Hope of a better tomorrow

At least monthly I see or hear and/ or work with people who experience tremendous tragedy and strife. It can bog me down. Teachers often ask, “How do you deal with suffering all the time?” I tell them that kids inspire me almost every single day.

I also believe that the information and books they are exposed to influences their world view of hope and happiness. Like the old adage “garbage in, garbage out “, the opposite is also true. So, go get into some good stuff and have fun!


Poverty and learning


Poverty is a reality that educators face everyday. Seeing kids wrestle with food and housing insecurity as well as a myriad of struggles that come with a lack of resources can be daunting for teachers.  Linking families with resources to keep afloat can be very challenging. I think that we have a poverty crisis that creates unforeseen difficulties in the classroom for the student ranging from learning to making good behavioral choices.

How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance

U.S. Schools Have a Poverty Crisis, Not an Education Crisis

Poverty and high school dropouts


Improving educational outcomes for poor children

Chilling statistics.

What Teachers can do.

Leading Learning for Children From Poverty Six effective practices can help teachers help students from poverty succeed.

What Principals can do.

Positive School Climate Strong interpersonal relationships and ongoing support for students’ self-regulation create a positive context for learning.

What all Educators should do.

Schoolwide Methods for Fostering Resiliency

Movies to inspire:

Possible Areas of Concern / Accommodations

many small light bulbs equal big one

General Areas of Concern
 Assignments / Homework:

·         Frequent work breaks

·         Allow use of computer or technology to complete assignments

·         Allow projects / written assignments to be presented orally or on tape

·         Allow projects to presented through demonstration pictures and / or models

·         Extended time to complete assigned work

·         Shorten or chunk assignments / work periods

·         Simplify complex directions

·         Break long assignments into manageable chunks

·         Assist student in setting short-term goals

·         Pair written instructions with oral instructions

·         Develop private signal so that student can let teacher know if repetition of instruction is needed

·         Check homework daily

·         Reduce amount of homework

·         Limit homework to specified # of minutes / night

·         Permit re-submitted assignments

·         Grade written work on content, not spelling, handwriting, or mechanics

·         Adapt assignments to minimize writing (e.g. circle, cross out, etc.)

·         Provide study skills training / learning strategies

·         Reduce the reading level of assignments

·         Use self-monitoring devices (checklists, visual aids, etc.)

·         Provide distributed review and drill



·         Provide cognitive behavioral feedback:  positive feedback for attention to task with frequency based on what student can currently do

·         Short-term reinforcers that provide feedback (happy face, check mark, star, in-class rewards) or long –term (accumulated points to exchange for positive reinforcement at school or home)

·         Plan academic instruction for student’s peak attention time

·         Allow student to stand at times during seatwork

·         Require active responses in instruction (e.g. talking, moving, organizing, work at whiteboard or slate, interacting with computer, etc.)

·         Provide short break between assignments

·         Give child substitute verbal or motor responses to make while waiting

·         Provide fidget object for manual activity (eg. Koosh ball, clay, worry beads, etc.)

·         Teacher proximity

·         Preferential seating

·         Positive feedback / reward for short periods of waiting

·         Increase novelty to gain / sustain attention

·         Alternate high and low interest tasks

·         Increase choice of tasks

·         Place student first in line or avoid lines altogether

·         Build in opportunities for movement

·         Teach compensatory strategies for organization

·         Provide increased supervision during unstructured times (e.g. recess, transitions, field trips, etc.)

·         Home-school communication procedures / strategies

·         Non-verbal cues between teacher / student for behavior monitoring

·         Highlight important or required information

·         Student checklists for self-monitoring

·         Adapt student’s work area to help screen out distractions

·         Grade for content, not neatness, spelling, mechanics

·         Avoid withholding physical activity as negative reinforcer


Classroom Environment and Seating:

·         Predictable daily routines

·         Schedule changes addressed ahead of time

·         Consistent and clear expectations / procedures / boundaries set for classroom behavior

·         Work alternates short, concentrated periods with breaks

·         Minimize visual or auditory distractions

·         Small group instruction

·         Team teaching

·         Identify teaching-style / student match (e.g. structured, nurturing, etc.)

·         Preferential seating (near teacher, near study buddy, front of classroom, etc.)

·         Allow personal space around desk

·         Allow legitimate movement

·         Use study carrel or partitions at independent work times

Learner Needs / Behavior:

·         Allow for short breaks between assignments

·         Allow student more time to pass in the hallway

·         Allow student time out of seat to run errands, etc.

·         Cue student to stay on task (non-verbal signal)

·         Implement a behavior management system

·         Use visual depictions of expected procedures

·         Clear, simple, consistent classroom rules and procedures

·         Point out positive behaviors

·         Provide positive reinforcement

·         Set defined limits

·         Use self-monitoring strategies

·         Provide behavioral feedback frequently (written, non-verbal signal, etc.)

·         Ignore minor, inappropriate behavior

·         Increase immediacy or rewards or consequences

·         Supervise closely during transition times

·         Call on only when student has followed classroom procedure (raising hand, waiting to be called on, etc.)

·         Establish behavior contract with specified goals (2-3 at most), student input on goals as appropriate

·         Prudent use of negative consequences

·         Provide immediate feedback for both appropriate and inappropriate behaviors

·         Avoid lecturing or criticism

·         Implement home-school communication system

·         Communicate with student in writing if behavior is intended to engage verbal interaction

·         Provide opportunities for student to show responsibility for classroom tasks (e.g. straighten classroom shelves, water plants, etc.)

Lesson Presentation:

·         Allow students to tape lessons or lectures for replay

·         Break long presentations into short segments

·         Emphasize multi-sensory teaching:  auditory, visual, tactile-kinesthetic

·         Emphasize critical information / key concepts

·         Include a variety of activities during each lesson

·         Pair students to check work

·         Pre-teach vocabulary (front-load)

·         Peer note-taker

·         Peer tutor

·         Provide visual aides

·         Provide written outline or other written material

·         Written steps / checklist for multiple step directions

·         Frequent checks for understanding / comprehension

·         Have student repeat directions to teacher or peer

·         Provide key points in writing / visually / as well as in auditory format

·         Use advanced organizers / study guides

·         Computer assisted instruction

·         Use of manipulatives

·         Specialized curriculum


·         Extra set of texts at home

·         Assign volunteer homework buddy

·         Assignment notebook with home / school connection

·         Adult / peer to review assignment notebook and materials before leaving for home

·         Organizational aids such as outlines, graphic organizers, checklists

·         Photographs or visual aids that depict what desk, book bag, folders, etc.  should like in an organized manner

·         Colored folders

·         Color and physical / spatial organizers

 Socialization and Social Skills:

·         Provide recess / lunch opportunities with friend in structure setting

·         Provide lunch buddies

·         Establish social behavior goals and reward program

·         Establish social stories for areas that are difficult for the student

·         Non-verbal prompts to remind of appropriate social behavior

·         Avoid placing student in situations that have a pattern of being difficult for him / her

·         Provide social skills training (school-related skills, friendship skills, dealing with feelings, alternatives to aggression, dealing with anxiety / stress, etc.)


·         Allow extra time

·         Allow open book tests

·         Give test orally

·         Take home tests

·         Adjusted setting for test-taking (small group or individual)

·         Provide written outline of main points prior to test

·         Untimed

·         Give extended time if necessary

·         Break test into shorter chunks and testing periods

·         Identify whether test will assess abilities or disabilities

·         Grade test for content, not handwriting, spelling, or mechanics

·         Give frequent short quizzes, rather than long exams

·         Allow outlines or notes during quiz / test


Specific Areas of Disability

Example:  The student has severe allergic reactions to certain pollens and / or foods.  For purposes of this example the condition substantially limits the major life activity of breathing and may interfere with the students’ ability to get to school or participate once there.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Avoid allergy –causing substances: soap, weeds, pollen, food

·         In-service necessary persons:  dietary staff, peers, coaches, etc.

·         Allow time for shots / clinic appointments

·         Use of air purifiers

·         Adapt physical education curriculum during high pollen time

·         Improve room ventilation (e.g. when remodeling has occurred and materials may cause reaction)

·         Develop health care and / or emergency plans

·         Address pets / animals in the classroom

·         Involve school health consultant in school related health issues

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications and monitoring for side effects

·         Address pets / animals in the classroom


Example:  A student with severe arthritis may have persistent pain, tenderness or swelling in one or more joints.  A student experiencing arthritic pain may require a modified physical education program.   For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide a rest period during the day

·         Accommodate for absences for doctors’ appointments

·         Provide assistive devices for writing (e.g. pencil grips, non-skid surface, typewriter / computer, etc.)

·         Adapt physical education

·         Administer medication following health protocol

·         Train staff for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Arrange for assistance carrying materials and supplies (e.g. books, lunch tray, etc.)

·         Implement movement plan to avoid stiffness

·         Provide seating accommodations

·         Allow extra time between classes

·         Provide locker assistance

·         Provide modified eating utensils

·         Develop health and emergency plans

·         Provide for accommodations for writing tasks:  a note taker, copies of notes, computer or tape recorder, etc.)

·         Make available access to wheelchair / ramps and school van / bus for transportation

·         Provide time for massage or exercise

·         Adjust recess time and activities

·         Provide peer support groups

·         Instructional aide supports

·         Record lectures / presentations

·         Padded chairs / comfortable seating

·         Adjust attendance policy

·         Altered school day

·         Extra set of books for home

·         Warmer room and seating near heat source

·         Allow student to respond orally for assignments, tests, etc.

·         Awareness program for staff and students

·         Monitor special dietary considerations

·         Involve school nurse in health protocols and decision making

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning



Example:  A student has been diagnosed as having severe asthma.   The doctor has advised the student not to participate in physical activity outdoors.  For purposes of this example, the disability limits the major life activity of breathing.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adapt activity level for recess, physical education, etc.

·         Provide inhalant therapy assistance

·         Train staff/student for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medication, monitor for side-effects

·         Remove allergens (e.g. hairspray, lotions, perfumes, paint, latex, etc.)

·         Accommodate medical absences

·         Adapt curriculum expectations as appropriate (e.g. science, physical educations, etc.)

·         Develop health and emergency plans

·         Have peers available to carry materials to and from classes (e.g. lunch tray, books, etc.)

·         Make health care needs known to appropriate staff

·         Place student in most easily controlled environment

·         Provide indoor space for before and / or after school activities

·         Provide rest periods

Bipolar Disorder or Mood Disorder – NOS (not otherwise specified)

Example:  The student was diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder, however the severity (frequency, intensity, duration considerations) of the condition did not qualify the student for Special Education support under IDEA.  A properly convened 504 team determined that the condition did significantly impair the major life activity of learning and designed a 504 accommodation plan for the student.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Break down assignments into manageable parts with clear, simple directions, given one at a time

·         Plan advanced preparation for transition

·         Monitor clarity of understanding and alertness

·         Provide extra time on tests, class work, and homework if needed

·         Strategies in place for unpredictable mood swings

·         Provide appropriate staff training for mood swings

·         Create awareness by staff of potential victimization from other students

·         Allow most difficult subjects at times when student is most alert

·         Implement a crisis intervention plan for extreme cases where students is out of control and may do something impulsive or dangerous

·         Provide positive praise and redirection

·         Reports any suicidal comments to counselor / psychologist immediately

·         Consider home instruction for times when the student’s mood disorder make it impossible for him / her to attend school for an extended period

·         Adjusted passing time


Cancer (or other long-term medical concerns)

Example:  A student with a long-term medical problem may require special accommodations.  A condition, such as cancer, may substantially limit the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself (e.g. a student with cancer may need a class schedule that allow for rest and recuperation following chemotherapy or other treatment).

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adjust attendance policy

·         Limit number of classes taken; accommodate scheduling needs

·         Hospital-bound instruction (this is sometimes arranged through the hospital)

·         Home-bound instruction

·         Take whatever steps necessary to accommodate student involvement in extracurricular activities if they are otherwise qualified

·         Adjust activity level and expectations in classes based on physical limitations; don’t require activities that are physically taxing

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Provide appropriate assistive technology

·         Provide a private rest area

·         Adjusted school day

·         Send additional sets of texts and assignments to hospital schools

·         Adjust schedule to include rest breaks

·         Tape lessons, adjust expectations for homework and assessment

·         Provide counseling; peer support

·         Adapt physical education

·         Provide access to school health services

·         Provide awareness training for  staff and students as appropriate

·         Develop health care emergency plan

·         Peer tutor

·         Student buddy for participation in sports

·         Initiate a free pass system from the classroom

·         Ongoing home / school communication plan

·         Notify family of communicable diseases at school

·         Designate a person in school to function as liaison with parents as a means of updating changing health status

·         Adjusted passing time

 Cerebral Palsy

Example:  The student has serious difficulties with fine and gross motor skills, although cognitive skills are within the average to above average range.  A wheelchair is used for mobility.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the major life activity of walking.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Assistive technology devices

·         Arrange for use of ramps and elevators

·         Allow for extra time between classes

·         Assistance with carrying books, materials, lunch tray, etc.

·         Adapt physical education curriculum

·         Provide for physical therapy as appropriate

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Adapt eating utensils

·         Transportation

·         Initiate a health care plan that also addresses emergency situations

·         Paraprofessional support (e.g. trained in the specific needs of this student – feeding, transporting, etc.)

·         Adapted assignments

·         Educate peers / staff with family permission

·         Ensure accessibility to all programs during the school day as well as extracurricular activities

·         Ensure that bathroom facilities, sinks, water fountains are accessible

·         Adjusted passing time


 Chronic Infectious Diseases (i.e. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS, etc.)

Example:  The student frequently misses school and does not have the strength to attend a full day.  For purposes of this example, the student has a record of a disability which substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Review district policies regarding communicable diseases

·         In-service staff (and students as appropriate) regarding the disease, how it is transmitted, how it is treated (consult appropriate district policies)

·         In-service staff regarding confidentiality issues

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Adjust attendance policies, school day, and / or schedule

·         Provide rest periods

·         Adapt Physical Education curriculum

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Develop health care and emergency plan

·         Train appropriate school staff on medical / emergency protocol

·         Provide 2-way audio / video link between home and classroom via computer

·         Home–bound instruction

·         Adapt assignments and tests

·         Provide an extra set of textbooks for home

·         Provide transportation to and from school

·         Tape books or provide a personal reader

·         Participation in a support group

·         Videotape classroom lessons

·         Promote the most supportive, least restrictive classroom environment.

Cystic Fibrosis

Example:  The student has an extensive medical history, which includes the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.  He has significant difficulty breathing and will be absent often due to respiratory infection.  For purposes of this example, learning and breathing are the major life activities that are substantially impaired.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Health care plan for management of acute and chronic phases

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Adjust attendance policies, school day, and / or schedule

·         Educate peers / staff with family permission

·         Home-bound instruction

·         Adapted assignments / tests

·         Tutoring

·         Support group

·         Adapt Physical Education curriculum

·         Allow for rest periods

·         Transportation

Deaf  / Hearing Impairment

Example:  A student was diagnosed with a substantial hearing impairment at an early age, which resulted in hearing loss and a mild speech impediment.   He compensates through both lip reading and sign language.  Academic abilities test in the average range.  For purposes of this example, hearing is the major life activity that is substantially impaired.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Allow for written directions / instructions in addition to oral presentation

·         Ensure delivery of instruction facing the student to allow lip reading

·         Provide visual information as primary mode of instruction

·         Allow for provision of interpreter services during school day or school events

·         Install acoustical tile, carpeting

·         Seat in a location with minimal background noise

·         Provide paper / pencil / slate / technology to write or draw responses or requests

·         Facilitate acquisition of TDDs and related assistive technology

·         Allow for extra time between classes

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


Example:  A sixth grade student with Type I Diabetes requires numerous accommodations to maintain optimal blood sugar, even though he is quite independent in managing the disease.  For purposes of this example, he is substantially limited in the major life activity of caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Assistance with and privacy for blood glucose monitoring or insulin injections

·         Snacks / meals when and wherever necessary

·         Free access to water and bathroom

·         Full participation in any extra-curricular programs

·         Scheduling physical education around meal times

·         Allowances for increased absences

·         Health care plan for management of condition in the school setting and in emergencies

·         Educate staff to signs / symptoms of insulin reaction / hypoglycemia (e.g. hunger, shakiness, sweatiness, change in face color, disorientation, drowsiness, etc.)

·         Provide assistance to walk to the clinic if the student is feeling poorly

·         Create an emergency signal with office to alert health personnel when they need to come to the child

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Establish routine communication with health professionals, school nurse, and home

·         Store equipment and documentation in a readily accessible location for student, family, and school nurse or health secretary

Emotionally Disturbed

Example:  An emotionally disturbed student may need an adjusted class schedule or assignments due to allow for regular counseling or therapy.  For purposes of this example, the condition substantially limits the individual’s major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Maintain weekly / daily journals for self-recording of behavior

·         Establish home-school communication system

·         Schedule periodic meetings with school, family, and treatment specialists

·         Provide carry-over of treatment plans into school setting

·         Assist with inter-agency referrals

·         Behavior management programs

·         Frequent positive feedback

·         Develop student behavior contracts

·         Develop visual cues and non-verbal signals for feedback

·         Teach specific procedures and behavioral expectations

·         Counseling, social skills instruction

·         Adapt schedule

·         Schedule shorter work / study periods according to attention span capabilities

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Encopresis / Enuresis

Example:  A student urinates or defecates in clothing, not because of physical incontinence but a needed behavior change (e.g. toilet training, bowel / bladder retraining, etc.)  For purposes of this example, the student is substantially limited in the major bodily function of bowel and / or bladder functioning and the major life activity of caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Create a specific plan for instances of soiling, including:  student goes to specific location for clean-up and change of clothing, plan for soiled clothing, parent contact, etc.

·         Maintain clean change of clothing at school in the clinic or alternate location

·         Record events to attempt to determine consistent triggers of behavior

·         Establish home, school, medical personnel communication

·         Support bowel / bladder retraining program that is recommended by physician

·         Schedule time for student to use the restroom


Epilepsy (other seizure disorder)

Example:  The student is on medication for seizure activity, but experiences several petit mal seizures each month.  This condition substantially limits the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Consistent school, home, medical personnel communication

·         Documentation procedure to record and communicate characteristics of each seizure

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Train staff and peers as appropriate

·         Develop health plan and emergency protocol

·         Anticipate process should a seizure occur:  Move seating / clear space during seizure, do not insert objects into student’s mouth during seizure, administer no fluids if student is unconscious, turn unconscious student on side to avoid aspiration, provide rest time, accommodate return to academic demands following seizure, etc.

·         Arrange a buddy system or adult assistance, especially during field trips

·         Alternative recess, adapt physical activities

·         Accommodate for make-up work or class time missed

·         Observe for consistent triggers of seizure activity (e.g. smells, bright light, perfume, hair spray, etc.)

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning


Learning Disabilities (non-specific)

Example:  The student has a learning disability that impacts her ability to read.  She has more difficulty with word decoding and spelling than comprehension.  Completing reading tasks is difficult and slow.  She does not qualify for Special Education services, but there is ample evaluative evidence that she is substantially limited in the major life activity of learning.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide reading materials that cover course context at a lower readability level

·         Extended time on tests

·         Arrange for volunteer readers

·         Provide information regarding accessing books on tape and other materials Allow access to spell checkers and / or word processing

·         Oral directions in addition to written

·         Frequent checks for understanding

·         Visual or non-verbal signals cues to check for understanding

·         Clearly sequenced instruction

·         Visual graphs / charts / organizers / diagrams to support instruction

·         Provision of computer access

·         Tests read aloud to student

·         Computer access

·         Direct instruction of time-management / organizational skills

·         Direct instruction of coping skills / strategies

·         Support in helping student recognize areas of strength and how to capitalize on them

·         Support in use of strategies to assist memory and problem-solving

·         Multi-sensory instructional methods / differentiated instruction specific to this student

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Orthopedically Impaired

Example:  The student has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair.  For purposes of this example, the student is substantially limited in the major life activity of walking.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Develop a health care and emergency plan

·         Adaptive physical education program

·         Physical therapy at school

·         Provide extra between class periods

·         Supply a set of textbooks for home

·         Provide a copy of class notes from peer

·         Plan for and practice emergency exits from school building

·         Ensure accessibility of facilities / pathways / programs / school events

·         Assistance carrying materials, lunch trays, etc.

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Special Health Care Needs

Example:  The student has a special health care problem that requires clean intermittent catheterization twice each day during the school day.  For purposes of this example this condition substantially limiting in the major life activity of caring for oneself.

·         Provide trained personnel to perform special medical procedures.  Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Provide student with private location and time to perform procedures if independent

·         Involve school nurse, family, school staff, and medical personnel in regular communication

·         Preferential seating

·         Adapt recess, physical education, transportation

·         Develop health care and emergency plans

·         Adapt attendance policy

·         Adapt homework / instruction for class time missed for medical reasons

·         Homebound instruction

Tourette’s Syndrome

Example:  The student exhibits tics and some inappropriate gestures and sounds.  For purposes of this example, the condition is substantially limiting in the major life activities of learning and caring for oneself.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Provide student with a means of catching up on missed assignments

·         Pair with a peer for studying

·         Educate staff / peers about associated outbursts, tics, gestures with family permission

·         Arrange for frequent home / school /medical personnel communication

·         Train for proper dispensing, monitoring, and distribution of medications, monitor for side effects

·         Implement a behavior management program if indicated

·         Use visual or non-verbal signals to cue student about behaviors (positive and negative)

·         Provide supervision for transition activities, during agitated periods

·         Provide alternative / larger work-space area or appropriate space for the child

·         Direct instruction of compensatory strategies

·         Adapt assignments if indicated

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Traumatic Brain Injury

Example:  The student sustained a brain injury in an automobile accident.  Many academic and motor skills have been seriously affected by the injury.  The student does not qualify for Special Education services.  The condition is substantially limiting to the major life activities of learning and performing manual tasks.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Adjusted school day

·         Adjust assignments and homework

·         Provided tutoring

·         Furnish memory / organizational aids

·         Provide alternative testing

·         Arrange an emergency plan / health protocol

·         Monitor for seizure activity

·         In-service staff and peers with student / parent permission

·         Monitor for fatigue / mental exhaustion

·         Provide frequent breaks during periods of intense concentration

·         Provide strategies and assistance with organizing / sequencing tasks

·         Provide post-secondary or vocational transition planning

Visual Impairment

Example:  A student has a progressive medical disorder, which results in increasing loss of visual acuity.  He now requires both enhanced lighting and enlarged print materials in order to read.  For purposes of this example, the condition is substantially limiting in the major life activity of seeing.

Possible accommodations and services:

·         Preferential seating

·         Adaptations to physical environment (e.g. consistent room arrangement, removal of obstacles, etc.)

·         Copies of text / reading materials for adaptation (e.g. enlarged type, etc.)

·         Modified writing tools (e.g. dark felt tip pens, dark lined writing paper, desktop slantboard, etc.)

·         Slate and stylus

·         Braille accommodations (e.g. Perkins Brailler, textbooks, materials, tests, in Braille, etc.)

·         Raised lines on writing paper

·         Low vision devices including magnifiers, monocular glass, closed-circuit TV

·         Books on tape

·         Oral, instead of written tests

·         Tactile maps

·         Computer with enlarged print screen / adaptations

·         Speech synthesize for input and output

·         Screen reading device

·         Optical Character Recognition System Scanner

Adapted from: **www.advancingmilestones.com

** Puget Sound, ESD, Office of Special Services, November, 2002

Tourette’s Syndrome at school



Does the presence of tics or Tourette’s Syndrome impact educational functioning? All available research and clinical experience suggest that it does, but the assessment of its impact has been somewhat muddied by the presence of comorbid conditions.

Pappert, Goetz, et al. (2003) found that 52% of children seen in their clinic experienced social or educational dysfunction. Of these, 39% required special education placement, 10% had been retained at least 1 year in school, and 29% experienced disciplinary problems. Their findings are consistent with other published reports from tertiary clinics, but it is their follow-up data on these children as adults that is of special interest and concern here. Whereas half the sample experienced significant social and education dysfunction as children, (only) 32% of the same sample experienced social or education dysfunction as adults. On a positive note, all of the sample participants had completed high school and at least two years of college (adult sampling was conducted while the individuals were in their 20’s). The investigators found that 71% of the adults were currently employed or pursuing their education. Of the adults who had social or educational dysfunction as children, 50% had social or education dysfunction as adults, and 13% of children who had not experienced education or social dysfunction went on to develop social or education dysfunction. Out of their sample of 31, then, while the majority were doing well and were well-integrated in their communities, over one quarter of the adults were disabled with problems that included alcohol abuse, unemployment or criminal activity. That these measures did not correlate with tic severity measures but did correlate with early childhood dysfunction suggests that early and effective interventions for comorbid conditions (perhaps even more so than for tics) may impact on the prevention of dysfunction in adulthood.

When reading reports on the educational impact of TS, be careful to consider whether the sample consists of youth with TS-only or TS+. If your child only has tics without any other comorbid symptoms or conditions, they may do quite well in a regular classroom as long as appropriate accommodations are made for interference they may experience from their tics. Also consider whether your child suffers from fine motor control impairment or impaired visual-motor integration, as those two functions have a significant impact on academic functioning. The school’s occupational therapist and psychologist can screen for impairment in those domains.




Tics and Tourette’s Syndrome: Overview

Fact Sheet

Tourette Syndrome: A Guide for Parents

Tourette Syndrome: A Guide for Parents- NASP

School Psychologists’ Knowledge of Tourette Syndrome Characteristics and Awareness of Appropriate Interventions

A Workbook for Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Writing a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan for a Student with Tourette Syndrome

Educating Children With TOURETTE SYNDROME:

Some Tips for High School Students


Tic Sensitivity and Awareness Exercise

Famous People with Tourette’s Syndrome or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Tourette’s Syndrome Plus the Associated Disorders


PowerPoint- tourette

Spanish Resources-

Consejos para manejar los tic en el aula (pdf)
Translation of material written by Leslie E. Packer, PhD

Educar a compañeros de niños y jovenes con Sindrome de Tourette (pdf)
Translation of material written by Leslie E. Packer, PhD

Consejos para integrar a alumnos con Trastorno Obsesivo Compulsivo (pdf)
Translation of material written by Leslie E. Packer, PhD

I Have Tourette’s but Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me- Lesson Plan


Books for Educators:


Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
42-40 Bell Blvd., Suite 205
Bayside, NY 11361–2861
Telephone: (718) 224-2999
Fax: (718) 279-9596
Web: http://tsa-usa.org

Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada
5945 Airport Rd – Suite #195
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L4V 1R9
Telephone: 1-800-361-3120 or (905) 673-2255
Fax: (905) 673-2638 or 1 (800) 387-0120
Web: www.tourette.ca


Anxiety and kids

Great New York Times Article: Anxiety In-Depth Report

Stress Reduction Activities: Stress Reduction Activities

How Parents Can Help Their Children: Article

Evidence-based Classroom Strategies for Reducing Anxiety in Primary Aged Children with High-functioning Autism

Secondary Students

Transition to Middle School: Article

Anxiety: Teen Workbook

Your Adolescent – Anxiety and Avoidant Disorders

Anxiety: Newsletter

Dads are Important

Recently, I worked with a father who was reluctant to take part in his child’s life after being incarcerated. He felt a lot of shame over not being there for his son and didn’t know if he could get passed his feelings of guilt and reestablish ties. Long story short he moved through his feelings of guilt and started with weekend visits and things are going great. So, we looked into it being a Dad together and I have to say it was a fun and empowering activity here is what we found.


The Importance of Fathers (According to Science)

The Important Role of Dad

The Science of Dad: Engaged Fathers Help Kids Flourish


Parent-Child Reunification After Alienation Strategies to Reunite Alienated Parents and Their Children

Why Dads Matter : A third of American children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.

Book: Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked

Parents should take stock in media consumption

Given that we grew up with a low tech experience we need to on purpose seek out information as Parents to equip ourselves to address the issues that come with Social Media.

We do not want our kids to de-evolve with communication and social skills we have to put time a side with our families to help ground kids with the limits and boundaries that support positive communication and relationships.

A How-To Guide for Monitoring Social Media & Smartphones

Teens, Technology and Romantic Relationships From flirting to breaking up, social media and mobile phones are woven into teens’ romantic lives

Teens, Technology and Friendships Video games, social media and mobile phones play an integral role in how teens meet and interact with friends

A Leader’s Guide to Words Wound

Anne Fernald suggests talking to your infants increases intelligence

I know that this seems like a no brainer, but I cannot stress that if you have access to a parent of a young child it is important to convey that talking and interacting with their child as much as possible is crucial for their development. Despite all the pressures and stresses that we endure to make ends meet financially. We should be reminded that cultivating shared time and activity with our children can help fuel our energies and be renewed to take on the difficult tasks that face us daily.

Anne Fernald is an American psychologist, the Josephine Knotts Knowles Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University,[1] and has been described as “the leading researcher in infant-directed speech”.[2]

Fernald specializes in children’s language development, investigating the development of speed and efficiency in children’s early comprehension in relation to their emerging lexical and grammatical competence. Recently, she has also begun to study language development in bilingual Spanish-English speaking children and children who are learning Spanish in addition to English. Her research has shown that infants prefer baby talk to adult speech and that it plays an important role in their language development,[3]and that baby talk has universal features that span multiple cultures and languages.[4][5] She has also studied the effects of television on infants, showing that young TV viewers echo the emotional responses of the actors they see.[6][7]

Fernald received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oregon in 1982,[8] where she studied under the mentorship of Patricia K. Kuhl. As well as her position as a psychology professor, Fernald has taken an administrative role at Stanford as Vice Provost for Faculty Development.[9] Her husband, Russell Fernald, is the Benjamin Scott Crocker Professor in Human Biology at Stanford. Source

Stanford psychologist shows why talking to kids really matters

SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months

Speech and Language Developmental Milestones

How to work towards change according to Tandem™ who promotes early literacy and family engagement programming in the Bay Area.

Kids that are exposed to domestic violence

Domestic Violence and Children – Fact Sheet

Behind Closed Doors The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence- Academic Research and Resource Guide

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic


Mommy’s Black Eye: Children Dealing With Domestic Violence

Ibby’s Feelings

Migrant Community- fact sheet

Ways to help

Early intervention is one of the best ways to counteract the effects of witnessing abuse. Ways to help children who have witnessed domestic abuse include:

  • Arrange school age children to receive counseling from professionals at their school, often school counselors.
  • Experiment with various types of counseling: play therapy, peer support groups, anger management classes and safety programs to teach kids how to extract themselves from dangerous situations.
  • Help children find a loving and supportive adult to introduce to the child and encourage the child to spend as much time regularly with the adult. This may include a trusted family member or community advocate. Family Violence Defense Fund reports that the single most important ingredient to help children heal and develop resiliency is the presence of a loving adult.
  • Provide a safe environment that does not include violence in any form after a child has witnessed domestic violence.
  • Find ways to discipline that do not involve hitting, name-calling, yelling, or any form of verbally aggressive behavior.
  • Help children create a sense of safety by having scheduled routines, such as regular meals and homework times.