Archive for the 'Social relations' Category

Bullying and FAPE

Did you know that failing to address bullying can be the cause of schools having to pay for private placement of students with Learning Disabilities? Bullying has justified parents’ decisions to move their children to private schools and seek reimbursement for tuition. So, bullying isn’t only something that educators should address because it’s the right thing to do. Bullying might be a reason that a student can claim she is denied access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
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Block those bullies

Language Warning!
Do not click play if the words n- – – – or
f- – – – offend you.

As the beginning of school approaches, many schools will be considering what to do about bullying, a problem the plagues many students with Learning Disabilities (LD). But, what do we know about the connections between special ed and bullying? Can bullying mess up a student’s IEP? Here’s a little background and some suggested resources.

As one might suspect, one of the difficulties for students with LD is that they are perceived as victims of bullies. Nabuzoka and Smith’s (1993) analysis of sociometric data from ~180 pre-adolescent students, about 20% of whom had LD, showed that those with LD were more likely to be victims of bullying than their non-disabled peers, despite not being judged more aggressive. Estell et al. (2009) reported that teachers considered fifth-grade students with high-incidence disabilities likely to be victims of bullies. However, both teachers and the students’ peers rated them to as likely to be bullies. Those students with disabilities who behaved aggressively were the ones who were more likely to be nominated as bullies.
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Sigh–new content

Despite getting virtually no recommendations about future content (3 votes!), I’m starting to post some new content. The new content is, in my obviously biased view (else, why would I post it?), pretty important stuff. It’s about research, practice, knowledge, and all that sort of stuff as it connects to Learning Disabilities. In this page, I discuss big-idea concepts that recur in Learning Disabilities. These are the themes that one sees when one reads a diverse array of literature on the topic of LD.

I recommend it. What’s more, you won’t have to find this post each time you want to refer to the page; it will always be directly accessible under the “special content” link in the top navigation bar.

Simple pragmatics

Some students with Learning Disabilities have substantial problems with the pragmatic aspects of language. Pragmatics is one of the main aspects of language (others are phonemics, morphology, semantics, and syntax), and it refers to the social aspects of using language (e.g., taking turns; adapting vocabulary, sentence structure, and etc. according to listeners’ language skills; and so forth). The problems of some students with LD were famously described in the title of a study by Tanis Bryan and colleagues; they took their title from something that one one of their students with LD said when talking with other children: “‘Come on dummy’: An observational study of children’s communication.”

As one might guess, deficits in pragmatics are associated with social-behavioral problems. Students with LD who have problems with pragmatics—do not know how to take turns, how to adjust their talk to fit different social situations, how to interpret subtle implications, etc.—may quickly become social outcasts, for example. Sadly, I fear that this aspect of LD is too rarely examined in thoughtful and parsimonious way.

However, over on Language Fix, Paul Morris had a commentary on the topic that I recommend to both of you folks who routinely read LD Blog. Mr. Morris provides a starting place for thinking about assessing and teaching pragmatics in a very, well, pragmatic way.
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Rick Lavoie in C’ville

For its Eleventh Annual Education Symposium, Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education is bringing Rick Lavoie to the neighborhood. Because they’ve seen one or more of his videos, most folks interested in Learning Disabilities are familiar with Mr. Lavoie, but this will be a special opportunity to see him in person. He will speak at the V. Earl Dickinson Building (Piedmont Virginia Community College) Thursday 16 October 2008 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and his talk will focus on social relations, “It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping Children Find Social Success.”

“It’s So much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping Children Find Social Success” is the topic of the 11th Annual Education Symposium sponsored by The Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education.

Featured speaker RICK LAVOIE is one of the country’s leading special education consultants, and his sellout lectures have made him one of the most sought-after and respected experts in the field. He has made numerous national television appearances, is well-known for his award-winning PBS videos, and is author of two bestsellers widely recommended for every parent and educator. Rick’s presentation will address social problems faced by children and will offer effective tools for teaching social skills in the home and in the classroom. While aimed at children with learning difficulties, his practical solutions are helpful to anyone who deals with children and to any parent whose child has social difficulties. The Symposium will take place on Thursday, October 16th from 7 – 9 pm at the V. Earl Dickinson Building at Piedmont Virginia Community College. The event is free and open to the public as part of the Foundation’s mission to increase public awareness of special education. Appreciation goes to Oakland School for helping to sponsor this unique event. For more information, call or email Laura Dickason, 434-293-7981; lcdickason _at_

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