500 teachers, paraprofessionals, therapist, counselors administrators and parents attended the 15th annual Academy for Teachers of Young Children, July 10th-12th. This year’s academy was hosted by Region 15 ESC in San Angelo, TX. For two days participants had access to more than 30 different breakout sessions covering a variety of topics that support the development of young children.
It kicked off Wednesday with keynote presentations by Dr. Pam Shiller, who discussed social emotional development and school readiness; and Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo, who discussed conscious discipline and how the brain develops.
While the academy is geared for age’s birth to 5, much of the information was applicable to students of all ages. Attendees reported that the sessions were informative and fun. Presenters focused on supplying teachers with new ideas as well as inspiring and praising them for their work with children.
The conference wrapped up Friday with the last keynote speaker Nina Rodriguez.Drumming with Nina Her amazing presentations used music and rhythm to captivate and inspire. The diverse population of participates drummed in harmony, sang and danced. Even the most skeptical (that would be me) got involved and enjoyed the high energy, very engaging presentation.
NOTE: I wanted to post HILARIOUS video footage of teachers “getting down”, but I couldn’t get it to upload. So imagine 500 educations doing the Cumbia like it’s Saturday night at the club and you’ll get the idea 🙂
There are so many things about Special Education that are tricky or hard to decipher. Laws that don’t always make sense, rules that only apply under certain circumstances and to make it worse, Special Educators often speak in their own language.
Have you ever heard one Special Ed teacher say to another, “I need to finish the FBA as part of the FIE. Then I can work on the BIP and PLAAFP. The student will qualify as LD and OHI. I’ll work on draft IEPs before the ARD”.
WHAT? It’s the equivalent of acronym hell! The link below will take you to a document that lists some of the most common acronyms and what they mean. I hope this helps you to have a better understanding of Special Ed and the crazy language we speak.
Special Ed acronyms
Sorry it’s been so long between posts. Wrapping up the end of the year was CRAZY! I’ve recently started a new job in the Special Ed department of the Region 15 Education Service Center. I will be working primarily with access to the General Ed curriculum and accountability. During my first week, Region 15 was hosting their second annual Autism Conference. There were some GREAT presenters! The objective of this post is to share information and resources gained during this conference.
REMEMBER: Just because the conference was geared toward Autism does not mean this info applies only to Autistic children. Every child is difference and these strategies would apply to many kids, no matter their label!
I set in on a presentation called “Practical Strategies for Teaching Students with ASD: focus on HFA & Asperger Syndrome”. It was presented by Dr. Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D., BCBA-D. You can find more information about her on her website www.loriernsperger.com
It’s important to remember that teachers are required by law, No Child Left Behind and IDEA, to use research based practices and strategies. As a teacher I didn’t always know what this meant or where to find these researched based strategies. http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/briefs this link takes you to The National Professional Development Center on ASD. Here you can find specific info for over 24 Research Based strategies for students with Autism. Below are links to the specific strategies.
You can also watch training modules at www.autisminternetmodules.org These are free modules on an array of topics.
Dr. Lori really stressed the ABC’s of behavior. If you’ve had any training in behavior you know these, antecedent, behavior, and consequence. If you can pin point what is “triggering” a behavior you have a better chance of changing that behavior.
It’s also important that you give replacement behaviors. Simply telling a child to “stop” without giving them a replacement behavior will not help change the behavior.
Dr. Lori also stressed the importance of teaching social skills to ALL of our student, but especially those with Autism. She explained it in a way that will make sense to any educator. If you have a student walk into your class who can’t read, you teach them to read. If they can’t add and subtract, you teach them to add and subtract. But for some reason when they lack social skills or social thinking we do nothing about it. This has to change. But you need a plan for teaching social skills. It’s easy and can be done using VERY little class time. (As little as 5 minutes a day) But you need some resources. www.socialthinking.com has some great resource for teaching social skills. There is also a post on this blog and a page dedicated to social skills. Take a look and get some FREE resources.
Below are some addition resource that I found helpful. I look forward to posting more ideas and resources as I learn. Enjoy your summer!
Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism
ASD Video Glossary
National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) Autism Topic Page
Office of Special Education Programs