Helping Students with Special Needs Demonstrate Comprehension
So, you are working on a cut and paste project and you ask a student “Do you want the glue or the scissors, Johnny?” and Johnny’s answer is… “Johnny”. How often have you had a student that, when asked a question, always states the last choice or word spoken? Or you have a student who, when given a field of two or three visuals to select an answer from, always chooses the one on the right (or left, or center)?
Difficulty answering who, what, when, where and why questions limit a student’s ability to actively participate in group activities, demonstrate comprehension, and express choices. Using visuals as a form of expression is a well-known strategy and actively used in most special education classroom. Visuals and assistive technology were always heavily integrated into my instruction, but I found it to be labor-intensive when I wanted to use them for assessment of new material.
Helping students who are non-verbal, have echolalia or difficulty answering “wh” questions can be a challenge. Yet the ability to demonstrate comprehension is the essential component in determining whether or not a student has learned a skill or concept.
To streamline preparation, I created a comprehension tool that allows non-verbal student to actively participate in small group activities as well as demonstrate comprehension across their curriculum. The tool is made up of eleven generic questions. Prior to the activity, you place visuals on all the questions you will be using. The question is read aloud, and after selecting their answer the student removes the visual (their answer) and places it on the confirming sentence.
I have found that students enjoy the interactive aspect of this comprehension tool. They are often much more engaged in activities, instruction and assessments when they are reading along with the question and actively pulling off and placing the visual on the Velcro.
With alternate assessments just around the corner, you might want to give this product a try. Together with the free visuals available from enable2learn, I think you’ll love this time-saving, versatile tool. At just $5.00, it is a tool that you will want to use year after year, across curriculums, for data collection and to actively engage your students.