Monthly Archives: May 2012

Advocacy

People for Education

Annie Kidder’s independent organization works to support public education in Ontario’s English, French and Catholic schools.  This is a must see!

http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/

People for Education – focus on Special Education

http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/global-topic/special-education/?gclid=CI7ikJLDvLACFUgRNAodMBIUoA

Recent News:

Ontario knocked for special-needs student supportPeople for Education call for wide-ranging review, new policy

From CBC

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocacy

Welcome to Special Education in Ontario: on the bell curve!

Welcome to Special Education in Ontario: on the bell curve!

I hope this blog serves as an introduction to Special Education in Ontario and Canada.  Information about specific Exceptionalities is drawn from all over the world, but with a focus on education in Ontario. 

Information about specific policies, procedures and paperwork (such as IEPs and IPRCs) focus on Ontario, but I have included other provinces as well.  Special Education in Ontario: on the bell curve is an annotated bibliography, a compendium of resources for a range of Exceptionalities – ADHD, ODD, ASD, SPD, etc…   This is a slavishly organized and well-researched guide about Exceptionalities, the Ontario School System and how to navigate it all.

 

Please explore the site using the Categories tabs or the Search tool.

If there is something you want added, let me know! 

You can reach me on Twitter @onthebellcurve

  

Note: This is a PERSONAL blog, not an official Ministry of Education website. This is a forum for sharing.

Please add comments and your favourite resources (and let me know if there are any dead links!) Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under How to Teach Students with Special Needs, Ontario Ministry of Education

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The Ontario Ministry of Education defines Autism as:

A severe learning disorder that is characterized by:

a) disturbances in: – rate of educational development; – ability to relate to the environment; – mobility; – perception, speech, and language;

b) lack of the representational symbolic behaviour that precedes language.               Special Educator’s Handbook (2002)

The Geneva Centre for Autism says Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are:

ASDs are a range of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Asperger Syndrome.

Each of these disorders affects communication, social interaction skills and behaviour.

ASDs usually manifest during the first three years of life.  Impaired social interaction is the hallmark symptom as people affected by ASD have serious problems relating to others, especially peers.  Many people affected by ASD do not have even one friend. This is very stressful to them and to their families.             www.autism.net

Geneva Centre for Autism This is the probably the best resource out there for families and professionals.  http://www.autism.net
Check out the Geneva Centre’s FREE visuals! http://elearning.autism.net/visuals/main.php?g2_itemId=25

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2007) Effective Educational Practices for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders  This is probably the second-best resource out there (or maybe the best for teachers… you check it out and decide!)  Free ‘book’ on Autism.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/autismSpecDis.pdf

New Zealand Ministry of Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders Resource for Teachers. Excellent information, strategies and overviews.  http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/SpecialEducation/PublicationsAndResources/AutismSpectrumDisordersResourceForTeachers.aspx

Autism Society Canada http://www.autismsocietycanada.ca

Autism Society Ontario http://www.autismontario.com/
Asperger’s Society of Ontario http://www.aspergers.ca/

Very Short List of Books about Teaching Students with Autism

Aspy, R. & Goldman, G. (2007) The Ziggurat Model: a framework for designing comprehensive interventions for individuals with high-functioning Autism and Asperger syndrome. Autism Asperger Publishing Company
Brewer, R. & Mueller, T. (2008) Strategies at Hand: quick and handy strategies for working with students on the Autism spectrum. Autism Asperger Publishing Company
Eckenrode, L., Fennell, P., & Hearsey K. (2003) Tasks Galore: creative ideas for teachers, therapists and parents working with Exceptional children. Tasks Galore, Raleigh, NC.
Henry, K. (2005)  How Do I Teach This Kid? Visual work tasks for beginning learners on the Autism spectrum. Future Horizons
Krumins, J.  (2007) Been There Done That – Finally Getting it Right: a guide to educational planning for a student with autism. Autism Aspirations
Kluth, P. & Schwarz, P. (2008) Just Give Him the Whale!: 20 ways to use fascinations, areas of expertise and strengths to support students with autism. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Kluth, P. (2010) “You’re Going to Love this Kid!”  Teaching students with Autism in the inclusive classroom. 2nd Edition, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Reynolds, R. (2011) ABA: a Brief Introduction to Teaching Children with Autism. Reg Reynolds, Publishing
Don’t forget…  The Special Education Companion, 2002

Possibly the BEST and most under-used document in Special Education!  This document lists countless ways to help students under each Exceptionality Category.  If you look at ‘Gifted’ you have 10 pages of characterisitics of gifted students, issues, general teaching and learning strategies, program ideas, subject-specific strategies (reading, spelling, mathematics) and assessment strategies!

Do NOT write an IEP without reading this document! Parents and Teachers should use this resource to determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and strategies for the classroom.  Parents, please bring this to your teacher meetings to advocate for your child!

http://www.ocup.org/resources/documents/companions/speced2002.pdf

 

Note: This is a PERSONAL blog, not an official Ministry of Education website.  This is a forum for sharing. 

Please add comments and your favourite resources (and let me know if there are any dead links!)  Thank you!

2 Comments

Filed under Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), How to Teach Students with Special Needs

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder also known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and a few other acronyms (i.e. FAE, ARND, etc…)  FASD  (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) is the current name.

Alberta Education – Government of Alberta (2004) Teaching Students with FASD: Handbook for Educators This is THE handbook for teachers of students with FASD (or students you suspect with FASD)

http://education.alberta.ca/media/377037/fasd.pdf

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Support Services www.fasworld.com

Finding Hope   http://findinghope.knowledge.ca/

This documentary follows the lives of people affected by FASD in British Columbia.  There are medical experts, parents and children who discuss FASD. You truly get ‘a day in the life.’  There are awesome classroom ideas (great layout and teaching ideas).  It is the BEST video out there – 60 minutes well spent (bring tissue)

Buxton, B. (2004) Damaged Angels: a mother discovers the terrible cost of alcohol in pregnancy. Knopf, Canada

Streissguth, A. (2006) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a guide for families and communities. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co

Leave a comment

Filed under Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), How to Teach Students with Special Needs

Developmental Disabilties or Intellectual Disabilities

These resources are for people with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities.  The term ‘Developmental Disabilities’ can be misleading.  The Ontario Ministry of Education uses the term to describe students of low intellectual abiltiy (i.e. low thinking abilty or low IQ). 

In some parts of the world (or even Ontario!) “Developmental Disabilities” refers to anything that changes the ‘normal’ course of development – such as childhood schiztophrenia or epilepsy.  This is not what we’re talking about here.  

Years ago students with Developmental Disabilties were described as ‘Mentally Retarded’ with descriptors of ‘mild’, ‘moderate’, ‘severe’ and ‘profound’.  These words are NOT used in Education in Ontario. 

The Ontario Ministry of Education uses the following definitions:

Mild Intellectual Disability A learning disorder characterized by:

a) an ability to profit educationally within a regular class with the aid of considerable curriculum modification and supportive service;

b) an inability to profit educationally within a regular class because of slow intellectual development;

c) a potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.

Developmental Disability A severe learning disorder characterized by:

a) an inability to profit from a special education program for students with mild intellectual disabilities because of slow intellectual development;

b) an ability to profit from a special education program that is designed to accommodate slow intellectual development;

c) a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment, and economic self-support.

Special Education: A Guide for Educators (2002)

Developmental Disabilties

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities http://www.aaidd.org/


Canadian Association for Community Living http://www.cacl.ca

Ontario Association for Developmental Disabilities http://www.oadd.org
National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Check out the poorly named ‘Disorder Index’ Definitely not written from a people first perspective; however the medical information and overviews of the many different ‘disorders’,  (many not just developmental disabilities) is very good, with accurate and links to external sites that are also good.  This site has everything from ADHD and Adie’s Syndrome to Zellweger Syndrome! http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/disorder_index.htm
Down Syndrome
Canadian Down Syndrome Society http://www.cdss.ca/

Down Syndrome Education Online http://www.down-syndrome.org/
Fragile X

Fragile X Research Association of Canada

http://www.fragilexcanada.ca/index.php?home&lng=en

The National Fragile X Foundation
Excellent site – very comprehensive http://www.fragilex.org/html/home.shtml
Check out the “Lesson Planning Guide for Students with Fragile X Syndrome: A Practical Approach for the Classroom” Excellent ideas for teachers.  (Parents, please hand this to your child’s teacher!) http://www.fragilex.org/pdf/FXSBinderReprint0804.pdf

Prader-Willi Syndrome


Prader Willi Syndrome Association USA This is my favourite site for PWS, if you need to contact the folks about additional info, feel free to phone – they are awesome! http://www.pwsausa.org/
Check out their Medical Resources – PWAUSA has a great Medical Alert package to take to doctors or the Emergency Room. http://www.pwsausa.org/syndrome/medical.htm

William Syndrome

Canadian Association for William Syndrome Good information and links to resources. http://caws.sasktelwebhosting.com/index.html
Finally….

The Special Education Companion, 2002 (do you sense a theme here?)

Possibly the BEST and most under-used document in Special Education!  This document lists countless ways to help students under each Exceptionality Category.  If you look at ‘Mild Intellectual Disabilty’ OR ‘Developmental Disability’ you have 10 pages of characterisitics of  students with DD/MID, issues, general teaching and learning strategies, program ideas, subject-specific strategies (reading, spelling, mathematics) and assessment strategies!

Do NOT write an IEP without reading this document! Parents and Teachers should use this resource to determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and strategies for the classroom.  Parents, please bring this to your teacher meetings to advocate for your child!

Please give comments with your favourite websites for people with Developmental Disabilities – share the wealth!

Remember: This is a PERSONAL blog, not an official Ministry of Education website. This is a forum for sharing.

Please add comments and your favourite resources (and let me know if there are any dead links!) Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Developmental Disabilties or Intellectual Disabilities, How to Teach Students with Special Needs

Blind & Visually Impaired AND Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Please feel free to send your suggestions for this post.

The Ontario Ministry of Education defines the Blind and Low Vision Exceptionality as:

A condition of partial or total impairment of sight or vision that even with correction affects educational performance adversely.

Resources for Blind and Visually Impaired:
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Foundation Fighting Blindness
The Ontario Ministry of Education defines the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Exceptionality as:
An impairment characterized by deficits in language and speech development because of a diminished or non-existent auditory response to sound.
Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
Canadian Hearing Society (CHS)
National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

Ontario Association for the Deaf

Check out the The Special Education Companion, (2002) for Blind and Low Vision or Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Possibly the BEST and most under-used document in Special Education!  This document lists countless ways to help students under each Exceptionality Category.  If you look at ‘Blind and Low Vision’ or Deaf/Hard of Hearing you have 10 pages of students characterisitics, issues, general teaching and learning strategies, program ideas, subject-specific strategies (reading, spelling, mathematics) and assessment strategies!

Do NOT write an IEP without reading this document! Parents and Teachers should use this resource to determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and strategies for the classroom.  Parents, please bring this to your teacher meetings to advocate for your child!

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/ocup/documents/speced2002.pdf

1 Comment

Filed under Blind & Visually Impaired AND Deaf & Hard of Hearing, How to Teach Students with Special Needs

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD and ADD

The Ontario Ministry of Education defines a “Behaviour” Exceptionality as:

A learning disorder characterized by specific behaviour problems over such a period of time, and to such a marked degree, and of such a nature, as to adversely affect educational performance, and that may be accompanied by one or more of the following:

a) an inability to build or to maintain interpersonal relationships;

b) excessive fears or anxieties;

c) a tendency to compulsive reaction;

d) an inability to learn that cannot be traced to intellectual, sensory, or other health factors, or any combination thereof.

Special Education: a Guide for Educators (2002)

Click here for a link to the DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD

(This may be *somewhat* more accurate)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD and ADD

I will say that Alberta is further ahead than Ontario in recognising and supporting students with ADHD.  So let’s start with Alberta!

Alberta Education – Government of Alberta (2006) Focusing on Success: Teaching Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
You want proof about the ADHD situation in Ontario?  Check it out! 3 provinces get failing grades on ADHD and Ontario is one of them! http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/10/27/adhd-schools.html
Research Monograph # 3 The Educational Implications of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Ontario Ministry of Education)
CADDAC’s  Fairness in Education Campaign calls on governments to recognize that students with ADHD have legitimate special learning needs and need appropriate supports to overcome their challenges in becoming academically successful http://www.caddac.ca/cms/page.php?214
More on that here…
Canadian Resources for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:

Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada
Probably the one of the BEST general ADHD websites out there – for parents, educators, medical professionals and adults with ADHD.  Gender differences too.  Excellent information on medication, support and different stages of life – childhood, adolescence, postsecondary and adulthood.  This is my ‘go to’ website. http://www.caddac.ca/cms/page.php?2
Here is their list of Canadian ADHD links – be sure to check them out
The Canadian Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Resource Alliance
Again, excellent information for parents, educators, doctors, adults with ADHD, children and adolescents.  The children’s section is written in kid-friendly language. http://www.caddra.ca/cms4/
Sick Kids ADHD Clinic
From the Hospital for Sick Children – Information for Parents, kids and Educators about ADHD signs, symptoms, subtypes and school.  Information about gender differences, diagnosis and treatment as well.
Check out Rick Green’s Totally ADD website- tonnes of videos, etc..
In case you missed it before, check out:

The Special Education Companion, 2002

Possibly the BEST and most under-used document in Special Education!  This document lists countless ways to help students under each Exceptionality Category.  If you look at ‘Behaviour’ you have 10 pages of characterisitics of students with Behaviour Exceptionalities, issues, general teaching and learning strategies, program ideas, subject-specific strategies (reading, spelling, mathematics) and assessment strategies!

Do NOT write an IEP without reading this document! Parents and Teachers should use this resource to determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and strategies for the classroom.  Parents, please bring this to your teacher meetings to advocate for your child!

http://www.ocup.org/resources/documents/companions/speced2002.pdf

Note: This is a PERSONAL blog, not an official Ministry of Education website. This is a forum for sharing.

Please add comments and your favourite resources (and let me know if there are any dead links!) Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD and ADD, Behaviour Exceptionality, How to Teach Students with Special Needs