Special Education Lesson Plans
Special Education Plan Template
Special Education Lesson Plans
Effective programming for children with special education needs requires a team approach.
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Guide is the result of a joint effort among parents, teachers, counselors and doctors.
The school must be willing to cooperate to its fullest extent to provide the educational tools and access to specialized educational services.
Unlike the lesson plans for children with no learning disabilities, or language or cognitive impairment, the special education lesson plans will include activities based on applied behavior analysis (ABA).
The plans will address more than just reading, writing and math lessons and will incorporate social communication and interaction and play skills training also. Sample Lesson Plan
The special education lesson plans must reflect state and federal instructional standards, meet IEP goals and bring congruence between assessment and instructional procedures. In most cases the special education lessons are developed within a high structured framework that allows for individualized adjustments based on the student’s responses.
Special Needs Learning Requires Special Needs Instruction
Special Education Resources
The fact is that children with disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders do not have predictable cognitive patterns. They do not process information the way you and I process input and therefore have problems with social interaction and even standard communication also. That adds another necessary level of instruction to the special education lesson plan not found in a traditional plan.
Most children learn through imitation. By mixing with peers they learn appropriate behaviors and they also learn from each other. Children with special needs such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders don’t learn this way. They cannot absorb sensory input and then process the information in a way that leads to the correct application of social skills. Sometimes their behavior leads them to be labeled as difficult when in fact they are simply having problems handling a world full of signs, symbols, verbal and physical communication, and imaginative and creative ideas.
The same is often true for children with other special needs besides ASD. For example, a blind child cannot interpret body language. A child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has trouble staying focused and remaining still long enough to absorb information presented.
Special education lesson plans must be need-specific. For example, a child with ASD may have one of the conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome which means language skills are well-developed but the simple act of communicating with another child is difficult. A child with autism needs lessons that don’t contribute to the sensory overload already being experienced but motivate the child to give attention long enough to presented material for absorption.
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In the Words of an Autistic Woman
As mentioned, each special needs child will process information differently and that is what makes lesson planning such a challenge for educators. Temple Grandin is a woman who was diagnosed with autism around age two and has developed a successful career as an adult. She earned a Ph.D. in animal science and is now an internally recognized designer of livestock equipment.
Ms. Grandin has written two books named, Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic. Her books and articles have given researchers and educators a tremendous opportunity to gather information about how persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders think and process input. When reviewing her material, it quickly becomes apparent that for lesson plans to be effective they must use the right blend of visual and auditory material geared towards the particular child.
Ms Grandin gives the following advice to teachers and parents.
• Instruction must be intensive
• Include the interests of the child in lesson plans
• Determine whether the child can process auditory or verbal input or both and structure the lesson plan accordingly
• Echolalic children can often learn well through the use of flashcards and supporting verbal repetition
• Determine if the child can “hear” consonants and is able to verbally repeat them
• Determine if music is an effective instructional tool
• Use props with lesson plans if it engages the child such as a rocking balance ball
Special Education Lesson Plans Composed of Small Steps
One of the cornerstones of special education lesson planning is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This approach teaches students appropriate behaviors by breaking down material into small teachable steps. The well-designed lesson plan will cover a single topic by presenting information in almost tiny units. The types of subject matters include things like math, animals, the seasons, water, earth, books, people, time, art, friends, food, sports, police, animals, rodeos, colors, numbers, safety and so on.
ABA relies on the use of a number of educational tools that will meet the auditory or visual requirements of special needs students. With themed lesson plans and themed school materials supporting special education lesson plans, the student learns communication, social behavior and school material at the same time in a way the brain is able to process.
One of the guiding principles for teachers behind ABA is keeping the child engaged in order to appropriately give and receive feedback. If little Susan expresses anger when you flash a picture of a girl, the teacher can explore at that time what it is about the picture that evoked an angry response. The educational tools used include the following.
• PECS or Picture Exchange Communication System (picture cards to teach nonverbal children)
• TEACCH or Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (structured skill-based teaching, visual materials and schedules)
• Social skills training (such as teaching about the concept of “friends”)
• Safety skills training (themed instruction using appropriate behavioral instruction and supporting materials)
• Schedules (structured instruction using pictures or words)
• Behavioral training (using all need-specific instructional materials in addition to behavioral feedback)
Since special education lesson plans are usually theme based, the material can be reinforced with school themes. For example, the concept of friendship can be difficult to convey to a child with a cognitive disorder.
Using picture cards, posters, wall pictures, murals, and other colorful materials provide focus and topics for special education lesson plans. A good example is using the school theme “Fiesta” which promotes social interaction, the concept of enjoying time with others and celebrating, playing and eating together, and what the concept of “fun and friendship” is all about.
|Content:||Read time to the hour and half hour on analogue clocks and digital clocks|
|Goals:||Given different times to the hour and half hour, the students will move the big hand and the little hand on their student clocks, read orally, and write in digital form the time demonstrated.|
|Objectives:||To read time to the hour and half hour on analogue clocks and digital clocks|
|Materials:||Teacher model clock
Different modes of telling time: clocks (analog and digital),
Do a clock worksheet.
|Introduction:||Have on display in front of the students different modes for telling time including: clocks (digital and analog), stopwatch with mobile, alarm clocks etc. Ask the students: “What do all of these objects have in common?” Write their responses on the whiteboard. Then ask them, “What are some of the differences between these objects?” Again record their responses. To close the trigger activity ask the students, “What do you think we are going to be learning today? Verbally acknowledge their responses.|
|Development:||Introduce a number line which contains the numerals one through twelve. Bend the number line into a circle to resemble a clock face. Provide a worksheet with a large circle. Ask the students to place the numerals inside the circle to make a clock face. According to the ability of the group, you may wish to place some marks on the circle to facilitate spacing of the numbers. (See: Clockface worksheet)
2. Review that the minute (long-blue) hand points to the twelve, while the hour (short-red) hand indicates the hour. Provide a worksheet with clocks that have no hands on them. Underneath each clock, write a time in the “o’clock” form. Have the students draw in the minute and hour hands to show the correct time.
3. Have each student make a paper plate clock face. Using a brad fastener, attach tag board or construction paper hands to the center of the plate. These clocks can then be used in various reinforcement activities. For example, as the teacher calls out a time, the students show the correct time on their clocks. This activity can be adapted to a team game. Divide the classroom into teams. When the teacher calls a time, the first person to correctly display his/her clock gains a point for his/her team.
4. The teacher writes a time on the board (3:00) in big font, and holds the time up on a flash card in large font. On the teacher model find the 3 and explain how the little hand points to the 3 and the big hand points to the 12 to show 3:00.
|Practice:||1. Have the students, working in pairs and with teaching assistants circulating, use their clocks to show the time as well. The teacher should repeat this activity using 6:00, 2:00, 12:00, 3:00, 5:00, 1:00, 10:00, and 9:00, until the students have demonstrated understanding by completing the activity with 100% accuracy.
2. Repeat the same procedure to teach the half hour.
Teaching children with special learning needs is a challenge but there are plenty of tools available to make lesson plans effective and productive.
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