ERIC Number: ED498501
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: N/A
Research-Based Interventions and Practices in Special Education: A Parent's Guide for Understanding. Information and Questions to Ask at IEP Team Meetings
Copenhaver, John; Rudio, Jack
Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center (MPRRC)
The No Child Left Behind Act was designed primarily to ensure educational accountability through schools producing positive results or outcomes for educational efforts. With this policy change, a need exists to provide parents information that describes the evidence basis for curriculum materials and interventions that are being used in special education programs and answer questions that parents should ask at their child's individual education program (IEP) meetings about educational interventions and strategies. The authors define scientifically based research as research that: (1) Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observations or experiment; (2) Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn; (3) Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide valid data across evaluators and observers and across multiple measurements and observations; and (4) Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review. Special education interventions that have been validated with experimental research investigations include: (1) Task Analysis (the process of breaking down a behavior or task into specific steps and teaching them to a child in a sequence one at a time until mastery is achieved; (2) Behavior and Environmental Analysis (precisely defining the behavior to be changed, applying an intervention to observe a response change, and continually altering the conditions affecting the student both before and after the response occurs); (3) Multi-sensory (the combined use of Visual, Auditory, Kinesthesis, and Tactile senses, reinforcing concepts using one or more avenues of the child's senses); (4) Cooperative Learning (group activity involving students with a common academic and social level); and (5) Direct instruction as a vehicle for drill and practice. Recognizing that teaching students with disabilities is not a perfect science, and there are no guarantees children will experience successful outcomes with their special education program the authors urge parents and educators to continually strive to ensure that curriculum materials, strategies, and interventions used for their students are as evidenced-based as possible and ensure practitioners implement those programs as they are designed. The authors suggest a "Top Ten" list of questions for parents to ask regarding the research base of the program being suggested: (1) Is my child's reading program based on solid research regarding how children learn to read?; (2) Are the IEP goals connected or aligned with the general education curriculum?; (3) Have the interventions listed on my child's IEP (supplementary aids and services) been proven to work?; (4) If the methods do not work for my child, will the school try other strategies?; (5) Are the interventions and strategies based on my child's strengths, interests, and learning style?; (6) Explain the materials and strategies the school will use to instruct my child and if they have a research base; (7) How do I as a parent know that scientifically based approaches/materials are being implemented?; (8) Has the methodology for my child been peer-reviewed and validated to work?; (9) Are all the teachers and para-educators assigned to teach my child highly qualified according to State standards? and (10) Do they have expertise/training in the approach designated by the IEP team and if not, how will the approaches be provided? The authors remind parents that not all recommended strategies and materials may have a scientific base. Particularly for such strategies and/or materials, results should be evaluated frequently to ensure they are working for the individual child.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Teaching Methods, State Standards, Cognitive Style, Task Analysis, Special Education, Individualized Education Programs, Educational Research, Intervention, Observation, Data Analysis, Student Behavior, Behavior Problems, Environmental Influences, Multisensory Learning, Cooperative Learning, Drills (Practice), Disabilities, Special Needs Students, Reading Programs, Curriculum, Regular and Special Education Relationship, Student Needs, Parent Role, Parent School Relationship, Peer Evaluation, Program Effectiveness, Teacher Qualifications, Teamwork
Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center. 1780 North Research Parkway Suite 112, Logan, UT 84341. Tel: 435-752-0238; Fax: 435-753-9750; Web site: http://www.rrfcnetwork.org/mprrc
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Utah State Univ., Logan. Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001