50 best blogs for special ed teachers (updated) — from onlineuniversities.com


While being a teacher is never easy, working with students in special education comes with some unique challenges. From writing lengthy IEPs to working closely with parents and other teachers, it takes a calm, collected, organized, confident, and very special person to work with students who often need a great deal more support and assistance than their peers to succeed. Yet even the best special education teachers can use a little guidance, inspiration, and information to help them to be even better at what they do. That’s just what the 50 blogs we’ve collected here can do. Read through this updated list (a revision of this list to reflect new blogs and to remove old, no-longer-updated sites) to find resources that will help you teach, learn, and grow right alongside your students.


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Back to School Info on Your Child
As you prepare to meet new teachers and professionals for the new school year IMDSA has a great resource to help you make the transition smoother. On our website IMDSA has a booklet called “All About Me”. The booklet can easily be printed and filled out with information about your child. You can give the booklet to the various professionals and teachers to easily acquaint them with your child and their diagnosis of mosaic Down syndrome. To view and print the booklet go to http://imdsa.org/Resources/Documents/Information/All_About_Me_Booklet_IMDSA.pdf. We hope this is a helpful resource for you to prepare for the coming school year!


From DSC:
I especially like the parts about the truths and myths of Mosaic Down Syndrome here — which can be very helpful to teachers.  Perhaps others will appreciate this section as well.

Also, the older I get, the less I believe there is a “normal” anymore. Along those lines, you might be interested in the following book:


The Short Bus


or this
Kindle edition from 2010.

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EnableTalk turns sign language into speech, wins Imagine Cup prize — from fastcompany.com by Christina Chaey
A trio of Ukrainian students built a $50 device that could help hundreds of millions of hearing-impaired people.


More than 275 million hearing-impaired people are unable to use speech to communicate. Sign language is one solution, but it’s only as helpful as the number of people who know the language. That problem is what drove three Ukrainian students to develop EnableTalk, a pair of sensory gloves that help bridge that communication gap by turning sign language into speech.

Talking to machines and being heard : Getting started with speech recognition — from uxmag.com by Dave Rich


Speech recognition presents an exciting and dynamic set of challenges and opportunities for UX designers. With the mass-market reception of consumer technologies such as Apple’s Siri and the near-omnipresence of speech in telephone applications, speech recognition is a computer–human interface many people interact with daily. Speech applications range from self-service telephone systems such as banking applications, to mobile applications that allow users to speak commands and compose messages with their voice. In the future, we can expect to see many different applications integrate speech recognition in some form. The time is near when speech will be the most universal user interface.

Addendum on 7/12/12:

Autism Expressed helps autistic children learn about the Internet — from techcrunch.com by Jordan Crook


The Internet is an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s also a very dangerous place. Because of this, children with autism and other disabilities often can’t leverage the power of the web, which is a place where you should be able to learn anything.

But Autism Expressed, a startup we discovered on our TC Philly Mini Meetup, is looking to educate autistic children about the Internet so they can have a safe surfing experience and enjoy social media like the rest of us.

Dozens of iPad Apps for young students on the Spectrum, at your fingertips — from emergingedtech.com by K. Walsh and Gemma Jones
Apple’s popular tablet can be a great tool for students, parents, and teachers dealing with PDD and Autism Spectrum Disorders, or with other learning disabilities or special needs.


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As used by Khan Academy…




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Premium Captioning & Transcription Services


 Addendum on 6/20/12:

  • Why and how to caption? — from Luis Perez
    The Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning has created an excellent video showing how real people are impacted by the lack of captioning. The title of the video says it all: “Don’t Leave Me Out”.

 Addendums on 6/21/12:

Addendum on 7/2/12:



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How the blind are reinventing the iPhone — from TheAtlantic.com by Liat Kornowski
At first many blind people thought that the iPhone would never be accessible to them, with its flat glass screen. But the opposite has proved true.

Students benefit using iPads for speech therapy — from keloland.com by Nicole Winters
We’ve seen how iPads can be used in traditional classrooms for learning. They’re also proving to be beneficial for Special Education students. One Sioux Falls Speech Therapist says she’s seeing the benefits with her students.

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AutisMate by SpecialNeedsWare

Description of app:

AutisMate is an autism communication, therapy, and learning tool that promotes communication, functional skills, generalization, task analysis, independence, and social skills in people with Autism. AutisMate allows those with autism to communicate through familiar scenes, large images of their environment that can include video, symbols, and social stories as well. Parents and therapists can easily add their own videos and images, symbols (over 12,000 included), custom voice recordings, and synthesized voices to fully and easily customize the app for its user’s current and future needs. The app was designed specifically for the language, speech, generalization, and categorization challenges that individuals with autism often face. GPS reduces navigation by presenting users with scenes from their current location. Making custom word boards for different categories with symbols or your own images is made very simple, and users can get to them with just a click. There’s no difficult navigation, which children with autism often struggle with, as found in many other speech apps out there today.

I originally saw this at:

  • Labor of love: Developer creates iPad app to help his autistic brother — from techcrunch.com by Chris Velazco
    When Jonathan Izak graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, he decided to put his new degree in Computer Science to very good use. In an effort to help his 10-year old autistic brother Oriel communicate and learn new tasks, he developed a new iPad app called Autismate to try and simplify the process.

From DSC:
Arguably, Sal Kahn has become the most famous, influential educator on the planet today — his videos are watched millions of times a day now.  The question — which Eric Schmidt answers in the piece — I couldn’t help but ask was, “Why didn’t this type of innovation come from someone who was working in education at the time of their innovation?”

My thanks to Dr. Kate Byerwalter and her colleagues for passing along this resource.
The tags/associated categories for this posting point out the relevant areas covered.


Khan Academy: The future of education?

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  • Khan Academy: The future of education?
    (CBS News) Sal Khan is a math, science, and history teacher to millions of students, yet none have ever seen his face. Khan is the voice and brains behind Khan Academy, a free online tutoring site that may have gotten your kid out of an algebra bind with its educational how-to videos. Now Khan Academy is going global. Backed by Google, Gates, and other Internet powerhouses, Sal Khan wants to change education worldwide, and his approach is already being tested in some American schools. Sanjay Gupta reports.

From DSC:
A relevant graphic comes to mind with what Sal is trying to achieve with analytics:

i.e. Highly-effective diagnostic tools for the educators and trainers out there!



From DSC:
My dad forwarded this link to me recently…and though I don’t know the words that this beautiful lady is singing, her joy is contagious and she seems beautiful both on the inside and the outside.  Enjoy and give thanks!


The strength of the human spirit

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ghotit.com -- spelling and grammar checker for people with dyslexia

From DSC:
Ofer Chermesh alerted me to a product of his company called Ghotit. I don’t know much about it, but I wanted to post it here in case folks are looking for a tool such as this.

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Multimedia lectures: Tools for improving accessibility and learning– from Faculty Focus by Mary Bart


College course work is meant to be challenging. The content and the vocabulary used are often unfamiliar to many students. For at-risk learners, the challenges are even greater. In some cases, these students have physical or learning disabilities that create accessibility issues, other times the challenges may be the result of the fact that they’re an international student, have anxiety issues, or a strong learning style preference that runs counter to the instructor’s style.

For all of these reasons and more, today’s student body is a highly diverse group with many different learning challenges, often manifesting in problems with notetaking and listening comprehension. All of this creates what Keith Bain calls an “accessibility imperative.” And although there are many legal obligations that institutions must satisfy with regards to accessibility, Bain says recording and transcribing lectures can improve retention and success for all types of students.

Using theater to teach social skills — from Harvard Graduate School of Education by Patti Hartigan
Researchers document improvements for children with autism
Volume 28, Number 1 | January/February 2012


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  • Yes folks, it’s artificial artificial artificial intelligence
    This is about using what The Economist calls artificial artificial intelligence (like Mechanical Turk, which uses people as artificial computers) to enhance (artificially intelligent) machine vision
    The idea is that the disabled can finally turn the tables on disability. They’re getting involved in developing tools to help the rest of us help them.

    Real-Time Crowd Support for People with Disabilities
  • VizWiz.org

— I originally saw this at Steve Knode’s December 2011 newsletter

Review: Top iPad Guide for Teaching Special Needs Students — from gettingsmart.com by Sarah Cargill

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© 2021 | Daniel Christian