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Using TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) with Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

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Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [SEND]

My interventions, advise and efforts to date have been aimed to students without specific needs. I am now looking at what provision is available for our SEND students and how I can support them and their tutors.

SEND students will have difficulties with:

  • Communication and interaction
  • Cognition and learning
  • Behaviour and social development
  • Physical or medical needs

Differentiated and personalised, even 1:1 teaching is required, rather than the teacher teaching from the end of a classroom and hoping to keep order and anyone engaged.

Personalisation and carefully structured lessons are key.

The aim is to provide help so that students can access the parts of the general curriculum that is available to all students. It is at the frontline of accessibility. Assessment is important as there is a constant need to understand and develop students’ progress. Observation is equally important. 

 

Some things I can read about (the rest I will have to pick up first hand)

  • If too detailed some students may feel threatened and disillusioned.
  • If the challenge is too great, work becomes boring and any effort is a waste of time. 

Suggestions include:

  • Creating a self-compiled visual dictionary for subject-specific vocabulary
  • Chunking the work
  • Using visual clues
  • Having a ‘lesson menu’ and tick off as the student completes tasks so that they can identify their own progress.

Some specific suggestions include: 

Unable to focus (ADHD)

  • Small sections
  • Have ample ‘time out’
  • Used realistic timed targets
  • Phased classwork and homework
  • Reading and writing is a challenge

Dyslexic

  • Use of coloured overlays to reduce glare and jumping letters
  • Keep instructions simple and short

And in general: 

  • Facilitate 1:1 tutorials
  • Record lessons by phone or laptop
  • Use visuals to support written text

SEND students need to be catered for in a non-discriminatory way, in an inclusive environment, can only enhance the self image and self worth of young people.

Objectives

To achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success.

Integration can reduce social stigmas and improve academic achievement. 

Where can technology help?

A special education program should be customised to address each individual student’s unique needs. 

Individualised Education Program

This will address each student’s unique learning issues and include specific educational goals. 

To help them participate in the educational environment as much as possible.

There are five broad categories of provision

  1. Inclusion

  2. Mainstreaming

  3. Segregation

  4. Exclusion

  5. Co-teaching

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

  • Targets
  • Provisions
  • Outcomes

What strategies will be used

What provision put in place?

Identifiable outcomes to monitor progress.

And include:

Likes, dislikes and anxieties

Home-based tasks

Specific: it is clear what the student should be working towards.

Measurable: it is clear when the target has been achieved.

Achievable: for the individual student.

Relevant:  to the student’s needs and circumstances.

Time-bound: targets are to be achieved by a specified time.

There are 14 categories under special education (in the US):

  1. Autism

  2. Deaf-blindness

  3. Deafness

  4. Developmental delay 

  5. Emotional and behavioral disorders

  6. Hearing impairment

  7. Intellectual disability (formerly referred to as mental retardation)

  8. Multiple disabilities

  9. Orthopedic impairment

  10. Other health impairment

  11. Specific learning disability

  12. Speech or language impairment

  13. Traumatic brain injury

  14. Visual impairment, including blindness

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Design Museum

Uta Frith - the brain as a garden, full of the most interesting, different things ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 1 Mar 2013, 15:50

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Fig.1. My brother's 'garden' for which he won a school prize.

'Her metaphor for the brain is that of a garden, that's full of the most interesting,  different things that have to be constantly cultivated and constantly checked' Kirsty Young (01:24 into transmission, BBC 2013)

This morning I caught Professor Uta Frith of UCL on Desert Island Discs for the second time - this time round I paid closer attention.

I then went to the BBC website and took notes.

Having recently completed H810 Accessible Online Learning and of course interested in educaiton, this offers insights on what studying autism and dyslexia tells us about the human mind.

There's more in another BBC broadcast - Uta Frith interviewed for the BBC's Life Scientific - Broadcast 6 Dec 2011 accessed 1st March 2013 - and available by the way until January 2099 should you not be able to find time and want your dyslexic grandchildren to listen.

The difference in how each of us see the world.

'We learn by taking different perspectives – something about ourselves which we otherwise would have never known'. Uta Frith

'Take what's given to you and make the best of it, but of course the cultivation is key to all of these things, so culture in our lives, learning from other people ... these are the really, really important things'. UF

We may all have some of this in us.

Genetic factors matter.

'How we are raised is a myth. It is not right. It has been so very harmful. It is a illusion to think that doing the right things, for example that you get from books, that you can change things.'

Then from BBC's Life Scientific

'A passionate advocate of neuroscience and how its findings can be used in the classroom to improve learning. She hopes that eventually neuroscience will inform education in the same way that anatomy informs medicine'. (01:35 in, BBC 2013)

Wanting knowledge of the brain to inform education the way knowledge of the body informs medicine.

From the UCL pages

Professor Uta Frith is best known for her research on autism spectrum disorders.

Her book, Autism, Explaining the Enigma (1989) has been translated into many languages. She was one of the initiators of the study of Asperger's Syndrome in the UK and her work on reading development, spelling and dyslexia has been highly influential.

Throughout her career she has been developing a neuro-cognitive approach to developmental disorders.

In particular, she has investigated specific cognitive processes and their failure in autism and dyslexia.

Her aim is to discover the underlying cognitive causes of these disorders and to link them to behavioural symptoms as well as to brain systems. She aims to make this research relevant to the education of people with development disorders and to contribute to a better quality of their everyday life.

Uta Frith on YouTube on early years, then on dyslexia

 

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