For one thing these bundled curriculums that are sold specifically for special need's students do not take into account that cognitively no two neurologically diversed students are on the same level developmentally. There is vast spaces on the spectrum of autism alone not to mention the many other cognitive impairments that effect learning. Just because children have the same diagnosis and are in the same grade doesn't mean they can function of the same level intellectually. The one size fits all plan of education for all students is not a plan, it is sales tactic, driven by marketing and commerce. Following someone's designed plan as how to educate my child is hard for me to just blindly accept especially when I have never met the creator of the program and they have never assessed my child. I compare it to allowing a stranger to buy clothes for your child, who has never seen your kid and bases their purchase on your child's age or grade. It basically comes down to someone forcing their consciousness and agenda your child. Maybe it fits, maybe it doesn't. Who is writing the curriculum is as important as what is in it. Common core or state standards, it doesn't matter, the question ultimately is where are they taking my child? How are they preparing him for his future. So why do we blindly follow these so called experts?
Defining the students needs requires some assessment. I look at what we need academically as:
A. What we need now?
B. Where are we going next? - What we will need at the next developmental level?
C. Big Picture-where we are going in the big picture?
D.What does my child want to learn and How do I best teach to how his brain learns it?
At this point my son is young and needs more guidance at learning the basic core concepts of how to learn and what is considered a primary education. He will grow into a more self designing learner as he finds his own way. As he has a harder time assessing his own needs at this time, I have to observe and assess more for him and make adaptations in the classroom, so he can eventually self educate as a life long learner. He does lead and I do follow his needs and desires. How he learns and the flow of his thoughts is how I gear his lesson's or focus the lens on what I am going to bring to him, to engage and sequence his learning. To me learning is thinking. If I am the source of what he will learn and how, I need to constantly reassess his needs and I must create a rhythmical flow of his needs based on my observation of them.
Considering the end needs is crucial in evaluating the whole picture. Ultimately marketable skills fall into necessity. We must pay the rent and eat.
Along the way to living authentically independent lives comes the desire to do meaningful work.
Satisfaction with oneself is paramount and I focus on the intention to teach/mentor to all my kids the way to a skill or skills where they can develop the ability to be creative.
The emotional intellegence skills of being adaptive, resilient and able are equally as important. You need a boat load of faith to get by and you need confidence and the discipline to keep going and bounce back in a world that will knock you down.
I have a visual learner with high functioning ability to spatially size things up. My learners is creative and artistic, can work for long times at what interest him. Amazingly ability to detail he works best alone. Another strength is his an acute senses and fine tuned sensory perception. He is interested in science, art, designing, gaming, engineering, some math, geometry and algebra. He likes nature and animals. He is social and likes people but struggles with social skills. Almost photographic visual memory and universal pitch in music.
Ultimately this rules. We only learn what we want to well so why not embrace it and bring the lesson into the perimeters of the students interest. Make it interesting, Make it something they want to learn. If it isn't change it into something they are interested in. The individual's educational plan is all about what the child is willing to learn.
I refuse to think in this way. Limits can be strengths. It all depends on your thinking and thoughts.
Instruction and materials.
I am a firm believer in using whatever it takes to teach. One hundred different tools or the one, the tools can be homemade or specifically geared for what ever you are wanting to learn and teach with it. I like open ended questions and materials. I am educating a problem solver, I am instructing a life long learner and i want to cultivate that longing to know, I am educating a whole person and I do not know what his life will be or where he will go as he makes his way and finds his own purpose as to why he is here on our planet living. My hope is to have the wisdom to prepare him for his purpose whatever that will be. My favorite question for my learner is: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO LEARN TODAY.