With the launch of the Special Needs Division earlier this year, C. Blohm & Associates recently sought a first-hand view of the special education space by surveying a local area school district about which special education information sources and products are most commonly used. The survey garnered nearly 200 respondents, providing a window into the needs and resources of educators who work with special needs students on a daily basis. A large cross-section of educators, assistants and school therapists gave their perspective on special education trends, information sources and most-effective products. Some of these individuals also had personal experience with special needs, whether through family, friends or volunteering encounters. Here are some of our findings:
The school district was the top resource provider for special educators. Whether a district newsletter, conference or professional development opportunity, respondents looked to their own district as a trusted source of information.
A number of speech-language pathologists participated in the survey, which may have influenced the second most common resource. Respondents listed that the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association offers a wealth of information. Whether through its newspaper the ASHA Leader or its annual convention, SLP’s and other special educators seek the most recent trends and guidance through the organization.
As another commonly listed resource, educators also depend on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for reliable information. Those professionals who specialize in a specific area, such as psychologists or occupational therapists, also seek guidance from specific professional outlets and organizations – such as the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) or the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
A divide in opinion arose when it came to special needs bloggers – some educators don’t deem them credible, while others think they provided excellent advice. As public relations professionals, the CB&A team approaches any source of information with a critical mindset. Yet, sources with first-hand experience often offer the deepest insight, and blogging is a great way to share that insight. Below is a list of blogs that survey respondents read: