Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mainstreaming does not mean having the teacher do all the work in providing the accommodation

So often, I hear competent teachers lament about how administrators require the teachers to do all of the extra work required to mainstream a student with special needs. These teachers often want to do the right thing, but they do not have the resources to provide what the student needs in an appropriate manner. As this captioned video demonstrates, the teacher needs support by a person trained and certified in the particular technique (in this case, sign language, or ASL ) in order for the student to be a successful learner.

Do you need assistance in obtaining appropriate technology and advocacy for learning? Dr. Beckman is available for consultation and training at or call her at 847-446-1251


Friday, April 4, 2008

School Bullies? When schools fail, but punish the victim (the student)

In an article on Wednesday in the San Francisco Chronicle, a legal settlement was announced

High school seniors in special-education classes will be required for the first time this year to pass California's exit exam to qualify for a diploma after lawyers for the disabled failed to get them an exemption.

A legal settlement, expected to be filed today in Alameda County Superior Court, will end a 7-year-old lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring all students - including those with mental or physical disabilities - to pass the test of basic math and English skills to graduate.

Passing the exit exam became a requirement for all seniors in 2006, but lawyers from Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley won exemptions for special-education students in 2006 and 2007.

Both sides said today's settlement includes no exemptions.



It's a dirty secret that manyschools obscure the fact that they routinely fail to provide the specialized tutoring (remediation) that special education students need, and also fail to provide accommodations such as technology tools so that the students can at least learn the rest of the regular curriculum at the same time they are learning how to read.

What I don't understand is why it is believed to be legal that a school can continue to fail in providing an accessible curriculum where students actually learn, and then the student is punished by being denied a diploma. Regardless of whether this policy is in San Francisco, Florida, or Chicago, it is unconscionable. Can you imagine businesses claiming that they provided "adequate" fuel (kerosene) for jets, and then when the planes crashed, blaming the jet plane manufacturers for failing to benefit from the inappropriate fuel?

Schools need to provide both remediation and accommodations so that each student can derive reasonable benefit from the regular curriculum. If the child does not pass a state test, then the school has failed, not the student. The school must be required to provide intensive remediation and accommodate that student as he progresses with his age peers. Any other practice is punishing the victim, and doesn't make sense.

There is research that shows that almost half of those student who are EVER held back ("flunked"), fail to graduate from high school. These students have failed alright: they have failed to benefit from an inappropriate provision of education, which is malpractice. Instead of punishing the victim, punish the decision-making administrators who are running the school and replace them with administrators who will work in a team setting to implement true research-validated educational practices with a focus on measuring whether each student is receiving full benefit from the curriculum. If an individual student is not benefiting, then the school needs to change how they are teaching that particular student.

Does it make sense?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Words can't bring me down...Beautiful Music on D-PAN

Does it make sense that we "educate" our children without feeding their hearts and spirit? We need to develop the whole child, using music and art as well as the "3Rs". Even if a person cannot hear words with their ears does not mean they cannot hear in their heart.

Thanks to Glenda Hampton Anderson for alerting me to the D-PAN interpretation of Christina Aguilera's song, "Beautiful":

D-PAN uses sign language and graphics to interpret Christina Aguilera's song, I hope you enjoy it.