Success Stories are a beneficial tool for all early childhood and elementary school children, but they offer additional benefits for developmentally delayed children. Finding materials that support diverse learners can be a daunting task for special education teachers. The Sandbox Learning Company strives to make individualized materials that truly benefit each child. One of the foundations of special education is the recognition that each child deserves an appropriate education that meets their individual needs. One of the key features of Success Stories is the ability to change the text and the images to do exactly that – meet a child’s individual needs.
Children with special needs often have specific goals and objectives that can be addressed by customizing the text of a story. Changing the text in Success Stories to include coping strategies for managing feelings, using appropriate language, treating others with kindness, and following school specific rules are examples of objectives that can be individually addressed in the story text. Stories such as Feeling Angry include opportunities for incorporating information about what specifically angers the child and what strategies students should use to cope with their anger. This customization is critical for meeting the needs of each student. Since the system allows for unlimited profiles and printing, Success Stories are cost effective materials.
Sandbox Learning promotes positive behavior management through skill sheet ideas and the use of story pages for visual support. The images clearly show appropriate behavior and can be placed throughout the classroom or school as reminders for waiting in line, sharing, taking turns, washing hands, and flushing the toilet. Visual supports are often used as aids for students to learn new skills or transition from one activity to the next. If a student has trouble transitioning from one activity to the next, a book like My Day at School can serve as a model for sequencing activities and setting expectations.
The personalization of the text allows children of varying reading levels to learn language and academic skills. Early literacy skills can be developed through shared reading and asking questions about text. The skills sheet included with each story guides this process and follows scientifically based reading concepts for early literacy.
Increasing parental involvement is important in bridging learning between school and home. Parental involvement is highlighted as a critical component in improving the lives of children with disabilities in Conference Report on H.R. 1350, IDEA 2004 Part D-National Activities to Improve the Lives of Children with Disabilities.1 Since Success Stories allow for unlimited printings, the books and skill sheets can be sent home without worrying about the books being returned.