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Excerpted from Practically Speaking: Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs
Edited by Gloria Soto, Ph.D., & Carole Zangari, Ph.D.
Chapter 6: Academic Adaptations for Students with AAC Needs
By Gloria Soto
©2009. Brookes Publishing. All rights reserved.
Special education legislation has gradually specified that the general education curriculum should be the primary content of the education of students with disabilities and the instructional activities used to implement it are the primary context for these students to receive instruction. The need to develop appropriate adaptations has intensified as students who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are provided access to general curriculum activities. Educators and related services professionals must be able to identify and develop the most appropriate instructional adaptations to support the participation of these students in the general curriculum goals and activities. It can be a daunting task. This chapter discusses current issues and effective practices central to the development of adaptations for students with AAC needs. The chapter begins with a discussion on the access to the general curriculum mandate and then moves to development of adaptations to support the participation of these students in the general curriculum.
ACCESS TO THE GENERAL CURRICULUM: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) of 1997 (PL 105-17) introduced important changes in the provision of special education services for students with disabilities. One of the most significant changes concerns the requirement that students with disabilities receive access to the general curriculum. Specifically, the amendments require that students with disabilities be involved in and make progress in the general curriculum to the maximum extent appropriate (Wehmeyer, Lattin, Lapp-Rincker, & Agran, 2003). The requirement to maximize studentsâ€™ involvement in the general curriculum means that students receiving special education services have the right to participate in the same instructional activities, with the same materials, and in the same progressmonitoring activities used with typically developing students. These mandates were explicitly articulated partly because special education had often been misunderstood as a parallel curriculum and students with disabilities had, for the most part, been omitted from the general education curriculum (Turnbull, Turnbull, Wehmeyer, & Park, 2003).
Spooner and Browder (2006) noted that access to the general curriculum is not synonymous with inclusion. According to IDEA 1997, special education is specially designed instruction to support the childâ€™s participation in the general curriculum, regardless of the setting where the student is being educated. Although general education settings may be easier and more likely to provide access to the general curriculum, inclusion is neither a prerequisite nor synonymous with general curriculum access (Wehmeyer et al., 2003). The focus of the access to the general curriculum mandate is not on where students are to be educated but on what is the content of the studentsâ€™ educational program. Students in all types of education settings must have access to their stateâ€™s general curriculum (Spooner & Browder, 2006).
IDEA 1997 and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 (PL 107-110) further stipulated that states include students with disabilities in large-scale state assessments and specified that those assessments be linked to academic content standards, with accommodations when needed (see Chapter 1 for an extensive discussion of educational assessment). By requiring that all students be included in large-scale assessments and specifying that those assessments be linked to academic content standards, current policy implies the need to align instr
Series Editors and Editorial Advisory Board
About the Editors
1. Educational Assessment Issues
2. Assessment of Early Communication Skills
June E. Downing
3. Language Assessment for Students Who Use AAC
Lisa A. Proctor & Carole Zangari
4. Diagnostic Reading Asssessment for Students with AAC Needs
David A. Koppenhaver, Beth E. Foley, & Amy R. Williams
5. Writing Assessment for Students with AAC Needs
Beth E. Foley, David A. Koppenhaver, & Amy R. Williams
II. Instruction and Intervention
6. Academic Adaptations for Students with AAC Needs
7. Addressing the Communication Demands of the Classroom for Beginning Communicators and Early Language Users
Jennifer Kent-Walsh & Cathy Binger
8. Supporting More Advanced Linguistic Communicators in the Classsroom
Carole Zangari & Gail Van Tatenhove
9. Addressing the Literacy Demands of the Curriculum for Beginning Readers and Writers
Karen A. Erickson & Sally A. Clendon
10. Addressing the Literacy Demands of the Curriculum for Conventional and More Advanced Readers and Writers Who Require AAC
Janice C. Light & David McNaughton
11. Strategies to Support the Development of Positive Social Relationships and Friendships for Students Who Use AAC
Pam Hunt, Kathy Doering, Julie Maier, & Emily Mintz
12. Integrating Assistive Technology with Augmentative Communication
13. Supporting Collaborative Teams and Families in AAC
Nancy B. Robinson & Patti L. Solomon-Rice
14. Consideration of Cognitive, Attentional, and Motivational Demands in the Construction and Use of Aided AAC Systems
Krista M. Wilkinson & Shannon Hennig