T/TAC Topics                                                                                                     May 2017
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Put me first: The importance of people-first language
Did you realize the largest minority group in the United States is people with disabilities? And if you think about it, it's inclusive. It doesn't matter what gender, race or socioeconomic status you come from, you can be a member AND you can join at anytime , whether at birth or later in life (Snow, 2010).
 
Using People First Language-putting the person before the disability-and eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors, can move us in a new direction. People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more-it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees herself!  (Snow, 2017).
 
Think about how you describe others . You are at the park and your young daughter sees a child with a physical disability and asks you "What's wrong with that boy?"  How do you respond?  Do you say "He's disabled" or "He has a physical disability; his legs work differently than ours and he needs his walker to help him walk."  How do you react when you hear someone say "that autistic boy" rather than "Chad has autism."   Using People First Language puts an emphasis on the person before the disability.  As Snow says "A person with a disability is more like people without disabilities than different!" (Snow, 2009).
 
To learn more about using People First Language and to see examples of what to say and what not to say, visit www. http://www.disabilityisnatural.com .
 
References
 
Snow, K. (2017).    People First Language and more.  Retrieved on May 11, 2017 from   http://www.disabilityisnatural.com

  Snow, K. (2010). To ensure inclusion, freedom, and respect for all, it's time to embrace People First Language.  Retrieved on May 10, 2017 from http://www.disabilityisnatural.com
 
Snow, K. (2009).  Examples of People First Language.  Retrieved on May 11, 2017 from http://www.disabilityisnatural.com
 
Evidence-based intervention to develop executive skills
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Peg Dawson and Richard Guare have long been known for their work related to students with attention deficit disorder. In recent years, they have expanded their manual on coaching students with attention deficits to include students with a broad range of executive skill challenges: time and task management, planning, organization, impulse control, or emotional regulation.
 
Coaching students with executive skills deficits
is a how-to guide for Dawson and Guare's evidence-based secondary school coaching intervention. It includes directions for selecting students who would benefit from coaching, conducting goal-setting interviews, planning and conducting daily coaching sessions, and fading supports as students reach their goals.
 
The book also contains materials related to progress monitoring and fidelity of implementation, including data collection and evaluation methods. This is a good resource for any school currently implementing student interventions related to self-determination and executive function. Check out the support website for more information: http://www.smartbutscatteredkids.com.
 
Creating classroom communities
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As teachers prepare to receive students in their classes each year, creating a classroom community should be a priority. Creating a classroom community begins when everyone in the environment feels accepted, works collaboratively with each other and feels supported by their peers and teachers. Teachers who work diligently toward creating classroom communities will aid in the development of each student's academic, developmental and social goals throughout the year. Students that feel protected, accepted and challenged within the classroom can see themselves as part of the bigger picture and will behave as classroom community members and work toward embodying the principles of the classroom culture. 

Creating a classroom community that is conducive to varying intellectual abilities and learning styles paves the way for students to learn how to practice tolerance. Activities that allow students to practice tolerance include the development of rules and routines, providing choices, allowing for organized play, classroom discussions and book studies. Teachers can create a classroom community by varying the seating chart and allowing students to move in and out of differentiated instructional groups. Having students work cooperatively within diverse groups allows them to self-regulate by using community rules and routines and to learn something new about their peers. Teachers can start this process at the beginning of the year and regularly monitor the climate of their classroom community  in meeting the needs of all of the students.  

Library resource:   The educator's guide to solving common behavior problems
The only thing more challenging than working to improve students' behavior is reading a book about working to improve students' behavior. They can be long, in-depth books that make it difficult to discuss as a book study.  The educator's guide to solving common behavior problems by Raymond J. Waller  offers a 112 page quick read to spark conversations around dealing with difficult behavior issues. With chapter titles including,  Just say yo', Move those buns and Don't be an old yeller, Weller infuses humor throughout the book to help generate discussion about difficult situations.

Our P rogram  Specialists have developed a book study for this book. A book study is a great way to learn new information and share knowledge and strategies.  This book study is part of a kit that includes ten copies of the book and discussion questions for the group.  Stop by our library to check out this book study kit, along with other instructional resources.  Our office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30pm.  Can't make it into the office? Some library items can be placed in the mail or delivered to your school.  Call us for more information.
          
VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at VCU 
http://www.ttac.vcu.edu
700 E Franklin Street, Suite 140
P.O. Box 843081
Richmond, VA 23284-3081