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Special & Gifted Education

IT-Using Special Education Educators

Assistive technologies defined by IDEA as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities."

There are many diagnostic categories of special education children, such as Developmental Disabilities, Neurological Impairments, Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and so on. Information and Communication Technology is making a significant contribution to helping to identify and meet the needs of children with special needs.

Thus, a modern study of special education includes/incorporates learning appropriate used of Information and Communication Technology. This has added a new challenge to people working to learn to meet the needs of special education children.

Here are some general sources information about Information and Communication Technology in special education.

  • ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education. http://ericec.org/
  • The Family Center on Technology & Disability provides assistance to programs & organizations to respond to the technology needs of parents & families of children & youth with disabilities. http://fctd.ucp.org/.
  • National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC) is seeking to provide a vision of how new curricula, teaching practices, & policies can be woven together to create practical approaches for improved access to the general curriculum by students with disabilities. http://www.cast.org/ncac.
  • The National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators (NCITE) aims to advance the quality & effectiveness of technology, media, & materials for individuals with disabilities. http://idea.uoregon.edu/~ncite/.
  • The CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a research & development facility that works to make media accessible to underserved populations such as disabled persons, minority-language users, & people with low literacy skills. http://www.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/ncam/.

References

AbilityHub: Assistive Technology Solutions [Online]. Accessed 3/30/01: http://www.abilityhub.com/general/linkto.htm. Quoting from the Website:

AbilityHub.com's purpose is to help you find information on adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers. Searching the Internet for accurate information on Assistive Technology is much like "looking for a needle in a haystack". This Website attempts to reduced the size of the haystack and bring you the information in an organized fashion.

AbiltyHub.com is created and maintained by Mr. Dan J. Gilman in association with TGGWEB. Dan has been in the Assistive Technology field since 1992 and has dedicated his efforts to assist those disabled individuals who require Assistive Technology to access the computer. He is certified by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) and will continue to move forward in pursuit of insuring consumer safeguards and enhancing consumer satisfaction.

Mr. Gilman has lived with a disability since 1972 when he fractured his neck in a swimming accident, resulting in paralysis from a C4-5 spinal cord injury. He understands and is very knowledgeable in the field of Assistive Technology.

His utilization of the Internet as a resource for investigating current technological advancements in Assistive Technology prompted him into learning more about html and web page development which ultimately resulted into this Website.

Asaravala, Amit (Oct. 21, 2003) New Typeface to Help Dyslexics. Wired News. Accessed 10/21/03: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/
0,1282,60834,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5
 . Quoting from the Website:

Dyslexics who have trouble reading words online and in print may soon find relief in a new typeface being developed by a Dutch designer.
Unlike traditional typefaces, which reuse the same forms for multiple letters -- such as b and d, or p and q -- the Read Regular typeface makes each letter significantly unique so that dyslexics can more easily distinguish one character from another. Additionally, Read Regular features simplified forms and extended openings in letters like c and e.

Without these enhancements, the traditional fonts used on the Web and in newspapers, books and magazines can contribute to letter-reversal errors and other problems commonly associated with visual dyslexia.

Assistive Technology for Students with Mild Disabilities: ERIC Digest Update February 2002 [Online]. Accessed 2/19/02: http://ericec.org/digests/e623.html. Quoting the first three paragraphs:

Technology has become ubiquitous as a tool for teachers and students. P.L. 100-407, The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Tech Act) was designed to enhance the availability and quality of assistive technology (AT) devices and services to all individuals and their families throughout the United States. Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), uses the same definitions for assistive technology as the Tech Act and mandates that assistive technology be considered in developing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students with disabilities. IDEA also emphasizes access to the general education curriculum for all students with disabilities.

The Tech Act and the IDEA define an AT device as any item, piece of equipment, or product system (whether acquired off the shelf, modified, or customized) that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. AT devices may be categorized as no technology, low technology, or high technology (LD Online, 2001).

"No-technology" or "no-tech" refers to any assistive device that is not electronic. No-tech items range from a piece of foam glued onto the corners of book pages to make turning easier to a study carrel to reduce distraction. "Low-technology" or "low-tech" devices are electronic but do not include highly sophisticated computer components, such as an electronic voice-recording device or a "talking watch" (Behrmann & Schaff, 2001). "High-technology" or "high-tech" devices utilize complex, multifunction technology and usually include a computer and associated software.

Attention deficit disorder rate nears 7% (5/22/02) [Online]. Accessed 5/24/02: http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/epaper/editions/
wednesday/news_c3be53a8e2d231360064.html. Quoting from this newspaper article:

Nearly 7 percent of elementary-age children in the United States -- more than 1.6 million kids -- have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder, according to the first nationwide survey of the problem.

The numbers are higher than expected, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has estimated an overall rate of 3 to 5 percent of children," said Patricia Pastor, a health statistician and the study's lead author. Regional studies have shown from 4 percent to 12 percent of kids' having ADD. The CDC study also found that 7.7 percent of children -- 1.8 million -- have learning disabilities.

The two disorders overlap: 2.6 million children have either ADD or a learning disability or both. Overall, 3.3 percent of all children in that age group have ADD, 4.2 percent have learning disabilities, and 3.5 percent have both conditions, the agency said. The nationwide survey of 78,041 households was conducted for the CDC by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1997 and 1998. It asked parents if children aged 6-11 in their household had ever been diagnosed with ADD by a doctor or other health care professional, or been diagnosed with a learning disability by a health care professional or school official.

"Baldi" the Virtual Tutor Helps Hearing Impaired Students Learn to Speak [Online]. Accessed 3/15/01: http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/press/01/pr0119.htm. Quoting from the Website:

Information technology (IT) research has created a 3D computerized tutor that helps profoundly deaf children to develop their conversational skills. "Baldi" the animated instructor converses via the latest technologies for speech recognition and generation, showing students how to understand and produce spoken language.

The conversational agent for language training was developed through a three-year, $1.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Baldi could transform the way language is taught to hearing-impaired children. In addition to helping students accurately produce expressive speech, the interactive system's curriculum-development software lets teachers and students customize classwork. Students can review classroom and homework lessons to improve vocabulary, reading and spelling, in addition to speech.

The project is led by Ron Cole at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Grades 6-12 at the Tucker-Maxon Oral School in Portland, Oregon are the first to use Baldi in the pilot study. Also contributing to the research are the Oregon Graduate Institute's Center for Spoken Language Understanding, the Perceptual Science Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. The tongue model used in Baldi is based on data collected by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Bobby Approved [Online]. Accessed 11/19/01: http://www.cast.org/bobby/. Quoting from the Website:

Bobby is a free service provided by Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to help Web page authors identify and repair significant barriers to access by individuals with disabilities.

Bobby is a tool for Web page authors. It will help them identify changes to their pages needed so users with disabilities can more easily use their Web pages. For example, a blind user will be aided by adding a sound track to a movie, and a hard-of-hearing user will be aided by a written transcript of a sound file on a Web page. Bobby will recommend that these be added if they do not already exist.

Many people with disabilities will use special Web browsers, such as one which reads text out loud using a speech synthesizer for blind users. The suggestions made by Bobby will help authors to add information to a Web page which will help the special browsers work more effectively. To learn more about accessibility issues, please start with our Resources page and follow the links. For example, the "rationale" items on the IBM Web site give explanations of how specific items can help.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) [Online]. Accessed 11/19/01: http://www.cast.org/. Quoting from the Website:

Founded in 1984 as the Center for Applied Special Technology, CAST is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to expand educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities through the development and innovative uses of technology.

Historically, CAST approached the problem of expanding learning opportunities for people with disabilities by providing clinical services and developing assistive technology for individuals. However, CAST found that this approach places the burden and cost of adaptation on each individual learner and does not address all the barriers within the educational setting that learners with disabilities encounter.

Therefore, in 1994, CAST shifted its approach from clinical services to research, product development, and work in educational settings. We now believe that the most effective strategy for expanding educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities is through Universal Design for Learning. Our work now focuses the development of learning models, approaches, and tools that are usable by a wide range of learners and CAST's impact is seen locally, nationally, and internationally.

Center for Accessible Technology. Acceessed 12/17/02: http://www.cforat.org/. Quoting from the Website:

 

The Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT) began life in 1983 when a group of parents of children with disabilities came together to develop strategies for including their children into mainstream elementary school settings. With an initial focus on computer technology, these parents developed models whereby kids with disabilities could be fully included in the school curriculum.

The Center has kept its inclusion focus, and over time has broadened its goals to include participation in higher education, employment and community. We recognize that participation requires access to the tools of expression, and Center programs are founded on the belief that individuals must make their own decisions about which tools work for them, and that hands-on experience is essential to making an informed decision.

We provide access to assistive technology that gives people with disabilities access to computers; provide art programs to provide access to artistic expression; and offer ongoing consultation and support to assist people with disabilities in maintaining and enhancing access. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Children with Disabilities[Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.childrenwithdisabilities.ncjrs/org/. Quoting from the Website:

The Children With Disabilities online guide is a new initiative by the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (the Council). As part of their effort to promote a national agenda for children and foster positive youth development, the Council's nine participating Federal agencies and offices--the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; the Office of National Drug Control Policy; the Corporation for National Service; and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention--have joined forces to create this Web site to provide children with disabilities and their parents access to a wide range of Federal, State, local, and national resources.

The Children With Disabilities Web site presents families, service providers, and other interested individuals with information about advocacy, education, employment, health, housing, recreation, technical assistance, and transportation. It contains material about a broad array of developmental, physical, and emotional disabilities, including learning disabilities, such as attention deficit disorder; debilitating illnesses, such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, and cancer; and physical challenges, such as blindness and deafness. The Web site also provides assistance for children whose healthy development is threatened by social factors, such as poverty and abuse.

Closing the Gap: Computer Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation [Online]. Accessed 10/2/01: http://www.closingthegap.com/. Quoting from the Website:

For twenty years Closing The Gap has built a reputation as the leading source for information on innovative applications of computer technology for person with disabilities. Through our Newspaper, Conference, and Web site we provide a comprehensive examination of the most current uses of technology by persons with disabilities and the professionals who work with them.

This Web site contains many useful tools to assist professionals in meeting the assistive technology needs of children and adults with special needs including the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 ( IDEA '97) set forth by the U.S. Department of Education.

Read articles detailing the successful application of computer technology in education, rehabilitation, and vocational settings. Selected articles from Closing The Gap's Newspaper may be found in our Library.

Color Blind Friendly Web Pages [Online]. Accessed 11/19/01: http://www.inform.umd.edu/EdRes/Topic/
Diversity/Specific/Disability/Issues/Webaccess/
Unidesign/colorblind.html. Quoting from the Website:

Contrast and attention to color combinations will help pages be more readable for people who suffer from color blindness also known as color deficiency. The most common deficiency is the red-green combination (see color wheels below).
  • Colors for the Color Blind - - This one has color charts for combining colors on a page allowing them to be viewable for the color blind. The color charts are referenced by RGB, Hex and compatibility numbers.
  • Web Design for the Color Blind - - This site has a few tips on keeping pages readable.
  • Lighthouse International - - Lighthouse International works with vision disabilities. They have some helpful tips on color contrast.
  • Article on web design and color blindness - - A lengthy article with some interesting information on color blindness.

ConnSENSE Bulletin . Accessed 5/12/03: http://www.connsensebulletin.com/index.html. Quoting from the Website:

Welcome to the ConnSENSE Bulletin Website! We're dedicated to bringing you practical resources that will help individuals with disabilities. All the most recent articles, Washington updates, resources, positions, reviews, links, and conferences on the ConnSENSE Bulletin web site can be found on the "What's New" link (top left). Look for older Articles, Washington Updates, Resources, etc. in the "Archive Links" on the left.

Note (not part of the quoteed materials): See on the ConnSENSE Bulletin Website the article at http://www.connsensebulletin.com/jendron.html for a nice overview of Assistive Technology and a number of links to related Websites.

Computing Out Loud [Online]. Accessed 10/5/01: http://www.out-loud.com/index.html. Quoting from the Website:

This site is intended to help people using speech recognition software, whatever the variety, and to do so without the filters of vendors.

Council for Exceptional Children (Technology and Media Division) [Online]. Accessed 2/28/01: http://www.tamcec.org/. Goals quoted from their Website:

  • Promoting collaboration among educators and others interested in using technology and media to assist individuals with exceptional educational needs.
  • Encouraging the development of new applications, technologies, and media that can benefit individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Disseminating relevant and timely information through professional meetings, training programs, and publications.
  • Coordinating the activities of educational and governmental agencies, business, and industry.
  • Developing and advancing appropriate technical standards.
  • Providing technical assistance, inservice, and preservice education on the uses of technology.
  • Monitoring and disseminating relevant research.
  • Advocating for funds and policies that support the availability and effective use of technology in this field.
  • Supporting the activities, policies, and procedures of CEC and the other CEC divisions.

Deaf Education Website [Online]. Accessed 9/19/02: http://deafed.net.

This Website provides free and open access to many different parts of the world of deaf education.

Designing Web Accessibility for Students with Disabilities [Online]. Accessed 2/29/02: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~atl/awp3.htm. Quoting from this University of Oregon Website:

Although the philosophies of good web-page design rarely change, the tools for creating pages seems to change daily. New browsers are released almost monthly, frequently supporting new functions and new ways to support older functions. Designers attempting to keep up with accessibility issues need to have a range of resources to consult.

This list [of resources, given below] also indicates that this is not just a local issue. Access to the web for people with disabilities is being discussed in many quarters of web authorship.

Disability [Online]. Accessed 4/8/01: http://www.ccsr.cse.dmu.ac.uk/
resources/equality/disability/.

Contains a large number of links to computer resources for people with disabilities.

dyslexic.com [Online]. Accessed 4/25/01: http://www.dyslexic.com/.

This is a commercial Website located in the UK. Dyslexia is a worldwide problem. Evidently it is more prevalent in English speaking nations than in many other countries. Quoting from the Website:
dyslexic.com aims to be the UK's one-stop-shop to meet the technology needs of dyslexic people of all ages. We can provide:
  1. Computers with dyslexia-oriented software installed;
  2. Advice on the right software package for you;
  3. Talking dictionaries, dictating machines and many other handy gadgets;
  4. Seminars and training for teachers and other education professionals.

Dyslexia Teacher [Online]. Accessed 4/25/01: http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com/index.htm.

This Website contains a huge amount of information and many links to other sites. Quoting from the Website:
Our Website is different - because it is your Website! Think of Dyslexia Teacher as a community link to which you belong, and to which you can contribute at any time. Whether you feel like writing a letter, a brief note of exasperation, a short piece about a book or teaching resource you've discovered, an observation about a dyslexic pupil, a longer account of your teaching method or work with parents, we will be happy to try to publish it on our pages. Our Contributions Line is provided as an easy way for you to do this. All contributions will be published anonymously - unless you wish to include your name - though it is interesting to give your country as our Website is read by teachers worldwide.

Educational Service Districts (ESD) in Oregon.

Each of the 21 ESDs in Oregon provides a variety of services to the school districts they service. Check with your local ESD to see what services they provide in uses of IT in special education. A list of Oregon ESDs is available at: Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.open.k12.or.us/oaesd/openesd2.html.

Empirical Support for Accommodations Most Often Allowed in State Policy [Online]. Accessed 12/23/01: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/
OnlinePubs/Synthesis41.html.

This document lists and analyzes various accommodations that are allowed in state testing. For each accommodation, there is a discussion of what it entails and of some of the underlying research. Several of the accommodations involve use of Information and Communications Technology.

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education [Online]. Accessed 11/26/01: http://ericec.org/.

This is a good starting point for searching the Disabilities literature as well as the literature on multiple exceptionalities.

Everybody Needs to Learn Science: How Assistive Computer Technology Can Help Bring Students with Disabilities into the Mainstream [Online]. Accessed 11/26/00: http://people.delphi.com/LUNNEY/AT_SCIED.HTM.

This 1996-97 article focuses on Microcomputer-Based Laboratory for students with disabilities.

Family Center on Technology and Disability [Online]. Accessed 11/27/00: http://fctd.ucp.org/.

Fast ForWord [Online]. Accessed 5/1/02: http://www.nationalspeech.com/fast_forword.htm. See also: Scientific Learning Corporation [Online]. Accessed 2/1/01: http://www.scilearn.com/.

IT-based educational interventions developed by brain researchers.

Gordon, David T. (January/February, 2002). Curriculum Access in the Digital Age [Online]. Accessed 2/4/02: http://www.edletter.org/current/. Quoting from the article:

Even before the 1997 IDEA amendments, researchers at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)--where Thinking Reader was developed --anticipated this change in thinking. Cofounders Anne Meyer and David Rose started CAST in 1984 to explore the use of technology for students with disabilities. By the early 1990s, they realized that, rather than using technology to help students work with inaccessible materials (such as books), the materials themselves, as well as the curricula they supported, had to be reconsidered.

CAST recently wrapped up an evaluation of Thinking Reader funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. More than a hundred students reading in the lower 25th percentile read books like Hatchet and Yoko Kawashima Watkins' So Far From the Bamboo Grove. Sixty-three read a digital version on computer while a control group of 39 used traditional books and engaged in regular small-group and class discussions using reciprocal teaching. All 102 students took the Gates MacGinitie reading assessment--a paper-and-pencil standardized test--before and after the seven-month instructional period.

The results were promising, says CAST's chief education officer Bridget Dalton. After controlling for gender and pretest reading scores, those who used Thinking Reader gained, on average, approximately a half-year in grade level in reading comprehension; those in the control group averaged only slight gains. The half-year improvement was a notable achievement for kids whose reading in the past had not improved very much from year to year.

Hayasaki, Erika ( December 6, 2001 ). Dyslexic to Get Help on Exit Exam [Online]. Accessed 12/7/01: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/
la-000096989dec06.story?coll=la%2
Dheadlines%2Dcalifornia. Quoting from this LA Times news item:

The state Board of Education adopted a policy Wednesday that will allow certain students with dyslexia or other learning disorders to use calculators or readers while taking California's new high school exit exam.

Thousands of learning-disabled students who use calculators or aides to read material in their regular classes would be eligible to take the test with these modifications.

To collect their diplomas, these students must pass the test and establish that they are meeting high school standards. The school district must obtain a waiver, or special permission, from the state on behalf of each student to allow the exception to test rules. Under California law, all students must pass the exit exam to graduate, beginning with the class of 2004.

The board had previously adopted regulations to allow testing accommodations for students with special needs, including large print or Braille versions of the test; the use of mechanical or electric response devices; more breaks during the exam; and the use of special furniture, lighting or rooms. Those regulations, however, specified that no student would be allowed to use readers or calculators. The policy adopted Wednesday revises that provision.

Helping Children Learn with Assistive Technology [Online]. Accessed 1/16/02: http://www.publiceducation.org/cgi-bin/
pubs/web_store.cgi?page=p95.htm&cart_id=.

This is a document from the Public Education Network. Quoting from the Website:
If some students aren't learning to their potential, it may mean that they haven't had the chances to learn in ways that accommodate their needs. Assistive technology gives kids with different learning styles the tools they need for active learning. In this issue of FoCAL Points, read about devices that help children with disabilities learn and help schools meet IDEA requirements.

This document is an Adobe PDF document and it is free.

Hettleman, Kalman R. (February 2003). The Invisible Dyslexics: How Public School Systems In Baltimore and Elsewhere Discriminate Against Poor Children In the Diagnosis and Treatment of Early Reading Difficulties. Accessed 2/14/03: http://www.abell.org/publications/detail.asp?ID=76. Quoting from the 37 page report::

Our nation's general failure to diagnose and treat early reading difficulties is disproportionately harmful to poor and minority students. At least 20 percent of the children in Baltimore City public schools and other large urban districts can be called "invisible dyslexics." Though definitions of dyslexia vary, it is usually understood to mean difficulties in learning to read. "Invisible dyslexics" are children whose academic futures are doomed because their problems in learning to read are either diagnosed too late and treated too little, or not diagnosed or treated at all.

An unrecognized and hidden reason for this tragedy is discrimination based on IQ and family background. Under special education laws, children who experience early reading difficulties are not entitled to special instruction unless there is a large discrepancy between intelligence measured by IQ tests and reading achievement. This "discrepancy requirement" has a perverse impact: high-IQ children with reading difficulties have larger discrepancies, and therefore receive earlier and more intense supplemental instruction than low-IQ children with similar reading difficulties who are more in need of help. Moreover, IQ scores underestimate the learning potential of children from low-income, language-poor homes.

IDEA Partnerships [Online]. Accessed 10/5/01: http://www.ideapractices.org/. Quoting from the Website:

The IDEA Partnerships are four national projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to deliver a common message about the landmark 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Partners, working together for five years, inform professionals, families and the public about IDEA '97 and strategies to improve educational results for children.

Irish, Cheryl (December 1, 2002), Understanding Disabilities and Special Education. Accessed 12/17/02: http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/
WCE/archives/cirishwt.html. Quoting from the Website:

Parents, educators, and professionals working with exceptional individuals often seek reliable information related to disabilities. The following websites were designed to provide information, assistance, and advocacy to persons with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who provide services for them. There is a wealth of information, including research articles, fact sheets, caselaw, chats, stories, and teaching strategies, available at these sites.

Jewers, Robin (Winter 1998). Characteristics of Handwriting in the Child with Tourette Syndrome [Online]. Accessed 11/19/01: http://www.tourette.ca/articles/article5.html.

This article was published in a newsletter from the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. It addresses the cursive handwriting difficulty of children with Tourette Syndrome, and also notes a similar difficulty in Attention Deficit Disorder. The author recommends teaching keyboarding and use of a computer.

Journal of Special Education Technology (JSET) [Online]. Accessed 10/9/01: http://jset.unlv.edu/. Quoting from the Website:

JSET is a [free, online] refereed professional journal that presents up-to-date information and opinions about issues, research, policy, and practice related to the use of technology in the field of special education. JSET supports the publication of research and development activities, provides technological information and resources, and presents important information and discussion concerning important issues in the field of special education technology to scholars, teacher educators, and practitioners.

KindsNeeds.com. Accessed 12/3/02: http://www.kidneeds.com/. Quoting from the Website:

KidsNeeds.com is a worldwide resource that provides children with special needs, families and other caregivers with access to comprehensive information

Visitors can find professional opinions on important topics, read about public health policy initiatives and learn about local, statewide and national advocacy efforts on behalf of children with special needs and their families

LDOnline [Online]. Accessed 10/5/01: http://www.ldonline.org/.

An interactive guide to learning disabilities for parents and teachers.

LD Pride [Online]. Accessed 4/13/01: http://www.ldpride.net/. Quoting from the Website:

Inspired by Deaf Pride, this site has been developed as an interactive community resource for youth and adults with learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

… Quoting from the section on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences:

Information about learning styles and Multiple Intelligence (MI) is helpful for everyone especially for people with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. Knowing your learning style will help you develop coping strategies to compensate for your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. This page provides an explanation of what learning styles and multiple intelligence are all about, an interactive assessment of your learning style/MI, and practical tips to make your learning style work for you.

LD Resources [Online]. Accessed 3/1/01: http://www.ldresources.com/.

This Website was developed and is maintained by Richard Wanderman. He obtained a Bachelors degree (1975) and a Master's degree (1980) from the University of Oregon, with a strong emphasis on art. He is dyslexic and is quite gifted in the computer field. Readers interested in dyslexia and computers will want to read:
Wanderman, Richard . One Person's Path to Liberty. Accessed 12/6/02: http://www.ldresources.com/.

Learning Disabilities Overview: ERIC Digest Update January 2002 [Online]. Accessed 2/19/02: http://ericec.org/digests/e624.html. Quoting the first three paragraphs from the article:

He lets out a sigh and slouches in his chair. Arms folded, he glares at the book with a furrowed brow. After a moment, the boy glances at his friend sitting across the aisle, leans forward to the book once more, and runs his index finger along the lines of text. His lips contort in an attempt to silently sound out the words that stare back at him. He stops again, purses his lips, looks to the front of the room, and raises his hand. When the boy's history teacher walks over to the side of his desk, the boy quietly asks, "What does fed-er-al-ism mean?"

This boy is one example of a student with learning disabilities (LD). Individuals with LD typically look like their peers, but differ from them as well as others with LD in many ways. For example, one person with learning disabilities may have strengths in math and reasoning, yet weaknesses in understanding and communicating what he or she hears or reads. Another person with LD may demonstrate very different strengths and weaknesses.

Individuals with LD generally have average or above average intelligence, yet they often do not achieve at the same academic level as their peers. Their weaker academic achievement, particularly in reading, written language, and math, is perhaps the most fundamental characteristic of individuals with LD. Significant deficits often exist in memory, metacognition, and social skills as well. Let's look a bit more closely at each of these areas.

Liberated Learning Project: Stanford U. Will Test a Computerized Transcription System [Online]. Accessed 3/11/02: http://chronicle.com/free/
2002/01/2002012401t.htm. Quoting from this Chronicle of Higher Education Article:

Stanford University is the first test site in the United States for a Canadian system designed to give students with disabilities a better shot at succeeding in college.

Students testing the Liberated Learning Project (LLP) at colleges and universities in Canada, Britain, and Australia find they no longer need note takers at lectures where LLP is used.

Although LLP adds some extra work for the lecturer, students, including those without disabilities, give the innovation positive reviews.

Using voice-activated software, the system immediately converts a teacher's words into print that is flashed onto a large screen.

After the lecturer edits the session for accuracy and corrects words that sound the same, the lecture is made available to all students online. For the visually impaired, it can be quickly translated into Braille.

Macromedia to Aid the Disabled Online [Online]. Accessed 12/6/01: http://news.cnet.com/news/
0-1005-200-8034121.html?tag=ch_mh. Quoting from the Website:

(December 1, 2001) The San Francisco-based software developer said it will offer an Accessibility and E-Learning Solutions Kit that includes templates, an online course on accessibility, and other tools and resources.

The launch comes as U.S. government departments and agencies work to conform to Section 508, an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act that requires them to use technology that accommodates the needs of disabled workers. In addition, Web sites created by federal agencies must be accessible to the disabled. The amendment became law in June.

Standards groups also have been working to encourage Web accessibility. In September, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a major standards body, issued draft guidelines for designing browsers, multimedia players and other Web-based user interfaces.

Macromedia, however, says one of the biggest hurdles in conforming to these standards and requirements lies in the language.

"We have these accessibility standards, but because designers can't understand them, we're not seeing any movement," said Bob Regan, product manager for accessibility at Macromedia. "With something like this tool, we're actually able to put these accessibility standards in nontechnical terms."

To help federal sites meet accessibility requirements, Macromedia has prepared several tools. One, similar to a spell-checker, enables developers to check each page or an entire Web site to ensure that it is accessible. The tool, for instance, would point out color tones in a Web site that colorblind people may not be able to read.

Making Educational Software and Web Sites Accessible:Design Guidelines Including Math and Science Solutions. Accessed 2/12/03: http://ncam.wgbh.org/cdrom/guideline/.

This is a February 2003 update of a report first published in 2000. Quoting from the Website:
Students with disabilities are increasingly placed in inclusive classrooms where they learn alongside their peers. This poses a challenge to teachers and students because instructional materials may not be available in a form that is accessible to the disabled student. Inaccessible materials stigmatize students with disabilities by preventing them from using the same materials as their peers and can limit their educational opportunities. As technology becomes more prevalent in classrooms, students with disabilities face even more challenges in keeping pace with their classmates.

Publishers, educational software programmers and Web site developers are increasingly aware that they must consciously include students with disabilities in their audience. Producing materials that are accessible will increase their reach by broadening the market to include students who have been excluded until now. Additionally, policies are now in place or are under consideration in several markets that make accessibility a requirement for electronic educational materials. However, few developers understand why access is a critical need or how to provide it in their products. This document addresses both these points in detail.

Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students: Differentiating Mathematics and Science Instruction (December, 1999) [Online].. Accessed 10/30/01: http://www.nwrel.org/msec/just_good/9/index.html.

This is a complete book (available free) from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Quoting from the Preface:
Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students: Differentiating Mathematics and Science Instruction offers teachers a variety of strategies and resources for providing different levels of content and activities that will challenge all students, including gifted learners. A consistent theme throughout this publication is that while many of the ideas come from the body of literature and research on gifted education, the strategies are appropriate and effective for a wide range of students. Another important theme emerging from the research base on gifted students is the need to re-examine the criteria and processes used to designate some students as gifted, and thus by implication all other students as not gifted. Clearly, relying on a narrow definition such as those who score in the top 10 percent on a standardized achievement test can exclude students with special talents who may have difficulty in taking tests.

This publication is part of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory's series, It's Just Good Teaching. This series of publications and videos offers teachers research-based instructional strategies with real-life examples from Northwest classrooms. Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students: Differentiating Mathematics and Science Instruction is one of a three-issue focus on the diverse needs of students in inclusive classrooms. Two other publications in the series address strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities and students who are English-language learners. We hope readers will find this publication useful in their efforts to provide all students with high-quality mathematics and science learning experiences.

Kenyon, Georgina (4/15/02). Mind Mapping Can Help Dyslexics [Online]. Accessed 4/15/02: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/
newsid_1926000/1926739.stm . Quoting from this BBC News article:

A visual memory technique that is causing waves throughout the computer world is also helping dyslexics write and achieve high marks at school and university.

Mind mapping is a graphical thought organisation technique that helps memory and note-taking from lectures as well as stimulating creative thought, supporters say.

Mind mapping is currently trendy within computer programming circles in the United States for organising data.

But it is also very welcome news for dyslexics, as it can consist solely of images.

National Autistic Society. Accessed 11/21/02: http://www.nas.org.uk/index.html. Quoting from the Website:

"The National Autistic Society (NAS) is the UK's foremost charity for people with autistic spectrum disorders and their families, spearheading national and international initiatives and providing a strong voice for autism. The organisation works in many areas throughout the UK to help people with autism and Asperger syndrome live their lives with as much independence as possible."

Click here for some reference material about autism.

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) [Online]. http://www.nichcy.org/. Quoting from the Website:

NICHCY is the national information and referral center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals. Our special focus is children and youth (birth to age 22).

NICHCY provides information and makes referrals in areas related to:

  • Specific disabilities
  • Early intervention
  • Special education and related services
  • Individualized education programs
  • Family issues
  • Disability organizations
  • Professional associations
  • Education rights
  • Transition to adult life
  • and much, much more!

Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) [Online]. Accessed 11/27/00: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/
OSEP/links.html.

OSEP is a component of the US Department of Education.

Office of Special Education, Oregon Department of Education [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.ode.state.or.us/sped/. Quoting from the Website:

The OSE is responsible to ensure that students with disabilities and those who are talented and gifted benefit from an enhanced education system - the Oregon Advantage. We partner with parents, educators, and others committed to the relentless pursuit of success for each child. We support programs that enhance student achievements and maximize graduation rates for all students.

One Child at a Time : A Parent Handbook and Resource Directory for African American Families with Children Who Learn Differently. National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities. (24 page booklet published in 2002.) Accessed 10/4/02: http://www.charityadvantage.com/aacld/
images/theendresult2.pdf. Quoting from the Website:

On the Martin Luther King Holiday, January 15, 2000, the recruitment of a board of trustees and advisory council members [[for the National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities] began with a letter writing campaign. By the end of March a full board and council had been confirmed. Areas of expertise on the board of trustees include advocacy, special education and research, public policy and law, psychology, corporate involvement, fund development, public relations, and practical experience.

Online Technology Newsletter: K-12 Special Education. Accessed 11/8/00: http://www.pesoftware.com/news.html.

Oregon Advocacy Center (OAC) [Oline]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.oradvocacy.org/index.htm. Quoting from the Website:

OAC is an independent non-profit organization which provides legal advocacy services for people with disabilities anywhere in Oregon. OAC is designated under federal law as the protection and advocacy system for Oregon, but it is not a part of the state or federal government. OAC has attorneys and advocates who assist people with disabilities.

Oregon Blue Book: Special Education [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://bluebook.state.or.us/education/
specialed/specialed.htm. Quoting from the Website:

Nearly 73,000 Oregon children and youth (birth-21) with disabilities receive special education or other services. Of the 68,691 who are school-age (5-21), 98 percent attend a regular public school where they participate in the general curriculum and receive specially designed instruction and related services. Other students with disabilities receive their education and special education services in a state-operated or state-supported program. The goal for these students is similar to that for all students: to receive an education that prepares them for living and working in an integrated community setting of their choice.

Oregon Education Association: Special Education [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.oregoned.org/cgi-bin/
resources_links.asp?TopicID=100.

Oregon IEP Software [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.excent.com/Products/OR.html. Quoting from the Website:

EXCENT® special education software / IEP software is a complete software solution that provides teachers, clinicians, MIS directors, and administrators with a tool for managing the voluminous amounts of special education information required by federal and state laws. Excent is a case management system that fully integrates student special education information from the classroom to the district office.

Oregon Public (Education Network (OPEN): Special Populations [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.open.k12.or.us/portal/teachers/tpd.html.

Oregon Technology Access Program [Online]. Accessed 11/13/00: http://www.douglasesd.k12.or.us/otap/.

The Oregon Technology Access Program provides information, training and referral regarding the uses of technology for children with disabilities, birth to 21 years of age. The program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

People with Special Needs [Online]. Accessed 4/8/01: http://www.apple.com/disability/.

Since 1985, Apple Computer Corporation has made a major commitment to helping to meet the IT needs of people with special needs.

Scientific Learning Corporation [Online]. Accessed 1/25/02: http://www.brainconnection.com.Quoting from the Website:

Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Scientific Learning offers CD-ROM and Internet programs developed by leaders in brain research. The Company's Fast ForWord system of intensive computer-based training programs for language and reading "train the brain" to learn faster. These training programs use patented technologies to adapt to each student's skill level, allowing students of all ages to make gains in language and reading in just weeks, rather than years. Educators can use the Company's patented Internet technologies to track students' progress.

[A version of the Fast ForWord software is used to help severely speech delayed people learn to speak, and to help people who have had a cochlear implant learn to hear speech.]

SpecialEdLaw.net. Accessed 11/30/02: http://www.specialedlaw.net/index.mv.

SpecialEdLaw.net is a component of The Center for Education Rights. Quoting from the CER Website:
The Center for Education Rights (CER) is a non-profit tax-exempt organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

CER is dedicated to developing & marketing interactive learning resources for K-12 students, promoting advocacy projects relating to children with special needs, and conducting professional continuing education programs for attorneys, educators, parents, and others with an interest in special education law and internet-based learning systems.

Quoting from the SpecioalEdLaw.nets Webpage:

SpecialEdLaw.net is a multidisciplinary Internet resource for parents of special needs children, as well as attorneys, special education administrators, teachers, psychologists, and others with a need for information relating to Special Education law.

SpecialEdLaw.net offers a variety of resources, including "Live Help."

SpecialEdLaw.net Live Help is a chat application. You may receive on-line help via a private on-line chat with a member of the SpecialEdLaw.net staff at the Center for Education Rights. Use of SpecialEdLaw.net Live Help should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this service are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Special Education Resources on the Internet (SERI) [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.hood.edu/seri/serihome.html. Quoting from the Website:

Special Education Resources on the Internet (SERI) is a collection of Internet accessible information resources of interest to those involved in the fields related to Special Education. This collection exists in order to make on-line Special Education resources more easily and readily available in one location. This site will continually modify, update, and add additional informative links. If you know of other resources that should be included here, please send the URL to horner2@ix.netcom.com.

Special Education Resources: Oregon Professionals [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.iser.com/OR.html.

This is a statewide directory of professionals who serve the learning disabilities and special education communities. "We help parents and caregivers find local special education professionals to help with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder assessment, therapy, advocacy, and other special needs."

Super Surgin' for Special Educators [Online]. Accessed 10/5/01: http://fritschi.home.mindspring.com/.

A guide to using the Internet interactively with students with disabilities. Provides assess to a large number of excellent resources.

Virtual reality R&D at the Oregon Research Institute [Online]. Accessed 11/25/00: http://www.ori.org/educationvr.html.

The Applied Computer Simulations Lab develops applications to help severely disabled children acquire important functional skills. The research team has designed and tested virtual reality programs to help physically disabled children operate motorized wheelchairs successfully and safely in the natural environment. The Applied Computer Simulations Lab has also developed an Internet version of their wheelchair training program so that multiple users can connect to a computer network which allows them to practice driving in a shared virtual space with other children from across the country. Current work is focused on developing virtual reality programs for deaf blind students to help them learn orientation and mobility skills in three dimensional acoustical space. Other current work strives to develop virtual science programs that will enable severely physically disabled students take part in science education lessons in the regular classroom.

Warger, Cynthia (February 2002). Helping Students with Disabilities Succeed in State and District Writing Assessments. ERIC/OSEP Digest #E625. Accessed 12/12/02: http://ericec.org/digests/e625.html. Quotig from the first part of the article:

While writing poses significant challenges for many students with disabilities, good teaching can help them overcome these barriers. The writing of students with disabilities typically contains more mechanical errors than that of their nondisabled peers and is less polished, expansive, coherent, and effective. Difficulties may exist because students with disabilities tend to
  • Know less than their peers about the characteristics of good writing.
  • Begin writing with little or no planning.
  • Limit revisions to minor corrections.
  • Have problems with transcription processes (e.g., spelling, handwriting, punctuation).

To help students with disabilities perform at their best on writing assessments, teachers can use the following techniques:

  • Use the three principles of effective writing instruction.
  • Prepare students to participate in writing assessments.
  • Use assistive technology in instruction and testing.
  • Provide students with appropriate accommodations during testing and ensure that the accommodations correspond to those used during instruction.

Western Regional Resource Center (WRRC). Instructional Strategies on the Internet: Selected Resources [Online]. Accessed 2/10/01: http://interact.uoregon.edu/WRRC/InstStrat.htm. Quoting from the Website:

Many states and districts are committed to helping classroom teachers rise to the challenge of helping students with diverse needs access the general curriculum. As part of that commitment, a number of states have asked us to help identify Web-based resources for finding appropriate instructional strategies.

This information module links you to a number of Web sites that provide useful information about instructional strategies for accessing the general curriculum.

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