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

Stages of Infant Attachment

This week’s FREE tool of the week is a handy wheel diagram illustrating the stages of infant attachment to caregivers. It comes from CEC’s Addressing Challenging Behaviors and Mental Health Issues in Early Childhood. Attachment is a natural process that can be disrupted by events such as trauma and neglect. Healthy attachment is formed during the first three years of ...

Read More »

Lesson Plan: Understanding Unwritten Social Rules

This week’s FREE tool is a lesson plan for understanding unwritten social rules from the CEC book Social Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities, Vol. II. The lesson contains seven research-based steps to help you teach social protocols such as: don’t sit next to a stranger in a mostly empty movie theater. The authors of ...

Read More »

Ideas for Increasing Team Communication

August is almost upon us, so this week’s FREE Tool of the Week is for administrators and co-teachers who are gearing up for the new school year. This table provides at-a-glance suggestions for improving communication among students, parents, teachers and administrators. It comes from CEC’s book, Leading the Co-Teaching Dance, where the author identifies communication as the first of four ...

Read More »

Mediation Programs and Resources

This week’s FREE tool is a table from the CEC book Physical Restraint and Seclusion in Schools. The table lists mediation programs and resources to help teachers and administrators practice de-escalation when students exhibit threatening or violent behaviors at school. The book responds to public controversy over the use of restraint and seclusion in schools by focusing on prevention. This ...

Read More »

Transition Collaboration Strategies Survey

For many educators, slower summer schedules give teachers time to breathe and do a little housekeeping. So we chose a self-reflective tool for this week’s FREE Tool of the Week. This Transition Collaboration Strategies Survey asks Transition Specialists to reflect on their collaborative skills to identify areas they might develop over the coming school year. The survey comes from the ...

Read More »

Behaviors That May Indicate an Underlying Disorder or Disability

This week’s FREE tool is a table, “Behaviors That May Indicate an Underlying Disorder or Disability.” It comes to you from the CEC book, When Behavior Makes Learning Hard. At CEC, we know that if learning is hard, teaching is hard too. And we want to make it easier. If a student exhibits particular behaviors, this chart can help you ...

Read More »

College Disability Services Research Chart

It’s that time of year for rising seniors to start researching colleges, so this week’s FREE tool is a Disability Service Research Chart devised to help students take the lead in gathering information about disability services at prospective colleges and universities. Transition to college can be overwhelming, especially for students with disabilities who must adapt to new laws and expectations regarding ...

Read More »

Characteristics of Learning Disabilities and Second Language Acquisition

Summer vacation is upon many of us, but CEC’s Tool of the Week never takes a break! This week’s FREE tool is the table “Characteristics of Learning Disabilities and Second Language Acquisition.” In this easy-to-read comparison you’ll see how many of the signs of learning disabilities closely resemble those of emergent language. We think you’ll find reading this table an ...

Read More »

New Teacher Observation Checklist

Everyone can get in on the action with this week’s FREE tool! It’s a handy checklist for observing new teachers that will keep busy administrators organized and remind them of what to look for during teacher observations. Teacher mentors can use it as an instructional tool when helping teachers see their lessons in the big picture. And teachers, what better ...

Read More »

Section 504 Eligibility Flow Chart

Special education processes can get bogged down in jargon, conflicting opinions, family emotions, or just too many details. This week’s FREE Tool of the Week is a flow chart to help school counselors determine 504 eligibility. This flow chart will get you back to basics, so pin it on a bulletin board in your office or staple it inside your ...

Read More »