Below are some of our favorite resources for teachers and parents who care for children with special needs. With input from special education teachers and parents around the world, we have compiled a well-rounded list of inclusive teaching methods, support groups, exercise programs, safety strategies and original SpEd infographic. Click here for our previous blog post on Twice Exceptional Toys. With Autism Awareness month approaching, we hope highlighting these resources will help to promote inclusion, health and learning in all environments for the disability community.
Created by an Assistant Head Teacher from a special school in Broadstairs, Inclusive Teach provides free education documents (such as Brexit Bingo!, online safety and stranger safety, number worksheets and more), behavior documents, leadership guidance and the comically uplifting: “8 Star Wars quotes for every teacher.” The creator also has a Twitter handle for those who want to learn more.
This community of families, teachers and advocates work together for a more inclusive society. If you need answers, Ollibean will likely have them. Their website provides a plethora of resources from book recommendations, blogs, classroom strategies and podcasts. There are even American Sign Language Videos of popular songs! Beyond the classroom, Ollibean also pushes for strong leaders in the disability community.
“ReadWorks is committed to solving America’s reading comprehension crisis and student achievement gap.” This organization provides content and tools to help both teachers and students of various learning abilities. Their brand-new, free interactive online platform is available for teachers and students too, providing articles, question sets, vocabulary and assignment grading. Check out ReadWorks Digital to learn more and sign up.
With nearly 17,000 members, Special Education Teachers is the Facebook group for teachers and paraprofessionals in special education. Members provide each other with guidance, resources and more on all aspects of the profession. This online community is extremely supportive and includes professionals from all over the world.
The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) has a Facebook following that’s 30,000+ members strong. This is a Facebook page, not a group, therefore, most of the content is posted by the organization itself. It is great to follow for general SpEd information and news. They can also be followed on Twitter for more information.
Parents Caring for Special Needs Kids is an open Facebook page that “is an online community to share resources, stories and seek support from other parents who are in similar situations.” Any member can post questions to the page and receive a variety of replies. Topics range from serious points to comical memes and further support can be found on community’s official website.
This down-to-earth blog details family adventures with son, Welles, who has down syndrome. The online journal sheds light on the joy, challenges and fun an extra chromosome can bring, with real emotions and encouragement through the eyes of Oakley, Welles’ mother. This loving and supportive family can also be found on Facebook and Instagram (with a whopping 52,000+ followers!). Despite the challenges a disability may present, the big takeaway here is that there’s nothing down about it!
Minds-in-Motion (MIM) addresses integration disorders that cause learning issues in children- such as ADHD, auditory processing, speech challenges, visual processing and more. Exercises and activities developed by MIM have been shown to improve a child’s visual and auditory processing, and motor skills. In addition to helping children, they also have an adult program!
Incorporating a variety of activities, S’cool Moves uses evidence-based practices to support both children and teachers in the classroom. Their Three Strands (Minute Moves, Power Up! Moves, and Focus Moves) help to bridge the gap between general and special education services to improve academic and behavior goals through multi-disciplinary approaches. You can watch their introductory videos here.
This organization makes yoga part of the classroom! Get Ready to Learn (GRTL) aims to prepare students to be in the most optimal state for learning. This includes supporting physical, behavioral and cognitive well-being. Having been implemented from New York to the United Kingdom, GRTL has grown since its inception in 2008. Ready, set, YOGA!
LA Parent provides Seven Safety Strategies for Kids with Special Needs to help ease the worry of concerned parents and teachers. Internal houghts that the article eases include, “Will be child wander off? How can I prepare for an emergency? Does my teen or adult know how to interact with the police if she or he should need help, or be stopped by them?” They also include the video, “Be Safe,” created by and for young adults with special needs, which addresses how to best interact with police officers in a variety of situations.
Don’t let their name fool you- Kidpower provides workshops on personal safety for people of all ages. Their services for people with special needs includes empowering students with skills to be aware, set boundaries, be safe, get help, make choices and more. Their webpage provides a lengthy list of educational resources on safety as well. If there isn’t a Kidpower center in your community, you can set one up and become a trained instructor!