Welcome to Tool of the Week, CEC’s special education resource destination! We want to make your work easier and support you in your practice. Subscribe today and you’ll find a FREE tool for your special education toolbox in your inbox every week.

Tool of the Week is a service of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the international professional membership organization supporting special educators. All Tools of the Week come from CEC’s first-rate publications and are provided for educational use only; the content may not be reproduced or resold without express permission of CEC.

Sharing is not only okay, but highly encouraged, so please tell all of your friends about this FREE weekly resource. Have questions or suggestions? Contact us at tooloftheweek@cec.sped.org. Thanks for your interest in Tool of the Week!

Recent Posts

Resources for leisure and recreation

It’s summertime, and we know you have leisure and relaxation on your mind. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a table filled with information about recreational and leisure organizations that support individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental disabilities (DDs). With resources for buddies, sports, the arts, and play, this table has something for everyone! It comes from ...

Read More »

Stepping up for ELLs

English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest-growing segment of our student population, so teachers need information and tools to help meet the needs of these diverse students. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a table listing effective literacy instruction and interventions for ELLs K–3. With proper Tier I instruction, you can ward off many problems before they start. But ...

Read More »

Remember: person-first!

It never hurts to be reminded about ways to make everyone feel respected and included, so this week’s FREE tool is a refresher on using person-first language. This quick-and-dirty table will give you the low-down on what to say and what not to say when communicating with or about people with disabilities. Everyone benefits when teachers learn to use these ...

Read More »

Building Family Partnerships

For this week’s FREE tool we’ve got something for the bulletin board in your office. It’s a Family Partnership Model to remind you of ways you can include families in the transition planning process. From developing a shared vision all the way to reflecting on and celebrating achievements, families can provide a wealth of resources and supports for teachers and ...

Read More »

Integrating Transition Planning Into the IEP Process

Graduation brings many exciting changes for students with disabilities who are moving into a life after high school, so the groundwork for success needs to be laid early on. This week’s FREE tool is a table to help you and your interagency transition team identify team goals and choose activities to help you meet them well before graduation. From methods ...

Read More »

Social Skills for Students with ASD

Honesty is always the best policy, but for some students with disabilities, telling the truth is less about honesty than it is about understanding. That’s why this week’s FREE tool is a step-by-step lesson plan for teaching students with disabilities to distinguish between true and made up statements, to verify facts, and to consistently tell the truth. The lesson plan ...

Read More »

Teaching Word Problems

Calling all math teachers! With this week’s FREE tool, we’re tackling word problems. The tool is a table that breaks the process for solving word problems into five problem-solving steps. Steps are matched with potential challenges and suggested supports so you can help your students better understand the process. The table comes from CEC’s “Bridging the Gap Between Arithmetic and ...

Read More »

Footsteps Toward the Future

This week’s FREE tool is a Communication Assessment Form to help you determine the communication skills needed for a student to fully participate in a particular activity. The conversational and communication skills required at different stages of a given activity can sometimes be overlooked. The form asks you to break the targeted activity into steps to help reveal these hidden ...

Read More »

Co-Teaching & Collaboration: A Collection of Articles

Co-teachers, this one’s for you! If you’ve settled into a comfortable routine over the course of the year, it’s time to change things up. This week’s FREE tool is a table with nifty visuals to help you rethink your co-teaching arrangement. Are you parallel teaching? Team teaching? This table will remind you to try something new. It comes from CEC’s ...

Read More »

A Guide to Teaching Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders

This week’s free tool is a table for teachers who are implementing peer-mediated instruction in their classroom. The table, Strategies for Initiating and Maintaining Attention, lists strategies for use by peer mediators who are helping their classmates with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) initiate and maintain attention. Strategies such as talking through play can help peer mediators model desirable behaviors during ...

Read More »