Danbury special educator publishes innovative program

posted May 8, 2014, 12:41 PM by Natalie Koehler
Danbury special educator publishes innovative program
Rogers Park teacher advocate for special needs students
Special educator Angela Mahoney has long been an advocate for special needs students. She’s developed programs that have been wildly successful and helped build confidence in students by developing life skills.
And her programs are getting noticed. Recently, Mahoney’s curriculum, “I Can Work! A Work Skills Curriculum for Special Needs Programs,” was published by Therapro Inc.
Mahoney, who teaches at Rogers Park Middle School, has a degree in Intensive Needs Special Education and began teaching in 2001. Her first job was as a prevocational teacher at a private, nonprofit school in Massachusetts.
“My role was to teach them prevocational skills in the classroom setting,” she said. She realized the need to problem-solve and develop a strong program to meet the many and varied needs of her students.
While considering how to make her students feel challenged and successful while learning skills crucial for their futures, Mahoney literally thought about what they would be doing and looked around at all of the possibilities – offices, grocery stores, farms, retail stores.
“I started to see a pattern that then transformed into the “I Can Work!” modules: clerical, retail, food service and grocery. Creating a range of modules allowed me to focus on each vocational area one at a time and determine which jobs fell under each category,” Mahoney said. “I knew that introducing and practicing a range of problem-solving occasions would highly benefit a number of students and enable each one to perform confidently when placed in a range of these situations.”
Within two years, Mahoney was seeing progress. Soon her ideas branched into a program called the “Work Skills Center.” By 2006-07, she was serving a public elementary school working as an educator for students with autism in grades kindergarten through five and implemented “I Can Work!”
The program has a prevocational focus in all five modules with an initial emphasis on giving students a foundation on which to build their vocational progress. Mahoney is planning to integrate the program into Rogers Park by the next school year.
#Danbury Board of Education#