The Career and Technical Special Populations Training and Resource Education Center (CTSP) delivers professional development programming and educational resources to educators concerned with serving students with special needs in Texas. The CTSP Center resources can be utilized by a variety of audiences including educators such as CTE teachers, special education teachers, bilingual education teachers, general education teachers; pre-service teachers; administrators such as CTE Directors, special education directors, principals; service agents such as local education agency consultants; university faculty; parents/guardians and adults with special needs seeking to live independently.
The strength of the CTSP center lies in the fact that it seeks to meet its goals by using a multi-faceted approach. In addition to acting as an educational resource library, the Center extensively uses various web-based tools to provide easy access to all its resources. The library checks out books, videos and guides addressing a range of topics including laws, diagnosis, parenting, instruction, inclusion, transition, and self-advocacy. The website houses instructional videos, webcasts, newsletters, responses to FAQs, links to external sites and identifies specific resources for parents. To receive timely help, users can contact the center through a live chat option or through an online help desk. Users interested in receiving their information through social media are encouraged to subscribe to CTSP’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages as well as online Blogs.
Also of specific interest to educators in Texas are CTSP’s learning modules that increase educators’ knowledge in several areas critical to serving special populations. Developed by experts these modules are supplemented by video-based instruction, best-practice examples, practical techniques, FAQs, additional tools, parent tips and a training manual. For professional development purposes, the learning modules are delivered through an e-learning system. Using a simple navigational menu modules are organized into sections and supplemented by short videos. Learners can download handouts, checklists and other written tools. The instructional content is further condensed into a publication that can be printed or read online. Assessments are provided in a pre-post multiple choice format. Review exercises test knowledge gained and provide immediate performance-related feedback to the learner. Learners in Texas completing all these modules can receive up to 24 hours of Continuing Professional Education Credit. To read a detailed account of our specific resources please visit, http://ctsp.tamu.edu/?p=3629.
Dr. Lakshmi Mahadevan has her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education from Texas A&M University. Her areas of expertise include career assessment, post-secondary options for individuals with special needs, special education and multicultural career counseling. As Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist – Special Populations at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dr. Mahadevan has eight years of experience in conducting face-to-face and online professional development with educators in Texas addressing various special populations-related issues (particularly students with disabilities and English Language Learners).