By Leo Christie, PhD
Professional Development Resources, a national provider of accredited continuing education units for psychologists, social workers, counselors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and dietitians, has announced that it is adding – for the first time in its 20-year history – a new profession: teachers.
Teachers need continuing education curriculum that helps them reach and teach the special needs students they have in their classrooms. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of children and youth ages 3–21 receiving special education services was 6.4 million in 2011–12, or about 13 percent of all public school students.
“We have been aware for some time that classroom teachers are on the front lines with other professionals working with children who need special handling,” says Leo Christie, PhD, President and CEO of Professional Development Resources. “Many of our CE courses contain information that is vital to understanding and reaching those children. Conditions like autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, antisocial behavior, anxiety disorders, and many others are seen so frequently in the classroom that teachers find it essential to receive specialized training.”
The company’s new “Teaching” page offers courses like Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-Based Screening and Assessment, Children’s Exposure to Violence, Helping Children Learn to Listen, Anti-Social Youth & Conduct Disorders, and School Refusal Behavior: Children Who Can’t or Won’t Go to School. It also includes courses on reading instruction, adolescent literacy, English language learning, improving communication with children, and what to do when students are defiant.
Teachers can fulfill state requirements for professional development, obtain credits for salary advancement, or simply satisfy a desire to grow professionally and obtain new knowledge and ideas for their students.
What is different about teachers as a new professional group for Professional Development Resources is that their continuing professional development requirements differ from state-to-state and even school district to school district. For its other professions, the company has secured accreditation from national boards in advance. Since each school district has its own policies regarding course eligibility, teachers are encouraged to double-check with their district or department of education regarding eligibility for credit before enrolling in a course.
Professional Development Resources’ courses are self-paced, offering the ultimate in convenience for busy educators. Delivered totally online, participants can work anytime, anywhere, 24/7, as their schedules permit – no commuting, no missed classes and no dress code. The format is engaging and user-friendly, and users find it very easy to navigate. Participants can access and print a completion certificate from their account as soon as they pass a course. The completion certificate reflects the name of the course completed and the number of continuing education hours it represents.
Some of the courses that are most likely to be in demand for teachers are these:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Reading Instruction: Documents from the National Reading Panel
- Improving Communication with Your Young Clients
- Anxiety: Practical Management Techniques
The company hopes that the health and mental health professionals who have been its traditional audience will now be able to refer teachers to the Professional Development Resources Teacher page for help in learning new classroom strategies and techniques they can start using today. Conversely, teachers who find the site useful can inform the health professionals with whom they work about CE credit courses they may need.