PresenceLearning and Highlights Partner To Support Children With Special Needs

NEW YORK, April 21, 2022— PresenceLearning, the leading provider of online therapy solutions for schools and clinicians, unveiled a new strategic partnership with Highlights, the children’s media brand known for their beloved Highlights magazine.  

This new collaboration marks Highlights’ first entry into online therapy in support of children with special needs. Speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavioral and mental health professionals using PresenceLearning’s proprietary platform now have access to an enhanced digital library featuring a curated collection of more than 160 content pieces from Highlights’ extensive catalog. This new content includes games, stories, and activities designed to support each child’s therapy goals for reading comprehension, handwriting, fine motor, and problem-solving skills. It also promotes social and emotional health to support the whole child by educating and nurturing well-rounded and confident children—a core philosophy of Highlights.

When children carry over content experiences from their therapy sessions into their play at home, it helps them to make connections and practice skills that can support their progress. By incorporating familiar characters and fun, purposeful activities into therapy, clinicians have the potential to create more dynamic therapy experiences. With the addition of Highlights content, PresenceLearning continues to invest in brand name, digital content that helps providers personalize and enliven each student’s session. …Read More

Class Solver Reduces COVID-19 Outbreaks through Class List Management

Class Solver the most flexible program for creating and managing class lists, has developed an algorithm that’s been proven to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in schools by 36 percent. The feature builds upon Class Solver’s ability to customize and create class lists based on factors including behavior, academic performance, special needs and parent requests.

“Managing class placement is challenging at the best of times, but with the COVID-19 pandemic we often need to adjust quickly,” said Denielle Toth, Principal at Fricano Primary School in New York. “Class Solver has been invaluable – we’ve been able to create new class lists in minutes while also meeting COVID-19 requirements for our district.”

Class Solver integrates seamlessly with many student management systems. The new “COVID-friendly” algorithm saves time and evaluates factors such as social groups, extracurricular activities, bus routes and household dynamics to determine the impact of interactions at school. The feature follows the recommendations of Ben Schmidt, Director of Digital Humanities and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University, who published data on the correlation between children’s social networks and COVID-19 outbreaks.…Read More

Can audiobooks be the great equalizer for students with learning differences?

Low reading ability is a major contributor to learning inequality in our schools.

An estimated 26 million students have learning differences, including tens of thousands of students with dyslexia, a neurological condition that affects reading and related language-based processing skills.

Unless educators can find new approaches to deliver reading instruction and personalize learning environments for these frustrated learners, many will fail.…Read More

Strategies for changing challenging behaviors of students with autism

“Every individual should be able to access things that they like,” said Monica Fisher, M.Ed., BCBA/COBA, director of the behavior department at Monarch Center for Autism during an edWebinar. “It is our right to engage in preferred activities, spend time with family, and connect with the community. If there are behaviors that you are seeing in your students with disabilities and challenging behaviors that are limiting these rights, then it is something we need to fix as it can have a long-term impact on their quality of life.”

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a technological and professional systematic approach, is designed to analyze and change behavior by identifying a behavioral problem, gathering relevant data, and formulating/testing a hypothesis. Fisher said that while ABA is a useful tool for looking at and changing the challenging behaviors of students with autism, it can apply to different parts of everyone’s lives.

Three-Term Contingency or ABC (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence) goes hand in hand with ABA. ABC is an essential, evidence-based method of examining and changing what people say and do. Fisher explained, “If you want to change behavior, you have to look at the antecedent (action, event, or circumstance that occurs immediately before the behavior) and the consequences (action or response that immediately follows the behavior) applied.”…Read More

7 steps to success in work and life for all students

As educators, we have a responsibility to all students to not only help them achieve academically, but to also prepare them for life as productive, contributing, global citizens.

For our students with disabilities, this is a more involved and comprehensive process. These students require repetition and hands-on experiences to acquire the skills necessary for success beyond school walls.

At Salem High School in Virginia, we’ve developed a comprehensive approach to educating our students with cognitive delays. In doing so, we have implemented a program that strives to send our students across the stage equipped for the working world and prepared to live as independently as possible. Here are the seven steps we take to make this vision a reality.…Read More

10 apps for students with special needs

High-quality, effective teachers know how to use technology to engage students and elevate their learning—and they also know students of all abilities can use technology to assist with learning.

A variety of tools and resources, including apps for tablets and mobile devices, can meet the varying needs of students with disabilities and other special needs.

The apps in this list can be used by students with autism, students with communication challenges, those who need social assistance, and more.…Read More

If you give a kindergartner a Chromebook…

Although even the youngest children are considered tech-savvy today, there exists a difference between a child who knows how to use a tablet to watch videos and a child who knows how to navigate a device for active learning.

The thought of giving 30 kindergarten students their own Chromebooks might be daunting. But for one classroom, the move yielded some surprising results for student engagement, learning progress, and for students with special needs.

“We had surprising outcomes from students with special needs,” said Jamie Morgan, an elementary school teacher in the Wichita Falls ISD in Texas. In her classroom, she had students with ADHD, ODD, autism, visual disabilities, intellectual delays, and gifted and talented students. “Chromebooks made it really, really easy to differentiate instruction–I can’t imagine doing the differentiation that needed to be done without having the Chromebooks,” she said.…Read More

PresenceLearning’s fall webinars to focus on closing achievement gap for students with special needs

PresenceLearning, provider of telemedicine/telehealth services in education and health care, is launching a free, three-part webinar series for special education leaders this fall. The series, “Results Matter – Closing the Achievement Gap,” will kick off on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific with “Results Driven Accountability: Where Were We? Where Are We? Where Do We Go Next?” led by RDA expert Dr. Alan Coulter.

To register for the webinar, visit http://www.presencelearning.com/sped-ahead-webinar/results-driven-accountability-where-were-we-where-are-we-where-do-we-go-next/.

In March 2012, the Department of Education announced it was taking new steps – what is referred to as Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) – to close the achievement gap for students with disabilities by shifting from a focus on procedural compliance to increased attention on educational outcomes. During the webinar, Dr. Coulter will discuss the current state of RDA and how it is affecting special education leaders. He will provide a timely update on RDA, explore the implications of RDA, and offer up guidance on where RDA is heading and how educators can prepare for it. As a result of the webinar, attendees will be able to:…Read More

Improving online accessibility for students a major issue for schools

As schools make recorded lessons available to students online, they may not be making them accessible

accessibility-ccIn February, advocates for the deaf filed federal lawsuits against Harvard and M.I.T., stating that both universities violated antidiscrimination laws by failing to provide closed captioning in their online lectures, courses, podcasts, and other educational materials. In Harvard and M.I.T. Are Sued Over Lack of Closed Captions, the New York Times highlighted portions of the complaint and zeroed in on the fact that, “Much of Harvard’s online content is either not captioned or is inaccurately or unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Applying ADA to Online Education

This new case highlights a particularly controversial subject in an era where more colleges and K-12 schools are making lectures available online and developing related content that may not always be accessible to students with disabilities. Sheryl Burgstahler, founder and director of University of Washington’s DO-IT Center and UW Access Technology Center (ATC) in Seattle, says part of the issue lies in confusion over exactly how the American Disabilities Act applies to the world of online education.…Read More