Assisting Struggling Students

This post is the second in a series based on a transcript from a recent Q&A with Dr. Alan Coulter as part of his webinar, “Prepare for Impact: 3 Key Questions About RDA for Every SPED Administrator.” Questions came directly from audience participants — special education directors, special educators and clinicians, and answers are from Dr. Coulter. Click here to see additional questions from the Q&A.

As expectations increase, there is significant pressure on student with severe learning disabilities and others to achieve. How can we assist these students when they are struggling everyday just to keep up with their peers?

The most important thing that adults can do is to help model for struggling students and show them how to organize their time and use it wisely. I think while there is a heavy emphasis on academic achievement, we also need to pay attention to the social-emotional needs of these children, because in many instances if we ignore the social-emotional needs, we are not going to get the kind of performance and achievement that we really want. Adults can do a lot to model for students with significant disabilities and show them how to handle themselves in challenging situations. I would also recommend watching Dr. Barry Prizant’s webinar “Family Collaboration: An Essential Element for SPED Success” for tips on working with parents to better understand their children as learners to also help them work at home to reinforce what we are doing at school.

Dr. Alan Coulter is an expert in special education accountability, and has worked at the federal, state, and local level on accountability issues for over twenty-five years. He has served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, and is currently the Director of Education Initiatives and an Associate Professor at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences and Human Development Center. Alan is also the director of the TIERS Group (Teams Intervening Early to Reach all Students). TIERS consults with state DOEs and district administrators on the quality and use of special education data. Alan is a key participant in the national discussion regarding Results Driven Accountability and focused monitoring.  His scholarly work and research is widely published in academic journals.