Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
Every week, during my weekly team meeting, my boss reads a little inspirational poem or story. Honestly, this is the highlight of the meeting for me. One message in particular really spoke to me as it directly applied to children with special learning needs. The author, Mary Manin Morressey, discussed the concept of a student’s IQ versus the student’s “I can.” She talked about how the “I can” is way more important than the IQ.
Due to speech/language, physical and/or sensory disabilities, many children with special needs are difficult to assess. We have no idea what their IQ even is! We must rely on what our gut tells us and the twinkle in the student’s eye that tells us that they CAN learn. In order to learn, students must have the appropriate tools. The right tools can help even the playing field for our students. The right tools can give them opportunities. The right tools can lead to success.
When trying to decide what types of tools to put in your students’ toolbox, consider the following:
- Tool #1: An appropriate communication device.
NOTE: Communication devices should have vocabulary for communicating basic needs as well as vocabulary that will support language and literacy growth.
- Tool #2: Access to learning materials.
NOTE: This includes, but not limited to, reading, writing (even if it is electronically).
- Tool #3: A positive communication and learning environment.
NOTE: This is a safe place to try new things and not be criticized (or thought less of) if you need a little extra help.
- Tool #4: Opportunities to learn.
NOTE:I don’t really think I need to say anything about this!!
- Tool #5: A social butterfly.
NOTE: Social skills don’t just happen for our kids. They need to learn. Many of them just don’t know what to do, or don’t have the means to interact with others.