Mary F. Spence, Rita K Benn, and Connie Ehlke
Friday, Feburary 27, 2015 | 1:30 pm-2:55 pm
- Describe the current research findings for Special Education populations
- Increase participant knowledge about how to adapt mindfulness curricular to individuals with disabilities, teachers and parents of children with special needs
- Highlight the steps involved in a school wide initiative to become a “mindful school”
Currently, approximately 6.5 million children are receiving Special Education services in K-12 settings. Research documents limited resilience with increased risk of school failure for children with disabilities. Parents of these children and teachers charged with educating them are also under increased stress. While programs exist to advance these students’ social emotional learning (SEL) skills, adapting mindfulness for special populations may have additional advantage. Though there are substantial differences in the kinds of learning challenges students present, the fundamental principles of mindfulness lend themselves well to universal design strategies that are critical to inclusive practice in the K-12 environment. The presentation includes: 1) a brief research overview of mindfulness in special education, 2) how mindfulness can be incorporated with children with disabilities and adult stakeholders, including both high and low incidence disorders and within the MET/IEP process, 3) how to modify curriculums for self-contained and resource room environments. Presenters will discuss how an entire K-8 school is working towards being a ‘mindful school’, where mindfulness is universally taught in all classes. Key elements that led to this transformative step will be identified, with a discussion about resulting changes in school culture, staff perceptions and the impact on classroom environments.