Short Tips Go a Long Way
Professor’s advice is published on LDS Church website
Advice from Katie Steed, an associate clinical professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education at the McKay School of Education, was published on lds.org in March 2012 as one of the “Weekly Thoughts and Tips” under the Children’s Lesson Helps section. Steed’s tips, which began as simple advice to her dad, became advice for anyone working with students with special needs.
Steed’s suggestions include creating a simple visible agenda, getting to know each person individually, and complimenting good behavior. The information was put together to help a layperson to reach and help multiple students with a variety of disabilities; it is brief and basic.
Steed said that extra teaching strategies incorporated in the lessons benefit the other children in class as well as those students with special needs. “In reality, good teaching is good teaching.” Steed continued, “If a child learns better if you bring in pictures to help her understand something, it’s not going to hurt the other six kids in your class to see those pictures to help them know what’s going on.”
Steed’s advice brought positive results for her father, Leroy Sampson, who taught a child with special needs in his primary class. Sampson, who uses Steed’s tips every week, says all teachers and students can benefit from them. He adds, “One Sunday I called the house phone [of the student with a disability] and left a message complimenting his good behavior in primary that day. That next Sunday he came to primary even better than the week before.”
Steed focuses her work on instructing teachers of children with disabilities within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has been asked by the Primary General Board, Primary Presidency, and Church Disability Curriculum Office to work on different projects with them incorporating techniques to reach out to children with special needs. She said, “This has been a part of what I do for almost twelve years now, and this is what I enjoy being a part of.”
Steed graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education from BYU. In 2009 she was recognized with the Hilda B. Jones Special Educator of the Year Award from the Utah Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Steed’s experience as a CEC member and co-faculty advisor for the BYU student chapter adds to her experience in teaching others to work with children who have special needs.