Generally, my previous blogs have mainly focused on teaching strategies and accommodations that could be applied to benefit all students with special needs. But in my last few posts I will focus on identifying strategies for accommodating specific disabilities in the science classroom. The SESD (Science Education for Students with Disabilities) website is a great reference tool for teachers. This website contains a resource tab outlining specific resources and strategies to help students with disabilities such as Attention Deficit disorder, Behavioral disorders, Communication disorders, Hearing impairments, Intellectual disorders, Learning disabilities, Motor/Orthopedic disabilities, and Visual impairments.
Some examples of strategies to assist students with ADHD include:
• Provide a visual model and verbal description of directions and be consistent with instructions of daily procedures.
• Make directions clear and concise (simplify complex instructions).
• Assign one task at a time and avoid using multiple commands.
• Check for understanding of instructions before directing the student to begin a task (provide extra assistance as needed, repeating instructions in a calm and positive manner).
• Use cues to alert students with AD/HD of transitions stages a few minutes before changing activities. This helps students prepare to refocus their attention when transitioning from one subject/activity to the next.
• Modify assignments as needed. Allow the AD/HD student to participate in alternative activities or exercises that require less complexity and have the same or similar learning objectives.
• Construct assessments that test knowledge and not attention span. Students with AD/HD are easily frustrated. Tests should be used to measure a students understanding of content, and thus teachers should adapt the tests to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge. Break the test into short segments for the AD/HD student to complete over a span a time, allowing them to take breaks to re-group attention in between completing the parts of the exam.
• Students with AD/HD may work slowly, and should be given extra time to complete certain examination tasks, especially those that involve performing math related operations.
Facilitation of support strategies such as these helps reduce the limited attention barriers of AD/HD, encouraging meaningful engagement of students with this disability in learning science concepts.
Science Education for Students with Disabilities. A.D.D. Strategies. Retrieved from: http://www.sesd.info/addstrategies.htm