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Showing posts from July, 2013

We Need a Healthier Understanding of People With ADHD

The collective voice of self-advocates to reframe disabilities seems to continue to gain volume and force.  Below is an excellent Ted Talk by Stephen Tonti about reframing ADHD.
Part way through the video Stephen mentions that he was "lucky" because he had parents and teachers who understood and nurtured him.  He then speaks about Adam and the environment he grew up in and culminates that section of his talk with a statement his teacher made related to whether his medication was working or not: "Adam is less motivated, less animated and less involved in class... but at least he is quiet."  At this point, Adam is an adult and although the statement could be analyzed and/or judged, I think the point of the matter is that Adam is an adult and this is still such a part of his narrative that he sits around with his roommate discussing it.  Stephen speaks of his many explorations throughout his childhood while it seems that Adam remembers disciplinary actions and not li…

Inclusion as a Way of Doing Business

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Sometimes a passing comment will get a person thinking.  One such comment got me wondering if inclusion is a behaviour or an attitude or perhaps something different all together.  Perhaps it goes much deeper and is a permeation of both thought and action.  Perhaps it is a "way of doing business".

In the book Raymond's Room: Ending Segregation of People with DisabilitiesDale Dileo states that "institutionalized thinking is, at its core, based on the need for people who have a disability to be segregated."  He states that to move away from institutionalized thinking we must consider individualized service-based approaches that happen within the community that already exists rather then creating artificial communities.  Real environments. Real connections. Real contribution.  It is only then that a person can experience the dignity of risk that is such a critical element of authentic learning and autonomous living. Inclusion, in the context of my day to day job…

Can Learn Society Take Ten Series for Supporting Student with ADHD and Learning Disabilities

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Just wanted to share this series from the Can Learn Society as it include so many proactive empowering approaches to supporting students with ADHD and Learning Disabilities.  The videos and the PDF documents outlining information from each are included.
--------------------------------------------------- Making Your Instructions Listener Friendly PDF Outlining Information in Video
Source: http://canlearnsociety.ca/resources/take-ten-series/
. --------------------------------------------------- Reframing our View of ADHD PDF Outlining Information in Video
Source: http://canlearnsociety.ca/resources/take-ten-series/
 . --------------------------------------------------- Helping Students With Self Advocacy PDF Outlining Information in Video
Source: http://canlearnsociety.ca/resources/take-ten-series/
 . --------------------------------------------------- Helping Student With Self Regulation PDF Outlining Information in Video
Source: http://canlearnsociety.ca/resources/take-ten-series/  . ----------…

Worth Thinking About - Teacher or Learner?

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Reminded me of William Stillman's writing "The World Needs Autism"
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I post a new "Worth Thinking About" question each Sunday. 
In reality, I see them more as "and" statements rather than "or" statements. It is about finding the right balance so that we are being effective in supporting student learning.  Click here to check out more "Worth Thinking About" posts.

UDL Checkpoint 7.3

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Checkpoint 7.3: Minimize threats and distractions
The Checkpoint on the Universal Design Level

The CAST website lists the following general suggestions for Checkpoint 7.3: Create an accepting and supportive classroom climate where all students feel safe enough to engage/participate. Vary the level of novelty or risk Charts, calendars, schedules, visible timers, cues, etc. that can increase the predictability of daily activities and transitionsCreation of class routinesAlerts and previews that can help learners anticipate and prepare for changes in activities, schedules, and novel eventsOptions that can, in contrast to the above, maximize the unexpected, surprising, or novel in highly routinized activitiesVary the level of sensory stimulation including variation in background noise, visual stimulation, number of features presented at one timeVariation in pace of work, length of work sessions, availability of breaks or time-outs, or timing or sequence o…

UDL Checkpoint 7.1

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Checkpoint 7.1: Optimize individual choice and autonomy
The Checkpoint on the Universal Design Level

The CAST website lists the following general suggestions for Checkpoint 7.1:   Embed choices related to perceived challenge, types of rewards/recognition, context, content, tools, materials, final product, sequence, space, resources...etc. in to curriculum.  Work with students to create personalized activities and/or tasks that will meet the curriculum objective. Work with students to set, evaluate and respond to personal goals and/or project timelines.    When it comes to student choice, it is worth giving some thought to both quality and quantity of the choices that students are given.  Barry Schwartz gave a great Ted Talk entitled "The Paradox of Choice" where he examines living in a world that may be too full of choices.  He speaks to the possibility of being paralyzed by choice.  

At the end of the talk, Schwartz states that "ever…

Universal Design for Learning Principle III (Multiple Means of Engagement) Guideline 7 (Recruiting Interest)

About this UDL Series of Posts: I am looking to explore, connect to potential universal practice and individualized assistive technology practice (for the population of students that I work with) each of the guidelines as a summer blogging project.  This is my personal exploration of the "big picture" of how assistive technology for students with complex needs connects to a universally designed inclusive classroom.

Links to posts in this series follow:

Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Overview Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 1 (Perception)Universal Design for Learning Principal I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 2 (Language, Expression and Symbols)Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 3 (Comprehension)Universal Design for Learning Principle II (Multiple Means of Action and Expression) Overview
Universal Design for Lear…

Universal Design for Learning Principle III (Multiple Means of Engagement) Overview

About this UDL Series of Posts: I am looking to explore, connect to potential universal practice and individualized assistive technology practice (for the population of students that I work with) each of the guidelines as a summer blogging project.  This is my personal exploration of the "big picture" of how assistive technology for students with complex needs connects to a universally designed inclusive classroom.

Links to posts in this series follow:

Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Overview
Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 1 (Perception)Universal Design for Learning Principal I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 2 (Language, Expression and Symbols)Universal Design for Learning Principle I (Multiple Means of Representation) Guideline 3 (Comprehension)Universal Design for Learning Principle II (Multiple Means of Action and Expression) Overview
Universal Design for Lear…

Reflecting on Our Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Course

We started the course by developing a personal definition of UDL as we understand it in that current moment.  My definition was a pretty standard textbook definition: 
"UDL is a framework for student learning that starts with the assumption of diversity and then, through intentional planning, minimizes barriers to learning and maximizes the number of students who are included, engaged and challenged.  UDL requires clarity of the true purpose of curricular goals so the materials and methods can be flexible and a dynamic assessment approach can be employed to increase the probability that individual learners will be learning in the way that is most effective and efficient for them." The concept was UDL was not new to me.  It is one that I've studied in some detail over the year and the underlying concepts are ones that I firmly believe in.  What was new was the process of focusing in on UDL exclusively for an extended period of time and trying to connect it to my personal …

The Way You See the Problem is the Problem

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Today's post is a combination of a lot little pieces that might not yet fit together.  I've spent some time the last few months looking to expand my scope and understanding of "disability" beyond the work that I do with students who have complex needs.  It started with exploring the social/emotional/behavioural realm but I found a lot of that crossed over in to the digging I do around the students that I work with.  Then it expanded in to another realm... the realm of learning "disabilities".  The best place to start to learn about something is to go to the source so I began reading books written by those with those more "high incidence disabilities" like ADD/ADHD and dyslexia (aka print disabilities).  Three books in this area resonated with me: The Drool Room by Ira SocolLearning Outside the Lines by Jonathan Mooney and Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined by Scott Barry Kaufman
The recurring advocacy theme in these books is that our school s…

Non-Produtive Failure is Not An Option

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The statement "failure is not an option" is one that comes up often in inclusive education.  One reads about presuming competence, intervention strategies, front-loading, scaffolding techniques, strategy instruction, supports, assistive technologies.  All of these things point to the goal of learning success. 
This morning, I came across a great post on the Science Behind How We Learn New Skills.  One quote in particular resonated with me in the middle of a time when the noise is getting louder and louder about educational transformation and change: "We’ve heard a lot lately about the benefits of experiencing and overcoming failure. One way to get these benefits is to set things up so that you’re sure to fail—by tackling a difficult problem without any instruction or assistance.Manu Kapur, a researcher at the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education of Singapore, has reported (in the Journal of the Learning Sciences) that people who try solving mat…