Teaching students with disabilities is a rewarding challenge, and this course gives you the tools you will need to succeed. No matter what grade you teach—from preschool through high school—you will learn powerful strategies you can put to work immediately in your classroom. In addition, you will gain the knowledge you need to understand and cope with the most common disabilities you will encounter.
You will start by putting yourself in the shoes of students with special needs as you explore a wide variety of disabilities ranging from autism spectrum disorder to cerebral palsy. Simulations and real-life stories will give you a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a learner with special needs, and you will see how common disabilities affect classroom behavior and learning.
Then comes the best part: solutions! In each lesson, you will find dozens of tips for fostering the reading, writing, and math skills of students with special needs. In addition, you will master techniques for helping these learners behave appropriately and make friends in your classroom. You will also get the inside story on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and transition plans, and you will learn the most effective ways to collaborate with parents and professionals.
By the end of this course, you will feel confident in your ability to help any student who comes through your door. You will also discover that while the challenges can be big when you’re teaching students with disabilities, the victories are big as well.
Note: To receive 25 hours of instruction in the State of Oregon, please ensure your school is eligible to issue professional development units, and that the course is approved by your professional learning coordinator.
What Are Special Needs?
Danny has a seeing-eye dog. Carmela needs extra help with math. Yoshi has autism. And they’re all in your class this year! This first lesson will look at the growing numbers of children with special needs and talk about how you can welcome them to your classroom and set the stage for successful learning.
The Special Education Process and the IEP
How do children get placed in special education? As you will discover, it’s not a snap decision. This lesson will trace a student’s path through every stage of the placement process and look at the role a teacher plays from start to finish.
Meet Your Support Team
It takes a whole team to help a child with special needs succeed. This lesson will address the roles of the support team, with a focus on collaboration between special education teachers and support staff. You will explore the roles of paraprofessionals, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and the specialists who support you.
This lesson addresses reading, writing, and math disabilities—the most common learning disabilities (LDs) you will see in the classroom. First, you will get a chance to see how it feels to have an LD. Then, you will learn about how memory problems affect students with LDs in the classroom.
Speech and Language Disorders
Imagine how frustrating it would be if you couldn’t speak clearly, understand other people, or express your thoughts and feelings well. This is what life is like for children with speech or language disorders, the subject of this lesson.
ADHD and the Other Health Impaired Category
This lesson addresses conditions categorized as “Other Health Impaired” (OHI), with a special focus on ADHD. First, you will learn what daily life is like for children with ADHD. Then, you will explore ways to address the attention and organizational problems that these children struggle with.
Students can shine in many ways, and this lesson will examine how students with intellectual disabilities can be stars in your classroom. You will learn what life is like for students with intellectual disabilities and discover ways to help these students focus on both academic and adaptive skills.
Children with behavior disorders often present the biggest challenge to teachers. This lesson will examine the roots of behavioral problems. You will also learn three essential tools for handling behavior problems: behavior contracts, functional behavioral assessments, and behavior intervention plans.
Children with autism will give your teaching skills a workout with their unique combination of strengths and impairments. This lesson explores three areas in which these children need help: communication skills, social skills, and the ability to handle transitions.
This lesson will introduce you to children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, hearing or vision impairments, developmental delays, and a host of other challenges. Then, you will take a closer look at the assistive technology—both high-tech and low-tech—that can help kids with these disabilities triumph academically.
Best Teaching Practices
This lesson addresses “best practices” for teaching children with special needs. And here’s good news: Many of these ideas will work for your entire class! First, you will explore how to balance students’ IEP requirements with your curriculum standards and investigate a great technique for helping students grasp difficult material: directed instruction.
Dealing with Transitions
While transitions can be scary for anybody, they’re especially intimidating for students with disabilities. In this lesson you will look at ways to smooth three big transitions that students make: the moves from elementary to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school to real life.
Prerequisites / Requirements
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.
- PC: Windows XP or later.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
When can I get started?
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.
How does it work?
Instructor-Led: Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have three-month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.
How long do I have to complete each lesson?
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons before your three-month access.
What if I need an extension?
Instructor-Led: The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.