Including Students With Disabilities in Advanced Science Classes

Including Students with Disabilities in Advanced Science ClassesThe 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) report Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering indicates that “U.S. citizens and permanent residents earned higher numbers of science and engineering (S&E) doctorates in 2009 than they did in 1999. Since 2008, they’ve earned more doctorates in S&E fields than in non-S&E fields.” In 2010, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued the  Encouraging Minorities to Pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Careers briefing.

These efforts indicate that more and more high school science teachers are and will be teaching students with disabilities in advanced science classes. If you teach Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or honors science courses, you are likely experienced and knowledgeable about science, but you may have little or no experience with special education. Conversely, many special education teachers have little or no experience in teaching advanced science courses.

In their newly published book, Including Students With Disabilities in Advanced Science Classesauthors Lori Howard and Elizabeth Potts explain that advanced or accelerated courses are not usually team taught with a special education teacher and that those teachers may not have ready access to special educators to share strategies for fostering success for those students with disabilities.

This book is a unique resource for teachers of advanced science courses. The authors break down the essentials as follows:

  • Basic Special Education Terms and Laws
  • Working with the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) Team
  • Classroom Considerations: Behavior and Instruction
  • Labs
  • Assistive Technology and Your Classroom

The openness and willingness of teachers to welcome students with disabilities into the classroom is often identified as a key component for student success. As I read this book, I wondered what teachers facing this situation for the first time would be most concerned about. If  you have already taught students with disabilities in your advanced science classes, how would you advise someone to prepare? What was your experience?

Note: This book is also available as an e-book.

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