For Teachers

Common Core Standards in a Special Needs Curriculum

By The Room 241 Team October 17, 2012

Common Core Standards have been developed by a team of educators and professionals to help determine standards for each grade level to make sure students in the United States  are equipped and prepared for college and careers. The creators of the standards also took the time to develop applications for students with disabilities and special needs.

The Common Core Standards present a system for challenging the students with a wide range of disabilities. The students with disabilities populate a large spectrum. Some may have physical disabilities, while others may have learning disabilities. All of the students, however, have some kind of difficulty that prevents them from fully benefiting from general education. To help the students follow the common core standards to the best of their abilities, there are a number of techniques to use to challenge and encourage them within the special needs curriculum.

Using Individualized Education Plans

Individualized education plans, or IEPs, are created through the coordination of a student’s parents, teachers, and administrators and anyone else who is intimately involved with the student’s education. The IEP will detail annual and incremental goals throughout the year of what the student should be able to accomplish. By aligning these standards with common core standards, the students with disabilities can receive the support and methods they need to reach goals in the same direction of their mainstream counterparts.

Creating Support Systems and Services

Students with disabilities have unique challenges they face throughout their educational careers. When schools have services and support systems in place to guide the students, they can make large leaps toward their success. These support systems will involve parents, teachers, and administrators to create an atmosphere where students are encouraged, challenged, and assisted where needed.

The services should provide the additional resources and trained professionals that students with disabilities need to be successful. The supports for learning are encouraged to be based upon the ideas behind Universal Design for Learning. These ideas are arranged to encourage interaction and participation on behalf of students by presenting the information using multiple platforms and allowing the students to in turn present their ideas through many formats.

 

Teachers Need Training for Special Needs Students

Students with disabilities may require unique forms of instruction to help them master skills in the classroom. Teachers and others who are supporting the students should be trained in teaching these students with special needs. They should use methods of teaching that have been shown to produce results with high quality instruction and individualized attention and assistance.

Those working in classrooms with students with special needs often find that the curriculum needs to be slightly modified to meet the needs of the students. The teachers should apply their knowledge regarding students with disabilities as well as their experience with the student personally to determine ways that the student can be educated within the ideals described by the common core standards but at the same time allowing them the accommodations they need to help them grasp the material at hand. 

Using Appropriate Technology

In the current age of technology, there are many programs that have been designed to help students with disabilities in the classroom. For example, speech-to-text programs can help students communicate their ideas even if they struggle with the physical act of writing. Text readers can help students review written pieces even if their sight is compromised or learning disabilities hinder their reading skills. Technology can even help students with disabilities communicate with peers who have similar difficulties for the social interaction as well as communicate with specialists who can help them learn on an even greater level than the typical special education teacher.

Students with special needs have a range of challenges facing them when they enter the classroom. The common core standards have been developed to help all students prepare for careers or higher education, not just mainstream students. Teachers and others involved with the student can take many steps to help the students reach the standards to the best of their ability by implementing these policies and offering the guidance and support they need to move forward.

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