Uncategorized

Hunting for an Accessible House

Hunting for an Accessible House

 

By Ed Carter

Unfortunately, there is a shortage of accessible housing in America. If you’re searching for an accessible home to accommodate yourself or your child, you may need to hunt carefully and be prepared to make modifications.  In this article, we hope to demystify the process by sharing tools and advice that will make your accessible house hunt easier.

Manage Your Stress

Moving is stressful for anyone, including individuals with disabilities. To keep your stress levels down, try making and completing a detailed pre-move checklist. If you can pull it off, try to have accessibility modifications on the new home completed before you move in.

Use an Online Value Estimator

When you’re judging what your current home might return in a sale or looking for a new home that fits your budget, an online home-value estimator may be a good resource. These tools provide a ballpark figure of what a specific home is likely worth. Keep in mind, however, that a professional home appraisal will be necessary to arrive at an unbiased, accurate reflection of a home’s value.

Consider What You Need

Accessible homes may have an array of features. These can vary tremendously; For instance, a tall wheelchair user may have different needs than a wheelchair user of average height. 

To narrow down your requirements and help get an idea of what renovations may cost, you may find it helpful to contact a professional. One example is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. CAPS remodelers have special expertise when it comes to making homes accessible to the elderly.

There are other potential resources, too. Your area’s homebuilders’ association may be able to point you toward contractors with experience making accessibility modifications. An occupational therapist can also be a good source of advice.

Don’t forget that homes may even need seemingly small elements like their locks modified. Changing the locks on a new home is an opportunity to modify the hardware so that it fits your needs. For example, locks that are not difficult to use are a component recommended by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which applies to public accommodations, businesses, and government facilities but can also inform home renovations.

Understand Opportunities in the Home-Buying Process

The home-buying process may present myriad opportunities to save money. One is purchasing a house as is — in other words, getting the home possibly below market value with the understanding it’s not in the best shape. Purchasing a fixer-upper means you may need to make more post-purchase renovations than usual, but you’ll also save money up front.

Before doing this, thoroughly inspect the property, talk to a lawyer, and research the property’s land records for warning signs. Also be sure to take into account estimated costs of post-purchase renovations, especially when combined with those of accessibility modifications. 

Find the Right Rental

If buying a home isn’t part of your plan, there are still plenty of rental options available for those who require accessible accommodations. Particularly if you’re moving out of the city, there are opportunities for more space (and possibly lower rent) in smaller areas like Bellmore or even Stamford. When surveying apartments for rent, use an online directory that can help you filter for certain amenities specific to accessible housing. While any complex is required to meet ADA standards, some offer more. 

Find Your Next Accessible Home

To set yourself up for success while hunting for an accessible home, go in with an understanding of what you need, look for potential bargains, and consult with specialists to learn about what the new home should have. That will help you form a budget and purchase wisely.

 

Uncategorized

How to Set Up IEP Work Bins for Special…

Careful planning and organization are key in helping special ed students succeed in their learning journeys. That’s why we are starting our 2022 blog series with powerful IEP organizational hacks on how to set up IEP work bins. Buckle up and get ready to transform your teaching routine.

What are IEP work bins?

IEP work bins are task boxes that include learning activities specifically designed for the individual student’s IEP goals. The bins are usually organized to be used by one student, and learning activities are added or removed based on the child’s progress with his/her IEP goals.

IEP work bin activities are usually stored in a large clear container. The container needs to be easy enough for students to open and large enough to fit multiple worksheets and activities.

Here’s a great example of an IEP work bin in action, check it out below.

View a sample IEP work bin

Why IEP work bins are a good idea?

In special ed classrooms, students may have anywhere from 5 to 100 different IEP goals. While educators spend most of their time trying to adapt their

teaching to individual student needs, it can be challenging to make one-on-one time with every student.

This is when IEP work bins come in handy. Work bins provide special ed students with a set of activities carefully tailored to their IEP goals. Because there is always a planned activity stored in the bin, students can independently pick up activities and progress at their own pace.

Organizing IEP work bins

It’s important to keep track of the activities assigned to each child and duly remove the activities that have been completed. To make the tracking easier, use labels on each activity and try this simple spreadsheet.

Make a copy of the spreadsheet

 

 

Here’s how you can use the spreadsheet and labels:

1. Create a label code for an IEP goal. For example, if a student has a goal for reading comprehension, you could label related activities as “Reading-1”.

2. Mark all “Reading-1” activities on the spreadsheet and use sticky notes that say “Reading-1” to label the activities inside the bin.

3. The spreadsheet also helps track which student is assigned which activity, as well as the dates when the activities were placed in the bin.

What goes inside an IEP work bin?

There are lots of different types of activities to fill up your IEP work bins. Be sure to include those that address each student’s learning style, needs, and IEP goals. Check out these handy, ready-to-use worksheets and tasks for example.

Browse tasks for IEP work bins

Track student progress with Datability

IEP work bins are a practical way to keep special ed students engaged and focused on their IEP goals. You know what other tool can take your IEP organization to a higher level? Yes, you’ve guessed it right – Datability is always there to help you track each student’s goals, behaviors, and academic performance. If you’ve been looking for a solution that lets you compile all student IEP data in one space and analyze insights about every student under your wing, Datability is the way to go. To learn more about the platform’s benefits, give this video a watch.

Watch video

We hope you found these tips helpful and will use them to keep your students focused on their IEP goals throughout the school year. We’ll be sharing more valuable insights about all things special ed, so stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts.

Uncategorized

8 Fun Activities in Your Next Virtual Special-ed Class

Teaching virtually comes with its own set of unique challenges, especially when tailoring your video calls to the needs of a special education class. However, we’ve found that having the right set of activities in place can have a significant impact on increasing student engagement.

We’ve created a list of social skills activities, themed initiatives, games, academic activities, and exciting virtual field trips you can implement into your lessons the next time you feel you’re struggling to keep your students engaged.  Let’s get started!

Virtual Social Skills Activities For Special-Ed Students

Show and Tell

Ask your students to bring an object they feel a connection with to your next video call and have them talk about it. This way, all children can engage and share something unique about themselves. Each class can have a different topic like:

  • Favorite toys
  • Drawings
  • Pets
  • Siblings
  • Family photos

Scavenger Hunts

This is a fun one and the favorite of many kids! All you need to do is prepare a quick list with objects. During the class, you can announce them one at a time and give the children some time to search before returning to the video call with their item.

Here are some scavenger hunt object ideas:

  • A book with numbers in it
  • A toy that has three different colors
  • A remote control
  • Two matching socks
  • A winter hat

Games

Games are always a sure-fire way to increase engagement during a class. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Mystery bag: Place a “mystery item” in a bag and let your students guess what it is.
  • Freeze dance: This is a great way to take a short break and let the children move around and have fun.
  • GoNoodle breaks: Go to the GoNoodle website, pick a category, share your screen, and get ready for fun!

Discover other fun activities and games

Virtual Themed Activities


Having a themed day is a great way to break from the daily routine. You can ask your students whether they prefer having a thematic pajama party, beach party, or costume party days. Once you figure out their favorite themes, you can schedule the events in advance so the kids have time to prepare their outfits.

Virtual Academic Activities

Virtual academic activities are a great way to help your students learn something new while having fun. For these activities, you will need to notify your students in advance so they can prepare.

Bring Your Favorite Book

Ask each student to come to the video call with their favorite book. During the class, you can ask each student to identify things like:

  • Cover page
  • Spine
  • Author
  • Chapter numbers
  • A specific word or letter in the book

Counting Money

Ask the students to bring banknotes of $1, $5, $10, $20, and some pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

Then you can:

  • Ask them to identify and show you specific banknotes and coins.
  • Show a banknote and ask them to show you the same one.
  • Give them some item prices and ask them what bill they’ll use to pay for the item.

Daily Routine

You can help your students learn some useful daily routine habits by asking everyone to complete simple tasks around the house like:

  • Organizing: Ask your students to organize their desks.
  • Sweeping: Ask everyone to get a broom and sweep the floor.
  • Cooking: You can ask your students to make quick snacks like cereal or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Note: Make sure to be sensitive to each of your student’s conditions when choosing the daily routine activity.

Get some ideas on how to set up your virtual special-ed classroom

Virtual Field Trips

Having a virtual classroom allows you to take your students on a field trip anywhere. Whether you choose to take your class to the local park, another country, or even Mars, your students will be back before the class ends!

All you need is a good internet connection, a good video sharing platform, and access to:

  • Live webcams: There are many live cams such as the San Diego Zoo Live Ape Cam and Georgia Aquarium’s Beluga Whale Livestream.
  • Travel videos: You can play National Geographic videos and the Planet Earth series.
  • 360-degree maps and images: Access virtual tours of the Great Wall of China, the Louvre, the pyramids in Egypt, and much more.
  • Educational platforms: Discovery Education and Access Mars with Google offer many interesting resources for students.

Helpful special-ed resources to use during distance learning

Make Virtual Learning Easier with Datability

With Datability, you can better understand how engaged your special needs students are and what difficulties they may be having in the virtual classroom. Data reports for each student provide insights into their goal progress, behavior, and academic performance which you can then share with parents.

We hope you found these interactive video conferencing ideas helpful and will use them to increase student engagement in your virtual classroom. To learn more about Datability and how it can impact your special needs students, feel free to schedule a call with us. We’d be more than happy to discuss your unique challenges.

Uncategorized

Bringing Out the Best in Special Needs Students

Wow! It’s December already and Christmas is a blip away. Are you excited about Christmas or winter or snow? We most definitely are!

With our spirits heightened and our sense of wonder strong, in this blog post, we’d like to talk about ways to bring the best out of special education kids. Keep scrolling for some great pointers for how to help special needs students thrive and become the best versions of themselves.

Discover Their Strengths

Parents and teachers need to work together to identify every special needs student’s natural strengths and talents. It’s also important to involve the kids in this process and ask them what they’re interested in and what they feel like they’re good at. Once you’ve discovered where the child excels at, design strength-based learning strategies that utilize those abilities. For instance, if a student is great at drawing, let him/her illustrate the vocabulary words instead of spelling them out. This can make all the difference in students’ attitudes about learning and their overall performance at school. If you need a bit of help identifying strengths in students, feel free to use this checklist.

Types of Strengths in Special Needs Kids

Positive Role Models

Offering real life role models for special needs students can help them truly shine and desire more for themselves because they see the success of someone who is just like them. Some examples of such individuals include:

● Nobel Prize winning geneticist Carol Greider (learning disabilities).

● Film director Steven Spielberg (ADHD).

● Animal scientist Temple Grandin (autistic spectrum disorder).

● Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk (Asperger Syndrome).

● Business magnate and founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson (dyslexia).

There are plenty more success stories from people who are not necessarily famous but who have done remarkably well in overcoming challenges and barriers of various disabilities.

Read 101 Success Stories

Provide Regular Progress Reports

A lot of special education children respond best to targeted feedback. Discussing with a student where specific improvements can be made is much more effective than a generic “good job class!” statement at the end of a project.

Frequent check-ins with students and their parents help establish more of a personal connection and keep everyone on the same page about the students’ learning progress. This is when Datability comes in handy: it helps parents and educators monitor student’s IEP progress from one centralized cloud platform and generate personalized student assessments. To find out more about Datability and how it can help create regular IEP progress reports, check out our Tutorials.

Go to Tutorials

 

Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open attitude toward trying new technologies and new methods of teaching and interacting with special education children. Technology, science, and society advance each day so why not utilize that to its full potential?

Here at Datability, we live and breathe our mission of helping special education students succeed by constantly enhancing our platform and staying open to your feedback. So don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any comments or ideas about how we can improve it further!

Uncategorized

Tips for Preparing for IEP Meetings & Benefits of…

IEP Meeting season is almost here! So, for this blog post, we wanted to focus on how Datability can help you be better prepared for your meetings and provide some tips on how you can approach them better.

ADHD PARENTING & TEACHING: IEP Meeting Tips

When it comes to students with ADHD—or any disability really—it’s all about teamwork between parents and teachers. And, as our friend Tanya from Project Happy Home highlights in her video below, Datability gives you a collaborative platform that makes tracking and goal setting so much easier for you and the child!

Keep reading to discover more benefits of Datability and some tips on how to prepare for IEP meetings whether you’re a parent or a teacher.

Benefits of Using Datability for Students with ADHD & IEP Meetings

  • Provides a platform for measurable smart goals.
  • Allows you to easily create, track, update, and assess goals.
  • Enables you to set clear time periods for goals.
  • Allows you to effortlessly change the framework of how you evaluate goals.
  • Implementing checkpoints gives you greater clarity about where the student is at throughout the year.
  • Lets you see a clear progression and assessment of behaviour.

On top of these, Datability was created to help students meet goals as opposed to recording deficits.

IEP Meeting Tips for Parents

When preparing for these IEP meetings, parents should keep an open mind and go in with a collaborative attitude in order to focus on what’s best for your child. Here are some other IEP meeting tips for parents to consider:

  • Be prepared: Write down all of your child’s needs, challenges, questions you might have, and what you’d like to accomplish.
  • Bring a friend, or someone to go with you.
  • Establish a point-of-contact person in advance.
  • Make it personal: Remind the team of who your child truly is with pictures, their favorite toy, or other items that represent them.
  • Plan a follow-up meeting and send a follow-up email.

IEP Meeting Tips for Teachers

As a teacher, being organized, positive, and open are your best friends when it comes to IEP meetings. On top of those, here are some other IEP pointers that will help ensure a successful meeting:

  • Make sure everyone who needs to be there is at the meeting.
  • Start and stay positive throughout the meeting.
  • Be sensitive: Remember that everyone just wants the best for the student.
  • Use empathy: Realize that parents know their children the best and only want them to succeed.
  • Ask for help: If you need additional support, don’t be afraid to ask your administration or counselors for assistance.

If you’re a teacher or a parent that has a student with ADHD, you’ll definitely want to check out Tanya’s video and her channel.

IEP Meeting Tips Video

Don’t Go Through Another IEP Season Without Datability!

Did you miss out this year on the effectiveness of Datability? Don’t let another year go by without it!

I understand things are extremely busy right now but why not take this time (or this summer) to plan more effectively for the next school year? Schedule a professional development session with me and have your district adopt Datability for the next school year. That way, your teachers can implement good tracking practices for special needs students from the get-go. This will significantly help them in the long run—by the end of the year, they’ll have a much better understanding of their student’s progress and will have saved tons of time along the way.

We encourage you to take advantage of all that Datability has to offer by watching our tutorials.

GO TO TUTORIALS

Uncategorized

Use Datability to streamline your CSE meetings

In this blog post, we’ll be highlighting how our software can help you prepare for your upcoming CSE meetings. We hope you enjoy it and learn just how effective Datability can be.

SUCCESSFULLY PREPARE FOR CSE MEETINGS WITH DATABILITY

As the end of the school season draws near, we wanted to go over how using Datability throughout the year will help you be better prepared for your CSE meetings. By using our program you’ll effortlessly:

  • Save time from having to manually input data
  • Pull student reports for parents to bring to your CSE meeting
  • Remove the risk of reporting errors since everything is backed up to the cloud

 

Once you have the report ready to go, I suggest you print it off and have it ready for your meetings to give you—and the parents —a better visual of what has been accomplished over the years.

The data you input can be exported to match a specific period. You can choose to:

  • Report on the whole year
  • Break it up into semesters or segments
  • See an overview of the progress of EACH goal determined at the beginning of the year

By the end of the meeting, you can even set goals and develop an IEP plan for the next school year—entering everything into Datability. Additionally, our software allows you to provide parents with a legal document to ensure compliance with your district and the goals agreed on.

Overall, collecting and analyzing data using Datability will help you stay on track with the development and advancement for each student. Parents will also have peace of mind knowing that teachers are continually monitoring their child’s development.

Learn how to generate an end-of-the-year report by clicking the button below for a tutorial.

END OF YEAR REPORT TUTORIAL

 

Uncategorized

Why Use Automated Data Collection?

I trust that you’ve been making the most of your time off and warm weather by spending time with your family and friends!

With the 2021-2022 school year kicking off soon, I wanted to go over the importance of using automated data collection for your upcoming IEP. I wrote a whole blog on the subject back in 2019, but wanted to quickly share the benefits with you here as you start thinking about goals and what you want to achieve for the next school year. Enjoy!

The Case For Automated Data Collection

If one of your goals for the next school year is to be more organized, using automated data collection for your special education students is, in my opinion, the best way to go. Having easy data collection in special education opens a path to accurate, hassle-free student progress analysis for educators. Here are the main benefits of using data collection software like Datability:

  • Instant Information

Say goodbye to collecting information manually! With automated data collection software, collated student data is filtered and graphed instantly, making it much easier for educators, caregivers and parents to evaluate student progress insights.

  • More Time For Students

By switching to automated data collection for IEPs, you’ll be saving tons of time, which will allow you to focus on the rest of your students, and give them the one-on-one attention they need.

  • Decreased Chances Of Errors

Having the correct data for your special needs students is extremely important. When you start collecting and assessing using automated software, you greatly reduce your chances of manual errors. With informative data, you’ll be increasing the chances of your student’s success and keeping them on the right track.

  • Strengthens Your Evidence & Helps Students

Having instant access to graphs, reports, and whether or not goals are being met, means you won’t have to second guess how your student(s) are doing because everything is in one place. The clear information is evidence to back up your claims or ideas for progression moving forward. On top of that, you’ll be saving paper and helping not only the student, but the environment too!

If you’d like to read the whole blog I wrote for more context, you can find it here.

Additionally, check out the site below for some valuable information about progress monitoring with data collection for annual IEP goals.

Progress Monitoring For IEP Goals

If you’ve been enjoying the features, efficiency, and saved time while using Datability, I encourage you to share it with your teacher friends so they can become more efficient and save time too!

Schedule An Info Session

If you think you could benefit from automated data collection for IEP but don’t feel 100% confident using Datability—or you just want to brush up on your knowledge —I recommend scheduling an information session with me. I’d be more than happy to help you in any way I can to make 2021-2022 your most successful and organized school year yet!

Schedule a Call

As always, you can check out Datability’s video tutorials on the website to get more acquainted with its features and work at your own pace.

Summer Suggestions

I hope you’ve been enjoying and implementing activities from this summer suggestions section! Here are some more fun ideas:

● Volunteer Work: If you’re a teacher you can set up volunteer-like activities at school or in the community. For parents, you can reach out to organizations to arrange volunteer hours for your child, or better yet, volunteer with them so they understand how important it is to help out. Volunteers can help build self-esteem, empathy, and can help with future job applications.

● Cooking or Baking: Cooking and baking while following a recipe can be really fun for parents, teachers, and student! It teaches children how to read and follow correct steps and instructions while learning about different ingredients, words, and can give them a sense of accomplishment when everything is finished and ready to eat!

● Journaling: This is a great activity for kids at home or in the classroom. It encourages students to reflect on their day, how they felt during certain activities, what went right, and what they’ve learned. It can significantly help with mental health at every age and teaches children how to express themselves in a healthy way.

Uncategorized

Why Use Technology For Special Education?

For this blog post, I’ll be highlighting the importance of using technology in the classroom for special education purposes and suggesting certain types of programs and apps. I’ll also be providing more activities in the Summer Suggestions section. Enjoy!

Technology—A Teacher’s Best Friend

With 1000’s of education-focused apps and websites available, it can become a bit overwhelming trying to figure out which ones to use. But, if you can view the use of technology in your classroom as your friend—and not your enemy—your teaching and your students can seriously benefit.

For students with special needs, technology is extremely beneficial and can be used to:

  • Enable students to understand the curriculum in ways that match their learning styles.
  • Help them experience learning differently.
  • Encourage independence & confidence.
  • Mitigate stress & anxiety.
  • Enhance their connections with classmates.
  • Feel more comfortable.
  • Increase academic performance & understanding.

Of course, every student is different so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all app or website that will work for everyone. There are, however, certain types of software that are proving to be very effective for teachers and students alike.

Here are a few of the most common types of technology that can inspire you to dig a little deeper when trying to decide what to use:

  • Text-to-speech programs: For students who favor auditory learning, or suffer from dyslexia.
  • Dictation programs: To help students with their speech
  • Interactive screens: To make communication easier
  • Virtual learning: Most of us know about this type of technology already since the pandemic, but it’s important to note that it can help keep students on track.

Interested in learning more about these types of technologies? Read more here.

 

Helpful Apps & Websites For Special Education

In addition to using Datability to help you easily track, assess, and set goals for special ed students, here are some equally useful applications and websites worth checking out if you’re a teacher or parent:

There are plenty of other useful tools for you to browse here.

 

Summer Suggestions

Here are some more fun activity ideas for you to try out over the summer—or in the classroom—that I think everyone will enjoy!

  • Workshops: Take a field trip to a museum, nature society, or any other organization that puts on short workshops for enhanced learning and interaction.
  • Get Outside: This one seems like a no-brainer but it’s so easy for kids to get stuck inside, or glued to their devices. So, go wash the car together, play with chalk, put sensory bins outside, or even set up water activities. These are all good alternatives and will help you take advantage of the warmer weather!
  • Overnight Summer Programs: This one is geared more towards parents, but overnight camps or programs can be really good for students with special needs. It gets them out of their comfort zone and encourages them to be more independent, try new things, and socialize more with their peers.

Don’t forget to check out Datability’s video tutorials on the website to get more acquainted with its features.

Go To Tutorials

 

Uncategorized

Current Trends In Special Education

Special ed has seen substantial progress with the adaptation of new technologies, research, and findings. In this blog post, we are sharing trends in special ed that can facilitate positive learning in special needs children. Keep reading to stay up to date on the latest trends in the field!

Buckle Up, Here Come the Top Special Ed Trends!

Early intervention and prevention

Early intervention and prevention of disabilities are not new concepts, but they have experienced growing emphasis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 11% of the kids who are served in early intervention programs end up not needing any special education in the school years. As such, early intervention and prevention not only benefit children in the long run but also save money by reducing the later need for costly services.
If you have young children or know someone who might benefit from an early intervention program, make sure to share this information with them along with the U.S. State, Commonwealth & Territory Early Intervention Contacts.

Inclusive education

The trend in education today is to include students with disabilities into the mainstream classroom vs. integrating them. Inclusion means that special needs students are not expected to adjust to a fixed education structure. Instead, the structure is adjusted so that everyone’s learning styles can be met and kids with and without disabilities can feel equally valued.

Integration, on the other hand, is placing special needs students in existing mainstream education without changing the system of education delivery. It is important to understand the difference between the two approaches and use strategies that help adapt and improve the classroom so that all students can achieve success.

 

Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP)

Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) is a method that connects neurological and motor learning to help non-verbal children communicate. Combined with technology and specialized learning apps, LAMP empowers students with autism and related disorders to effectively communicate and reach higher academic goals. The Center for AAC & Autism offers regular virtual and in-person LAMP trainings – you can book a training through their website.

Schedule a LAMP Training

Assistive technology

Technology continues to transform the classroom. Assistive technology can be as simple as using an e-reader instead of a traditional book. Or it can be an automated IEP data collection tool like Datability that helps keep track of IEPs within a single, easy-to-use cloud platform. These types of solutions give special education students access to learning that would not exist without the technology.
For top 5 technology trends that are growing in importance for special needs kids, read the article below.
Read more about tech trends

 

Student-led planning

Student-led IEPs allow special needs students to take a meaningful role in the special education planning process. Students who participate in their IEP creation are more likely to be engaged in school and successfully achieve their goals. It also helps students understand their own disability, strengths, and areas to work on. As a parent or an educator, make sure to encourage student participation in the IEP planning and tailor the process based on the age, needs, and abilities of each student.

 

Using Datability for Student-Led Planning

Datability is your indispensable ally for bringing educators, students, and parents on the same page about IEP planning. Our application is easy-to-use for everyone involved and even helps enable student-led IEP creation.
Students will benefit from the app, as it provides detailed reports about their IEP goals and learning progress. The platform is a perfect place for students to collaborate with their educators on creating IEPs that are aligned with their goals, strengths, and learning styles.
If you’re interested to learn more about Datability and how it can be used for IEP planning and tracking, explore our video tutorials.
Go To Tutorials

 

Uncategorized

Keeping Special Ed Students Motivated

Now that we are a month into the school year, students are settling into their routines and continuing with their learning journeys. At this point, you may be wondering how to keep students’ motivation up and encourage them to do well in school throughout the year. In this blog post, we are sharing awesome tips to motivate special needs children and help them rock their academic goals.

 

Tips to Motivate Special Needs Children During the School Year

 

Focus on strengths

Every student has a preferred learning style and shines in certain subjects. As a teacher or parent, you can discover meaningful ways to motivate them by leveraging on their innate strengths. Concentrate on students’ positive qualities and talents rather than the skills and abilities they may lack. Special ed kids in strengths-based programs tend to develop greater confidence, have higher GPAs, and build resilience.

Create achievable goals

Setting goals for students is a common practice, but did you know it can also help motivate students in special education classrooms? Although it can be challenging for special ed students to plan ahead and monitor their behavior, creating realistic goals that acknowledge their areas of disability can help them stay on track and progress well.

 

Use positive reinforcement

Praise and positive attention are some of the most powerful rewards for children in special ed. They help students make a connection between what they are learning and what they have achieved, by reinforcing good behaviors on the spot. Simple and genuine behaviors like reminding how good students are doing (verbal) or showing excitement (non-verbal) when they accomplish a task can​​ go a long way.

Utilize tech

Technology can be a great equalizer for children with disabilities and enable their full participation in the classroom. It is important to keep on the lookout for assistive technologies that enable students to learn in a way that accommodates their individual learning styles and limitations.

Read more about using tech in special ed

Create a fun learning environment

Every child loves to have fun! Fun is the key ingredient to learning and staying motivated. Switch up your lesson plans to include trivia games, art projects, singing and acting, creative writing, and public speaking. Get imaginative and plan fun, age-appropriate activities around students’ interests.

 

Using Datability for Better Goal Setting

Developing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for students with IEPs can help educators identify gaps in skills, so they know where to focus their lessons with students.

Datability can be extra useful in this process, as it helps track each student’s goals, behaviors, and academic performance within a single easy-to-use platform.

Datability also enables school admins to access teachers’ data archiving habits and guide them toward better IEP data collection practices.

To understand how to improve data collection and tracking for IEP goals, check out the tutorials we’ve put together for you.

View tutorials