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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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H810 Accessibility and equality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Sep 2012, 14:55

Given the start of the Paralympic Games last night it is hardly surprising that disability is a topic or theme on TV, the radio and in the press. Even the Simpsons' satire yesterday evening - the one where the school is split into girls and boys and Liza dresses up as a boy and becomes the object of bullies - had a powerful message regarding equality. It should be about seeing the strength while not ignoring the 'weakness', but accommodating or compensating for it, that it is the lack of x, y or z that makes the disability more of an issue that it needs to be.

Is it just about money?

It took a Paralympian wheelchair basketball player to point out how countries that hadn't the provision of the richer economies had older, clunkier, heavier wheelchairs.

I watched a piece of theatre for deaf people by deaf people. It reminded me of comia del arte - highly physical and rumbustious. I hadn't the slightest clue what was going on, certainly no idea what was being said. Had I someone twlking it through how different would the experience have been.

How do the movies portray disability? From Richard III and Frankenstein, to Finding Nemo, Slum Dog Millionaire and Avatar. Even Dr Who where Darleks, and certainly Davros, are disabled beings in wheelchairs with a wheelie bin, plunger and egg- whisk for limbs.

It takes being ill, of confined to a bed or wheelchair to get some sense if it, or having a close relation, infant or elderly in a state, or phase of amelioration or deterioration to feel it personally. I broke a leg badly enough and far enough away from home to require amabulances and special flights, hospitalisation then a wheelchair. For some months in order to get into the garden I pulled myself about quite happily on a large wooden tea-tray. We knew it was temporary, indeed within six months I was riding a bike and walking with a stick and six months after that competing in the swimming pool and on the rugby pitch - wherein lies a stark difference, the disabled person is very likely to be set inspite or despite of treatment and how the disability came about, indeed their situation is likely to be more complex with medications, care, a deteriorating prognosis even.

There is mental illness and disability in the family too - depression, learning difficulties, aspergers and autism. I'd even dare to say that being exceptionally bright or that ridiculously isolating term 'gifted' in the case of my late father isolated him.

If we wish for inclusivity when will the Olympics and Paralympics play out simultaneously?

Perhaps at a club level I should suggest that once a year we do this - having an inclusive event in contrast to the other exclusive events we run or take part in.

As I reflect I need of course to bring it back to H810.

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) runs a workshop for coaches who work with disabled athletes - there is an online module too which I will sign up for. Annually we apply for a national award called Swim21 which includes an audit in relation to disabled swimmers - we ticked every box without question with qualified personal, watertime set aside, entry into internal and external galas and working with our local leisure providers but is this enough? If the bar isn't that high no wonder it is easy to get over.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 31 Aug 2012, 06:07)
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Design Museum

Accesibility for disabled and older people

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Oct 2012, 06:01

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'Excluding people who are already at a disadvantage by providing small, hard–to–use, inflexible interfaces to devices and apps that create more problems than they solve'. (Jellinek and Abraham 2012:06)

This applies to older people too, indeed anyone on a spectrum that we might draw between full functionality and diminishing senses. Personally, with four immediate relatives in their 80s it is remarkable to find how quickly they respond to the text size options of a Kindle, even having text read out loud, the back-lit screen of the iPad and in particular galleries of thousands of photographs which are their memories too (in the later case invaluable to someone who has suffered a couple of severe strokes).

Reasons to think about accessibility:

  • social
  • ethical
  • legal

My observation here is that Many programmes are now deliberately ’app like' to meet expectations and because they are used in smartphones and tablets not just desk and lap tops. Where there is such a demand for app-like activities or for them to migrate seamlessly to smartphones and tablets (touch screen versions) we need stats on how many people would be so engaged - though smartphone growth is significant, as a learning platform tablets are still a minority tool.

The users who can miss out are the blind or partially sighted or deaf. Blind people need audio to describe what others can see and guide them through functions while deaf people and those with hearing impairments need captions where there is a lot of audio.

It is worth pointing out that there is 'no such thing as full accessibility for everyone'. Jellinek and Abrahams (2012:07)

But on the other hand, 'we mustn't exclude disabled people from activities that the rest of us take for granted'. Jellinek and Abrahams (2012:07)

There is less homogeneity in a learner population than we may like to think

REFERENCE

Jellinek, D and Abrahams, P (2012) Moving together: mobile apps for inclusion and accessibility. (Accessed 25/082012) http://www.onevoiceict.org/news/moving-together-mobile-apps-inclusion-and-assistance

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