Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tahirih Bushey's Autism Games Blog

Tahirih Bushey is a speech and language therapist who works with children who have autism. She describes herself as a "collector and recorder of good games for children with ASD". She blogs at Autism Games and also has maintains the Autism Games website.

The video clip below is one of a series about the Stage Play Games acting class for young people with autism:

Be sure to read Tahirih's post, "Why Games".

You can follow Tahirih on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

School Psychologist "On the Job" reflections...

This is a copy of my post to the NASP School Psychologist "On the Job" blog:

I'm at home today due to a ill-timed stomach bug. I plan to spend some of my time resting as I work on reports and review some student data.

As the school year comes to an end, I often have mixed feelings. On one hand, like the students, I can't wait until the first day of my summer break (all 5 weeks of it!) and jump into the pool... On the other hand, it is a time of reflection about the school year and what I've done in my little corner of the school psychology world to make things better, and also reflect on the direction I need to take for the upcoming year, giving some thought to current research.

I'd like to devote this post to one of my interests, improving outcomes for youth with disabilities.

In my opinion, the best measurement of intervention outcomes is what happens to the lives of the children and teens as they transition to adulthood. Despite our well-intentioned efforts, often focused at the elementary level, high school students with disabilities continue to drop out of school at an unacceptable rate, especially in urban school districts.

If you skim through recent journal articles in the field of school psychology, it is obvious that most university-sponsored research targets the lower grades. This research is important, but it is not enough, given the data that we have regarding outcomes for youth with disabilities. My hunch is that many university school psychology educators have minimal experience working at the high school level, otherwise we'd have many more journal articles devoted to secondary-level research and best practices!

As a profession, are we losing sight of the bigger picture? How much do we understand what is going on at the high school level regarding third-tier interventions for students who receive special education services? At this level, what are the roles and responsibilities of the school psychologist regarding progress monitoring and assessing treatment integrity? How does this fit in the IEP and transition planning process? Who is responsible for putting together the secondary school psychology road-map?

When I returned to work this school year full time, I hadn't worked in a regular high school setting for about three years. One of my goals was to re-acquaint myself with research related adolescent literacy, drop-out prevention for students with disabilities, and transition planning. Below are some of the resources and links I found along my way:

NASP: School Psychology Forum: Research into Practice

Adolescent Literacy
IES Practice Guide: Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices

The Content Literacy Continuum

ARCC- Appalachia Regional Comprehensive CenterAdolescent Literacy Resources & Toolkit

National Institute for Literacy: What Content-Area Teachers Should Know About Adolescent Literacy pdf (2007)

Note: The above publication has specific strategies for instruction included in the appendix, with some useful graphic organizers.

Learning Disabilities Online: Adolescent Literacy and Older Students with Learning Disabilities (pdf)

National Center for Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) Adolescent Literacy Resources

Edutopia: How To Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom

Meeting the Needs of Significantly Struggling Learners in High School: A Look at Approaches to Tiered Intervention

This publication explains the need for and challenges of implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) at the high school level. This brief introduces the RTI model, illustrates two RTI approaches, discusses implementation issues, and provides a list of resources for more information.

Transition, Dropout-Prevention for Students with Disabilities

Effective Interventions in Dropout Prevention: A Research Synthesis
The Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention on Dropout for Youth with Disabilities
Brian Cobb, Pat Sample, Morgen Alwell and Nikole Johns, Colorado State University

What Works Transition Research Synthesis

Making Connections Across Indicators to Improve Post-School Outcomes

Cathy Hammond, Ph.D., Loujeania Williams Bost, Ph.D.

Evidence-Based Dropout-Prevention Programs

Collecting Post-School Outcome Data: Strategies for Increasing Response Rates pdf

What Works Clearinghouse: Dropout Prevention

National Post-School Outcomes Center

National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities

The National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities (NDPC-SD) was established in January 2004 to support states in assisting local education agencies to increase school completion rates and decrease dropout rates among students with disabilities. NDPC-SD is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and is part of OSEP’s Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network designed to support the national implementation of provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Our Focus
The mission of the NDPC-SD is to build the capacity of states to provide local education agencies with enhanced services related to dropout prevention and re-entry programs to increase school completion rates for students with disabilities. In keeping with our mission, the primary focus of our Center is threefold: synthesize research and practice into actionable information that can be readily used by states to develop and/or enhance dropout prevention programs for students with disabilities. This actionable information includes, but is not limited to, producing research-based manuscripts, information monographs, and a toolkit of evidenced-based strategies to serve as technical assistance documents for administrators, educators, policymakers, and other service providers in designing dropout prevention programs. provide effective technical assistance and dissemination activities to "scale up" the use of research-validated programs and interventions in dropout prevention. We believe effective technical assistance to be a systematic process for transferring knowledge about dropout prevention research, practices that work, and policies to assist states and their stakeholders to accomplish goals and plans for systems change in reducing dropout rates and improving school completion rates for students with disabilities. Part of our agenda will consist of translating work being done in other venues into actionable information that states can readily use. expand state and local practices through intense technical assistance and coaching, which will lead to the development of model sites—exemplars that others can replicate.

McEWan, Elain K. 40 Ways to Support Struggling Readers in Content Classrooms, Grades 6-12 (2007) National Association of Secondary School Principals & Corwin Press

Beers, Kylene, Probst, Robert.E., & Rief, Linda (Eds.) Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice (2007) Heinemann

Ohler, Jason Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity. (2007) Corwin Press

Monday, June 01, 2009

School Psychology Blog and Podcast with Dr. Gaston Weisz

Dr. Gaston Weisz is a school psychologist who is involved in positive behavioral intervention and supports. He maintains a blog, a wiki, and also podcasts regularly.
If you visit the blog, make sure you scroll down and see his great links posted on his sidebar!