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IDEA/Special Education Resources

RTI Action Network

The RTI Action Network is dedicated to the effective implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) in school districts nationwide. Its goal is to guide educators and families in the large-scale implementation of RTI so that each child has access to quality instruction and that struggling students - including those with learning disabilities - are identified early and receive the necessary supports to be successful. Its cornerstone,, offers research-based information and expert guidance on Response to Intervention. The RTI Action Network is a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, funded by the Cisco Foundation and in partnership with the nation's leading education associations and top RTI experts.

Resources for Understanding Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Pat is a fourth grader who seems to be in constant motion.  He pokes and bumps into other students and gets into confrontations that seem irrational and unnecessary.  His doctor's diagnosis says he has sensory integration dysfunction (DSI) and needs occupational therapy.  Does Pat sound like a student you know?  Developed over 20 years ago by occupational therapist A. Jean Ayres, DSI is the "inability to modulate, discriminate, coordinate or organize sensation adaptively" (Lane et al., 2000, p. 2). 

Do you want to learn more about Sensory Integration Dysfunction and how it might be affecting the classroom performance of children you know? Here is a resource to help you gain insights into DSI and how to address the needs of students who have difficulty with sensory integration:

Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd)

The Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd) helps state and local education leaders to integrate instructional technology for all students to achieve high educational standards by providing resources on evidence-based practices, innovative online technical assistance tools, professional development, communities of practice and evidence-based, promising, and emerging practices based on the latest research.

The Center is funded by a federal grant.

The Center's free resources offer help in providing high-quality instruction for all students and are especially important for serving students with disabilities. Resources include professional development and research on implementing technology to improve student achievement.

Find resources in the Learn Center especially identified for teachers, administrators, technology coordinators, and professional development coordinators. Use My Center to collect, save, and share resources and toolkits with colleagues. Join their free webinar series, Moving Forward with Technology, and access free technical assistance.

Access Center Offers Free Collaborative Teaching Module

The Access Center, a federally-funded project of the U.S. Department of Education, has created  Improving Access to the General Curriculum for Students with Disabilities Through Collaborative Teaching, a free on-line professional development module.  It explores the definition of co-teaching, how co-teaching looks in the classroom, scheduling and planning issues, and the challenge of supervising and evaluating a co-teaching team. It can be modified to accommodate audiences of teachers, supervisors, and/or administrators.

Center Offers Resources to Meet Needs of Adopted Children

Adopted children need the support of informed adults who can guide their peers' understanding and acceptance of adoption. Teachers are the critical link to that assistance and the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.)   has resources to help provide it.

How does a classroom teacher respond to questions about adoption? Should educators adjust lessons that focus on families to accommodate for children in the class who may be adopted? Are there programs that equip adopted children to respond to insensitive inquiries about their adoption?

For information on resources developed especially for teachers, visit the C.A.S.E. Web site here. Information on training programs for foster and adoptive parents, mental health professionals and child welfare workers is available here.

C.A.S.E. is a private, non-profit adoptive family support center. Its programs focus on helping children from a variety of foster care and adoptive backgrounds to receive understanding and support which will enable them to grow into successful, productive adults.

Assistive Technology Planner Offered as Aid to IEP Teams

A new resource is now available to help educators plan and implement appropriate assessment and instruction for students with disabilities.

The Assistive Technology Planner: From IEP Consideration to Classroom Implementation is intended to help IEP (Individual Education Plan) team members effectively implement assistive technology with students. The kit includes a user's guide, assistive implementation planning tool, and three individual planners tailored for classroom teachers, families, and administrators.

The Assistive Technology Planner is an outgrowth of successful practices used in 60+ school districts in 10 different states and based upon research funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Helps Secondary Students Plan for Future

Secondary students with or without disabilities and their parents are invited to explore a new "neighborhood" designed just for them.

The Youthhood  is a Web site that young adults and their teachers, parents, and mentors can use to plan for life after high school. Grounded in the principles of universal design, the site addresses the future planning needs of all youth. The Youthhood is sponsored by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition at the University of Minnesota which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs.

NEA special education expert Patti Ralabate, who serves on the advisory board of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, said the new Web site offers "great online resources for students and their families to use as they begin to consider post-secondary school options." The NEA Professional Library offers another set of resources, "My Future, My Plan," specifically for secondary students with disabilities.

Materials Show Disabilities from Societal Perspective

The Center for Human Rights promotes the classroom examination of disability in relation to history, culture, and society. At its Disability Studies for Teachers Web site, educators can find lesson plans, essays, and teaching materials that show disabilities from a societal, rather than medical perspective.

These resources are designed to help teachers integrate disability studies into social studies, history, literature, and related subjects in grades 6-12. The plans and materials also can be adapted for use in postsecondary education.

Consortium Launches 'Accessible Technologies' Project

The nonprofit Consortium for School Networking has launched a three-year initiative intended to demonstrate how greater collaboration and increased communication between school technology leaders and special-education departments can deliver the benefits of a technology-rich education to all students, including those with disabilities.

Through its "Accessible Technologies for All Students" initiative, CoSN will host a series of educational resources and professional development opportunities intended to facilitate the effective use of educational technology for all students, regardless of ability or disability.

Group Offers New 'LD Advocates Guide'

It is important for parents and educators to work with their elected representatives to make sure that their voices are heard in Washington, D.C. and at the state and local level. To help further these advocacy efforts, the National Center for Learning Disabilities has developed an LD Advocates Guide. The LD Advocates Guide seeks to explain how best to engage policymakers and the media on issues affecting the LD community. In addition to this step-by-step guidance, the Guide also provides a primer on key issues affecting the fields of learning disabilities and special education.

IDEA Implementation Report Issued

The U.S. Department of Education has issued the 24th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It covers data from the 2000-01 school year and includes data on special ed teacher quality, special ed spending, an analysis of links between child poverty and special needs, discussion on the use of developmental delay as a classification category for students aged 3-9 years, supply and demand issues for speech-language pathologists, social and behavioral problems of elementary and middle school students, high school graduation rates for students with disabilities, and many other interesting facts and figures.

You can download its four-page executive summary or the full 475-page report from a Department of Education Web site.


Technical Center Helps Schools with Capacity-Building, School Climate

The US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEPS) has established the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to "give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices."

National Referral Service for Families, Professionals

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities is a national information and referral center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators and other professionals. This center was formerly known as the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) and is providing the same information and services as previously available.

U.S. Dept. of Education's Office of Special Education

The US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) provides programs, services, and information designed to support children and youth with disabilities from birth through age 21. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) authorizes formula grants to states, and discretionary grants to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology and personnel development, and parent-training and information centers .

The Council for Exceptional Children

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational opportunity for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, advocates for newly and historically underserved individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

Special Education Guide

The Special Education Guide is a go-to resource for mastering terminology, proceduress and best practices in special education.