Instruction for Children with Special Needs

Using Sticky Notes and Strips to Adapt a Task
Situation: 

I am a paraprofessional who works with a student in regular education settings and in a Support Room. He has a very hard time working. I’ve learned many strategies and have used them with some success but sometimes he will just groan and refuse to work. The other day he was doing so well and had finished 3 papers but refused to do the last one. I know he could do it but he just wouldn’t think and fill in the answers. What do I do in those cases?  I hate to just say he doesn’t have to do it – that seems like going backwards and giving in.

Graphic Organizer to Build Vocabulary-Frayer Model
Situation: 

I am a middle school Learning Support teacher and have 2 very bright students (above average IQ) with Asperger’s Syndrome that surprisingly have a tough time understanding some of the words or concepts in our reading selections, even though their expressive vocabulary seems pretty “profession-like” at times.  Any ideas of how I can build their receptive vocabulary?

Keep it Relevant
Situation: 

I lose many of my students during instructional time that is teacher directed and includes longer time spans of discussion and lecture. How can I hold the attention of my students who may have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or students with a Learning Disability?

Classroom Quick & Easy Social Skills Instruction
Situation: 

I have a student with Asperger Syndrome in my regular education classroom. So many workshops indicate we should be teaching social skills in the environment. There is so little time during the day. What is a quick and doable way to provide social skills instruction in the crunched time we have?

Physical Prompting “Think Abouts”
Situation: 

I am using a prompt hierarchy from most to least with a student to teach eating with a spoon. But whenever I do hand-over-hand he jerks his hand away – how can I teach him?

Focus Forms
Situation: 

I have some students who have a difficult time attending during longer teacher/student discussions. They are playing with items in their desks, talking to other students, doodling, or looking around. What can I do to help them focus longer on the topic at hand?

Subtle Math Fact Learning
Situation: 

I have a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty with his math facts but refuses to ‘be taught’. He likes to be ‘in charge’. He gets frustrated with his math and wants to know the answers but refuses to sit in a math group or even individually when I am teaching methods for learning the facts. He also loves creating power points in Language Arts. He will insert his favorite character in each one as an image. But what can I do for this student in math?

Group Steps & Options
Situation: 

I have a student who has difficulty working in groups. He either moves away, tries to work alone or he is giving “orders” to everyone. Inevitably the group falls apart with arguments or work uncompleted. How can I help this student work positively in groups?

Modifying Open-Ended Questions: Concrete Models
Situation: 

I teach a gifted class and have a student on the Autism Spectrum. We work on many creative and imaginative projects that have Open Ended Questions or Abstract Prompts. My student has great difficulty getting started on these projects and doesn’t seem to understand how to begin. What can I do to help her?

Motivation Spice: Vocabulary
Situation: 

In my Language Arts classes students must look up 15 vocabulary words and write the meanings. I have such a variety of learners that I don’t think this is the best method to teach the words anymore. I have students who are bored, students who have difficulty locating the words, or difficulty summarizing the definition. When it is homework it is rarely completed well by many students if completed at all. The entire task is laborious, what else can I do to teach these words and ensure the students are learning and not groaning?