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TERESA TABER DOUGHTY: When we're lookingat the federal definition, it is an individualwho has subaverage general intellectual functioning,meaning that on IQ tests, their IQ score comes outat least two standard deviations below the mean.It is an individual who also has significant challenges whenit comes to engaging in social behaviorsor adaptive behaviors.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And both of these things occur typicallywithin the developmental period whichis between birth and age 18.And so an individual who has these three coexistingconditions would be identified as someonewith an intellectual disability.What is the difference between an intellectual and a learningdisability?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: The difference between the two isthat an intellectual disability arethe three elements-- subaverage general intellectualfunctioning, significant deficitswith adaptive behavior, and then itoccurs during the developmental period.When someone has a learning disability,they do not have an intellectual disability,but they may have challenges whenit comes to language skills, and especiallywhen it manifest itself with reading and listeningcomprehension or doing mathematical calculations.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But there is no coexisting intellectual disability.What are some of the causes of intellectual disability?There are actually multiple causesof intellectual disability.They can range anywhere from chromosomal abnormality,such as trisomy 21, which is also known as Down syndrome,to Klinefelter syndrome, to fragile X syndrome.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: There are environmental factors such as-- fetal alcoholsyndrome is a major cause of intellectual disability.Smoking and things like gestational issueslike gestational diabetes may be a triggerfor causing intellectual disability.We also have things like metabolic disorders,like Phenylketonuria, which is PKU.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And that's all infants now are testedfor this metabolic disorder at birthbecause it can be controlled by diet.Other issues or other causes could alsobe-- it could be trauma at birth, a lack of oxygenat birth.But there are actually seven or eight reasons.There's also unknown etiology.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We have infants who are born with anencephaly,which is underdeveloped brains.We have children who are born with hydrocephaly, whichis excess cerebrospinal fluid on the brain, whichcauses the brain damage.And we don't know why those things occur,but they may be manifested at birthand we would find it then.Some of the most common that we seetoday causes or intellectual disabilitiesthat we see-- probably the most well known as Down syndrome,simply because people recognize the facial and physicalcharacteristics of someone who has Down syndrome.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But another high incidence rate isamong individuals who have fragile X syndrome.They also have some distinct physical characteristics,but it seems to be that it's being identifiedmore often than in the past.Klinefelter syndrome is another syndrome,and that's usually with males whoend up with an extra X chromosome-- and again,more physical characteristics.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But those seem to be the three most common that we see.And then the most preventable one, of course,is as a result of fetal alcohol syndromeAnd we see quite a number of childrenwho, because of drug or alcohol, may end upwith an intellectual disability.How can we recognize these intellectual disabilitiesin the classroom?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: There are actually several characteristics we see.One might be attention issues.Many children with an intellectual disabilityhave challenges when it comes to attendingto what's important during the day.They may be easily distracted.We have children who may not generalize skills very well.For example, they might not learnto find the bathroom in the school versus findingthe bathroom when they're out in the community.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: So they're not necessarily generalizing that skillfrom one setting to another.We have students who also have issues with memory.And a lot of times, that deals with theydon't have a very efficient memory processin terms of storing information in short-termto long-term memory.They maybe misfile information.So recalling what they need to recallcan sometimes be a challenge.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Many children with intellectual disabilityalso experience communication and language difficulties.And they often, of course, because of the adaptivebehavior issues, we see it also with their abilityto effectively socialize in an age-appropriate manner.All of those together, it becomes very clearthat we have someone who has some exceptional needs,and we need to identify specific strategies to work with them.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Some of the effective instructional strategiesthat we use with children with intellectual disabilitiesin the classroom include things like systematic instruction.We want to engage students in organized instructionsso that they can learn to go from step 1 to step 10,and so we may use something called a task analysis.Often, we put assistive technologies in place.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: In fact, those are the tools thathelp us to be really successful with students.Things like using interactive whiteboards, and iPads,and other-- just computers we have foundhave allowed children to learn more effectivelyand efficiently in the classroom.These are the tools that help us.The type of curriculum we're using with children.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I know children with intellectual disabilities whoare on the lower end of the spectrum oftenbenefit tremendously from following a functionalcurriculum, where they're working on real lifeskills on a daily basis and incorporating real lifekind of academics throughout their day.Another real effective strategy that we've usedis community-based instruction.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And we found that many of our studentsbenefit greatly because they're learning the skills that theyneed to use out in the real settings and settingswhere they're going to use those skills.How do we use assistive technologieswith children with intellectual disabilities?Multiple ways.And in fact, it's been in my experience over the last 30years in this field, I have found that the technologieshave grown tremendously from using just regular calculatorsin the classroom to using iPads and iPhones to teach studentsto follow instructions when they're out in the community,to shop when they're out in the community,to calculate a tip when they're sitting in a restaurantby using their iPhone.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We have put picture-prompting systems, video modeling systemson iPads and iPhones that studentsare able to use across school and community environments.They're able to take them on to job sites.They can complete an entire job during a dayjust by following visual or auditory prompts deliveredusing technology.What we find is that assistive technology is reallya tool that has opened a lot of doorsand allowed us to be more effective as educators--but also providing these individualswe serve so much more independenceso that they go from depending on a teacherto tell them what to do to using this electronic device thatwill then prompt them throughout their day.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And it's amazing to see the results.They will go from completely dependent to completelyindependent in just one step, and that'shanding them that iPhone.The effectiveness of assistive technologyis usually pretty quick.We find that many of the studentsthat we have are pretty much digital natives.They're not afraid of the technology.They are around it every day.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And usually what we do is we teach themhow to use the device if they don't alreadyknow how to use an iPad or an iPhone.And once we show them what we want to door which icon we want them to press, it's just one step.And typically, the students are able to pick it upvery quickly.And I think that's one of the thingsI've learned about the students I've served,is that I can never underestimate their abilities.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I never put a limit on them because every new technologythat I've brought in to work with them,they surpassed my expectations, because it has justopened doors left and right.So I imagine if I looked back 25 years at whatwe were doing then and what we're doing today,suddenly our students are much more competent simplybecause we've handed them the tools that theyneed to be successful.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We test students with intellectual disabilitiesusing standardized as well as nonstandardized assessments.Just to be diagnosed with an intellectual disability,we usually use something like a Stanford Binet, or a WISC-R.They are big standardized assessments that a schoolpsychometrist would administer, or a psychologist,to determine where their IQ level falls.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And at the same time, we're also doingtests for adaptive behavior.And those can be very formal testsor they can be more informal.So we have AAMD, which is the adaptive behavior scale.We also have nonstandardized assessments,which are more observational in nature.We have interviews that we'll do with parents.We'll give them checklists to do.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We will do observations of the studentacross various environments.We'll do academic kind of assessments.We'll look at reading, writing, mathematics.And we will put all of those togetherto really form a picture of wherethat student is functioning.And I always try to caution the pre-service teachersthat I prepare that the numbers that come out of thatare just numbers.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: You can't base your instructional strategies juston these general assessments thatare done to get someone diagnosed.You then need to go in and actuallywork with the individual because these individuals are notnumbers.They are people.They have many, many strengths.And it's our job to go in and find outwhat their strengths are-- also to find outwhat their challenges are.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But we build upon the strengths, and then weprovide accommodations for whatever their weaknessesor challenges may be.And when we take that kind of approach,we're able to better include students across classrooms,across community settings, and reallyenhance their strong points so that theycan engage in life and learning.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: In identifying strengths and weaknesses for the childrenthat we've served, most of the timeit's through observation and providing themwith opportunities and experiences.So for example, I taught at the secondary level for many yearsand I had students out on job settings.And that was a real eye opener because prior to that,they were only in a self-contained classroomwith me and so we were very limited in whatwe were able to do every day.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Once I took them out in the community,suddenly I realized these were very social students.They would engage with the other employees at the business.When I gave them a task to do-- we were in a restaurant,and I showed them maybe three times how to load and unloadthis big commercial dishwasher-- they had itand they were able to do it.And suddenly, they were interacting on their ownwith co-workers.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: They were able to go on break and purchasewhat they needed at break.And it was stunning to see suddenlyall these skills explode just simplybecause they're given an opportunity.At the same time, you can also seewhen they're in those real settingsand using real skills where there might be a weakness.Sometimes it may be a communication challenge.We have many students who are nonverbal and requiresome kind of augmentative communication.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: When they're in those settings and theydon't have that communication device or skill to use,then it becomes very apparent that that'sgoing to be a challenge and that'swhere we need to make some accommodations to givethat child a voice so that they can engage moreeffectively in their environment.But I think it's only through giving students the opportunityto be involved and to experience all those activities that wethen are able to see where the challenges are.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And at that point, that's when we make the accommodationsand they just keep going.When these students have success, they love the idea of,and the feeling you get from, being successful and beingrecognized for the things you are able to do.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It gives them the ability to then go out and continueto do more.I think that's the approach that we as educatorsalways need to take, and that is a positive approach.We're always looking at what can this child do,we reinforce them for those skills,and we give them the opportunity once they're out there.These students just always amaze me.I have always been amazed by once they're out there doingit, what more they're able to do that I had no idea.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: For positive reinforcement, when Iwant to encourage a child to continueto do what they're doing, it's a lot of verbal praise,it's high fives.You try to differentiate what you'redoing because after all, if you're always saying good job,that gets old and it no longer becomes positively reinforcing.But you try to make whatever reinforcementyou're providing age appropriate.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: So it would be very different for a five-year-oldversus a 15-year-old when you're giving them reinforcement.The verbal reinforcement you providewill be very different, as well as the physical.So if you're giving them high fives or fist bumpsor whatever is the current way that kids reallywant to interact, it's going to vary according to their age.But I think the key is really finding outwhat the child will respond to.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Not everybody will respond to good job.They may not like to be touched, and so won'tgive you a high five.And so you try to find out what the child likes,what will end up in increasing their behavior,and then that's what you do.So everybody's going to be different.There have been arguments, pro or con,about providing a label for a childwith a disability for years.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Some of the reasons why people don't like to do itis because giving the label of an intellectual disabilitycan be very stigmatizing.It can set low expectations for teachers and othersin the community who may know that this person hasthat label.And so they may think that oh, well, hehas an intellectual disability, so they use it as an excuseto not expect behaviors, to not expect them to performas well as other people.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: On the other hand, the arguments for labeling is,and probably the biggest that I've encountered,is that by giving a child this label,it opens the door for services, for special education services.The only way to get access to most specialized servicesunder today's educational system is through special education.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We can make accommodations, in thereare other models that we're trying.But especially the more severe the disability,special education is the way that theyget those real specialized services.And when they transition out into adulthood,there are a lot of agencies that will provide supportsto individuals with disabilities.And oftentimes, it's if they alreadyhave that label attached to them.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And it will provide them with access to get those services.I think that today-- I hope that today-- people are seeingindividuals with intellectual disabilityas contributing members of the community.I know that decades ago, when people were first coming outof institutions, they were not really viewedin a positive light.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: People really didn't know what to door how to serve individuals with intellectual disability.There had been a lot of stigma and mysterybehind what they were capable of doing.But mostly it was people were afraid of the behaviorsthat they may see or their inability to communicate.That has changed significantly since deinstitutionalizationoccurred.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We've got kids who are being included across the board now.We're building on their strengths.And we can see that by providing the right kind of tools,by providing systematic instruction,that the individuals we serve are capable of anything.And in fact, they can learn anything.I think the challenge that we have is as educators,are we smart enough to figure out how to teach them?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Because I have found over and over againthat every time I get a new tool,suddenly my students are learningor they're demonstrating even more and more skill.So the challenge is not with the students.It's always with the instructor and what we can do,because we're the ones who are really limited because wehaven't figured out the right tools to use.Early intervention is absolutely critical for childrenwith any kind of disability, but especiallychildren with intellectual disabilitybecause it sets the stage.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It provides a lot of the prerequisitesthat these children need to be successful later on in school.They're learning many of the foundational skillseven earlier than our preschoolers arelearning that they will need.They need that little bit of extra time.They need the structure in the instruction.And it provides them really that legup so that they oftentimes are able to enterinto preschool, kindergarten, first gradewith minimal to no additional supports because they havelearned those prerequisite skills.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But oftentimes, even those children that door that will require additional special education services,it still provides them with enhanced skillsbecause they've learned them early.We don't want to waste any time with children.And so I think the earlier we can get them and begin teachingthem those skills, the less we'regoing to have to play catch up later on.I think as soon as they recognize that their child maynot be developing in the same way that other children,I think as soon as that happens, theyneed to be seeking out services.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And they can start at birth if they recognizethat their child may have some kind of disability.So for example, if they have a child who has Down syndrome,as soon as they can begin accessing services-- whichcan be very early-- they can begindoing the sensory stimulation kind of activities.A lot of engagement with the child, getting their attention,and a lot which you would do with a typical infantor toddler.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: You want to be engaging with them, reading to them.But at the same time, we want to doa lot of the sensory kind of activitiesto make sure that those connections arebeing made in the brain early on.So the earlier the better.Parents, they're going to know when they see something may notquite be gelling the way it should geland they can begin accessing.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It's also the school system's responsibilityto do a Child Find.So they are always out seeking and asking families,do you have a child who may need services?And we're here to help provide services and set that up.Many school districts begin doing that whenthe children are about two, but thereare agencies in the community thatserve even younger children.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: In years past, there would be many parentswho would not want to accept, or not even recognize,that their child may be strugglingwith learning and development.I don't know if it's so much that they were in denial as notreally recognizing or understanding.But many families were also hesitant to saythere's something wrong with my childsimply because of the stigma associatedwith having a child with a disability,and especially in years past.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I think that's dissipated quite a bit in more recent yearsbecause first of all, we have so many children nowwho are being identified with some kind of a disability.And what families and what the community is recognizingis that the earlier we can identify these,the earlier we can start getting services to these children.And they can develop beautifully and becomereal contributing members of their communities,of their schools, and be very successful as young adults.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: One of the biggest misconceptionsthat I have come across over and overagain is that children with an intellectual disabilitycan't learn.Even at my university, when I wasdoing some of my early research studies,I would go in front of the Institutional Review Boardto get permission to do a study and I evenhad professors asking me, can these children learn?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And so I have had to step up as an advocatenot only in my professional role,but I also have a family member whohas an intellectual disability.And so as a family member, I have always found it my rolethat when I come across a misconception such as can theylearn, I'm able to clarify that very quickly.That yes, indeed they can learn and theycan learn just like anyone else.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It's what are you doing to teach them?What am I doing to teach them, and have I figured outhow to do it effectively?So probably the most common misconception that people haveis that they can't learn.The other one that I've even encountered in my own familyis that they're always children.That they function on the level of a 10-year-old,even though they're 27.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It's like, wait a minute.No, this is actually a 27-year-old.And what happens with that is that if we think that they'refunctioning on the level of a 10-year-oldand they're 27 years old, then peopletend to treat them like a 10-year-old.And these are grown adults at that point.And we have to remember that what their chronological age isand make sure that we are treating themas their appropriate age, providing themthe appropriate materials, age-appropriate instructionand experiences.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I always tell my pre-service teachersthat you may have someone who's functioningon the level of a six-year-old, but they're 16,we don't put them in a first grade classroom.First of all, they won't fit in the desk,and that was very inappropriate.It's not appropriate for a 16-year-oldto be learning the same skills or have a peergroup of other six-year-olds because they're 16.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: So that is probably another misconception,is that they're children trapped in this older body.It always comes down to being an advocate,being aware of what these myths are,and stepping up and informing othersthat no, this is a young person.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We need to pay attention to their age.And yes, they can learn just like anyone else can.One of the big ones that I think a lot of folks come across thisis the difficulty that these children have with language.Not all of them do, but oftentimes they'renot able to express their emotions or their frustrationsusing language and communication effectively.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And so what we then see is we see behaviors that occur.And these behaviors can take the form of somethingthat might be aggressive and really undesirablein a classroom or they could really withdraw and notwant to engage with anyone.And so language and communicationis probably one of the biggest challenges.And I think as professionals, as family members,as just people out in the community, when we see someonehaving what is termed often as a meltdown,we need to stop and think why.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: What are they telling us?It's not that they're just wanting to have a tantrum here.But they're probably communicatingthat they want something, they need something,they're in pain.They're not able to express what it is they need.I always equate that to an infant.When an infant cries, we naturally sit back and say,well, why is this baby crying?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: Is he hungry?Does he need his diaper changed?What's going on?And we need to do the same thing with these individuals who,no matter what their age is, when they're engagingin behaviors, we need to think of it in communication termsand ask ourselves what are they trying to tell us.And that will then help us to solve the issue before it evergets blown out of proportion with all the behaviorthat we may see.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: So that's probably one of the biggest challengesthat teachers will encounter in a classroom,out in the community.I think maybe another is just learning challenges.Do we have the right tools in placeto ensure that the student can engagein learning and expressing what they've learned effectively?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We want teachers who are smart.We want teachers who are-- I don'twant to use the word patient because I'velived for years with people telling me, oh, you'rea special educator.You must be so patient.No.I want them to be smart, but I want them to alsohave a level of patience so that they hold themselves backbefore determining oh, well, the child is just angry with meand this is why he threw a chair at me.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: No, he's angry because he's been tryingto tell you for the last half an hourthat he needs to go get somethingto eat because he's hungry.And so I want them to be smart.I want them to have a level of patience.I want to be good communicators.And I want them to prepare their studentsto advocate for themselves, even.I want them to help children learn what their own strengthsare, what their own challenges are,and to be able to ask others for supportswhen they need those supports.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We can very successfully integrate childrenwith intellectual disabilities in general ed classrooms,and I've done it myself.For many years, I worked with elementarythrough high schools looking at how we can best include kids.And I was actually working with childrenwith more severe intellectual disabilities.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: In one high school, I had a child-- a child.I had a teenager in a French class.I had a teenager in a Latin class.One in economics.I had one in a band class.And what we were able to do was take a look at whatthe child's skills were, what the child's== I keep callingthem child.These are young adults.These are teenagers.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: What this individual's IEP said, what kind of skillsdid they need to learn.And these were in the early days of whenwe were starting to include students.I found teachers who were enthusiastic, and verysupportive, and wanted to pilot.They wanted to be the first in their schoolsto include my students.And so for example, the student I had in a French class.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We looked at his IEP, and he had functional sight wordshe was supposed to learn.And when we think about what do they learnin a first-year French class, they'relearning functional sight words in a first-year French class,they're just learning it in French.And so what we did was we paired the English wordswith the French words.Every Friday, my student would be the oneto give the spelling test to the class.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: He would have to read his English words to the students.So he would say the color yellow, or dress,or green beans.And the students in the French classwould write their French vocabulary wordsand have to spell them correctly.But what was exciting though, wasthat the student was able to participatein the cultural activities of the French class.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: He was part of their class play that they did.And they gave him the role the maitre'd in the restaurant.And I still remember his lines werefumeurs et non-fumeurs-- smoking or non-smoking?So as people would come into the fake restaurant,those were his lines.So he even learned a little French, but at the same timehe learned his vocabulary and learned a great dealof social skills while he was included.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: My student who was in the Latin class,her IEP objectives, one of them that was addressed in there,and I thought the teacher was brilliant,was that she recognized that oh, OK, well, calculators.Of course we do that in Latin.So I walked in one day and she had her class in groupsand they were all playing Scrabble.My student was with a group playing Scrabble as well,but she was also the score keeper using her calculator.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And I thought OK, another brilliant teacher finding waysto incorporate these functional skillswithin the context of the general ed classroom.We also have students who have high-functioning intellectualdisability, so these students are often included in classesand they're learning academics along with everyone else.But we may have to make some accommodations occasionallyfor them to make sure that they are reading, writing, learningscience, learning math along with everyone else.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: But those accommodations may be needed justto make sure that they are [INAUDIBLE].We might need advanced organizers or other tools thatwill allow them to keep pace with everyoneelse in the class, but they can absolutelylearn and be engaged with their classmates very effectively.We want students with intellectual disabilityto be engaged with their typically developing peersall the time.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: These are the people that they'regoing to live next door to, that they're going to work with,that they're going to be at the grocery storewith on a daily basis.And they need to know how to interact with them.Not just on the part of the individual with a disability,but their peers need this as well.They need to realize that this is justBob, the kid I grew up with, the kid I rode the bus to schoolwith, who lives in my community.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: He's a great guy.He can do all of these things.And so it's really a benefit on both sides.Our students with a disability arelearning great communication skills.They're learning those adapt behavior skillsBecause they have to.They're in those environments.And at the same time, their peersare learning about this individual whomay have some funky challenges, but they really do quite well.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: So it goes back.Marc Gold was a researcher in our field,and he had something called a competency/deviancy hypothesis.And his hypothesis was the more competentwe can help individuals appear when they're out in public,the more deviancy the general public will accept from them.So the way I've always looked at itis that we are engaging our students out in the community.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: They're participating.And every once in a while, if theyhave a little quirky behavior, if they have some communicationissues, their peers are going to be much more tolerant of that.They're going to be much more accepting because theyrecognize that Bob can do all these things.He's our neighbor.He's our friend.Just because he throws a chair every once in awhile--hopefully he doesn't do that-- but justbecause he may have a little communicationissue or something every once and a while, that's OK.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We can help them through that and we keep going.But Bob's a great guy and he's our friend and partof our community.Cultural diversity is important to consider whenever assessmentis occurring, especially today.We have even greater diversity in our schoolsthan we've ever had before.Years and years ago, before the law was first put in place backin 1975, when they would test individualswho had a disability, they would do it in English.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And oftentimes, we had children whodidn't speak English who were being testedand suddenly, they would end up in special educationbecause they couldn't pass the test.And so language and cultural diversityis now something that we must attendto whenever we are doing assessmentsbecause those differences can make a difference inwhether or not a child will qualify for special educationservices or not.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: It may be that in one culture, a certain behavior is acceptedand expected, but under the assessment conditions,under the English-speaking white culture America,it may be considered a deviant behavior.And so we have to take that into considerationwhen we are doing any kind of assessmentand make sure that tests are non-biased when it comesto culture as well as language so that we can ensuremore accurate identification and assessment.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I always want families involved.Families are absolutely key in the successthat their children will have not only when they'rein school, but once they're out of school.As an educator, I've seen over yearsthat when children are young and in school, we have parents,they're always at the IEP meeting--the Individualized Education Program meeting-- where we'redeveloping their program of study.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: They're highly involved.But we find that as children get older and moveinto their teenage years that parentsattend less often those IEP meetings.And my advice to families and to parentsis to become more involved as their children get olderbecause these IEPs, these are the annual goals.These are the things that we need to prioritize each yearto ensure that their children are making progressin their program of study.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And at the same time, as they're getting older and movingfrom that school to post-school settings,when they're transitioning out of school,that's when the families are really key because they'rethe ones who are helping to providethat bridge between school and adult services.Where are their children going to live?Where are they going to work?What kind of post-school educationare they going to achieve?
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: What level of independence will their childrenbe able to acquire while they're young adults outin the community?And the families must be part of thatbecause as public school educators,we don't move with the kids once they graduate.Once they're gone, they are out of our reach and our domain.And so it's really up to the familiesto make sure that those things are implemented.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And when they're participating from young childrento young adults, they're able to learn alongwith their children, and learn about the services thatare available, learn about the supportsthat they can be providing to help their children beindependent as possible, to be living out in the communityand contributing just like everyone else.And I've seen time after time, the students thatare getting those kind of supports,they're effectively going out thereand they're living on their own, or they'resharing an apartment, and they'rehaving real jobs in real work settingsand making real wages simply because the families have beenplugged in and really assisting with that processto make sure everything's gettingdone that needs to be done.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I think the biggest thing I want to conveyis that these are wonderful individuals with whom to work.And they have so many skills and so many thingsthat they can contribute to the world.And it's just so important that we give them the opportunityto do that and that we give them the toolsto do that because they can be incredibly successful.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: The old days of oh no, what are we going to do with them,those are gone.The opportunities are there, and we've spent many decadesin building those resources and opportunities.And so we just need to make sure we'recontinuing to provide those to these young peoplebecause they're great.Never underestimate these individuals.Never, ever underestimate them.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: I used to put the bar here thinking OK, that'sas far as they're going to go.And then I get a new strategy or a new technology device,and I hand it to them and suddenly they're here,and then they're here.And I finally just said, you know what?I just need to quit setting a barbecause they're always going to surpass that.I did a couple of studies several years ago.Actually, it was because I wanted the cellphone.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: These were before everybody had cellphones.But I thought, OK, here's a great way for meto get a cellphone.And I decided that I would teach studentshow to use cellphones to call for assistance when theygot lost out in the community.And so I got these great little cellphones.I took students out into the community.Actually, I taught them how to dial my numberand took them out in the community.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: We were in the grocery store.And then I would suddenly disappear into another aisleand they were by themselves.And they were supposed to identify the fact that theydidn't know anybody around them, pick up their cellphone,call me, and then tell me where they were.And every single one of them was able to do that.And this is before most people had cellphones.But they were very quickly able to learn that skill,and call and say, OK, I'm lost.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: The problem we had was that we alsohad to teach them to describe their settings because whenI would say, OK, well, where are you?What do you see?Well, I see the floor.I see a ceiling I see the wall.I see a picture.We thought, OK.Well, we just need to do a little adjusting here.But what we learned was that they can learn.They can do these skills.And today we don't have pay phones out there,but they have cellphones.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: And if they get lost, if they need help,they just open their cell phone and dial a numberor press a button for a preprogrammed number--and suddenly, again, another step of independence.And it's socially acceptable because everybodyhas a cellphone.And my former students can all use cellphones justlike everyone else.So yeah, never underestimate these students.
TERESA TABER DOUGHTY [continued]: They will continue to amaze you because they'recapable of doing anything you and I can do.
Teresa Taber Doughty Discusses Intellectual Disabilities
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Professor Teresa Taber Doughty from Purdue University opens up to SAGE Publications about her experience and research in Special and Inclusive Education, including working with students with intellectual disabilities and autism, creating an inclusive classroom environment, incorporating assistive technologies, and more.
Professor Teresa Taber Doughty from Purdue University opens up to SAGE Publications about her experience and research in Special and Inclusive Education, including working with students with intellectual disabilities and autism, creating an inclusive classroom environment, incorporating assistive technologies, and more.