Whether you teach in a special-education program or in a "regular" classroom, you probably encounter special kids facing special challenges. Education World brings you information about on-line resources that can help you better understand -- and help -- students with special needs.
Today, almost every classroom includes a number of students who are dealing with a disability -- either physical, educational, emotional, or a combination of all three. As a teacher, you probably find yourself looking for information and resources that will help you effectively teach those students and help them learn successfully.
However, the number of special-education Web sites for teachers can be overwhelming -- so overwhelming that it's hard to sort through them all.
Education World searched the Web for sites that provide information about specific disabilities and suggest activities for classroom use. Although most are intended primarily for use with students who have disabilities, many can be adapted for use with all students.
LESSONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR SPECIAL STUDENTS
Teachers Helping Teachers is a terrific site for all teachers, but its Special Education section provides a number of activities that are specifically geared toward teaching basic skills to special students. The activities, for students from kindergarten through high school, are submitted by classroom teachers from around the country and include lessons in reading, math, geography, current events, and study skills. The activity Weird Letters, for example, helps students with learning disabilities identify and remember letters that don't always look they way they're supposed to. Using Newspapers is a functional activity designed to teach social studies or language arts to special-education students. This site also includes information on inclusion and mainstreaming and The Guest Book, a forum where teachers exchange ideas and advice.
If you teach younger students, you might want to visit Resources for Early Childhood Special Education. This site's Teaching section includes a large number of activity ideas arranged by theme -- from Animals to Valentine's Day. In addition, the preschool special-education teacher who maintains this site has included two additional sections. Jump provides links to other great sites containing preschool special-education research and activities, and Technology provides activities that can be downloaded for regular or special-education preschool students.
Special Needs, Special Kids, created by a special-needs mediator, provides an abundance of information about specific disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and spinal bifida. In addition, the site provides educational resources, including games and suggestions for adapting them to children with a variety of disabilities, activities for developing fine-motor skills, and discussions of a variety of special-education issues. The site provides insights into such topics as American Sign Language and wheelchair etiquette, as well as resources for 98 Ways to Say "Very Good" and the Ten Commandments for Educators. This is a well-written, easily navigable site that provides a wide variety of useful resources.
If you're looking for something a little different, Music Therapy for Young Children With Special Needs provides a number of suggestions for using music to help young students overcome or cope with a variety of disabilities. Although addressed to parents, all the Activities to Do at Home can also be done successfully in the classroom.
Finally, you may want to promote home-school interaction by sharing Very Special Home Pages with families of special students. This site provides free home pages for children and adults with special needs. Each biography, written by a parent or caregiver, displays the talents, hobbies, and personality of the person with special needs and allows visitors to see beyond the disability.
The greatest number of disability-related sites do not include many lessons or activities. They are, however, excellent sources for information on special-education programs, policies, resources, organizations, educational strategies, and specific disabilities. Many also provide links to sites where you'll find activities that can be adapted for use with special-education students.
Outside the Box, a site for parents and teachers of all types of special-needs children, includes Resources for All Teachers, a list of links to content-specific sites for language arts, fine arts, social studies, math, and science. The linked sites provide information, lesson plans, and activities. There's a lot here, so be sure to check out the site map so you won't miss anything.
A number of other worthwhile sites that provide information on specific disabilities also include ideas and suggestions that can be used with students who have other disabilities.
TECHNOLOGY SITES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
If you still haven't found what you're looking for, explore one of the sites below. Each contains extensive lists of links to sites on disabilities and special education.
Article by Linda Starr
Copyright © 2005 Education World