Special Education

Using Ripple Effects to support students with special needs

The behavior of some special needs students can challenge the learning environment. These behaviors may be independent of, an explanation for, and/or a consequence of learning problems. Ripple Effects can be a value-added component of a truly Individualized Education Plan for students with a range of behavioral challenges and a range of risk factors that propel them.

Supports students with emotional and behavioral disorders

By far the most common use of Ripple Effects is intensive training for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: students who have trouble with hyperactivity, impulsivity, defiance, and anger management.

Builds resilience, social-emotional competency, connection to the community

The interactive, peer-narrated tutorials build core social and emotional competencies: self-understanding, empathy, impulse control, management of feelings, assertiveness, decision-making and connection to community. The result is students solving problems better, making healthier connections with diverse others, and doing better in school.

Ensures fidelity to proven-effective cognitive, behavioral and affective strategies

The combination of having content expertise locked inside the system and expert judgment written into the data structure ensures that fidelity to evidence-based practice is preserved, even when the program is facilitated by non-professionals.

Matches instruction to each student’s learning strengths

Students learn what they need in whatever ways they learn best: seeing, hearing, watching, and/or kinesthetic involvement. Problem solving scenarios, direct behavioral instruction, peer modeling, true stories, interactive games, skill rehearsal, journaling, transfer training and a reward system are all built in.

Reduces the documentation burden

A Ripple Effects scope and sequence can be mapped directly to each student’s IEP. The software automatically tracks intervention dosage, easing the burden of documentation.

An effective intervention for students with special needs:

Hearing impaired

Rich, colorful illustrations and photo, as well as sparallel text for all audio and video make the program accessible. Includes a tutorial that directly addresses the challenges of deaf students.

Communicative disorders

Specific, repeatable training in basic social skills, such as making eye contact and starting and stopping conversations, makes Ripple Effects a good choice for students with mild autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Students can have
a personalized regimen of specific training, without requiring an individual instructor for each student.


Tutorials include information on student rights to reasonable accommodation, plus practical tips for reducing the impact of dyslexia on academic achievement techniques for dealing with the feelings and frustration that often come with it.

Mobility impairments

Images of disabled students are shown throughout the program. Specific tutorials on wheelchairs (for classmates as well as the disabled) and skill building promote resilience and help manage feelings that may arise as a result of their disability.

Emotional and behavioral disorders

Hundreds of tutorials address both skill deficits and underlying risk factor, from racism to abuse. There are many reports of students disclosing their personal problems to counselors and nurses after using Ripple Effects privately to explore personal concerns.

Attention challenges

An interactive profiler provides broad screening to separate the medical condition of ADHD from other causes of attention deficit, such as learning style differences, preoccupation with personal problems and substance use. The program provides impulse control training as well as information about Ritalin.

English language learners

Simple vocabulary, comic book style illustrations, narration by peers from diverse cultural groups and topics that re ect immediate concerns, like making friends, and dealing with discrimination, have made this program a big hit among English language learners.

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