Back-to-School Professional Development Areas to Prepare Educators for Supporting Students with Exceptionalities

As students and teachers make their way back to school, preparing for a smooth transition and successful year is important. Students with exceptionalities entering the classroom face new and familiar challenges and the demand on educators to skillfully support these students is rising. More than 60% of students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, are educated inside the regular classroom 80% or more of the day (U.S Department of Education Report on IDEA).

According to a recent study released by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Understood, at least one-third of teachers report that they have not participated in PD on learning and attention issues. Special education training is important for all staff and these topics for training can help general education teachers and their students succeed this year.

  • Special Education Introduction
    Give staff an overview of elementary and secondary special education including IDEA, the basics of legal compliance of FAPE, LRE, and transition services.
  • IEP Compliance
    Provide staff with information about Individualized Education Programs from definition to content to accountability. Cover the importance of confidentiality under FERPA law and the content of IEPs, including present levels, goals, progress reporting, accommodations, participation with peer peers, and transition planning.
  • ADHD
    Provide staff with basic information like the history of ADHD, academic and social issues associated with it, and the law as it relates to ADHD. This will help educators better understand students who have the disorder.
  • ASD
    As the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S., understanding students with autism spectrum disorder is important. Provide staff with information on the diagnostic criteria and challenges faced by students. Each child’s ability and skill levels are unique.
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
    Disruptive student behavior is a frustration to educators and students. Teaching pro-social behaviors and reinforcing them with positive behavior supports can dramatically improve school climate. Behavior Intervention Plans can help to lessen or eliminate challenging student behavior.
  • Restraint and Seclusion
    Provide staff with an overview of restraint and seclusion that includes appropriate uses, risks associated with these practices, and alternative approaches to controlling student behavior in emergencies. This will help educators deal with emergency situations in school-related settings.
  • Bullying and Students with Special Needs
    Statistics show that students with special needs are at a greater risk for being targets of bullying. Discuss the criteria that defines bullying behaviors with staff and why targets of bullying behaviors are at special risk. It is important to also recognize that perpetrators of bullying behaviors may need special education services.
  • Dyslexia
    Dyslexia affects many children and even some adults. Statistics vary, but most experts place the figure at 15-20% of the population. Ensure your teachers understand the definitions of dyslexia, methods of supporting students with the disorder, roles and responsibilities, and dyslexia and learning styles.

Online professional development is flexible, self-paced, and personalized. It provides educators with access to training in these key areas. The Exceptional Child Online Professional Development System can easily deliver evidence-based, special education-related training to all staff who support students with exceptionalities. Every educator can benefit from the knowledge and expertise of leading special education experts.

“By training all staff and enabling them to work more effectively together, our students with disabilities will make greater gains.” – Michael Remus, 36-Year Special Education Teacher and Administrator, Former CASE Officer

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