A support network is crucial for the parents of a special needs child. In coming to a parent workshop, parents will not only learn how to better advocate for his/her child but also build connections within the special needs community.
Workshop topics include:
1) Choosing the Right Educational Setting
When the school fit is not right for your child, your child does not only suffer academically but also emotionally. This workshop discusses the different educational settings and schools available to special needs students. Parents will learn how to assess the best school for their child.
2) Educational Strategies in the Home
Often teachers suggest strategies to be used in the home during parent teacher interviews. They talk about using the agenda, visual schedules, behaviour plans and other homework strategies. Yet despite best efforts these strategies are often placed to the side. Parents will be taught how to effectively transfer these educational strategies and thereby improve school success for their special needs child.
3) The Individual Education Plan
The Individual Education Plan (I.E.P) is written for all special needs students. It is the official legal document to ensure the modifications and adaptations needed for a student with special needs. Too often parents sign off on the I.E.P. without thought or are even unaware such a document exists. The workshop educates parents on the rights and responsibilities available to them through this document.
4) Meet Your Educational Team
There are so many people involved in the education of your child with special needs. It is difficult to understand the work of pyschoeducators, social workers, physiotherapists, teachers, psychologists, integration aides, speech language pathologists and many more. Sometimes it becomes difficult to understand the different perspectives each come to the table with. In this workshop, the different members of your educational team will present what they are looking for when they meet your special needs child and what their focus is. You will come to understand how it is a team effort to help your child reach his/her full educational potential.
For the educational team...
Many of our teacher education programs provide only one or two classes addressing the needs our special needs students and the inclusive classroom. These workshops are offered to help the educational team (administrators, teachers, daycare educators and therapists) work out the theoretical framework within the realities of our classroom.
Workshop topics include:
1) Rethinking Disability
It is said teachers often teach the way they were taught. Our teacher education programs aim to challenge and refine our definitions of teaching while preparing us with a multitude of varying teaching strategies. Yet we know that "educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all" (Aristotle). The goal of this workshop is to educate the heart regarding disability issues. We will look at the differing views of disability and ways special education students have been schooled. We will show how each point of view exhibits itself in the classroom. Participants will be asked to consider their own teaching in light of what they have learned and be challenged with actions steps to take when they return to the classroom.
2) The Realities of Inclusion
Inclusion. The word is said and each teacher immediately has a strong reaction. Regardless of whether we are for or against inclusion, inclusion is the reality of our classrooms and all teachers can cite the difficulties that come with an inclusive classroom. How can we, as teachers, make the inclusive classroom work for us despite the challenges? This workshop suggests the key to the inclusive classroom is not differentiation, scaffolding or any other teaching strategy. Instead, the key to the inclusive classroom is rooted in relationships and building common goals for our students. The workshop will use personal teaching experiences to exemplify this.
3) The Teacher and the Integration Aide
Our classrooms no longer just include the teacher and his/her students. More often than not, integration aides are present to assist with our special needs students. This workshop aims to provide resources and strategies to work effectively with our integration aides for the maximum benefit of the special needs student and our classroom as a whole.
3) Setting up the Inclusive Classroom
The inclusive classroom is created by not only teaching strategies but by the set-up of the classroom. Too often classrooms have too much sensory stimulation and phsyical space is not well definied. This workshop aims to show teachers how even the set-up of the classroom can help increase the learning of the special needs student.
Workshops for parents and the educational team can also be personalized to your specific needs.