroom to try to keep them focused.

Personal Reaction

I liked this video, because showed me a picture of how ADHD looks. It was rather interesting that Jimmy said that he does not move around a lot, and as he said that, he was fidgety. I feel it is important that the educator should know what ADHD looks like. Many students with ADHD are like Jimmy. Many of them do not realize that they are fidgety, talking too fast, or not paying attention. I found myself a bit concerned about Jimmy’s dependence on his mother. I feel he could benefit from self-organization techniques, such as assignment sheets.
“A child with autism sees things differently than we do. Perceives things in a different light. Can perceive things in ways we could never imagine.”
~ Anonymous

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Including Students with Low Incident Disabilities in the Mainstream Academic Setting

Downing, June E.; and Peckham-Hardin, Kathryn D. (2007). Inclusive Education: What Makes It a Good Education for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities?. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 32, 16-30.

The authors of the article are Professors with the Education Department at California State University. The purpose of the study was to identify the outcomes of inclusive classrooms on the education of students with disabilities. Although the study included a diverse focus group, the group used was not representative of the population as a hole. Furthermore, the study was isolated in a metropolitan area of southern California. Also the study was done with a small group of 58 participants at only 3 inclusive educational sites. The interview questions were open-ended which allows room for less objectivity and staff interpretation. Other problems in the study include the gathering of observation data in which the observations only lasted from 20 to 60 minutes and were not repeated. Therefore, the students being observed may not have acted normally since they were not desensitized to the presence of observers. The study shows that students with and without disabilities benefit from inclusive programs, a positive outcome is evident when the parent/teacher relationship is formed, and teachers in inclusive classrooms often need more support than what they receive. Unfortunately, the study does not address educational issues faced by all students in an inclusive setting.

Friedlander, Diana. (2009). Sam Comes to School: Including Students with Autism in Your Classroom. Clearing House, 82, 141-144.

Diana Friedlander is a special education inclusion teacher in elementary education in Ridgefield, CT, and a doctoral candidate at Western Connecticut State University. The article tells the story of a boy with autism, Sam, and the issues faced by him and his teacher when he began school. The author covers in detail many struggles students with autism have as well as giving an in-depth definition of autism. Friedlander recommends communication with the parents of children with autism both before and during the school year. The author’s definition of the parent/professional relationship is supported by Downing and Peckham-Hardin. She goes over the supports and intervention strategies that can help a student with autism adjust to the environment around them such as organization, visual cues and supports, sensory supports, social supports and models, and behavioral intervention plans. Friedlander asserts that an inclusive education is beneficial for a student with autism, which is also supported by Downing and Peckham-Hardin’s article.

Keane, Elaine.; and Roberts, Jacqueline. (2008). Making Inclusion Work. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 41.2, 22-27.

The authors of the article are leading specialists and consultants in Australia on autism spectrum disorders and education. The project discussed in the article is centered on the Autism Spectrum Australia Satellite Class Project in which students with an autism spectrum disorder are put into small specialist classes and eventually transitioned into a more inclusive environment. At the time of the article, the project had been in operation since 1992 and had expanded to 57 classes throughout the Sydney, Australia area. The program has shown a sixty-one percent success rate in transitioning students with autism from the specialist classes to the general education classrooms. Of those students, 95% remain in general education and several students have gone on to continue their education past their high school education. Students in the program benefit from mainstream and special education supports, resources provided to educators, ASD consultants and ASD specialized teachers, as well as ASD-specific skills-based programs.

Pearson, Sue. (2007). Exploring Inclusive Education: Early Steps for Prospective Secondary School Teachers. British Journal of Special Education, 34.1, 25-32.

Pearson coordinates the MA (SEN) program in the School of Education at the University of Leeds. Her article explores the importance of preparing future secondary educators for an inclusive classroom setting. The 5 phase plus follow-up approach was a simulation of the development of provisions that form active learning required for special needs students in an inclusive classroom. The author stresses the appropriate resources will create problems for the students and a “lack of clarity about the role of teaching assistants can impact on the teacher and pupils.” The study shows that university-based learning activities can provide a foundation to assist prospective teachers in an inclusive setting. Though the study was only done in one subject area, Pearson asserts that the findings can be generalized across the curriculum. Therefore, the addition of such programs can enhance the initial teacher training of secondary teachers, thus enabling them to be more prepared for an inclusive classroom. The limitations to the study is that the study was centralized in one university. Because the programs in other institutions may or may not better prepare prospective educators for an inclusive classroom, the program may not be an effective approach.

Schwarz, Patrick A. (2000). Special Education: A Service, Not a Sentence. Educational Leadership, 64.5, 39-42.

Patrick Schwarz is an associate professor and chair of the Diversity in Learning and Development Department of National-Louis University, Chicago. The author advocates that segregation of students with disabilities into a special education classroom is can be detrimental to the development of the students. The author feels that all students should be in an inclusive classroom setting. The author believes an inclusive classroom setting is the least restrictive environment for all students. However, the author does not take into consideration the impact of a student with special needs on the other students or the impact on students who are far behind their classmates. Some students may be disruptive or some students may not be able to keep up with the curriculum in the general education setting. The author offers a process developed by Udvari-Solner that takes into account the range of learners in a classroom and honors diversity to help with the unification of the inclusive classroom. The author concludes that the betterment of the students can be found in a fully inclusive environment.
“Don’t underestimate a person with autism. Try to understand them.”
~ Anonymous

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Review of “Beyond F.A.T. City”

Lavoie, R.  (Writer), Allen, D.; Vettel, N. (Producer). (2005). Beyond F.A.T. City. [Motion Picture]. United States: PBS Video.
The purpose of this video was to reinforce what the viewers of the F.A.T. city video and the participants of the F.A.T. City workshop learned. This video also served as a tool to teach about the changes in special education since the late 1980s. Although the first video was designed to “create sensitivity” and to “make teachers to want to know how to help these kids.”
It is important to know that children with learning disabilities need to be treated fairly. As Mr. Lavoie stated, “There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.” It may seem that children with learning disabilities get special treatment. However that is because children with learning disabilities need special treatment. Most often these children are asked to do schoolwork that they are not ready for. This leads to tension and conflict between remedial and compensatory education. In remedial education, the children work on and are taught skills that they do not have. In compensatory education, their work is modified to where they can understand it better. Both types of education are good, but they should work in tandem with one another. For instance, making modifications so the information is accessible to the student only treats a symptom of a bigger problem. With books on tape, the student may be listening to and understanding the tape; however, they still cannot read. Children with learning disabilities are not lazy they want to learn, but do not believe that they can do it; therefore, they give up.
As educators, it is important for us to remember several things about students with learning disabilities. You should never make assumptions about your students. They often get confused because they do not have any background information on the task that they are having difficulty with. Children with learning disabilities may seem that they have behavioral problems; however, they may just have a need for attention. If you feel that the child is acting up for attention, then give them the attention. Children with learning disabilities also have a hidden handicap. The rest of the world has great difficulty understanding that an attractive looking, well-groomed individual may have a learning disability. When an educator is dealing with an adolescent, adolescence is the most difficult time of these children’s for various reasons. First, as a teen, students are expected to succeed in several different areas. Second, this is the only time in a person’s life that “different=bad.” Third, this is the first time in life that people realize that they will never be much different than they are at this point in their lives.
Children with learning disabilities struggle in many areas that were not previously discussed. Due to research, more is known about learning disabilities than ever before. These children often have difficulty with social contracts. There is a direct correlation between the comprehension of reading and math skills and the comprehension of social skills. Their inability to develop social skills leaves the children with many social struggles such as isolation, rejection, and ridicule. Normally children with learning disabilities consider anyone who does not make fun of them their friends.  Another area children with learning disabilities struggle in is that of performance inconsistency. This means that they may be able to complete a task one day, but unable to complete the task the next. Kinetic melodies are usually not developed for children with learning disabilities. Although they are walked through a task every single day, it is like they are doing the task for the first time.
 “When elephants fight, it’s the grass that gets trampled” (African Proverb). As an educator, it is very important to remember families of children with learning disabilities are constantly in crisis mode. The disabilities affect everyone in the family, even the siblings. The parents of these children may agree on everything, but the child with learning disabilities. They may feel that it is them “against the world.” It is also important to change the multidisciplinary teams to trans disciplinary teams, where all points are taken into consideration and woven together. When addressing behavioral problems, it is important to remember that children with learning disabilities rarely respond to punishment, and they may not understand how their voices and body languages change the message of what is being said.
Each child with learning disabilities is different from the next; they are different from children without learning disabilities as well. Therefore, there are different approaches to teaching these children, as well as different ways to reach them. There are about 100 different symptoms to learning disabilities. One child can have anywhere from eight to twelve different symptoms. Not all children have the same cluster of learning disabilities; therefore, there is no set way to teach a child with learning disabilities. Though competition is often looked at a positive way to motivate children, it will not motivate a child with learning disabilities. After all, only children who believe that they have a chance of winning will compete. These children also need to believe that it is okay to take risks. Even if they do not succeed, it is okay, and we need to be sure to teach them this. It is important to recognize that these children are often the victims of bullies. Many children with learning disabilities have been picked on their entire lives. These children are normally happy children until they enter school. Once they enter school, their spirits are crushed. School is where children spend the most of their days.
I liked this video because it touched on ground that was not touched on in F.A.T. city did not touch. This was due to the first video being almost twenty years old. There has been a great deal of research on learning disabilities in the last couple of decades. Today, we know a lot more about children with learning disabilities. It was interesting to hear him speak of a technique that I use with my son. However, I never thought to use pictures to get him to clean his room. We use it for other routines, such as morning grooming routines, making toast, etc. I also noticed that the way that Lavoie spoke about children with learning disabilities in this video differed from the prior. Instead of calling the children learning disabled, he referred to them as children with learning disabilities. He also stressed that it is not “the child is a problem,” but it is “the child has a problem.”
This video will help me to better understand how to help these children. I always need to remember that I will never know what is like to be a person with a learning disability. I will never know the hardships and obstacles children with learning disabilities must overcome every day. However, I know I can relate to the parents of children with learning disabilities. I should also give them room and listen to them, because every learning disability is different. What may work for Damien may or may not work for another child with learning disabilities. These two videos have opened my eyes and given me more insight into the lives of people with learning disabilities.
Beyond F.A.T. City
Exec producer – Niki Vettel, Dennis Allen
Washington D.C. production
Boston, MA production
Director – Bob Comiskey
Date – 2005
Editor – Scot Broderic

“Autism is not something I have. It is integral to who I am. Eliminate the autism, and you eliminate me. When you say you want a cure, you are saying I should be put to death. Think about it."

~ Parrish S. Knight

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Review of “How Difficult Can This Be?” The F.A.T. City Workshop

Lavoie, R.  (Writer), Rosen, P. (Producer). (1989). How difficult can this be? The F.A.T. City
Workshop. [Motion Picture]. United States: PBS Video.

The purpose of this video was to teach people who often deal with children with learning disabilities what it feels like to be learning disabled. It also gave some insight into many misconceptions about learning disabilities.

Those with learning disabilities are not mentally retarded/impaired; emotionally disturbed, modality deficient, or those will little opportunity to learn. Learning disabilities are not just a “school problem.” They are struggles that affect every aspect of those with learning disabilities’ lives. These people deal with frustration, anxiety, and tension every single day. They are not out to mess up a teacher’s class, or to cause problems for their families at home.

Because children with learning disabilities have trouble processing information, the regular pace of a class may be too fast for them. When asked a question, immediately the mainstream children begin to process the answer; however, the child with a learning disability is still processing the question. The result from this the child may seem disruptive in the classroom. If you know that the child has difficulty processing the questions, try to work out a system that they may be comfortable with. If you call on the child, try to make sure that you are asking a question you are sure the child can answer.

Before discussing some of the basic types of learning disabilities, it is important to understand there is a difference between distractibility and short attention span. These problems are extreme opposites. A distracted child pays attention to everything and cannot focus anything out. They often have too much stimuli to concentrate. A child with a short, little, or no attention span pay attention to nothing. Many children with learning disabilities have problems with visual perception, as well. They can see what they are looking at, but cannot bring meaning to it. As a result the child needs direct instruction from a trained, experienced teacher. Similarly, children with auditory and visual capability difficulties often need to hear the instructions instead of reading them or vice versa. There are also disabilities that cause reading to be difficult. Children with visual learning disabilities may confuse letters like p d b q for one another. All four letters contain the same strokes, but are spatially oriented differently. Problems with spatial orientation can cause great confusion for the child. Many children with learning disabilities also have trouble with reading comprehension. Most reading comprehension is taught by vocabulary. It is important to know that reading comprehension has less to do with vocabulary knowledge, and more to do with the person’s background. Many people with learning disabilities may have difficulty with eye-hand coordination. Because there is a problem with the processing of the information in the child’s brain, the child may be getting mixed messages from their brain. Difficulty with the storage/retrieval process causes dysnomia for everyone about two to three times a day. This is what many of us know as the “tip of the tongue” syndrome. Children with learning disabilities can experience this problem hundreds of times a day. For them speaking and/or listening are cognitive tasks (only one can be performed at a time) not associative tasks (many can be performed at a time).

There are several effects of learning disabilities. They cause can anxiety, frustration, and tension, all of which affects performance. Therefore, those with learning disabilities are often unable to get the correct answers. When we begin to accept the answer, “I don’t know” from these children, we are setting the child up to give up. They begin to hide and believe, “If I can’t see the teacher, the teacher can’t see me.” As humans, it is natural for us to look away from stimuli that cause anxiety. Most often, children with learning disabilities will not volunteer to answer questions. This is a learned behavior, which is not the result of the fact they do not like surprises. If they get no recognition or positive reinforcement when they do something correct, they will not be willing to take the risk. Another problem that arises with children with learning disabilities is how their perceptual problems can affect their behavior. Children with perceptual problems may get in trouble in school and actually not know what they got in trouble for. This is due to their inability to see things the same way people without perceptual problems do. Furthermore, children with eye-hand coordination problems normally have great difficulty writing, and writing for them takes a lot of energy.

When considering fairness, it is important to remember Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. Children learn more from what they see than what they do, and morals do develop. If we tell a child with a learning disability that we want them to behave in a certain way, we must make sure that we model the same behavior that we wish them imitate. It is also important to remember when considering fairness, everyone must get what they need. What everyone needs is not always the same thing. A teacher or parent should never think that being fair to the child that has a learning disablity is not fair to the other children. It is not about the others; it is about the child with learning disabilities.

This video helped me to learn what it is like to have a learning disability. When the presenter showed the pictures of the woman and the cow, I did not see either one of them. With the cow picture, I saw a man’s face in the top right hand corner, and a man with a heavy coat on and his back turned to the camera in the lower left had corner. In the picture “Vanity,” I saw a skull too. This literally opened my eyes to the effects of difficulties with visual perception. Earlier in the video, I had trouble thinking of answers when the presenter kept asking questions at a fast pace. I could not keep up and got frustrated. I feel it is a very good video not only for future educators, but also for future parents.

I can use the information I learned from the video in both the classroom and at home. First, I need to remember that a child with a learning disability has to deal with the difficulties he has day in and day out every, single day. I need to remember that the “greatest gift” I can give a child with learning disabilities is time. For instance, a demand question/answer session with a child with learning disabilities can be frustrating, and often causes a great deal of anxiety and tension. I need to remember to give the child an ample amount of time to answer the question. Or work out a system for the child to help them know when they are going to be prompted for an answer. I need to remember that these children often do not understand what they have done wrong if they have perceptual difficulties. I also need to make sure that I do not react with children with these difficulties in the following ways: tell them to look harder, bribe them to get an answer, threaten them by telling them that I will take privileges away, and never blame the student for their behavior by telling them they are not trying hard enough. I should never put a child with learning disabilities under pressure because it does not help. I should not tell them that the task they are struggling with is easy or ask them rhetorical questions. I should try to combine my lesson plans with both written and visual aids and directions so that all of my students will be able to understand.
“Autism never sleeps, so mummy is cranky, and I think she needs a nap.”
~ Anonymous

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend

1. What was the purpose of the video?

The purpose of “It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend” is to bring awareness to parents and educators of how much more important social connections are to the future happiness of special needs children than education.

2. List and describe five (5) major points from the video:

Children with special needs are less likely to have meaningful relationships with their peers. For many this problem stems from their inability to act appropriately in public. Not being able to appropriately act in public is closely tied to the inability to solve social problems, and it can cause the child to be isolated and rejected by their peers. Furthermore, children with special needs may over react to minor social problems. Without peers and appropriate public behavior, children with special needs are less likely to be asked to join activities that other children may.

The social problems children with special needs have may be due to their inability to understand timing and staging, affective match, social memory, social prediction, and social relevance. Many have problems with timing and staging. This means they do not understand that making friends is a process, and it takes a lot of time to make a friend. They often tend to rush relationships with their peers, which tend to push their peers away. Another way children with special needs push peers away, is many of them do not know how to match their emotions with the situation around them. When a child laughs or smiles when the situation does not call for such emotions, the child’s peers may feel the child is awkward. Matching emotions is closely tied to not being able to predict how their own behavior affects the people around them. Also, many of these children often do not remember people’s likes and dislikes, which may cause them to offend people. Another way children with special needs may offend others is many of them often do not understand social relevance. For instance, when most people walk into a room they have not been in before, they observe the room to gain an understanding of the people, place, and purpose of the room. Many children with special needs may not understand the social situation. In other words, they will treat an arcade the same as they would a classroom.

Part of the reason that children with learning disabilities doe not understand social situations is due to their inability to understand paralinguistics. Only about seven percent of communication is done through verbal language, and the other ninety-three percent is done through non-verbal language. For the majority of the population, we understand the non-verbal language therefore our mental stability is not questioned.

Unfortunately, children with special needs’ mental stability is often called in question, because they do not understand one or all four of the areas of non-verbal language, kinesics, proxemics, vocalics, and artifactual systems. Kinesics is how we use our bodies to communicate; it is the gestures that we may use to get our point across. Many children with special needs cannot pick up on these gestures. Therefore, they do not understand when a person has their hands on their hips that they are serious or may be angry. If the children do not understand proxemics, they do not understand how the use of space communicates to people. This problem may vary from culture to culture, because proxemics varies from culture to culture. For most people in the United States, there are four types of space: public, social, personal, and intimate. However, for children with special needs, they may inappropriately utilize proxemics. Often, they may inappropriately encroach on another’s social and personal space. This can cause major problems for children with special needs. For instance these children are more vulnerable to molestation and to become molesters. Another significant problem to children with special needs is they may not understand vocalics, which is how the tone of voice changes what we say. The problems that may arise is punishment for the way they say things, or punishment because they do not understand the emotion behind what other people say. Similarly, children with special needs do not understand what artifactual systems, or the way we dress, say about a person. Unfortunately, they may inappropriately dress for the weather, occasion, comfort, activity, style, age, or gender.

The most powerful part of this video is explaining how important reputations are to all people. Unfortunately, since many of the children with special needs are raised with their classmates, their reputations are often ruined by the time they leave elementary school. The children with learning disabilities that have problems with timing and staging as well as paralinguistics will have difficulty with social contracts, or their social expectations. This turns into destruction of the child’s reputation. Because reputations are permanent, other children may not want to be friends with children with special needs. Lavoie suggests that teachers intervene by rewarding the class for what the child with a learning disability does well, rather than punishing the class for the mistakes the child has made. Changing the way the child with special needs is treated by the teacher can change the dynamic of the classroom and possibly begin to repair the child’s reputation.

The best gift we, as educators and parents of children with special needs, can give the children is the gift of social competence. First, the child with special needs should be taught how to determine who their friends are. The child needs to be encouraged to seek out hobbies that will put them in social situations. The child needs to be taught social information, such as how to act in a line, or what certain symbols mean. We need to learn how to talk to the child with special needs. When a child says something about the way they feel reflect that emotion back to them so they understand ‘I felt like I wanted to hit someone’ means ‘oh, you were mad.’ When the child makes social mistakes, we need to work on only one problem at a time. Do not correct every mistake they make, but correct only one mistake at a time. We should give them a friendship test so they understand that ‘friend’ does not mean, ‘someone who does not pick on me.’ From social competence, children with special needs can develop social skills, which can prevent them from being shunned by other children.

3. Summary reaction: What were your thoughts and feelings regarding the video?

I enjoyed watching this video because it brought me a better understanding of how important social skills are to children with special needs. As a mother of a child with special needs, I know how important it is for educators to understand the stress the families of these children as well as the children themselves are always under. In this video, Lavoie brought these issues out into to the open. As a future educator, this video has brought me to a better understanding of how important the social skills are for children with special needs. I feel the video is the perfect tool for teachers to help them understand how they treat the class because of the child with special needs can permanently effect and damage the reputation of children with special needs.

4. Application. How will you apply the information you learned to your classroom and other areas of your life?

Before watching this video, I never thought of classmates as family. Now, I do. I like Lavoie’s idea on rewarding the class for what the child with special needs does well instead of punishing the class for the mistakes the child with special needs makes. I like the idea that by doing this a teacher can help to repair the reputation of the child with special needs. This reward system is something I will consider to use in my classroom.

More personally, I also realize how important those social relationships are for children. I have always thought that Damien is perfectly happy being alone, because he says he prefers to be alone. Therefore, I rarely have pushed him to make friends with other children. After watching this video, I talked to some friends of mine, whose children have autism. We all like the idea of using bowling as a way to give our children something they can excel at, as well as using it as a method to make new friends. One of the physical therapists at West Texas Rehab overheard us talking about it and decided she would join our bowling group, so that she can show the children how to bowl. I hope bowling is something that will help build Damien’s confidence and develop his social skills.
“People don’t always need advice. Sometimes all they need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them."
~ Anonymous

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sara: Mood Disorder

Personal Reaction

Sara’s story almost made me cry. I felt sad that she had been taken from her home at such a young age and then taken from the structured environment in which she was thriving to live with her father. I was a bit surprised to learn that she had been experiencing bouts of depressions since the age of seven.

Essential Points

Contributing Factors. Sara was taken from her mom at a young age because child protective services felt that her mother was unfit to care for a child. Sara lived with a foster family for four years and visited her mother on a weekly basis. Sara was about to be adopted by the foster family when her biological father was found. She was sent to live with him and her grandmother. Sara states that she missed her mother and had difficulties bonding with her father. He neglected both her and her half-sister and was put into her grandmother’s custody. Afterwards Sara was a victim of physical abuse. Sara is now living with another family (I am assuming it is a foster family), and she feels as if she is a burden on them.

What Is a Mood Disorder? Sara feels abandoned and alone. She isolates herself from people when she is down. Sara states that she often hides from people because she fears abuse. Sara had begun to cut herself because she feels like there is no way of getting out. She says that she keeps her emotions bottled up inside her; and when she cuts, she is able to calm down so she can sleep. Sara explains her mood disorder as feeling like knots inside her chest and stomach. Because of the mood disorder, Sara does not recall any pain from the cutting. She states that she had disassociated herself from the pain and the actual act of cutting. Sara stated that she did not remember cutting herself, but knew that she had done it. Though Sara no longer cuts, she says the thought of cutting is always in the back of her mind. Sara often feels as if she has no place or purpose in the world, she feels hopeless, she cannot trust people, and she has only been put on the earth to be hurt by people. After hospitalization, Sara is still unable to sleep and fights with her friends a lot. Sara often cries herself to sleep, does not eat, isolates herself, and argues with teachers. Sara gets depressed anytime she is reminded of her past or that she is alone in the world. Most holidays cause bouts of depression in Sara.

Affects of a Mood Disorder on Education. Sara has difficulty in school because she often feels the need to isolate herself in order to gain control over her moods. Because she does not have anywhere to go to regain control, Sara becomes easily frustrated and argues with and swears at teachers. When Sara is down, she silently refuses to do her work and falls to sleep in class. Sara admits that her depression causes frustration, which, in turn, causes irritability. Because of Sara’s trust issues, she has difficulty reaching out to people. Therefore, she may not approach faculty with any problems she may be having. Sara does feel that school is safe haven, and it is her favorite place to be. Sara is unsure about the future and scared about graduating from high school and going to college.

Application of the Essential Points

If Sara was one of my students, I would come to her if I noticed she was irritable. I would help her figure out a safe place that she could go so she could regain control. Because Sara has trust issues, I would try to reach out to her without causing more stress or making her feel I was being pushy. I would see what kind of transitional supports I could help Sara put into place so she is more prepared for her future. I would also reassure Sara about her future and let her know that the school she chooses to go to does have supports in place for students who have mood disorders. I would talk to the counselor to see what we could do for Sara before she leaves high school to ensure a smoother transition for her.
“Autism (with a capital “A”) to me, says that I accept my child wholly. I celebrate his differences and his quirky-ness. I advocate diversity. I try to empower him. I am proud of his successes, no matter how small they seem. I hope he holds onto the compassion he has in his heart into adulthood. I do not think he needs “fixing”. I am proud that he is my son, and sometimes I am humbled by that very same thought.”
~ Anonymous

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ashley: Conduct Disorder

Personal Reaction

I think that this video was showed a classic example of conduct disorder. I really felt bad for Ashley because it seems that she just does not know any better. Her two older brothers have been in trouble with the law, which has caused Ashley to believe there is nothing wrong with being a criminal. Ashley also talked about her parents’ homes as Dad’s house and Mom’s house. Ashley’s home life has been so unstable that she does not act as if she has a home to call her own. I do have a problem with Ashley’s school situation. Apparently someone has told her that she is in the behavioral disorder classroom because she is a bad kid. It does not seem that her school is taking the time out to teach her behavioral management skills or coping skills. She acts as if the teachers at school do not care for her at all.

Essential Points

How a Conduct Disorder Looks. Ashley does not act as if she cares for anything or anyone but her mother, father, and little brother with Down Syndrome. Ashley knows that her behavior will have some serious implications on her future, but cannot clearly define a need to alter such negative behaviors. Ashley is said to have oppositional defiant disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but refuses to take her medication because she does not like how they make her feel. Ashley obviously has anger issues because she states that she likes to anger with people because it is fun. She purposely picks on kids that do better than her in school and do the right thing. Ashley is selective about who she chooses to treat in a disrespectful manner; she will not pick on anyone who is slow because she knows how it makes her brother feel when others pick on him. Ashley states that arguing and fighting keeps her from feeling bored. Ashley has control issues and becomes angry if she is not allowed to control situations and people. Ashley admits that she can control her behavior if she wants to, but she doesn’t want to so her behavior gets out of hand. Ashley drinks and smokes at thirteen years of age. When beating up people, Ashley states she knows when it is getting out of hand and will stop to keep from hurting people. Though she has beat up other students, Ashley does not believe she has ever hurt anyone. Ashley says it is “kind of fun” having oppositional defiant disorder, because it lets her argue and gets her in trouble. Ashley has been arrested, is a risk taker, and believes she should “stand up to everything.” Ashley says she could care less if she gets arrested. When Ashley is acting unruly she does not think about the negative consequences of her behavior until she gets in trouble.

Affects of Conduct Disorder on Education. Ashley does not go to school because she has been expelled for fighting. She says that she wishes she were a “goody two shoes,” so that she could do her homework, do good in school, not fail, and stay out of behavior disorder classes that are for bad kids. Ashley starts arguments with teachers because she becomes bored and wants to have fun. She does not like being out of school because she misses her friends and is very bored at home. Ashley states that she wants to be able to go back to school and be a good kid so that she can graduate and go to college. Ashley states that she does wants to be a pediatrician or a veterinarian. Ashley does not believe that anyone can do anything to help her and that no advice from counselors has been helpful. Ashley is most likely far behind her classmates in school.

Social Implications. Ashley does not seem to have a close relationship with her brothers. Ashley acts as if she is angry with her two older brothers. She states that it is their own fault for ending up in jail. However, she is close to her brother with Down syndrome. Ashley states that she defies her parents’ rules and feels bad when she upsets them. She, however, shows little remorse for hurting others. Ashley does state that she has friends in school and she misses them very much. Ashley is defiant to all authority figures in her life. She states that her six counselors are useless and she never listens to a word they say. Similarly, Ashley ended up arguing with the police officer who came to question her about the windows she broke in the building next door to her home. The argument was the reason for Ashley’s arrest. As noted before, Ashley does not show respect to her teachers at school. Not only has she argued with them, it came out in the session that Ashley had hurt one in the fight that got her expelled from school. Ashley has inappropriate peer relationships, due to being placed in a classroom with only students with behavioral problems.

Application of the Essential Points

I feel this video will help me to understand how much of a difference teachers can make in a student’s life. Students like Ashley need, more than any other student, to have someone who really believes in them. If students with ODD/ADHD combination feel like no one cares and everyone has given up on them, then they will act out. Therefore, I hope I can be that one teacher that believes in them. I know that having students like Ashley in the classroom is going to be a challenge and hope that I will be able to be a positive role model in their lives. What I learned most from this video is to not argue with a student in the classroom. If I am having a problem with students like Ashley, hopefully I will be able implement the strategies suggested by Geoff Colvin in his video.
“When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, and watch the world wonder how you did it.”
~ Anonymous

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chandra: Anxiety Disorder

Personal Reaction

I felt the video was very informative, and allowed me to see what depressive disorders might look like in a student. However, they spoke very little about anxiety, and I felt this was a better case for discussing depressive disorders than anxiety disorders. I know how anxiety attacks look for me, but I would have liked to learn how an anxiety attack might look in another individual so that I may understand what to look for in students.

Essential Points

What is Anxiety Disorder? For Chandra, anxiety disorder is a reaction to her extreme depression. She states that her anxiety disorder first showed up shortly after 9/11 when she was in the eighth grade. Chandra exhibited extreme depressive episodes that resulted in uncontrollable crying. She stated that she soon became isolated and would lie on the couch, eat and sleep. Chandra also stated that she often felt lost, alone, and paranoid that others were speaking about her. When Chandra began to feel down, she started cutting on herself because she felt a release. The episodes of cutting attributed to mixed feelings of happiness and pride, but also guilt. Chandra said that sometimes she not only felt depressed, but she also began to feel numb, which would lead to more cutting. Chandra also stated that she began to feel physiological responses to the bouts of depression such as stomachaches and headaches. Chandra also stated that her parents have a history of mental illness. She said all of her maternal relatives have been diagnosed with depressive disorders, and some of her paternal relatives have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

Affects of Anxiety Disorder on Education. Chandra’s grades suffered as a result of her disorder. She was no longer a good student or a popular student. Chandra stated that public school was too overcrowded, which added to her anxiety. At public school, Chandra felt lost and alone, and she spent most of the time crying in the restroom. Because teachers did not understand her disorder, they began to treat her differently and ignore her. Chandra spent a month and a half out of school, which means she was behind her peers. Chandra’s inability to thrive in the public school setting led to placement in a special school for students with mood disorders. Chandra states that her grades are much better and she is the president of the student council for the second year. Coping skills have been placed directly in Chandra’s individual education program, which gives her the opportunity to learn how to deal with stressful situations.

Social Implications. Chandra social life was affected by her depressive/anxiety disorder. When she first began to show signs of the disorder, Chandra’s friends stopped talking with her. She states that she knew the reason is that her cutting scared them. Other students it the school began to treat Chandra as if she were a freak. Chandra began to become isolated in her school, even the teachers failed to be socially active with her. Chandra felt tremendous amount of guilt for the affects her behavior had on her family members. She states that her brother was confused and scared for her. However, he first felt that Chandra was faking. Now that he understands the disorder, her brother is a source of support, and he is nicer and speaks with her more. When Chandra is down, her brother helps her and makes things for her. Chandra’s parents both have mental illness. Due to the stress of having to deal with their own illness, Chandra felt her problems overwhelmed them. She does state, though, her understanding of her own illness helped Chandra to begin to understand her parents’ mental illnesses. Chandra states that she now has a lot of friends who are supportive and understanding of her difficulties, because they too have mood disorders.

Application of the Essential Points

I feel this video will help me to understand that some children in my classroom may not be able to control depressive moods or behaviors. I have learned that I need to not isolate these students from the classroom. Instead, I should let them know that I am there for them, and they are not alone. Hopefully, treating students in a manner that I would wish to be treated would help them keep from feeling a sense of abandonment and isolation. I will be sure to watch for signs of depression and anxiety in my students so that I may be able to be a source of support for the student.
“God created autism to help offset the excessive number of boring people on Earth.”
~ Anonymous

Monday, April 1, 2013

Face of Autism

Face of Autism
Original Photography by ©Pamela N. Brown

Curriculum Based Assessment / Measurement

Campbell, Heather; Espine, Christine; Lembke, Erica; Long, Jeffrey D.; Ticha, Renata, and Wallace, Teri. (2008). Curriculum-Based Measurement in Writing: Predicting the Success of High-School Students on State Standards Tests. Exceptional Children, 74.2, 174-193.

The authors state the purpose of their study as to “examine the validity and reliability of curriculum-based measures as indicators of performance on state standard tests in writing” (174). The authors note that students with disabilities often struggle with writing, and 70% of all high school students are at levels below proficiency. Therefore, the authors suggest secondary teachers must have appropriate intervention strategies available. However, the authors also note that many of the studies done on curriculum-based measurement are done at the elementary level, few are done at the middle school level, and very little are done at the high school level. Because of this, it is difficult to address writing issues facing secondary students with learning disabilities, such as writing deficiency. The authors further assert that very little research is to be found on the effects of curriculum-based measurement on English Language Learners. This study consisted of 183 high school students from two large urban high schools. The results of the study reveal that writing samples that are 5 to 7 minutes in length that use the correct minus incorrect word sequence scoring procedure would be effective in determining student performance on state standard tests in writing.

Christ, Theodore J. (2006). Short-Term Estimates of Growth Using Curriculum-Based Measurement of Oral Reading Fluency: Estimating Standard Error of the Slope to Construct Confidence Intervals. School Psychology Review, 35.1, 128-133.

Christ asserts that curriculum-based measurement of oral reading fluency is used to show student growth and student level. Christ states the purpose of his study is to incorporate research-based estimates of the standard error of the estimate in order to produce “magnitudes for the standard error of the slope across a variety of progress monitoring durations and measurement conditions” (129). Christ gathered research to find relevant material on curriculum-based measurement and curriculum-based measurement of oral reading fluency. Of the two hundred thirty four studies, only three reported standard error of the estimate involving oral reading fluency. Christ’s findings show that the standard error of the slope is reduced when progress monitoring durations are lengthened, and the “standard error of estimate was used to estimate the likely influence of CBM-R measurement conditions” (130). Christ argues that four times more error is resulted from poorly controlled measurement conditions. The limitations to Christ’s study are the small sample size, none of the studies reported “the standard error of the estimate at the optimal levels,” and “some assumptions of ordinary least squares are violated when time-series data for individual students are evaluated” (131-132).

Cusumano, Dale L. (2007). Is It Working?: An Overview of Curriculum Based Measurement and Its Uses for Assessing Instructional, Intervention, or Program Effectiveness. Behavior Analyst Today, 8.1, 24-34.

Cusumano begins his article by giving an overview of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act of 2004. Cusumano states they have “further shaped educational goals with requirements that students’ academic experiences be enriched with high quality and research-based instructional strategies” (24). Therefore, Cusumano asserts Curriculum-Based Measurement is an effective method in addressing the needs of all students as set up in NCLB and IDEIA. Cusumano gives an overview of CBM and states that CBM is effective in monitoring student progress and highlighting students who are high-risk. Cusumano shows that CBM can be sued in assessing students reading, mathematics, spelling, and written expression skills. Cusumano outlines benefits of CBM to educators as setting up realistic goals, modifying curriculum, modifying instructional approach, and monitoring student performance. Cusumano’s study reveals that the students of educators who have been instructed on the use of CBM showed considerable gains in academic achievement.

McLane, Kathleen. (2008). Fact Sheet: Benefits of Curriculum Based Measurement. National Center on Student Progress.

McLane designed this fact sheet in order to explain curriculum-based measurement to parents. McLane asserts that curriculum-based measurement is the most effective way to measure student progress and allows teachers to develop methods to teach each student. McLane claims the benefits of CBM are as follows: they effectively measure the student’s true performance, the graphs are clear and easy to understand, the graphs can benefit parent/faculty communication as well as faculty/professional communication, the graphs can benefit Individual Education Program development as well as measuring the progress toward goals and objectives set-up in the IEP, the graphs can be important when addressing educational issues of each student as they are introduced to new faculty, the scores of CBM are easier to understand than traditional standardized assessments, the graphs can be used by students to allow them to self-monitor their progress and motivates students to reach their academic goals, CBM allows stakeholders to see if the instruction the student is receiving is effective, and CBM can be used to screen students in order to intervene if students are at risk.

Stecker, Pamela M. (2006). Using Curriculum-Based Measurement to Monitor Reading Progress in Inclusive Elementary Settings. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22.1, 91-97.

Stecker introduces the reader to a fourth grade student, Max, who is falling behind his peers in reading development. Stecker provides an overview of curriculum-based measurement and states that oral reading fluency may not provide educators with skill deficiencies of individual students, but they can be used to gauge the student’s progress. Stecker asserts that oral reading fluency and reading comprehension are correlated with one another. Stecker states the use of CBM is more effective than other data-collection methods because of the reliability and validity of the CBM, and CBM is effective in showing progress toward long-term goals rather than short-term goals. Stecker use Max’s situation to show how CBM may be implemented in order to needs of at-risk students. In Stecker’s article, she demonstrates collaboration between the general education and special education teachers of Max. Stecker the training of the general education teacher on how to administer oral reading probes. Once the teacher has become comfortable using the method to chart Max’s progress, the special education teacher suggests she administer the assessment to all of her students. In doing so, two more at-risk students were identified.
“Doctors look at me and say I’m autistic, but my mummy holds me and says I’m perfect.”
~ Anonymous

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Review of: The Adventures of ARD Man: Seven Steps Toward Effective ARD Meetings

????, ???. (Writer), ???, ???. (Producer). (1999). The Adventures of ARD Man: Seven Steps Toward Effective ARD Meetings. [Motion Picture]. United States: Texas School Administrators Legal Digest.


The purpose of the ARD Man video was to teach parents and adult students of their rights when it comes to the ARD meetings. It was also to teach ARD committee members of the rights of the parents and students, the order that the ARD must be held, and the rules and regulations regarding the ARD.

Essential Points

Membership of the ARD Committee. One of the major points from the video is the membership of the ARD committee. There should be at least five committee members at the ARD. The committee members include at least one of the child’s regular education teachers if the child is participating in the regular education environment. At least one of the child’s special education teachers or providers must be present. A representative of the public agency (administrative representative). Someone who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results must be present. The other committee member is the parent(s) of the child. The student may attend the ARD and is required to attend the ARD after the age of fourteen if the committee will be discussing the plan of post high school transition. The parents can invite anyone they may feel helpful to the ARD as well. For instance, if the parents wish that a specialist, advocate, case manager, or expert on the child to attend, their presence must be accepted by the rest of the ARD committee. The school may also call in experts or specialists; however, they must first notify the parent if they choose to do so. If the school cannot get the parents to attend the ARD meeting, then the rest of the committee may hold the ARD without them.

Importance of The Assessment Data. Another main point that I found in the video is the importance of the Assessment Data. Assessment data includes formalized testing, information provided by classroom teachers, grades, informal assessments and recommendations, information provided by parents, and information provided by outside experts. The IEP comes from all of this data and this data forms the base of the ARD pyramid.

The Order of The ARD. The ARD Pyramid (or order of the ARD) is the next main point. It is important for the ARD committee to make their decisions in the proper order. First, the committee is to carefully examine every piece of assessment data, which is the foundation for the pyramid. This is when the committee must look at the student’s present levels of performance. Next, the ARD committee builds the next level of the pyramid, or the IEP. Committee members should discuss and agree on the goals and modifications set forth in the IEP. They should also agree on short-term objectives or benchmarks for the student as well as special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, as well as program modifications or supports for school personnel. Last, the ARD committee members should agree on placement in the least restrictive environment for the student. This arrangement should give the student as much contact with non-disabled students as possible.

The Commitments. The next point that I will discuss is the commitments to ensure a quality education for the student. The district should be clear about its commitments with the parents. The parents should not leave the meeting without a promise list, which identifies specific commitments made. This list should have the commitment, the individual responsible for making sure the commitment is followed through, and the date that the commitment is to be completed. The district is bound by the ARD’s commitments listed in the IEP. The district or any member of the commitment cannot “unilaterally change the statement of special education and related services contained in the IEP. After the IEP is developed and the placement decision is made…the public agency must implement the IEP” (Letter from OSEP @ 18 IDEL R 627 (1991)). The promise list works best when the parents and the committee are at a consensus.

Consensus of The ARD Committee. The consensus of the ARD is the final main point of the video. In order to handle a non-consensus ARD, alternate method must be provided by the agency. ARD meetings are not a democracy; a majority vote cannot be used to determine the provisions set forth in the IEP. Parents may also ask for a recess if a consensus cannot be reached. The recess must not exceed ten days. After such recess, if a consensus still cannot be reached then the district can put forth an IEP that they feel suits the student’s needs. However, when the student’s behavior is a danger to himself or others, or when the student has done something that can cause him to be expelled, then a recess is not required. Though adhering to the law is important, the most important part of the ARD is to listen to what the parents have to say.

Application of the Essential Points

This video has helped me understand when I begin to teach that I must adhere to the law. When I am part of an ARD committee, I will know to make sure that everything is done in proper order. I must also remember that what I think is important is not as important than what the student’s parent(s) think is important. I should also make sure that I listen to specialists’ and experts’ recommendations when helping to construct the IEP. Once the IEP is in order, I must make sure that I follow the IEP closely. I should not change anything or discontinue any modifications unless an ARD has been called, and the IEP is changed. I must remember that it is my responsibility to make sure that the child receives all services that have been implemented. On a more personal note, I have learned when a teacher stops using the assistive technologies that are in my son’s IEP, this is a violation of his rights, as well as a violation of law. I will not plan or threaten to file a lawsuit on the teachers that have told me that he does not need what is in his IEP. However, I do know, now, how to handle situations like this, and think I will be able to make sure that he does not get left behind just because it is an “inconvenience” to the teacher.

Personal Reaction

I enjoyed this video. It was very goofy, but also informative. I feel the way the film was made, helps the viewer remember what was said and done in the video. I liked it better than the RTI video because it was quite a bit more interesting and less difficult to understand. The reason that I feel this video was easier to understand is when they would say something in legal terminology; they would then explain in English what they mean.
“I didn’t get where I am today by not being autistic.”
~ Larry Arnold

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills – Alternate

Module 1 – Overview of New TAKS-Alt Assessment

The first Module of the new TAKS-Alt begins with an overview of the changes made due to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which states that without exception every student must be assessed. Therefore, the Texas Education Agency developed the TAKS-Alt to be administered to the 1% of students that are found to have significant cognitive disabilities. Therefore, the TAKS-Alt is not a traditional multiple choice or paper and pencil test. It is an observation-based assessment filled out by the student’s teacher as the student completes task aligned with the TEKS.

In order to be qualified to take the TAKS-Alt, the student’s ARD committee must determine whether the student is able to take the TAKS with the accommodations and modifications. For the ARD Committee to determine a student’s qualification, they must assess the student’s level of functioning, determine how the student performs at grade level, review participation requirements, and document assessments with “allowable” or “approved” modifications and accommodations. It is important to remember, not all students who qualify for special education services will qualify for the TAKS-Alt.

The participation requirements of the student are listed as:

  1. The student requires supports to access the general curriculum that may include assistance involving communication, response style, physical access, or daily living skills.
  2. The student requires direct, intensive, individualized instruction in a variety of settings to accomplish the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of skills.
  3. The student accesses and participates in the grade-level TEKS through activities that focus on prerequisite skills.
  4. The student demonstrates knowledge and skills routinely in class by methods other than paper-and-pencil tasks.
  5. The student demonstrates performance objectives that may include real-life applications of the grade-level TEKS as appropriate to the student’s abilities and needs.

There are three key resources for accessing the grade-level TEKS curriculum in order to assist educators with administration of the TAKS-Alt – the TEKS Vertical Alignment documents, TEKS Curriculum Framework documents, and Standardized Assessment Tasks for TAKS-Alt. The TEKS Vertical Alignment documents are a listing of the TEKS that provides the expectations of students’ knowledge and skills from kindergarten to exit level. The TEKS Curriculum Framework documents provide the objectives, knowledge and skills, and student expectations of those participating in the TAKS, and are aligned with the TEKS Vertical Alignment documents. The Standardized Assessment Tasks for TAKS-Alt provides three complexity-varied tasks for each essence statement based on predetermined criteria. The assessment tasks are like test items rather than activities used for instruction. The tasks are broadly written to allow access to most students who qualify and vary in complexity to meet USDE requirements.

The module ends with the following four steps to administer the TAKS-Alt

  1. Choose the assessment TASK for each required essence statement.
  2. Determine IMPLEMENTATION of the assessment task.
  3. OBSERVE and DOCUMENT student performance on the predetermined criteria.
  4. EVALUATE student performance and enter the information into the online instrument.

Module 2 – Implementing the TAKS-Alt Assessment

The first step is to select the appropriate TAKS-Alt assessment task. There are 3 assessment tasks for each essence statements. The teacher must choose the appropriate complexity level for an assessment task based on the student’s current level of performance, targeted prerequisite skills, complexity levels of the assessment tasks, and specific verbs in the assessment tasks. The verbs used in the essences statements define the complexity level. Level 3 Assessment Tasks are the most difficult and requires higher-order thinking skills. The tasks include: determining distinguishing features, organizing information, comparing components, generating ideas, making inferences, and justifying answers. An example of a verb used at this level is ‘determine.’ Level 2 Assessment Tasks are mid-level tasks and involve rote memory. Tasks at Level 2 include: identifying or sorting elements, assisting in procedures, choosing options, matching components, replicating information, and examining features. Examples of verbs used at this level are ‘review’ and ‘identify.’ Level 1 Assessment Tasks are the most basic tasks and involve beginning awareness response. Level 1 Tasks include: acknowledging features, indicating preferences, responding to stimuli, participating in process, exploring materials, and anticipating outcomes. Examples of verbs used at this level are ‘explore’ and ‘acknowledge.’ If the student has difficulty accessing the Level 1 Assessment Tasks, the teacher should evaluate the instruction and student supports provided, confer with other school professionals, consider the No Response Observed designation, and call TEA for further guidance. However, if the student does respond to some of the tasks, then No Response Observed is inappropriate.

The second step is to add supports to individualize the assessment task by the use of supports, materials, and identifying appropriate student response modes. Appropriate supports and materials are those that are effective and used in the classroom on a regular basis. They must reflect the student’s learning style and address the measured skill. They must be grounded in the content area assessed, be age appropriate, and include the student’s interests. Most importantly supports and materials must maintain the integrity of the assessment and not give the student a direct answer. The teacher must select the most appropriate response modes, which is also a component of individualizing the assessment. Response modes must allow demonstration of the skill and independence of the student. They, too, must maintain the integrity of the assessment and be effective and used in the classroom on a regular basis. The teacher must be certain the supports and materials maintain the complexity level, otherwise the integrity of the assessment has been lost and the supports are deemed inappropriate.

The third step is to conduct and document the observation. Before observation begins, the teacher must be prepared to observe, which includes the comfort and distractibility level of the testing environment. The teacher must plan for any personnel needed or an inter-rater observation. The pre-determined criteria must be reviewed to ensure the expectations of the student are met. All supports and materials should be available. A review of cueing and prompting hierarchy terms is required. If the student does not respond, the teacher must first cue then prompt the student. All cueing and prompting during the assessment affect the student’s score. The hierarchy of cueing is as follows: physical gesture, pointing, visual cue, verbal direct cue, and verbal indirect cue. The hierarchy of prompting is as follows: Physical assist, adult modeling, student modeling, visual graphic, gesture assist, and verbal direction. The teacher must record the date of the primary observation, the demonstration of the skill, and level of support, as well as, all cues and prompts. The fairness of the observation is determined by the amount of previous instruction provided, the time allowed for the assessment, the attentiveness of the student, the environment the assessment occurred, and the level of cueing and prompting provided to the student.

Module 3 – The TAKS-Alt Online Instrument

The fourth and final step to the TAKS-Alt is the evaluation of student performance via the online instrument. The purpose of the TAKS-Alt Online Instrument is to provide the teacher with ample time to provide instruction, and select and individualize assessment tasks. The teacher is provided with a submission window from January to April in which the tasks can be completed, observed, and documented. The window allows evaluation of student performance at any time, as well as submission of completed assessments at any time. Before online submission begins, it is recommended that the teacher review the observation notes and become familiar with the TAKS-Alt rubric.

The TAKS-Alt rubric is based on a point system from yes and no answers on the demonstration of a skill section. The student will receive two points for each yes answer to the predetermined criterion. The student will receive zero points for a no answer to the predetermined criterion. The student’s level of support will also be evaluated. Two points will be given for independent performance, one point will be given for cued performance, and zero points will be given for prompted performance on the predetermined criterion. The assessment tasks are weighted as determined by the complexity level of the task performed with Level 3 as the highest and Level 1 as the lowest numerical value. The teacher must make sure the demonstration of a skill is reviewed without consideration of level of support as they are scored separately.

Now the teacher can begin the automated scoring process. First, the teacher answers yes/no questions based on the predetermined criterion established to score the student’s demonstration of the skill. Next, the teacher answers questions based on student’s level of support. The teacher answers the questions as follows: independently, needed cueing, or needed prompting based on the student’s performance. The yes/no and independently/needed cueing/ needed prompting questions are answered by selecting the appropriate ‘radio button’ next to the word.

The online instrument will alert the teacher to determine the student’s opportunity to generalize the skill. The student is only eligible for generalization if he/she is assessed at Level 2 or 3, the student demonstrated the skill on all three predetermined criteria, and the student was not prompted for the completion of the tasks. The generalization process allows 3 points for the generalization of a skill. The student receives one point for each predetermined criteria completed on an independent level or with a cue. The student will receive zero points for any completed tasks that required prompting or any uncompleted tasks. It is recommended that observation begins early enough in the submission window to allow the generalization of the skill.

The maintenance of the data collection forms is determined by the school district’s procedures for maintenance. It is recommended that the teacher use the state’s forms for observations; however, other forms that contain the same sections as the state’s forms are allowed. If the student is in an inclusive classroom setting, the district is responsible for sending the documentation forms to Pearson for validity audit purposes.

The next part of Module 3 focuses on accessing and using the online instrument, which can be accessed from any computer system with the necessary system requirements. The district coordinator will provide user names and passwords required to access the TAKS-Alt online system at Once the teacher has logged in, he/she will gain access to the TAKS-Alt home page. From here, the teacher is recommended to check the ‘alert’ box for new messages after each log-in. The TAKS-Alt online instrument consists of six sections: home tab, assessment tasks tab, assessment status tab, historical assessment data tab, resources tab, manage account tab, and left frame with list of classes. The manage account tab gives the teacher information about the students and the teacher’s user profile. The assessment allows the teacher to choose the assessment task and answer the performance questions for each predetermined criterion. The historical assessment data tab displays student data from previous years. The resources tab provides access to sample forms, documents, and other information that can assist the teacher in implementing the assessment. The assessment status tab shows the status of each student’s assessment. In order to ensure the finalization of the assessments, the teacher must submit all assessments by the cut-off date determined by TEA. Any assessments that are not submitted at this time will not be finalized.