From Educators

Picture of Special Education Teacher

Mary Richards, Education Specialist

TIP: Positive Language Used On Student Learning

I primarily teach students with learning disabilities and autism.  My students are able to verbally communicate and respond very well to frequent, specific, and genuine verbal praise. I feel like THAT is the key.

  • “I love listening to you/watching you _____.”  (Do math, read, work with your partner, share your pencil, etc. specific to what they are doing)
  • I appreciate the way you ______.
  • Have I told you lately how awesome you are?  (They LOVE hearing this!)
  • I am so impressed with how you _____!
  • I could have 100 students just like you! Keep up the good work!


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Valerie Yoder Special Education Teacher, LH/SH

TIPPositive Language Used On Student Learning

Be specific: Many times students with disabilities do not know what they did correctly when you give them a complement such as, “good job.” To help them better understand what they did well give them specific praise like, “Great job writing your name.”

Award approximations: Students with disabilities need repetition and many opportunities to get something right. Be sure that you are encouraging their progress and praise their efforts.

Be Descriptive: Many students with disabilities, especially those with mild disabilities, realize that they are performing below their peers. Thus comments such as, “you’re a math genius,” sound fake and not genuine. Instead give descriptive praise like, “You got 10 out of 12 correct, I can tell you worked really hard.”

  •  To get the class’ attention I call “Class” and all the students respond “Yes.
  • When a student has done some great thinking I have the entire class give them a 10 finger woo. All the students wiggle their fingers towards the student and shout, “woo.”
  •  When students have worked hard and produced good work, we give ourselves a pat on the back.
  •  When the entire class earns a point for good behavior the class shouts,“Oh yeah.”


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Vidhu Mehra Special Education

TIPPositive Language Used On Student Learning

  • I love the way you did it.
  • Thank you for trying your best.
  • Let’s go bury “I can’t do it” or “I don’t know”. We can always try.
    (write it on a piece of paper and bury it in dirt. Really works)
  • Think!!! I like the way your brain wiggles when you think.


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Deborah Lazarri-Jones, MA BCBA Program Specialist Board Certified Behavior Analyst

TIPFacilitate Independence

One of the most important things we can do for our children with special needs is to facilitate independence.  It is often easier to do things for them rather than spend the time to teach them to do it for themselves, and sometimes we believe it is more loving to do it for them than to watch them struggle.  The truth is that a little struggle builds strength and a little independence feels great!  In every way possible teach your children to do things for themselves and share in their joy when they are able to do so. Remember; forcing open the chrysalis never helps the butterfly, it is through struggle that it gets strong wings.


gini weiss

Gini Weiss M.A. Inclusion Specialist

TIP: Quality Time

Don’t forget to spend quality time with your children. Time is the one thing you can never get back!

This I know from experience.




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