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Susan Comments on Modifying Instructional Strategies, Materials and Tools to Meet Individual Needs

Susan-photoOften I get IEPs that say the child will categorize pictures into toys and clothing. What does an activity like that serve unless they have a reason for doing that? Let's say a child's IEP goal is to pick up and release things with their hands. Picking out her name and putting it on a picture requires that she do.that (pick up and release). Labeling her own picture is a lot more motivating way to practice this skill than picking up and dropping blocks.

For circle time, all the students are participating at one time, yet they don't all participate in the same manner. So I have to particularly shape my instruction for the ones who can't shout out answers or participate verbally. For children in wheelchairs, I might set up a tape recorder with a switch so they can participate by turning on and off the music that we have throughout circle. Several of the children are capable of using sign language and they're encouraged to use it at that time.

Each child's experience is different. When we talk about something, I try to bring in the real thing if possible. For example, when we did a story about a frog, Never Snap at a Bubble, by Yvonne Weiner, one of my assistants brought a bullfrog in. We talked about it, labeled it, and took photos of each child with the frog. One might assume that if you draw a line drawing of a frog, color it green, and label it, our children will know what it is, but a lot of them don't. I think what made me most aware of that was having a child with visual impairments. When I would show him a drawing or photograph, I realized he'd never seen the real thing and the line drawing may not have had meaning for him. It started me thinking that a lot of our kids may not connect with drawings, not because they're visually impaired, but because they don't have the experience.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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