California Educator

May / June 2016

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I N M Y M O R E than 30 years as a public school teacher, I always valued partnerships with special education teach- ers. I felt that welcoming students with special needs was important for all my students in understanding difference and diversity. Working with special ed professionals made me a better teacher for all my students. How to recognize a student who may need special edu- cation services is a question every teacher will face. en comes a greater challenge: How to pursue testing to see if the child qualifies for special services. Sometimes administrators discourage referrals for testing. ey may be concerned about the expense of funding special ed, or wary of lazy referrals. But no administrator can tell you not to refer — that's a violation of state and federal law. at said, teachers need to be smart when making refer- rals. Here are some tips. I N D I C AT I O N S & I N T E RV E N T I O N S ings to look for : e student tries but does not succeed. is is the big one. Other indications include repeated low grades, significant behavioral distractions, and significant deficits in reading, writing and comprehension. Interventions must be tried before referring, such as prefer- ential seating, after-school help, peer tutoring, opportunities to redo or rewrite. ere should be a Response to Interven- tion discussion where all teachers compare observations and assessments, and share samples of the student's work. Be sure to look at the cumulative folder for referrals, suspensions, pre- vious testing or recommendations for testing. (Often testing can only be done within a certain number of years.) Be sure to have a parent conference to explore such ques- tions as how much time is spent on homework, whether the child experiences frustration with grade-level work, and whether the child expresses dislike or fear of school. Sit down one-on-one with the student. Listen to them read grade-level text; assess comprehension. Ask questions based on material you think they should know. Have a con- versation. Students are often good at hiding deficits. is is a win-win: You get info; they get quality time with the teacher. M A K E T H E R E F E R R A L Realistically, paperwork must be submitted before the end of the school year; aim for January. (School psychologists get busy at the end of the year.) You should have enough doc- umentation by then. Inform parents they can also request Identifying Students With Special Needs By STEVE CARSON 42 Azusa Pacific's School of Education stands as a trusted leader in the field, known for producing many of Southern California's finest teachers, school counselors and psychologists, and administrators. In answer to the state's growing shortage of qualified educators, APU equips graduates to make a lasting difference as creative, collaborative professionals and dedicated advocates for the students they serve. Choose from 30 ways to earn your degree and credential at APU, and join a mentoring community of educators who will help you make an even greater impact. Programs start throughout the year. Apply today! Earn Your Degree from a University Known for Excellence in Education Azusa Pacific University Graduate Programs School of Education (626) 815-4570 AZUSA HIGH DESERT INLAND EMPIRE MURRIETA ORANGE COUNTY SAN D IEGO ONLINE Locations offered: Karina Quezada '08, M.A.Ed. '09 and '11 School Psychologist Victor Elementary School District 17874

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