Tag Archives: IDEA

Shopping at the Grocery Store

There are numerous hidden tasks that we undertake while at the grocery store. We process them so quickly or subconsciously that we are not aware of these steps.

As a result, we may overlook these steps while educating students on life skills such as grocery shopping. Subsequently, these steps may not be part of the programming or teaching at school and therefore generalization is left for another day. Yet, the purpose of IDEA is, in essence, preparing students for life, including “independent living.”

To address this, we can take a task analysis approach in which we break down the act of shopping at a grocery store into a sequence of discrete steps or tasks (see excerpt of the task analysis document below).

Step 1 is to administer a baseline pretest during which we start with no prompting to determine if the student performs each task and how well each is performed. As necessary, prompting is provided and respective documentation is entered into the table (to indicate prompting as opposed to independent completion). For example, I worked with a client who understood the meaning of the shopping list but started off for the first item without a basket or cart. I engaged him with a discussion about how he would carry the items. At one point I had him hold 7 grapefruits and it became apparent to him that he needed a cart. (I documented this in the document.)

Other issues that arose were parking the cart in the middle of the aisle, finding the appropriate section of the store but struggling to navigate the section for the item (e.g. at one point I prompted him to read the signs over the freezer doors), and mishandling the money when prompted to pay by the cashier announcing the total amount to pay.

Step 2 is to identify a task or sequence of tasks to practice in isolation based on the results of the pretest. For example, this could involve walking to a section of the store and prompting the student to find an item. Data collection would involve several trials of simply finding the item without addressing any other steps of the task analysis.

Step 3 would be to chain multiple steps together, but not the entire task analysis yet. For example, having the student find the appropriate section and then finding the item in the section.

Eventually, a post-test can be administered to assess the entire sequence to identify progress and areas needing more attention.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Standards Based IEPs

At the turn of the century education has seen a standards based reform movement, e.g NCLB. IDEA 2004 reflects this with a change in the focus of an IEP towards curriculum standards. What does this mean? The focus of academic based IEP goals and objectives should be strictly aligned with the curriculum standards. This helps to make the general curriculum accessible for all students – to the extent possible.

For example, in the past a math IEP objective may be written based on weaknesses found in psychological tests regardless if this was in the curriculum covered in the life of the new IEP. Maybe a student had trouble with calculations with fractions on the testing so an objective would focus on improving these types of calculations even if the class was not going to cover calculations with fractions.

These new types of IEPs are called Standards Based IEPs. Here are a couple of links.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Purpose of Special Education

purspose of special educationAfter taking a course in special education law I have come to realize that most parents and educators, including many special education teachers, do not know the purpose of special education. I am not an expert but have researched the issue beyond simply reading IDEA. Here is a file with slides (including the one in the photo above) from a presentation I give on this topic.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: