The Common Core for Students With Significant Disabilities

Posted on May 05, 2011

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School districts in Utah are planning professional development for the coming year around the new Common Core Standards.  Teachers of students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities do not need to feel left out of the Common Core conversation.  For the last several years, the Utah State Department of Education has been encouraging teachers to become familiar with the Extended Core Standards and use them in IEP development and lesson planning.  Diane Browder, Ph.D., professor of Special Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has stated, “it is important to realize that educational opportunities increase competence for adult living. Students with disabilities can learn and do much more than we once believed.”

1. We will have the opportunity of hearing the presentation “Making the Extended Core Standards Easy” by Sandi Rice, Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Consultant.  She will speak at the Significant Disabilities Roundtable on May 4th.

2. For those students who are more profoundly disabled, the focus is on “access skills,” the skills students need to be able to participate in learning and interacting with their environments. Some of these skills include “tolerate stimuli,” “maintain eye contact,” and “tolerate interaction with others.”  Erin Horrocks, Ph.D., recently presented on accessing reinforcers to teach access skills at the Significant Disabilities Conference. Read her article in the May 2010 Special Educator, A Forgotten Population? Assessment and Instructional Training for Teachers of Students with Profound Multiple Disabilities.

Author: Cathy Longstroth, Program Specialist, Utah Personnel Development Center (UPDC)