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As a special educator, general educator, school counselor or administrator, your role is to ensure that the needs of your students (or clients) are met. Working with students who are not performing to their potential can be tricky. An understanding of student strengths and needs, along with the knowledge of the special education process, are key to ensuring that you are providing those students with what they need in order to be successful. The purpose of this course is to better prepare Montana K-12 teachers with the necessary skills to identify students with a disability as well as implement child-specific interventions and accommodations to support those not performing to their potential. But what do you do to ensure a student’s needs are met? How do you ensure that you are successfully advocating for your students? How do you utilize your school or community’s resources to best meet diverse learners? Students with disabilities? Gifted students? No matter what your role is in the school system or outside of the school system it’s important that you understand why special needs identification and planning works the way that it does.
This course will provide Montana teachers with a strong foundation in the principles of special needs advocacy, with an emphasis on practical application of the fundamental legal requirements that drive special needs education. You will learn about the IEP process and about 504 Plans, and use your knowledge of the rights and entitlements granted by the aforementioned special education laws to create effective plans for student success. Through learning the differences between IDEA and Section 504, you will be better equipped at determining which plan is best for a particular student. Once a plan has been created, you will learn tips and be given tools to implement that plan and monitor the plan’s effectiveness and the child’s progress. This course will also focus on exploring how to maximize effectiveness by writing S.M.A.R.T. goals and choosing appropriate accommodations and adaptations. By the end of this course, you will be able to feel confident in their ability to successfully advocate for struggling students and understand the process necessary to ensure their needs are met.
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