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The Mainstreaming Handbook

How to Be an Advocate for Your Special-Needs Students

By Deborah Coughlin

As a regular classroom teacher, you might have students who don’t qualify for special services, but are in still need of special help. The Mainstreaming Handbook shows you how you can accommodate all needs and be an advocate —without having to resort to poor teaching.

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This is a handbook for regular classroom teachers with students who don’t necessarily qualify for special services, but are in need of special help nonetheless: Children who suffer from learning disabilities, ADD, asthma, or allergies. Children who are in foster care or victims of physical abuse. Children who live in a car or whose parents sell drugs. Children like these are becoming a growing part of today’s classrooms, and as a regular classroom teacher, you face the challenging task of seeing that their needs are met—as well as the needs of your twenty-five other students. The Mainstreaming Handbook proves it is possible.

Deborah Coughlin has never been trained in special education: she is a classroom teacher retracing the processes and questions that guided her efforts to advocate and accommodate the special-needs students in her classroom. Her inquiries educated her with regard to the laws, procedures, and politics involved in working with these students. Her inquiries also helped her come to her own understandings and make her own adjustments when accommodating varying needs in the classroom. Coughlin shares the knowledge she gained in this book, explaining:

  • the rationale behind the federal laws, codes, mainstreaming, and more
  • how federal laws pertain to students
  • what your legal responsibilities are as a teacher
  • how you can use this information in the classroom
  • how you can apply this information to curriculum and theories of teaching and learning
  • how you can assess and evaluate students—and their work samples
  • how you can create goals and curriculum based upon demonstrated need and assessments
  • how you can develop a curricular program based upon sound literacy practices that accommodates all needs and children
  • how you can create a schoolwide literacy program.
The bottom line is that you can follow the law, accommodate all needs, and be an advocate for your students—without having to resort to poor teaching. The Mainstreaming Handbook shows you how.

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