Special Ed/Learning Resources

Special Education highlighted in the Learning Commons

The Learning Commons offers some wonderful books and kits for children with special needs.  Check out a few of our titles:


5 Is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up! Pack

An honest guide for teens

Author(s)      Buron, Kari Dunn

1 book, 1 card game with 101 cards, instruction sheet.

Building on Kari Dunn Buron s popular The Incredible 5-Point Scale, this book takes a narrower look at challenging behavior with a particular focus on behaviors that can spell trouble for adolescents and young adults who have difficulty understanding and maintaining social boundaries. Using a direct and simple style with lots of examples and hands-on activities, A 5 Is Against the Law! speaks directly to adolescents and young adults. A section of the book is devoted to how to cope with anxiety before it begins to escalate, often leading to impulsive and unacceptable behavior. Throughout the book, the reader is encouraged to think about and create his own behavior on an anxiety scale that applies to his particular emotions and situations.

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children
Author(s)      Greene, Ross W.
Screaming, swearing, crying, hitting, kicking, spitting, biting…these are some of the challenging behaviors we see in kids who are having difficulty meeting our expectations. These behaviors often leave parents feeling frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, and desperate for answers. In this fully revised and updated book, Dr. Ross Greene helps you understand why and when your child does these things and how to respond in ways that are nonpunitive, nonadversarial, humane, and effective. Dr. Greene describes how best to: Understand the factors that contribute to challenging episodes. Identify the specific situations in which challenging episodes are likely to occur. Reduce or eliminate challenging episodes by solving the problems that cause them. Solve problems collaboratively (rather than unilaterally) and proactively (rather than reactively). Help your child develop the skills to be more flexible, solve problems, and handle frustration more adaptively. Reduce hostility and antagonism between you and your child. With Dr. Greene’s practical, expert guidance, you and your child will forge a new relationship based on communication and mutual respect.
Also contains a card game: Bully Free Zone
101 Cards and Instructions.

Helping your anxious child: a step-by-step guide for parents /
Author(s)      Rapee, Ronald M.
Most children are afraid of the dark. Some fear monsters under the bed. But at least ten percent of children have excessive fears and worries – phobias, separation anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder – that can hold them back and keep them from fully enjoying childhood. If your child suffers from any of these forms of anxiety, the program in this book offers practical, scientifically proven tools that can help. Now in its second edition, Helping Your Anxious Child has been expanded and updated to include the latest research and techniques for managing child anxiety. The book offers proven effective skills based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to aid you in helping your child overcome intense fears and worries. You’ll also find out how to relieve your child’s anxious feelings while parenting with compassion. Inside, you will learn to: – Help your child practice detective thinking” to recognize irrational worries – What to do when your child becomes frightened – How to gently and gradually expose your child to challenging situations – Help your child learn important social skills This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit – an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, our books offer powerful tools readers can use to jump-start changes in their lives. “

How to Make & Keep Friends Pack
Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges

Author(s)      Briggs, Nadine
1 book, 2 card games
How to Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges by Nadine Briggs and Donna Shea offers social skills and friendship advice presented in an easy to read, reference guide format. While geared toward elementary school kids, many teens and adults report they are finding these tips to be a helpful resource. Included are simple and immediately actionable tips to navigate common social situations that can be challenging, such as: • How to Join a Group • How to Safely Handle Angry Feelings • Handling Rejection and Exclusion • Working Things Out & Sharing Fairly • Being a Good Guest and Host • Playground Success • … and much more!

Model Me Kids Series includes Airplane, Job Skills, Tips and Tricks:
Model Me: Movement
Ages 9-17
Local Call Num.  302.12 MOD
1 DVD, 60 min.
What do gross motor and movement skills have to do with social skills? Studies show that children with Autism who have better motor skills show greater ability in socializing. Synergies article. A study at Indiana University also found a strong correlation between hand-eye coordination and social communication skills. Psychology Today article.
Model Me Movement™: Balance, Core, & Calming is a video of short, easy-to-follow movement activities developed by Occupational Therapist Dr. Fabiane Curro. The video is designed to improve balance, increase core strength, and promote self-calming. The DVD contains six 8-11 minute movement segments each modeled by a child and guided by an adult. The activities are designed to target skills that help with coordination, body awareness, self-regulation, and promote an overall feeling of physical well-being.

SuperFlex Series:
Superflex : a superhero social thinking curriculum kit
Superflex takes on Rock Brain and the Team of Unthinkables
Author(s)      Madrigal, Stephanie.
1 CD-ROM (4 1/2 in.)
Provides educators and parents with fun and motivating ways to teach elementary school students with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism how to build social skills. Superflex combines a book, comic book and CD to create a curriculum that develops in the students’ brains a superhero who overcomes the social thinking challenges that arise in different social contexts.

Why does Izzy cover her ears?:dealing with sensory overload /
Author(s)      Veenendall, Jennifer.
Includes discussion questions.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 35-39).
Illustrated children’s book dealing with the challenges at home and at school of sensory overload– symptoms and tools for mitigating them and enabling children to function and learn more successfully.
Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? Dealing with Sensory Overload is the picture book story of Izzy, an intelligent young girl just starting the first grade. Izzy has sensory processing disorder, which makes her over-responsive to environmental stimuli, including sounds, accidental bumps from other kids, and visual distractions. Her reflexive tendencies to cry, lash out, or cover her ears have caused other kids to accuse her of being mean, or deride her as a “crybaby”. But with help from her parents, her teachers, and an occupational therapist, she is learning how to adjust. She feels calmer and ready to learn, and she’s made a lot of friends! The story is told from Izzy’s point of view, but does not talk down to the reader. A highly recommended and educational book for parents and children to share, especially if the child has sensory processing disorder or knows relatives or friends with it.

The Out-of-sync child has fun :
activities for kids with sensory processing disorder

Author(s)      Kranowitz, Carol Stock.
This revised edition of the companion volume to The Out-of-Sync Child includes new activities that parents of kids with Sensory Processing Disorder can do at home with their child, along with updated information on which activities are most appropriate for children with coexisting conditions such as Asperger’s, autism, and more.

So, where do you find all of these amazing resources?  In our L4U library catalogue! Just log in, go to Topic Search, scroll to 003 Special Education and scroll through the lists!


Audiobooks and Reading

This is a reblog from Overdrive specialist Patty Carlyle.

Yes, audiobooks are real books

Posted on: Thursday 13 October 2016 — 16:25

Do audiobooks leave the brain distracted and disjointed or are they just another way to enjoy and absorb a story? Are audiobooks real reading, or cheating? With the rise of podcasting and storytelling events, both highly respected mediums, why do audiobooks continue to suffer this stigma?

The science of listening: decoding and translating

Daniel Willingham is one of the most respected authorities on learning styles, and has written a lot about audiobooks. He explains that there are two basic processes happening when you’re reading. There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words that mean something. And then there is language processing, or comprehension — that is, figuring out the syntax, the story, et cetera. Researchers have studied the question of comprehension for decades, and what you find is very high correlations of reading comprehension and listening comprehension. As science writer Olga Khazan noted in 2011, a “1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.” Listeners and readers retain about equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed, in other words.

Not only are audiobooks a valid form of reading, but there might be some benefits that readers of the written word miss. According to Two Guys on Your Head podcast, “because you can’t go back and re-read, when you listen you are more likely to extract the deeper meaning from things quicker.” Could audiobooks actually boost reading comprehension and analytical skills?

This kind of data might explain the discovery that podcasts help children learn to read. Audiobooks can help the struggling reader, too, who might get frustrate with where they “should” be and give up too soon. Experiencing some success and enjoyment can fuel the hunger to practice and engender an appreciation for reading. “Listening while reading helps people have several successful reading events in a row, where they are reading “with accuracy and enjoyment.” And, listening has been shown to help with decoding, a fundamental part of reading.”

Audiobooks uniquely serve non-native speakers

With so many benefits for typical, native-speakers, imagine the impact audiobooks might have on English Language Learner students. They can can make note of proper pronunciation as well as slang and typical sentence structure in a closed, curiosity-welcome space. Non-native speakers might also use Read-Alongs, which offer an audio element and all its advantages, alongside a reading component. The connection between speaking and reading defines literacy and fluency, and Read-Alongs tie the spoken word to written word perfectly.

▶ What dyslexia looks like to the student (video)

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-is-dyslexia-kelli-sandman-hurley Dyslexia affects up to 1 in 5 people, but the experience of dyslexia isn’t …

Source: www.youtube.com

“The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles” – Book Review

This summer I enjoyed a book written by one of our past CHEC speakers, Carol Barnier. ‘What Now’ gives humorous and practical examples of how to discuss various learning styles. All too often as a Learning Services Consultant, I have teachers sharing about children struggling with their schoolwork.  Often the struggle is not necessarily because the child has a learning disability or a cognitive challenge. Perhaps the child is not having his/her learning style considered. It’s easy as a parent or a teacher to teach in the way that we learn.   Barnier suggests, “The goal is to find the key – any key – that will unlock the door to understanding for every child in our care.”

In The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles, Carol states that various learning styles, such as auditory, kinesthetic, and visual, all need to be addressed when teaching children. In order to meet children’s learning styles we need to teach using a multi-sensory approach that makes learning more enjoyable and easier to retain. Carol has written a chapter demonstrating how to teach various subjects – Spelling, Math, Writing, Geography, Science, etc. – utilizing the various learning styles. Subject icons before each suggested lesson identify the learning style or styles that lesson will accommodate.

In her last chapter, Carol writes about incorrect assumptions that we have about our children’s learning process. For example, if someone takes time to process, it does not mean that they are lacking intelligence. Also, some students that are active during learning need to be active in order to learn effectively. This chapter also encourages us to be accepting of creative answers from children, who may not always answer exactly the way we want them to, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t answering correctly.

Carol says that when we try to teach children using a style that works best for us as learners (and not the student) it can be “a recipe for frustration”. Perhaps there is more than one type of learning style that work? In order to keep track of what style is effective, she suggests keeping a journal when teaching, and taking notes on what works. Spending time figuring out what type of style(s) work for your learner takes much less time than wasting years on curricula which use learning styles that don’t help your student learn.

Carol presents lesson ideas that are fun and much more interesting than workbooks. She’s a strong proponent of teaching using songs or ditties. These are methods that become more memorable for a child when trying to recall information. She also suggests that when teaching children it’s important to teach them concepts that are part of a scaffold (ideas that build upon other pieces of known information.)

Some other techniques Carol uses are:

  •  Involving the children in the lesson: For example, when children study the planets, have each child be a planet dressed in a color or carrying something that would represent the planet/sun and stand in proper order. Play music or games from the era/area that a child is learning about in geography or history.
  • Ways of doing review: games such as “pairs” where one card represents the word and another the definition, or the practice of requiring a child to respond to a review question before each turn on any given game.

The most important message that can be taken away from this book is that all children can learn. It’s a matter of parents and teachers finding the right ‘key’ to unlock the learning for each child.

Carol completes her book by demonstrating to us how important it is that we praise our children’s work more than we criticize it. We want our children to know that we believe in them and to help them to believe in themselves. Most importantly, I believe we need to teach our children that God created them with the ability to learn and that each of them is special and has a unique learning style.

I hope you get the opportunity to read The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles and enjoy Carol’s insights into the different approaches of teaching.


Other Books By Carol Barnier:


If I’m Diapering A Watermelon, Then Where’d I Leave The Baby?

How To Get Your Child Off The Refrigerator And Onto Learning


Book review by Lis Johnston. (Learning Services Consultant)

Daring Greatly Book review – Carmen Timmermans

Carmen Timmermans is our Learning Services Administrator.  Here is her book review on the book Daring Greatly  soon to be found in our E Library in audiobook format.

I have been reading and appreciating a new-to-me author this spring, Dr. Brene Brown, who writes very powerfully about shame, vulnerability, intimacy and how to live a wholehearted life. Earlier in the year, I sent a link to her TED talk and I’ve just finished her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. You may be wondering how vulnerability, shame and learning services all fit together but there are huge, huge connections.

In Learning Services the discussion often circles back not to our belief that we will eventually find something that works for our students, nor to the belief that the students will grow into the strengths and abilities they need to be successful in their lives. No, the biggest challenge we face as an LS team – and I include teachers and parents as well as consultants in that team – is how to keep the child’s sense of worthiness intact while everything comes together, or while we sort out adaptations that allow them to work around their area of challenge and lean into their areas of strength.

When a person know s/he is struggling, different – and these kids know – it is so easy to feel worth-less, or “othered,” lesser-than, unacceptable, isolated and ashamed. Even the gifted students we work with, who everyone tends to think live in the (spot)light, struggle. They feel like impostors, or focus on where they fall short, in areas such as OCD, anxiety, addiction or depression.

The parents and teacher of kids with challenges also struggle with shame around what they think they did wrong or didn’t do right. I have talked to parents who wonder if the should they have gone pesticide or plastic-free, or screen-free, or dairy- and wheat-free. They can feel ashamed that they get angry or lose patience with their children or that they some days just don’t like their kids very much. They can feel badly that they can’t find the time or motivation to follow through with whatever lovely program has been suggested, or feel like they are done by the end of the day and would rather spend the one half-hour of free time in their day unwinding with a book or TV show rather than prepping for working with their children the next day. Likewise, teachers and consultants can have shame around not wanting the extra work of writing IEPs, or yet another meeting, or because they feel pulled away from being there for their own family; either choice feels like the wrong one.
Shame’s message is that we are unacceptable, not enough. We hear that the core of our self – not our actions, what we did or have left undone – is the problem. We don’t talk about our shame and it festers. We pretend that who we are on Facebook is who we really are – witty and exciting and photo-ready, all the time – and as a result feel unknown and unloved in our deepest selves. This becomes a pain that eats at us, until we lash out or end up numbing the pain with food or video games, or exercise or busyness, mindless TV or _______ (name your poison) to “take the edge off.” Brown points out that in her studies she has found that numbing the pain also numbs joy and gratitude – the good things. Our lives become flat. The internal message that we are not good enough creates walls as we hide from ourselves and from others. Brown talks about us rejecting and “orphaning” that part of ourselves, and losing our vulnerability, the ability for others to see us as we really are, and that steals community and intimacy and wholeness. So how do we find the courage to be seen, to speak our inner thoughts and feelings around shame? How do we find wholeheartedness?

The secret to wholeheartedness, Brown says, is restore the beliefs that shame steals. We need to believe that we are worthy of love and acceptance.

As followers of Christ, this message of worthiness is also the message we want to send to our Learning Services students, to all students, really, and to ourselves. We can say, “You may make poor choices and do things that are embarrassing, or you may do things or make things that are not as good as you would like them to be. I will forgive you and help you learn and I will not shame you. You may struggle and may be different from other people. We all struggle. We are all different. But in one way, we are all the same. You are enough. I am enough. We have nothing to prove. We are each worthy of love and acceptance. We can each love and accept each other.” This belief, these words, are the gift that we can give to our students and to ourselves because they are a gift that God has given us (Romans 5). We can forgive because we are forgiven, love because we are loved, accept because we are accepted.
I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy Daring Greatly; it is a great tool for shedding light, for digging deep and for finding courage.

Other books by Brene Brown:
I Thought it Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)
The Gifts of Imperfection

Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs: Calendar and Advanced Visual Schedule Apps for Kids with Special Needs

See on Scoop.itHCS Learning Commons Newsletter

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies‘s insight:

For students who struggle with sequential planning here are some great apps to help with that.

See on teachinglearnerswithmultipleneeds.blogspot.ca

Apps and dyslexia

See on Scoop.it21 century Learning Commons

Apps for iPhones, iPads and Android Devices Edited by Cheryl Dobbs. This article provides some suggestions for specific areas of need that some users with dyslexic difficulties encounter.

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies‘s insight:

Some awesome reading apps to help your students read using e reader devices.  A wonderful asset for those with Dyslexic tendencies.

See on bdatech.org

How Technology Is Changing Education For Students With Disabilities

See on Scoop.it21 century education

New technology is changing the world of education for students with disabilities. From autism to hard of hearing and other challenges, technology is starting to make a big difference.

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies‘s insight:

Some practical tips and ideas for using technology in the way of apps to make things happen that could not happen before for special needs students.

See on edudemic.com

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