Sponsored by the Southern Illinois Professional Development Center - part of the Illinois Community College Board Service Center Network

Friday, December 22, 2017

More Hard Working Educators!

Thanks to the following individuals from the central-southern group for their hard work honing skills and learning new strategies to give the greatest opportunity for their students to succeed: 

Lisa Gerontes-Bowe, Illinois Central CollegeCheryl Holder, Illinois Eastern CollegeKristina Holland-Deadmond, Kaskaskia CollegeAmy Lambert, Illinois Central CollegeSara Wise, Illinois Eastern College Special addition to the group for last week: Joseph Tully, Wilbur Wright College

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Appreciate the Hard Work of our Adult Ed Educators!

Thanks to the following individuals for their hard work honing skills and learning new strategies to give the greatest opportunity for their students to succeed: 

Rhonda Barbeau, Township High School District #211
Marilyn Benjamin, Oakton Community College
Yolanda Bennett, Moraine Valley Community College
Meg Dawczak, Moraine Valley Community College     
Kristy Durkin, College of DuPage                                    
Julie Frost, Township High School District #214
Patrick Lohan, Moraine Valley Community College     
Raylynn Stokes, South Suburban College 

It's such a privilege to work with all of you!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Excellent Resource from the Autism Training Technical Assistance Project

Check out this new website: http://autismcollegeandcareer.com/ 

You'll find excellent information for students, families, educators, employers, and community members - in other words - everyone!

The Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project (ATTA) seeks to develop and present resources that assist individuals with Autism in their transition from secondary education to postsecondary education or employment.

The ATTA also seeks to provide training and support to important stakeholders as they work to provide an equitable experience for individuals with autism.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Try wordle in your classroom

Thanks to Sara Flier-Layton for the following classroom resource recommendation. Sara is part of the central-southern cohort of the Institute to Credential Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists.


Wordle is a work/concept mapping website that we have used for brain storming as part of writing activities, but also as a way of "artistically" display related thoughts, emotions, or just adjectives in general.

I was first introduced to this program while in an adult dysfunctions class.  I loved it so much, I still use it!

Sara Flier-Layton
Adult and Alternative Education
Lake Land College

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stand Up, Speak Up: Students with College Accommodations

Thanks to Susan Cunningham of Rend Lake College for sharing her expertise. Susan has extensive experience assisting college students in her role as Disability Access Services Coordinator at Rend Lake. We certainly hope to have Susan present at additional conferences!                              

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

See you at the Forum for Excellence next week!

Special Learning Needs Sessions – Forum for Excellence

The Unseen Among Us: Mental Illness in our Classrooms
Tuesday, September 19 – 2:00-3:00 pm – Redbird E – Bevan Gibson, Southern Illinois Professional Development Center

Connecting Students with Intellectual Disabilities to College: College for Life and Supported College Transition Programs
Wednesday, September 20 – 11:00am-12:00pm – Redbird G – Kathy Haberer & Krista Clayton, Lewis & Clark Community College

Stand Up, Speak Up: Students with College AccommodationsWednesday, September 20 – 1:30-2:30pm – Beaufort – Susan Cunningham, Rend Lake College

For more information: http://icsps.illinoisstate.edu/pd/forum-for-excellence/

Hope to see you next week! Please stop me and share what fabulous things you're doing in your classroom.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What Do YOU Know about Learning Disabilities? What Do YOU NEED to Know?

Sign up for the Institute to Credential Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists to learn about specific learning disabilities and how you can best help your students to realize success!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Technology Ideas for Special Learning Needs

Check out the newest professional development as part of the Illinois Transitioning Continuum on iLEARN:
Technology Ideas for Special Learning Needs 
Discover a variety of technology resources and ways to incorporate them into your adult education classrooms. Explore applications to assist students with special learning needs as well as technology resources and classroom applications appropriate for ESL, ABE, and ASE students.

This session was originally presented as a live webinar in June. It is now archived and available for one professional development credit for adult educators in Illinois. Email sipdctrainer@gmail.com for access to the Transitioning Continuum. If you already have access, log in and take a look!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dates and Locations Set for New Institutes to Credential Special Learning Needs Resource Specialists

Thanks to our hosts, College of DuPage and Illinois Central College! 

Dates for College of DuPage are: October 20, 2017, December 1, 2017 and March 16, 2018.

Date for Illinois Central College are: October 27, 2017, December 15, 2017 and March 2, 2018.

For more information access the full application at:

If you have questions, contact Sarah Goldammer at sgoldam@siue.edu

Looking forward to great new groups!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mental Health in our Classrooms

Check out 2 new online professional development units available on the iLEARN site:
Unit 28: The Unseen Among Us: Mental Health in Our Classrooms
Unit 29: Bipolar Disorder: What It Means to You and Your Classroom 

For access, email sipdctrainer@gmail.com and ask for admission to the Transitioning Continuum. If you already have access, simply log into iLEARN and check out the new units! Each of the units comes with resources and may be counted as one professional development credit for Illinois adult education teachers if the assignment is completed.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Advocacy for Students with Autism Workshop - August 2, 2017

Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support is excited to host Milt Wright and Richard Pimentel in an engaging day discussing advocacy – August 2, 2017 from 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM at the Holiday Inn and Suites (3202 East Empire Street, Bloomington, IL 61704). The goal of the day is to provide participants with ideas to help students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD):

• Discover their own value as individuals
• Learn positive lessons that their impairment have taught them
• Learn ideas to overcome negative stereotypes and cultivate positive social interactions
• How to effectively disclose their disability to ask for a reasonable accommodation
Participants will have the opportunity throughout the day to engage in activities, brainstorm innovative ways to adapt the ideas presented to specifically serve students with Autism, and obtain materials that can be used to support families as they help their teen successfully learn to self-advocate.

We invite Special Education teachers and administrators, Community College Student Service Personal, Career Counselors, Adult Education providers, parents of students with ASD and anyone who wants to learn more about empowering students with autism.

There is not a cost to attend but we do ask that everyone register.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Webinar Today - Still Time to Register!

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Monday, June 19th at 2pm EST
"Developing Self-Advocacy Skills for Special Learning Needs and ALL Students"
Presented by:
Sarah Goldammer

Preparing our students to transition into the post secondary or workforce requires that we understand the principle of self-advocacy and the importance of integrating self-advocacy instruction for adult education students. This session will provide an overview of the components of self-advocacy: know self, decision-making skills, knowledge of rights and responsibilities, knowledge of own needs, knowledge of laws, and effectively requesting reasonable accommodations.

Webinar space is limited to 500 and provided on first come, first serve basis.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tommy Hilfiger, Fashion Icon With Dyslexia, Gives Advice to His Younger Self in a New Campaign

“I was embarrassed to talk to my teachers and my family about it…” Tommy Hilfiger  

Before he found success in the fashion world, Tommy Hilfiger struggled to find the courage to ask for the help he needed for his dyslexia. Speaking up about learning and attention issues encourages kids and parents to seek out the resources they need to flourish in school, at home, and beyond. Click here  to hear Tommy's story.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

disabilityworks Video Series

From the Illinois Department of Commerce Office of Employment and Training

disabilityworks Video Series Now Available

​The disabilityworks video series is now available at www.disabilityworks.org!
This informational series of short videos covers a broad range of topics for jobseekers with disabilities and employers, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodation, how to seek services under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Vocational Rehabilitation, and much more! Check them out today!
You can also check out each of the playlists on YouTube:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Technology Resources for Special Learning Needs in the Adult Education Classroom

Thursday, May 18, 2017

More Advice from David W. Carson

 From Survival Guide for College-Bound L.D. Students, page 70:

Life's Lesson - Open Up

  • Don't fight the battle alone
  • Don't suffer in quiet isolation
  • Don't shut others out
  • Don't turn inward
  • Don't hide
  • Don't live in denial
  • Don't feel small
  • Don't be afraid
  • Free yourself and say, "I have an L.D."
  • Let others know of your L.D. so they can help you
Check out his book with tons of practical suggestions for student success and learn more about his story at his website: http://www.dcarsonldcoach.com/

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Survival Guide for College-Bound L.D. Students

A few years ago I had the pleasure of hearing David W. Carson speak at the LDA Conference. I purchased his book, Survival Guide for College-Bound L.D. Students. Here is a quote from page 42:

"When you change what you believe, you change what you do. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself, stopped drinking, and started visualizing a better life for myself."


Here is some quick facts about David W. Carson:

  • failed college 3 times
  • tested for a learning disability - age 25
  • graduated college - 3.91 GPA
  • author - Survival Guide for College-Bound L.D. Students
  • used by over 45 colleges nationwide
Check out his book with tons of practical suggestions for student success and learn more about his story at his website: http://www.dcarsonldcoach.com/

Monday, April 24, 2017

Congratulations to the Newest Resource Specialists in Illinois! Thanks for your hard work and for all you do for your students!

Congratulations to the Resource Specialists completing April 7, 2017:
Gregg Beglau, Kankakee Community College, Ana Abendschein, Parkland College,
Susan Cunningham, Rend Lake College, and
Diann Duke, Peoria Adult Transition Center
Sue Cunningham, Diann Duke, Ana Abendschein, and Mabinty Tarawallie
complete their culminating activity.
Ana Abendschein shares information on success strategies for her student.
Edwin Vega, Gregg Beglau, and Rob Lang work together to complete their culminating activity.

Mabinty Tarawallie explains steps for success for her student.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Congratulations to the Newest Resource Specialists in Illinois! Thanks for your hard work and for all you do for your students!

Congratulations to 2017 Resource Specialists for Special Learning Needs! Gosia Warias, Triton, Dorota Krzykowska, Triton, Cat Pumphrey, Jane Addams, Debra Johnson, Olive-Harvey, Myrna Olowu, Olive-Harvey, Michael Matos, Albany Park, Ruta Jonusaitis, College of Dupage, John Edmond Towns, Olive-Harvey, Alfred Barrow, Olive-Harvey, Yordanos T. Gebrekidane, Albany Park
Cat Pumphrey, Dorota Krzykowska, Ruta Jonusaitis

Michael Matos, Yordanos Gebrekidane, John Edmond Towns

Alfred Barrow, Myrna Olowu, Debra Johnson

Yordanos Gebrekidane

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thanks for Great Presentations at IACEA Conference!

Kathy Young, McHenry County College, shares information on
"Creating an Engaging Learning Environment"

Alice Daniels, Rock Valley College, presents
 "Transitioning Adults with Special Learning Needs"

Tara Schwab and Heather Marin, Waubonsee Community College,
share "Technology Resources for Special Learning Needs
in the Adult Education Classroom"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Group Work Using Vocabulary Puzzles from Gregg Beglau of Kankakee Community College

"In teaching new vocabulary, after exposure to the definition through explicit instruction, groups of students compete by putting together jigsaw puzzles of the definitions. Each group receives 10 envelopes containing the identical pieces necessary for building a sentence that describes the vocabulary definition. They work together with a small group standing around a table to compete against the other groups.

This exercise takes into account social-group, tactile, kinesthetic, and visual expressive learners."
Thanks Gregg, for sharing your exciting learning activity!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Words of Inspiration from Susan Cunningham from Rend Lake

Special Learning Needs Institute participant Susan Cunningham, Disability Services/Title III Activity Director from Rend Lake College shares the following experience and insight.

"I tutor a student in math. In this one-to-one situation, I have started structuring and modeling the task. I demonstrate a skill by telling her about it and creating a clear written example. I then, on the same page, have her do a very similar example using the pattern in the demonstration and describing what she is doing.  At this point, if she was able to describe the process, I ask for feedback on how confident she feels with the skill.  If she feels ready to work on her own, I give her the example page to use as she works.  If she is unsure, I do another problem, modeling and describing the process.  The student then does another problem and we reassess.

The feedback from the student has been extremely positive.  She seems to understand the material more quickly.  She feels the 'notes' from our session are already a helpful study aid. The most positive outcome is she has requested additional tutoring time.
What is interesting is this approach actually takes me less time.  While I have to be conscious of organizing the task in a clear manager, the access to these notes has made the student more independent and improved her confidence level.  Re-teaching is not necessary nearly as often."
Thanks Susan!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Thanks to Michael Matos from Albany Park Community Center and a current participant in the Special Learning Needs Institute for sharing the following. When assisting students, Michael uses guiding questions and the framework for SMART student learning goals:

1. What do we observe in the examples of student work? What patterns do we notice?
2. What can we infer about our students' strengths and challenges?
3. Which challenge shall we address?

Thanks for sharing these guiding questions as we work through assisting our students individually as equal partners and co-investigators in their learning!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Diagnostic-Prescriptive Teaching and Test Taking Skills from Diann Duke

Thanks to Diann Duke, GED Director, Peoria Adult Transition Center and Peoria County Jail, and participant in the Special Learning Needs group meeting at Parkland College for her advice and for sharing her individualized plan for her students.

“I am teaching strategies for test taking and when attempting any learning or output.  Our students haven't been successful in traditional school but many are very intelligent - they haven't picked up some valuable skills/strategies to support them in learning, retaining and demonstrating what they know.

I apply Diagnostic-Prescriptive teaching during this process by observing students while they are instructed and when they are being tested, taking notes that apply to them individually (such as use of tools available, pacing during a test, etc.) and making an individualized plan (short, beginning with simple strategies they can master and moving up to more intricate strategies as they develop skills).  I either meet with them or communicate through notes which include instructors who have that day to day contact and opportunity to reinforce what we are attempting to embed in student performance.