SPED Ahead Forum

The SPED Ahead Forum by PresenceLearning is a community and program dedicated to empowering school administrators and special education leaders to have open conversations about  ideas and promising practices that will help students with special needs thrive. With a series of free interactive special education resources and webinars, PresenceLearning seeks answers to tough questions in education and continues to push the  search for effective leadership strategies for addressing special needs students’ challenges for literacy skills, scholastic achievement and peer relationships.

Social Communication + Emotional Regulation: An Environment for School Success

With growing concerns about behavior issues that disrupt the learning environment, educators are seeking new evidence-based strategies to help students with challenges in social communication and emotional regulation. This webinar is an overview of The SCERTS Model, which helps create positive school climates. SCERTS prioritizes developmental areas of Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support […]

Positive Behavior Strategies: The Real Road to School Climate Change

The use of reactive disciplinary approaches such as seclusion, restraint, and out-of-school suspension has gained much attention recently, with numerous exposes, government reports, and proposed federal legislation. There is compelling evidence that these approaches are often dangerous for students and create a negative school climate. The challenge to schools seeking to reduce their use of […]

Dr. Joe Ryan: Beyond Behavior: Creating a Culture for Data-Driven Behavioral Interventions

Using data to make better decisions about student behavior is a cultural and environmental shift impacting special educators, administrators, and counselors alike. While we continue to observe and document cases related to behavior problems, there is a heightened need for easier and more reliable ways to determine the effectiveness of behavioral interventions. Now we can […]

Dr. Barry Prizant: Uniquely Human

Providing services for children with autism is a growing challenge. Special educators and families are hungry for advice and encouragement. Autism is usually portrayed as a checklist of deficits: difficulties interacting with others, sensory challenges, and repetitive–sometimes disruptive– behaviors. Therapy has focused on eliminating “autistic” symptoms. Now there’s a different perspective and a new approach– […]

Dr. Frances Stetson: 5 Easy Ways to Fail in Education

Special educators are feeling the impact of a changing student population and the heightened emphasis on the results of our services. There are so many ways we can get off track and sometimes fail in education. Join your colleagues as we take a look at just five of these common pitfalls, and with humor, share […]

Dr. Marty Burns: The New Science of Learning: Effective Approaches for Older Students with Autism and Attention Disorders

Change agents — leaders in special education– are transforming ways to help older students cope with ASD, attention deficits and related problem behavior that interferes with learning. What does the latest brain research suggest about how we can individualize services, help these students pay closer attention to oral instruction, develop self-regulation skills, complete assignments on […]

Dr. Shari Robertson: How to Become a Change Agent for Better Readers With Early Collaborative Partnerships

Progress in creating literate learners is the cornerstone of education and a high-stakes yardstick by which academic performance is measured. Silos of school-based services are how we’ve traditionally helped students with special needs who are at-risk for reading failure. But now, there’s a new collaborative and results-oriented approach: parents and educators working together to provide […]

Janice Toben, M.Ed. & Trip Hawkins: How Games Can Help Children with Special Needs Develop Critical Life Skills

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has captured the attention of special educators as a new way to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of “digital natives.” Now, game developers are teaming with SEL experts to become agents of change –using fun, innovative approaches to build skills that help children with special needs to […]

Alan Coulter, PhD Prepare for Impact: 3 Key Questions About RDA for Every SPED Administrator

For the first time since its announcement of Results Driven Accountability (RDA), the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has rated states for compliance with IDEA and student achievement. Now, district leaders are asking a key question: “How does RDA affect me, my work, and my schools?” The answer? The focus is at the […]

Dr. Barry M. Prizant on Family Collaboration: An Essential Element for SPED Success

The need for better collaboration with parents has been recognized for years, yet SPED administrators have had little guidance on how to develop successful family-professional partnerships. Parents often report being more challenged by insensitive professionals and confusing systems of services than by their child’s disability, but the focus of special education has been implementing therapies […]

Julie Weatherly, Esq. on Staying out of Due Process in Special Education

School administrators know: blunders can and do occur in the development and implementation of educational programs for students with disabilities. Process- or content-related mistakes can be the basis for finding a school system has denied FAPE (free appropriate public education). All school personnel should be trained about the development and implementation of IEPs, especially with […]

Dr. Jordan Wright on “Extending Your Reach: Online Counseling for Changing Minds”

Finding help for students with psychological, neurological or emotional issues is a major challenge facing school administrators. There is a shortage of experts to conduct psychological assessments and reach students with appropriate counseling services. Now live video conferencing technology shows great promise for extending our reach to these students wherever they are: doing evaluations and […]

Dr. Barry Prizant on “Preventing Problem Behavior in Schools”

Problem behaviors are symptomatic of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Learning how to better manage disruptive behavior is a top priority for school administrators, educators, therapists and parents. During this webinar, one of SPED’s most sought-after experts on classroom behavior management strategies will present a “Bio-Psycho-Social” perspective on the interaction of physiological, cognitive and social-environmental issues.

Dr. Temple Grandin on “The Autistic Brain”

School administrators are seeking a deeper understanding and new strategies to serve a growing population of students with autism. An overburdened system and the Common Core’s emphasis on language and communications skills has created a sense of urgency to find the best approaches to giving them appropriate access to the curriculum.

Getting Smarter About SPED: 5 Blended Learning Decisions & Implications

Technology and the promise of individualized education are just two of the factors driving the adoption of blended learning, but there are many more reasons for administrators and educators to get excited. Education visionary and blended learning champion Tom Vander Ark discusses the practicalities of implementation and addresses the impact on special education.

Online Speech-Language Therapy: HOT Questions. COOL Answers.

Online speech therapy has been tested successfully for the past few years while the technology for delivering remote services has continued to improve. Still, special education directors have burning questions about online therapy. Until now, answers were based on research and theory. Get answers based on real world experience that you can learn from and apply to your district’s special education strategies.

Rural County Tries A New Approach To Related Services: Online Speech Language Therapy

For Special Education Supervisors in Benton County, a rural community in Western Tennessee, finding certified speech language therapists is often difficult. However, Benton County recently used a state-provided assistive technology grant to train partner counties and implement an effective & affordable solution to this problem: integrating traditional therapy delivery models with online speech therapy services. This webinar explores implementing online therapy from multiple perspectives and discusses how blended learning is transforming related services delivery for rural counties such as Benton.

Blended Models: SPED Leaders Share Their Implementation Formulas for Online Speech Therapy

With increasing demand and costs for SPED services, district leaders are seeking new ways to deploy their teams more efficiently. Now, innovative SPED leaders are deploying a “blended” model for related services delivery, combining both online and school-based speech-language therapists. They’re getting promising results: improved student outcomes, tighter integration of SPED with gen ed, and […]

Online OT-For Real! Real Kids. Real Goals. Real Results.

Demand for OT in school settings is growing due to increases in cases of learning disabilities, sensory processing disorder (SPD) and autism combined with the rigors of the Common Core Standards. SPED administrators are trying—and seeing success with—new service delivery options, including using online therapists.

Transforming Special Education in a Challenging Fiscal Environment

How can superintendents get more engaged and lead transformation in this often-confounding area rather than just continuing “business as usual”? This webinar will present practical strategies around staffing, service delivery options and budgeting that can help district leaders lead meaningful change.

Managing Workloads in a Caseload-Driven World

The topic of workload strategies and approach isn’t new, but it is clear that special education leaders play a major role in changing the way we approach service delivery. There is a set of guiding principles that SPED leaders should apply when considering the needs of SLPs and students and when we are ready to move toward workload approach. Workload experts Dr. Barbara Moore and Dr. Judy Rudebusch provide leadership strategies.

Online Occupational Therapy: Really?

Special education leaders recognize a growing need for OT (Occupational Therapy) for K-12 students and the need to use technology to enhance delivery of clinical services. OT practitioners and school districts are now poised to benefit from the delivery of OT services online into educational settings. OT researcher Dr. Rondalyn Whitney and occupational therapist Rosemarie Helton present the whens and hows of online OT — really.

Getting to the Core of the Common Core

Oral language skills (communication competence) are foundational to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). For this reason, SPED leaders expect increased demand for Tier II interventions. How will you address reading and social-skills deficiencies given budget cuts and the need to prepare for CCSS? ASHA leader Dr. Barbara Moore leads the discussion with communications disorder expert Maryellen Moreau to answer this important question and more.

Universal Design for Learning & Assistive Technologies: What Do They Have in Common?

The field of Assistive Technology (AT) addresses important principles that help educators create classrooms that serve the needs of all learners. Kathleen Sadao, EdD, and Nancy Robinson, PhD, leading authors and early childhood specialists are experts in AT and Universal Design for Learning. They share practical strategies and affordable solutions that teachers can implement right away.

Speech Telepractice (Online Speech Therapy): Good, Bad or Ugly?

Although the technology to deliver SLP services at a distance has been available for years, cost and complexity limited its adoption. ASHA leader, Dr. Barbara J. Moore and a panel of special education experts explore how simple, inexpensive technology is enabling a growing number of schools to use telepractice to improve outcomes, address critical personnel shortfalls and fill gaps in speech-language services.

The Five Legal Pitfalls District Leaders Must Avoid This Year

The transition to Common Core Standards, the spread of bullying, reauthorization of IDEA, implementation of RTI, and explosive growth in autism could become legal pitfalls for your district this year. You can avoid legal problems by understanding legislative provisions and by knowing how to avoid common mistakes. Special education legal expert Charles Weatherly takes a look at each of these looming pitfalls and provides timely tips to steer clear.

Online Speech Therapy for Virtual School Students: When, Where and How?

Special education services, including speech-language therapy, must be available to all students, including those who attend online schools. Meeting this need is an ongoing challenge facing SPED directors for virtual schools. Special education researcher Dr. Shari Robertson moderates a panel of experts in helping you understand the “when, where and how” of online speech therapy for virtual school students.

Online Speech Therapy for Charter School Students: When, Where and How?

Charter schools offer diverse learning opportunities and instructional approaches, but as in mainstream schools, all students must have access to special education services, including speech-language therapy. Special education researcher Dr. Shari Robertson moderates a panel of charter school leaders as they share first hand about the effectiveness of online speech language therapy and advice for a smooth implementation.

Understanding and Managing the Growing SLP Shortage

The SLP shortage is a persistent problem and a top concern. Though a wide range of recruitment and retention initiatives have been in place for a decade, the shortage is growing. Why do we have this chronic problem? How will you prepare to meet the need for SLP services as we shift to Common Core State Standards? Dr. Shari Robertson unpacks this issue with an expert on this topic, Karen Roth of Arizona State University.

Shift Happens: New IEP Language for a Common Core World

The transition to the Common Core has kept special education administrators busy helping their staff learn to align IEPs with the new standards. So how does an IEP read in our new Common Core world — especially with respect to speech and language goals? How does your staff need to change their work with students? Dr. Judy Montgomery seeks answers from assistant superintendent Dr. Judy Rudebusch and from Perry Flynn of UNC Greensboro.