What Stanfield is Reading and Watching: Special Education News January 2016

Just for Laughs!

Pin the apostrophe on the contraction! This comic made us giggle today. Always take time out of your day to laugh at something silly. Happy Friday!


Six-Year Old Inventor Creates Food Dividers

These food dividers are a great tool for individuals with special needs. Not only do the dividers help push food onto a fork or spoon, the walls divide different types of foods and prevent then from touching—perfect for picky eaters!

Read more about the six-year old who created the dividers, and how they’re helping eaters with special needs:

“Six-year-old Ruby Lucken didn’t like different foods touching on her plate. She invented silicone food dividers and started selling them at farmer’s markets. To her family’s surprise, this simple solution is also good for people with special needs or older people who need help at mealtime.

The semi-circle cubbies suction onto your plate, but they do more than just keep foods separate. The cubbies create a “wall” to help push food onto a fork or spoon. Make sure to use a plate that is relatively smooth—raised designs or a large lip may prevent the cubbies from sticking.”

Story and video via The Grommet.


Feds Boost Spending on Special Ed, Disability Programs

Good news: the federal government’s latest budget includes funding gains for special education, housing, and other disability programs.

Disability Scoop’s Michelle Diament reports:

The $1.1 trillion plan lawmakers approved last month boosts spending – at least a little bit – for most federal government programs that touch the lives of people with disabilities.

Most of the gains are modest especially when spread across 50 states, advocates say, but after years of cutbacks, any rise is a good sign.

“Certainly we’re happy to have any increase at all, but it’s not what you would call dramatic,” said Annie Acosta, director of fiscal and family support policy at The Arc.

“It’s starting to restore the chipping away that’s been happening since 2010,” Acosta said of the latest federal budget, which outlines government spending through September.

Specifically, the plan calls for an additional $16 million for housing for people with disabilities and increases at Social Security to improve its administrative services. The government’s respite care initiative and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s developmental disabilities efforts will also see more money.

Meanwhile, funding to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for school-age children is up $415 million.

Read the rest on Disability Scoop. Photo via Disability Scoop


 Motivational Monday

Today’s Motivational Monday quote will really make you think… Success is all about being in the right mindset. How you think about your goals makes a huge difference in whether or not you will actually achieve them. So, this week, put your mind in the right space to get things done. You can do it!


Chester is that you?

Every Friday we love to share something that gave us a good laugh. Here’s a silly picture we found that reminded us of Chester. And, let’s be real, the internet loves pictures of cats…


Graduation Rate is Up for Students With Disabilities

Feeling a lull in your energy from that 3-day weekend? This should cheer you right back up! The graduation rate for the nation’s students with disabilities is on the rise. Shaun Heasley from Disability Scoop writes:

For the third year in row, federal officials say that the graduation rate for the nation’s students with disabilities is on the rise.

Figures released this week indicate that the graduation rate for those with disabilities hit 63.1 percent for the 2013–2014 school year.

That’s an increase over the 61.9 percent reported for the 2012-2013 school year and growth of 4.1 percent over three years, the U.S. Department of Education said.

The gains come as federal education officials are touting four years in a row of record-high graduation rates across the country with some 82.3 percent of all students receiving diplomas during the 2013–2014 school year.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

Source: Disability Scoop; Image Source Gilroy Dispatch


Motivational Monday

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., today’s ?#?MotivationalMonday? is straight from the man himself who broke barriers, created history, and paved the way for generations.


From The Onion: Pajama-Clad Child Makes Turbulent Rampage Through Dinner Party

From time to time we post articles from The Onion, simply because they made us laugh and that made us feel better. Why? Because laughter has the power to make us happy by releasing endorphins, or neurotransmitters which are responsible for feelings of euphoria.

Include humor with instruction and student attention and recall will improve, as well as, participation in the discussion that follows it. To paraphrase Victor Borge, Laughter is the shortest distance between a teacher and a student. Good to know!

Does this rowdy child remind you of your littles? Here’s The Onion’s news account of a child interrupting a dinner party:

BOSTON—Noting his short outbursts of laughter as he charged across the house, sources confirmed Saturday that pajama-clad 5-year-old Lucas Mason made a turbulent rampage through a dinner party hosted by his parents. Mason, who reportedly hopped around the living room growling and stomping like a dinosaur in front of eight of his parents’ friends and coworkers, is said to have quickly circled around the coffee table several times before grabbing a handful of tortilla chips. Reports indicate that the preschooler then slipped between several of the guests, interrupting their conversation to regale them with a ranking of his favorite Transformers. Sources confirmed that the 5-year-old, who had removed his astronaut pajama top during his escapade, briefly disappeared from the social gathering, but soon returned dragging a bin full of plastic trucks, which he dumped on the floor in front of the makeshift cocktail bar and snack selection that had been set up on a buffet table. At press time, Mason had reportedly made eye contact with his parents and immediately gone into hiding under a chair in the kitchen.

Read more from


Lesson Plans for the New Year

What new teaching strategies are you planning on incorporating in the new year? Today’s share comes to you straight from a teacher at Edutopia.

Nicholas Provenzano, a high school English teacher discusses different teaching methods he likes to introduce in the second half of the new year:

“The New Year is a wonderful time to start trying some new things. You’ve spent a good amount of time with your students and feel more comfortable exploring new strategies and practices that are more tailored to their learning needs. I want to share some great ideas that you can use to change things up for the second part of the year — and that can also help beat the winter blues.”

Read the rest on Edutopia!


New AAP Suggestions on Screen Time for Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated their suggestions and guidelines for adolescent screen time. Anya Kamenetz of NPR spoke with David Hill, chairman of the AAP Council on Communications and Media and a member of the AAP Children, Adolescents and Media Leadership Working Group to get advice on limiting screen time for adolescents and teens:

Why new screen time recommendations now?

The American Academy of Pediatrics routinely updates all of its recommendations to ensure that they reflect the most current data. We are hoping to expedite the process for these particular recommendations in light of the fast-changing landscape of children’s media use. We understand that, as the technologies available to parents evolve, they are looking for guidance that reflect their current realities. Our goal is to release these new policy statements in October of 2016.

What are the intentions behind the new guidelines?

The intentions of all of our policy statements are the same: to translate the best available data on child health and development into recommendations that help parents, health care providers and policymakers work together to foster children’s optimal well-being.

Read the full interview on NPR. Photo via Rose Jaffe for NPR.


Incredible Lined Paper Drawings

Do these resemble your classroom doodles? There are so many psychological benefits to coloring and drawing. Enjoy these extremely creative sketches on lined paper. These artists do not see lines as boundaries!



Motivational Monday!

Today’s motivational Monday quote is a unique share from Humans of New York (HONY).  HONY features individuals who share their interesting life stories with a photographer. This time, the photographer profiled a special education teacher, who discussed her struggles and triumphs—we think she sheds a whole new light on the difficulties and rewards of teaching special needs students. This Monday, remember everyone has a story to share. Enjoy!
“I got my first classroom when I was twenty-two. I was so young at the time. I think I first went into special education imagining that I’d be hanging out with kids all day. I’ve been teaching for ten years now. Special education is a lot more exhausting than I imagined. It’s like a performance. You need to be ‘on’ the entire day. You need to be strict. You need to always say the right thing and respond in just the right way. I do enjoy it, but in a different way than I imagined. Many of my students come from broken places. Some are homeless or live in foster homes. So the gains come slowly and can be difficult to track. But I get joy from seeing my students want to learn. It’s very fulfilling for me if I can inspire my students to want to read a little better, or get a job, or be kinder to their classmate. It can be very tough sometimes to feel like you’re making a difference. I remember during one of my first years, I was teaching a group of nonverbal students how to take turns, and everything went to hell and the students started screaming and beating their heads against the table. Then my best-behaved student turned and bit me. I thought: ‘I failed. I made things worse.’ But anytime I feel myself burning out, or losing patience, or not giving it my all, I pull back and do some meditation. Because if I’m not fully present and trying my hardest to make a difference, I should just quit.”
“Even in special education, our curriculum is based on Common Core standards. I’ll have to teach about seasons to a child who doesn’t know his own name. I’m expected to teach To Kill A Mockingbird to a classroom full of nonverbal students, some of whom may be wearing diapers and haven’t learned their ABCs. I think it’s insulting to tell students what they’re going to learn, regardless of their abilities and needs. But I try to work some magic and design a lesson plan where everyone in the class can take something away from the story. For the least advanced students, we just use To Kill A Mockingbird to practice the alphabet. Then I’m also expected to teach Algebra. I try my best using lots of velcro and lamination, but I can’t say that many of my students have ever learned how to solve for x. We spend so much energy on learning how to sit still. I think special populations should be focused more on vocational training like filling out forms and budgeting money—things that will give them confidence and prepare them for independence. But I keep my mouth shut and do my best to work within the system. When I first began teaching, my mentor told me: ‘If there’s anything about the system that you want to fight, just make sure it’s the hill you want to die on.’”
“I had one student who came to my school as an ‘emergency transfer.’ He was fourteen when he came into my class. He’d kick, bite, scream. He’d even pee his pants just to take them off and throw them at you. I taught him for several years. Recently he graduated, and to celebrate I took him to see The Minions. He stood in line to get his popcorn. He sat still through the entire movie. He was able to ‘be there.’ And that’s what gives me the most satisfaction. Getting my students to the point where they can be in this world.”
For more stories like these, visit Humans of New York.


You made it through the first week back after winter break! Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy today’s Just for Laughs post. Happy Friday!

The cartoon reads: “Along with ‘Antimatter’ and ‘Dark Matter,’ we’ve rcently discovered the existence of ‘Doesn’t Matter,’ which appears to have no effect on the universe whatsoever.”


Embracing Tech Literacy in Education

Schools like Meyer Elementary School (above) are now embracing their students’ tech interests and using it to their learning advantage. In today’s society where technology is woven into all aspects of life, kids are truly benefitting from developing tech skills early on. This includes Microsoft applications, like Word and PowerPoint, as well as educational apps, and photo/video editing. Students learn that honing these skills will be a valuable attribute for future employment, but it also gives them a lot of creative control of their projects.

Here’s how teachers can integrate tech in their classrooms:

  1. Make technology applicable to other class assignments
  2. Collaborate with other teachers
  3. Embrace discomfort
  4. Apply the SAMR Model
  5. Observe tech integration in action

Read the full descriptions in Tech Literacy: Making It Relevant Through Content Learning on Edutopia!
Video via Edutopia


Motivational Monday!

Who doesn’t love a new year and a fresh start? Today, Chester shares this motivational quote to jump start your week, as well as your new year! We can’t wait to see what you can do in 2016. Stay tuned for more special education news.

The Stanfield Way

The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.

Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.

Stanfield Special Education Curriculum

VideoModeling® Programs

VideoModeling® is a ground-breaking teaching concept originated by the James Stanfield Company that’s used in thousands of public and private schools across America and Canada for special education needs.

Read More
Journaling, mediation, and intentional talk aren’t just for adults. 5 ways we can facilitate healthy management of mental health in our children.

James Stanfield Co.

My students were glued to the screen. Love Stanfield’s humor. This is the way to teach social skills.

Susan Simon, Principal

Using Humor to Teach Social Skills

Humor = Retention

We believe you learn best when you laugh. By making the classroom experience more comfortable and enjoyable, humor can make teaching and learning more effective, especially for the K12 segment. At Stanfield, we use humor as an integral part of our curricula.

If you as a speaker don’t help your audience to remember your lessons, then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Humor… can help accomplish that needed retention…

Gean Perret, Screenwriter
Learn more
Newsletter Image
Newsletter Image
Sign Up to receive news alerts, special offers & promotions.
Sign up now!

As a thank you for signing up for emails, you’ll have advance notification of exclusive offers, new offerings, and more.