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Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Savvy "Parent" Websites Paint Pictures of Disability Supports, Solutions That Educators Can Love!

December 15, 2014

Two "Don't Miss" websites that target parents of students with disabilities, do double duty and serve information needs for teachers, administrators, and related services personnel, too.

Both of the resources that follow are brimming with news, essential information, and hand-picked experts. Thankfully, they take on —rather than leave to someone else — the most serious concerns about improving the learning and social lives of student with disabilities.

Use Common Sense

Common Sense Media just added a "Parent Concern" area on its website. This highly regarded website has long been known as a reliable source for finding ratings, education supports, and advocacy for "kids, families, and schools." Check out:

Also see Common Sense Media's other parent areas exploring Screen Time, Cyberbullying, Privacy and Internet Safety, Facebook, Instagram, Social Media.

Explore With Understood.org

Some 15 nonprofit organizations decided a few months ago to pool information in order to bring focus to the specific needs of children and youth with learning and attention issues. They created a go-to site unlike others before it. Staff members are continually adding information to the site that keeps it atop of the special needs information chain.

Lead by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, this site is emerging as a best-in-class free Web resource in English and Spanish. It helps all who are interested in navigating hard questions and finding answers to the challenges of raising and educating children who learn differently.

Understood.org's purpose is to be sure that parents make certain that students with disabilities not only learn ways to cope with their differences, but that they develop self-advocacy skills and strategies that help them thrive.

"Our goal is to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues," the site explains. "We want to empower them to understand their children’s issues and relate to their experiences."

Information there hones in on the academic, social, and emotional needs that arise when school becomes challenging due to reading, writing, spelling, and math difficulties. And the site also addresses difficulties arising from inattention, lack of organization, or friendship problems that create gaps in achievement and overall adjustment and social concerns.

Check out Understood.org's:

Notice: prompts urging readers to fill out the parent profile. Providing information helps to tailor experiences on the site and streamline suggestions.

Simulations

Firsthand learning via simluations, called Through Your Child's Eyes, is a feature that everyone should experience. Select from reading, writing, math, attention, or organization topics. Check out videos in that location where children talk about how it feels to have learning and attention difficulties.

PEATC

Parents, teachers, administrators, related services personnel and other school staff in Virginia will want to log on and connect with PEATC, the Commonwealth's parent education and advocacy training center. Staff there work collaboratively with families, schools, and communities to achieve excellence in education, success in school and participation in community life for children with disabilities. PEATC's website offers research-based information and partnership opportunities. If you live elsewhere, log on to find your state contact at the Center for Parent Information and Resources website.

AIM-VA

Students with print disabilities often need alternatives to textbooks and trade books in print in order to access the curriculum. The state provides free educational materials to eligible learners when they need audiobooks, braille, large print, and other formats to keep pace and stay on grade level with other students. These materials are expensive for schools to purchase on their own.

The "alternatives to print" collection of resources at AIM-VA far outpaces the materials at any given school or local education agency. Find out how to bring these needed and cost-saving resources to your students. Log on to the AIM-VA homepage. If you live in another state, there is a counterpart. Ask a special education teacher or school administrator to direct you there or to help you determine if your student or child is eligible under your state's guidelines.

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Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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