WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS - by Barbara Laird
MY INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM : Strategies for WORKING IN AN INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM OR SUPPORTING AND TEACHING TO THE DIVERSITY IN A CLASSROOM
Classrooms today are so diverse. There is no "typical or normal" student." The students you work with may have many different kinds of labels or developmental designations, both visible and invisible. There are basic strategies, tools, and information that can help ensure that all students can be involved, participating, valued, and experience success in learning and in social relationships. In this workshop we will consider factors that impact upon a student's success, such as medical and genetic factors, and the challenges they may face intellectually and physically. We will talk about communication and possible lack of skills they may have. We will discuss about how all these factors may impact upon their behaviour. We will explore the importance of inclusion and relationships. We will also talk about how to make changes to the curriculum, so that all studem ts can feel included and be learning along side their peers. And we will talk about some of the challenges that all of us face in trying to support and teach students with such a multitude of different learning needs and outcomes. The workshop includes practical handouts and a resource list that is useful in supporting students with exceptional and diverse learning needs.
SENSORY PROCESSING AND ANXIETY.......HOW DO THEY AFFECT YOUR BEHAVIOUR AND THE BEHAVIOUR OF YOUR STUDENTS.
Everyone has sensory processing challenges and everyone has anxiety. They are intertwined and the resulting behaviours are usually misunderstood. The individual is seen as the problem, rather than these medical issues. Let's explore your sensory challenges, your anxiety and then look at how these two medical /neurological issues may affect the students you work with and lead to their challenging behaviours.
THE CHALLENGES OF SUPPORT STAFF
Most support staff share universal challenges in supporting and teaching students both inside and out of the classroom. There is no time, resources are limited and often concerns around behaviour and expectations interfere so much, that they become the focus of all your energy and activity. And then, for a student, learning, participation and involvement with their peers becomes minimal. This will be an interactive session. Come prepared to share your challenges and successes. I will share some of the "best practices" and solutions that I have learned, used, shared and advocated for with professionals and families. Together we will learn from each other and be rejuvenated with ideas that we can take back and begin to incorporate with the students we work with. A handout will include some of the ideas and resources that I have found most useful.
There is a general panic when our children with developmental disabilities begin puberty or when we as parents realize it's going to happen, whether we want it to or not. But the preparedness for puberty and for life as a sexual adult begins at birth, with the family and the relationships, the touch, the love and modelling that happens automatically within the family. Puberty is only one facet of sexuality. Sexuality involves our beliefs about being male or female, about understanding who we are and what is expected from us. It also involves our behaviours, our interactions and relationships with others, understanding boundaries,relationships, body awareness and the concepts of public and private. For persons with developmental disabilities much of the information needs to be taught over longer time periods and through more directed and modified teaching and materials. We will talk about educational strategies that work well with this population and strategies and behaviours that will help keep our children safe.
DON'T TEACH ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO UNTEACH ........... LATER!
Individuals with Developmental Disabilities are so smart, love repetition and once they have mastered a skill, routine, behaviour etc. remember and learn it "forever." Then trying to get them to change that pattern or routine is often very difficult, as they then lose the control and independence they have gained. We ,the adults need to think carefully about what we are teaching and whether it will be appropriate in the future. We want to begin thinking about the skills that they will require that shouldn't be left until they become a "necessity." And then we also need to consider which skills we should teach that will enable them to become independent in all areas of their lives. Many of these skills revolve around boundaries, relationships, sexuality, hygiene and health Much of the teaching should even begin in the early years. Discussion will also include the use of visual supports and other educational strategies that help with teaching, understanding and remembering. As parents and professionals if we can begin to think about what we are teaching and the possible ramifications, we will begin to teach more proactively so that individuals can be safe and independent in the future.
VISUAL STRATEGIES 101 : THE KEY TO SUCCESS AT SCHOOL, HOME AND IN THE COMMUNITY.
Most people are visual learners and benefit from using such tools as day planners, calendars and shopping lists. In this workshop we will talk about the effectiveness of using visual supports to promote successful inclusion, independence, comprehension and participation for all students. We will look at real-life examples of many different kinds of visual tools. Examples will be included in the handout package to help get you started on creating your own visual strategy toolbox. You will be amazed by the difference effective visual strategies can make in an individual's life.
TEACHING AND SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME : THE TOP TEN THINGS TO KNOW
Individuals with Down Syndrome can face so many challenges, because of their myriad of health, genetic and the environmental issues around them. If we can understand these issues, understand what is important to teach them and how, then they can experience great success in learning, in participation and in involvement in all activities with their peers.
UNDERSTANDING, TEACHING AND SUPPORTING CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME..... AND OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS
This workshop begins with information on the medical and genetic factors that impact upon the learning of a child with Down Syndrome. The workshop identifies the child’s strengths and discusses “best practice,” while at the same time increasing your understanding of the challenges these children face cognitively and physically. We will discuss how communication impacts on a child’s behaviour, and their social and friendship skills and discuss some effective strategies for these areas. Strategies for inclusion and how to make changes to the curriculum so children with Down Syndrome reach their full potential will be shared. The workshop includes practical handouts and a resource list that is also useful in supporting a variety of children with exceptional and diverse learning needs.
UNDERSTANDING DOWN SYNDROME -PRESENTATIONS FOR STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS
Understanding the language of a disability enables all the parties involved to let go of their fears and to embrace a person with new understanding, acceptance and support.
Once students are given the language of a disability, understand the uniqueness and capabilities of their classmate, they can be enlisted to help support that student within the classroom, on the playground and in the community.
TEACHING AND SUPPORTING INDIVIDUALS WITH DOWN SYNDROME..... AND OTHER DIVERSE LEARNERS
Learn strategies for inclusion, participation and involvement and how to make changes so individuals with Down Syndrome and other disabilities can reach their full potential throughout their life. This workshop identifies an individuals' strengths and discusses “best practice,” while at the same time increasing your understanding of the challenges they face cognitively and physically. We will discuss how communication impacts on an their behaviour, social skills, friendship and sexuality and provide you with effective strategies in this area. This workshop also includes information on the medical and genetic factors that impact upon the learning and participation of a person with Down Syndrome. The workshop includes practical handouts and an extensive resource list that is also useful in supporting a variety of individuals with exceptional needs.
SEXUALITY, HEALTH and HYGIENE
This workshop will address an area we often neglect, ignore, are fearful of or delay until there is an urgent necessity.
The session will focus on sexuality, puberty, boundaries, relationships, hygiene and health. The strategies and information is relevant for all age levels and will enable parents and professionals to be proactive with the goal of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities to learn the skills to be independent, appropriate and safe.
REFLECTIONS ON DOWN SYNDROME AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Persons with Down Syndrome can have a myriad of possible health and communication issues that can impact profoundly upon their quality of life, participation, and behaviour. This workshop will give staff information that will help them in recognizing and understanding the signs, thus contributing to appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment strategies. The need for time, ( 45 seconds and 3 visual cues) ,the effective use of visual communication systems, why choice is so important ,helping improve speech for greater understanding, are some of the practical strategies
for dealing with some of the issues that will also be discussed. Much of the information will also be relevant in understanding and supporting a variety of persons with exceptional needs.
BEHAVIOUR IS COMMUNICATION
Three little words, as important to believe as "I love you." In this workshop we will explore the theme that “no one is bad” and that all behaviours are a person's way of communicating with us. Every person is affected by a myriad of genetic, environmental and “people” factors and experiences that need to be understood in order to figure out why they engage in certain behaviours. Once the reasons for the behaviour are identified, understood and often predicted, then we, the adults can work towards helping a person communicate in ways that are successful.
BEFORE BEHAVIOUR BEGINS
In this workshop we will explore the theme that “no student is bad” and that behaviours are a student’s way of communicating with us. Every student is affected by a myriad of genetic, environmental and “people” factors and experiences that need to be understood in order to figure out why they engage in certain behaviours. Once the reasons for the behaviour are identified, understood and predicted then the behaviour challenges can be addressed, with a much better chance for success. Discussion and handouts will be practical and helpful for the identification of the challenges that contribute to the behaviour of students of all ages.
BEFORE BEHAVIOUR BEGINS
Communication challenges can contribute to the behaviour of persons with Down Syndrome of all ages, from toddlers to adults. We will explore the theme that “no individual is bad, stubborn or non compliant” and that behaviours are their way of communicating with us. Every individual with Down Syndrome is affected by a myriad of genetic, health, environmental, functional and “people” factors and experiences that need to be understood in order to figure out what they are trying to tell us. Once the reasons for the behaviour are identified, understood and then can be predicted, we can also work towards ensuring the individual is given the tools to facilitate their communication so that it is more appropriate and understandable.
A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS FROM OUR COOKBOOK OF INCLUSION
Including all students can be challenging. Firstly, we need to understand the meaning of Inclusion and why it can be so difficult. Then using some of our "tried and true recipes" you can begin to facilitate the integration , the friendships and social development of all students. Once students know that they are valued and belong, have the understanding of their peers, begin to be able to form relationships, have success in achieving goals, then learning can actually happen.
INTEGRATION + INVOLVEMENT + MEANINGFUL INVOLVEMENT = INCLUSION
A cookbook of tried and tested "recipes," supporting strategies for the inclusion of all students. In many regular classrooms, the integration of students who have difficulty processing grade - level curriculum often means providiing individual programs or "shaving off their corners" so they fit. We will share perspectives around enlarging the circle of Inclusion, working with instead of doing for and how to parallel class activities, focusing on skills and concepts that encourage individual capabilities and self esteem. Learning how to understand and share abilities with their classmates will enrich the education of ALL students.
INTEGRATION + INVOLVEMENT + MEANINGFUL INVOLVEMENT = INCLUSION
When students feel they are involved, when they are participating, when they know they are valued, when they experience success and when they are helped to form social relationships they are able to learn. This workshop will discuss the meaning of Inclusion and why it can be so difficult. Strategies and handouts will be presented for creating and facilitating a classroom in which everyone belongs, is involved and participating, even those students who may have different learning needs and outcomes.
CREATING INCLUSIVE CLASSROOMS
*When students feel they are involved, when they know they are valued, when they experience success and when they are helped to form social relationships they are able to learn. This workshop will discuss the meaning of Inclusion and why it can be so difficult. Strategies will be presented for creating and facilitating a classroom in which everyone belongs, participates and can learn, including those students who have special needs.
WHAT WORKS, WHAT HELPS......LESSONS LEARNED AND STILL BEING LEARNED.
My daughter Melanie, proudly says that "she has been my inspiration." Melanie has taught me so much and still continues to teach me on a daily basis. Many other young people with Down Syndrome and other Developmental disabilities have also taught me, as I have connected and consulted with their families and the professionals working with them. I will share what I have learned to date. I always hope that by sharing this information it will help ensure that every person with Down Syndrome or a Developmental disability will be understood and aided in being able to fully participate in life, and have a life that is successful, has quality and meaning.
HELPING ME TO BE ME
It is hard to make a friend and even harder to keep one. The skills necessary for successful friendships are often beyond the scope of many students. In order to facilitate and teach friendships there also needs to be an understanding of Inclusion, how to become an Inclusive community and how to include these skills within IEP's. This workshop addresses these issues and includes strategies to help facilitate the inclusion, friendships and social development of all students.
INTEGRATION + INVOLVEMENT + MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION = INCLUSION
Successful inclusion in both school and community is messy, its hard work and can be complicated. We need to be clear in our language, beliefs and in understanding what is important. Individuals with Down Syndrome have so many strengths but also can have so many challenges that can affect their successful participation and involvement. Strategies,ideas and tools will be shared that can help ensure success and learning in all environments.
DON'T TEACH ANYTHING YOU'LL HAVE TO UNTEACH LATER!
Individuals with Down syndrome often love repetition and will easily master a skill or routine. Once a skill is mastered, or a routine and behaviour is established; they will often remember it “forever”.Trying to change that learned pattern or routine can be very difficult. As parents or teachers, we need to think carefully about what we are teaching; will it result in a behaviour that will be appropriate in the future? We also want to plan early for the skills that will be required in the future rather than wait until the lack of those skills means teaching becomes an urgent necessity. It is also important to include skills that will facilitate the greatest degree of independence in all areas of life. Many of these skills revolve around boundaries, relationships, sexuality, hygiene and health, and much of this important teaching should begin in the early years. This workshop will explore these topics including the use of visual supports and other educational strategies that support understanding as well as retention of learned skills. A proactive approach starts with consideration of the future ramifications of the skills we teach, and the habits and behaviours we reinforce.
Thoughts and ideas for negotiating through the "Systems." Most parents are unhappy in having to become advocates for their children with special needs. It is not a role that comes naturally to any of us. But parents are "professionals" about their children and we can all learn to become more confident in a role that at times overwhelms us. Guidelines, ideas and strategies for success will be shared.
COMMON SENSE INCLUSION
A discussion of strategies for teaching , that will "twig" what you already know and help you in ensuring that you simply and more easily meet the diverse needs of all the students in the classroom.
CHANGING , CHUNKING AND DOWN SYNDROME
In this workshop we will take a closer look at the Curriculum areas and what the research says. Strategies around "changing" the curriculum and " chunking" of the IEP's to ensure success and attainability will also be discussed.
TOLIET TRAINING……A DISCUSSION
QUESTION TO ASK OURSELVES : When dealing with the challenges of Toliet Training, are some of the difficulties caused by Physiological, Cognitive or Behavioural factors or a combination of all three?
In this workshop we will have a discussion that will include tools, resources, websites, books to help families and professionals with this sometimes complex issue, made even more difficult if the child has added challenges.
UNDERSTANDING DOWN SYNDROME AND ITS IMPACT ON THE STUDENT IN THE CLASSROOM
A workshop that takes a more detailed look at the health issues that a student with Down Syndrome can have, and how they can impact upon the student in a classroom
ARE YOU ANTICIPATING TEACHING OR SUPPORTING A STUDENT WITH DOWN SYNDROME NEXT SEPTEMBER?
A workshop for teachers and teaching assistants that will provide information and suggestions in advance on how to support a student with Down Syndrome. Understanding the learning and health needs that often impact upon the classroom will help ensure a smooth transition and beginning for these wonderful students.
I WANT TO HAVE A FRIEND, I WANT TO BE A FRIEND
It is hard to make a friend and even harder to keep one. The skills necessary for successful friendships are often beyond the scope of many students and often a major challenge to students with special needs. Learning how to socialize and helping students acquire social skills is vital in ensuring a student “belongs.”
We need to understand the barriers that exist and how we can break them down. Strategies and facilitation techniques must be pre-taught to ensure success, participation and “belonging.” In this workshop we will discuss these issues, learn to recognize their importance and share some ideas on the “ how to “ of facilitating friendships and social development.
EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN
A workshop for parents, with information and effective strategies on how to understand, and work with the education team within a student’s school and district. Areas covered include Inclusion, Advocacy, Communication, and areas of concern for a student’s education. Handouts and a resource list focus on preparing and helping parents to work as “professionals” with their education partners. This workshop is directed to parents of any student with diverse learning needs.
“ME TOO!”...... “ I CAN DO IT!”
A workshop that focuses on how to ensure success for a student and to increase their participation in school life. There can also be an emphasis in the discussion on students with Down Syndrome if desired.
Communication Skills in Students with Down Syndrome
Students with Down Syndrome enter school, eager to participate and communicate. Yet, there often is limited success. In this workshop we will talk about why students with Down Syndrome have such difficulty with communication. Discussion will include strategies for using visual comunications that will help us all to facilitate their communication and their participation in the school and community.
UNDERSTANDING INCLUSION FOSTERS PARTICIPATION
A workshop for educators, parents or recreational personnel who are interested in understanding how to ensure that every student has success in their classrooms or programs. For many students, with diverse learning needs...if we all understand some of the factors that affect their participation and understand the true meaning of what it means to be inclusive...we can then ensure that their experiences and learning environment will be successful and motivating.
THINKING ABOUT INCLUSION
A workshop in which we will discuss