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Website Portfolio. Andrea Thomas SPED 4332.01 Final Project. My Overall Rationale. “Every experience in a child’s early life has an impact on his/her development now and in the future. Parents and families are the first and most powerful influence on children’s early learning and

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website portfolio

Website Portfolio

Andrea Thomas

SPED 4332.01

Final Project

my overall rationale
My Overall Rationale

“Every experience in a child’s early life has an impact on his/her

development now and in the future. Parents and families are the

first and most powerful influence on children’s early learning and

development. Young children and their families live in communities

that shape early experiences. “—publication on

I believe that early childhood special education is the beginning of teaching young children appropriate lessons to help ensure success in school and in life. Early childhood special educators provide effective tools for children and their families that will help students achieve academic, personal, and professional success. It is important to know the ages and stages in which a child typically develops. If a child in not meeting those standards within the domains of development, then intervention should be taken. These teachers must focus on strengths and be attentive to the needs of students (social, personal, and environmental) in order to teach them values and to have high expectations.

Teachers of young students with disabilities should teach with the understanding that all children can learn and they must develop and mature beyond cognitive growth. There are also social, communicative, physical, and adaptive developments to consider. Students will gain skills when they learn from their experiences and their environment. Students should begin to learn their own social and personal needs so they will be able to convey them to others. Using assistive technology when necessary will help students’ abilities, needs, and desires shine through. By applying effective, research-based teaching methods with embedded instruction will create an environment that is conducive to learning.

Teachers should motivate students to reach beyond goals. Motivation, according to Reiser and Dempsey (2002), refers to a person’s desire to pursue a goal or perform a task, which is manifested by choice of goals and effort.” They believed that , ultimately, “students do have control over their motivation and that instruction should peak students’ curiosity. The subject matter must be relevant and related to the students' needs, concerns and experiences. The [ultimate] goal is to have learners engaged in learning or work activities, not just entertain them” (Reiser & Dempsey, 2002). Students should make a conscientious effort and teachers have to help students get there. Students will feel confident in their abilities when scaffolding and modeling techniques are applied. This is important when understanding that children have different learning abilities, styles, and challenges. By employing different techniques, students will have a rewarding sense of achievement. Play-based learning with embedded instruction allows young children to reach goals with more motivation. Group activities allows students the opportunities to gain social skills needed in school and in their communities. This encourages learning and gives them a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.

Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what

amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with

accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.—Plato

Reiser, R. A., & Dempsey, J. V. (2002). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

my overall rationale1
My Overall Rationale

I would prefer using the [social] constructivist theory of learning when teaching .This approach fits best with my belief that students gain knowledge from the world around them while teachers best serve as facilitators. Children are able to gain their own understanding while the educator is there to lead them on the right path. “Constructivism provides us with insights concerning how children learn and guides us to use instructional strategies that begin with children rather with ourselves” (Van De Walle, 2004).

Although learning involves several factors including types of learning (different theories of acquiring knowledge), tools used in learning, etc., I believe the most important factor is intrinsic motivation: the drive and effort that comes from within to willingly learn something new. Intrinsic motivation is an important factor in gaining knowledge. Generally, a person has to want to learn and it is the teacher’s responsibility in the classroom to provide an environment that will engage students enough that they will want to achieve goals and become more informed. A constructivist approach can be applied in an early special education classroom to help build students’ knowledge of the world around them. Teachers can present challenges in order to help the students use what they have learned to solve problems. Using previous experiences and interactions with other children and adults, students can obtain new knowledge and skills, formulate new ideas, and solve problems in different ways. It will help students feel that they are confident to make choices in order to take on challenges themselves. Students will learn to be builders of their own knowledge and want to learn more. They will also be more likely to remember topics that they take pleasure in which can be used to help them solve problems in the future in real world situations.

Van de Walle, J. A. (2004). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

website 1 parent to parent
Website #1Parent-to-Parent

  • The first formally organized Parent to Parent program, the Pilot Parents Program, was started in Omaha, NE by Fran Porter, a young mother of a child with Down syndrome in 1971 as support for parents who had children with disabilities. The website was designed in 2003.
  • This website is for parents seeking information, resources, and support. Parents are linked with other parents who serve as the support professionals. Each person who joins the organization is specifically matched one-on-one with someone who can help; a trained volunteer. Parent-to-Parent has statewide, regional and local community-based programs.
  • This site can be used by parents or family members who may need information about programs for them or their children. The programs may deal with health issues. The matches are made based on information given by the parent who is seeking help; diagnosis of the child; reasons for seeking support; and any unique preferences or issues related to the match.
  • The purpose of this site is that parents who need answers will have a site to go to that will give their questions personal attention. There are many websites on the web but how many will give a parents who are concerned about the well being of their children personal attention?
  • This site is best for those who are looking for more than general information.
website 2 national information center for children and youth with disabilities nichcy
Website #2National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)

  • This site offers information concerning infant, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The site provides laws that cover education and disabilities as well as information on early intervention. There are newsletters, publications and articles for people seeking information on a number of topics. The site offers information about developmental milestones and links to within the site. IFSP, parent participation, transitioning to pre-K. laws, IEP information, placement, videos, lists of state and national organizations, and a list of early education providers. Age ranges are divided up birth-toddlers and then years- 22 years old.
  • This sit is geared for anyone who is seeking information about children with disabilities.
  • This site is a one-stop place to find almost any and everything you need to know about children with disabilities.
  • I can refer a member of the child’s family for general and specific information . There are easy tags to search for specific topics faster.
website 3 the national early childhood technical assistance nectac
Website #3The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance (NECTAC )

  • This website is for everyone.
  • NECTACserves Part C-Infant and Toddlers with Disabilities Programs and Part B-Section 619 Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities in all 50 states.
  • The purpose of this site is to provide support to stakeholders for current information, support programs, organizations, all concerning children with disabilities.
  • I can use this site to keep current on information in my field. I can also find information that may be useful to parents who have questions about programs, services, and laws. IDEA, IFSP, autism, brain development, diversity, inclusion, paraprofessionals; many subjects on many topics can be found on this site. It also offers webinars on several different topics.
  • This website would be best to find information on anything concerning children with disabilities. If the website does not have a page or an article on the subject, it provides links on where the information can be found.
lessons learned sped 4332 reflection
Lessons Learned: SPED 4332 Reflection

This Early Childhood Special Education course has taught me the importance of identifying infants and preschoolers who have delays in development and the aspect of inclusion. I understand that it is important that a pre-school’s instructional program and educators be highly-qualified. Both must employ best practices, adhering to laws, policies, rules, and regulations asserted by the federal government, state government, school districts, as well as the school itself. Instruction must be in the best interest of the students.

My course work and field experience has given me an opportunity to better understand the needs of infants and preschoolers with disabilities and the professionals that assist them and their families. I have a better understanding of the many components associated with being a special educator of pre-schoolers. Instruction and interventions should be planned with the knowledge that lessons have to be research-based as well as engaging to students, Students should be encouraged to communicate and make choices. My classroom environment should be one that encourages physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development skills with an understanding, also, that the developmental domains interwoven and all must be addressed when teaching lessons. My teaching style will be one that focuses on strengths, creativity, and preparing students to be able to make transitions. The practice of incorporating a system of universal design within the students’ natural environments and the use of embedded instruction and authentic assessments that center on students’ ranges of ability will help create a sense of equality and achievement within the students. I understand that children do not develop at the same rate and have a wide range of abilities but every students can achieve goals. Children at this age explore, learn, and develop through play and interactions with other children and adults, optimizing their learning experiences and developmental skills. My classroom arrangement will be one that allows children the freedom to be mobile. Modifications, and adaptations to furniture, materials, and lessons will create an environment that is more conducive to learning and exploring. Applying a variety of tools, assessments, materials, and techniques will give every student an opportunity to learn.,

Collaborations and coordination are extremely important. The educators, families, and services workers all have responsibilities in educating young children with disabilities and should have mutual respect for the others’ roles. These relationships will help assure that children will meet goals and objectives. Family involvement and support is crucial when determining the needs of the students. An educator needs to offer support to the families as well. A teacher could be the key to a family having access to needed information, programs, services, and/or technologies.

other resources teaching strategies lesson plans and articles
Other resources: Teaching strategies, lesson plans, and articles

What are some teaching strategies that can be used when working with children with disabilities in early childhood settings?


Early Childhood Instruction in the Natural Environment


Adapting the Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners


This site offers fun tools, lessons, and strategies for teachers of children with disabilities


PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges