Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) in special education refer to teaching methods, interventions, and strategies demonstrated through research and evaluation to improve student outcomes effectively.
Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education have been shown to improve academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities and are based on scientific evidence. In particular, teachers have a critical role in implementing these practices within an inclusive environment. Understanding the responsibilities of a teacher in an inclusion classroom is crucial.
EBPs may include a variety of instructional strategies, such as explicit instruction, error correction, and scaffolding, as well as interventions for specific disabilities or difficulties, such as sensory integration therapy for students with autism or self-regulation strategies for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s important to remember that the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) plays a significant role in this process, and understanding how LRE benefits a child with special needs is key.
EBPs are essential in special education because they ensure that students with disabilities receive the most effective and suitable interventions and support. Educators can assist students with disabilities in making progress and reaching their full potential by employing practices demonstrated to be effective by research.
Determining Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education
The determination of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in special education involves several steps:
- The first step in determining an EBP is identifying the specific problem or need the practice intends to address. It can be facilitated by resources like the What Works Clearinghouse from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Conduct a literature review: A literature review involves reviewing research studies and other information sources to determine what is known about the problem or need and the interventions tested to address it.
- Once potential interventions have been identified through the literature review, the next step is evaluating the evidence for their efficacy. It may involve reviewing research studies, assessing the quality of the research, and determining the findings’ applicability to the specific problem or need the school must address. PubMed is often a trusted resource for such research.
- Select the EBP: The next step is to select the EBP that is most likely effective in addressing the problem or needs based on the evaluation of the evidence. It may involve considering factors such as the strength of the evidence supporting the practice, its compatibility with the student’s needs and goals, and its resources and support.
- Implement the EBP: Following the selection of an EBP, the next step is to implement it. It may include training educators and other staff on implementing the practice, providing the necessary resources and support, and monitoring progress to ensure that the procedure is implemented effectively and produces the desired results.
- Evaluate the efficacy of the EBP: It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of the EBP to determine if it is producing the desired results and to make any necessary adjustments. It may involve collecting data on student progress and using it to determine the practice’s continued use.
Why Use Evidence-Based Practice in Special Education?
Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are essential in special education for several reasons:
- EBPs are based on scientific evidence: EBPs are based on research and evaluation, which means they have been shown to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. It is significant because it ensures that students receive interventions and support that have proven effective instead of relying on methods that no evidence may support.
- EBPs are individualized: EBPs are typically designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing them to be adapted to each student’s unique needs and objectives. It can be especially crucial in special education, where students may have a variety of disabilities and needs.
- By utilizing EBPs, educators can assist students with disabilities in making progress and reaching their full potential. EBPs effectively improve academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for students with disabilities, which can lead to long-term improvements.
- EBPs can save time and money: By utilizing EBPs, educators can save time and money that the school would otherwise spend on non-evidence-based interventions. It enables educators to concentrate their efforts on practices that are likely to be effective instead of experimenting with various approaches that no evidence supports.
Using evidence-based practices (EBPs) in special education is significant because it helps ensure that students with disabilities receive the most effective and appropriate interventions and support. All these can improve their outcomes and enable them to reach their full potential.
What Are Some Examples of Evidence-Based Practices in Education?
The following are examples of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in education:
- Explicit instruction systematically involves breaking down skills into smaller steps, modeling, and providing repeated practice and feedback. It has been demonstrated to enhance academic skills and outcomes for students with disabilities.
- Scaffolding is a teaching strategy that involves providing students with support and guidance as they acquire new skills and progressively reducing that support as they become more independent. Reading, writing, and problem-solving are some contexts where a teacher can use scaffolding.
- Response to intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to assisting academically or behaviorally struggling students. It entails progressively providing more intensive support based on the student’s needs to help them progress and succeed.
- Self-regulation strategies involve teaching students how to manage their behavior, emotions, and attention, thereby enhancing their classroom performance. Setting goals, monitoring progress, and using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or counting to calm down are all possible strategies.
- Students with disabilities are taught specific social interaction skills, such as initiating conversations, taking turns, and following rules, as part of social skills training. It has been demonstrated that social skills training improves the social skills and outcomes of students with disabilities.
- Peer-mediated instruction is a teaching strategy in which students with disabilities receive support and instruction from their peers. It can be effective in helping students with disabilities improve their academic and social skills.
These are just a few examples of EBPs that people may use in education. It is important to note that the specific EBPs used will depend on the needs and objectives of individual students and the context of their usage.
Evidence-based Special Education Curriculum
Many evidence-based special education curricula designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities are available. The following are examples of these curriculums:
- The TEACCH program (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Disabled Children) is designed for students with autism spectrum disorders. It employs structured teaching methods to facilitate effective learning and communication.
- The Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes program is designed for students with learning disabilities. It employs various techniques, including visual and auditory processing, to help students improve their reading, spelling, and comprehension abilities.
- Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT): This program is designed for students with autism spectrum disorders and employs natural teaching methods to assist students in learning new skills and behaviors.
- The Reading Recovery Program: This program is designed for students who struggle with reading and uses various techniques, including one-on-one tutoring, to improve students’ reading abilities.
It is important to note that no single curriculum is appropriate for every student with a disability. When selecting a curriculum, it is essential to consider the needs and abilities of the individual student carefully. In addition, it is crucial to assess the curriculum’s efficacy and make necessary adjustments regularly.
The TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children) program is a comprehensive, empirically supported educational approach for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Eric Schopler and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill created the program in the 1960s; it has since been implemented in schools and other settings worldwide.
The TEACCH program is predicated on the notion that individuals with ASD have unique strengths and challenges that must be considered when planning their education. It emphasizes using structured teaching techniques, including visual supports, to assist individuals with ASD in practical learning, communicating, and assisting with evidence-based practices in special education.
Individualized education programs (IEPs), social skills training, and occupational therapy are a few interventions included in the TEACCH program. In addition, it emphasizes the significance of collaboration between educators, families, and other professionals in supporting the unique needs of students with ASD.
The overall objective of the TEACCH program is to assist individuals with ASD in reaching their full potential and achieving daily independence.
The Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes program is an evidence-based educational intervention for students with dyslexia and other reading and language-based learning difficulties. The program was created in the 1970s by Nanci Bell and Pat Lindamood on the premise that people with learning disabilities frequently struggle to process language-based information.
The Lindamood-Bell program employs various techniques to improve students’ reading, spelling, and comprehension skills, including visual and auditory processing exercises. The program emphasizes explicit, systematic instruction and structured, incremental steps to help students master new skills.
The Lindamood-Bell program is typically delivered through one-on-one tutoring sessions but can also be administered in small groups. The program is designed to be adaptable and can be modified to meet the specific needs of each student. People frequently use it with other educational interventions; a teacher, school psychologist, or another educator may recommend it.
Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is a naturalistic, evidence-based intervention for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Drs. Robert Koegel and Lynn Kern Koegel of the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed it in the 1970s.
PRT is founded on the premise that certain behaviors, referred to as “pivotal” behaviors, are crucial to developing other skills in individuals with ASD. Motivation, self-management, and communication skills are essential behaviors. PRT focuses on targeting and reinforcing these behaviors to assist individuals with ASD in learning new skills and enhancing their overall functioning.
PRT is delivered using naturalistic teaching methods, integrating it into the individual’s everyday activities and environments. It enables the individual to acquire new skills more functionally and naturally. Trained therapists or educators typically administer PRT in various environments, including homes, schools, and other community settings.
PRT has improved social skills, communication, and overall functioning in those with ASD. It is considered a versatile and individualized intervention that the school can modify to meet the needs of each individual.
The Reading Recovery Program is an intervention based on empirical evidence for struggling readers. It is for first-grade students who have trouble learning to read and write and are at risk of falling behind their peers. Dr. Marie Clay created the program in the 1970s, and it is used in schools worldwide.
The Reading Recovery program is founded on the notion that early intervention is essential for assisting students who are falling behind their peers in reading to catch up. It enhances students’ reading skills through various techniques, including one-on-one tutoring and small-group instruction. The program emphasizes explicit, systematic instruction and structured, incremental steps to help students master new skills and assist with determining evidence-based practices in special education.
Reading Recovery is typically administered by trained teachers with specialized program training. Typically, it is presented for 30 to 60 minutes per day, five days per week, for 12 to 20 weeks. The program is designed to be adaptable and can be modified to meet the specific needs of each student. People can use it with other educational interventions. A teacher, school psychologist, or another educator may recommend it.
Jennifer Hanson is a dedicated and seasoned writer specializing in the field of special education. With a passion for advocating for the rights and needs of children with diverse learning abilities, Jennifer uses her pen to educate, inspire, and empower both educators and parents alike.