Monday, January 7, 2013
How to begin
How do I begin to set up a successful program for children with various disabilities?
This has to be the most frequent question asked by Special Education teachers! It is asked repeatedly, because the students change, and therefore, their disabilities and needs change continually. In this world of budget cuts and larger numbers in classrooms, we have to be creative to educate children in general. It is especially a challenge to effectively educate those with disabilities. In one classroom, there may be students diagnosed with Autism, Downs Syndrome, Learning disabilities and Cognitively Impaired. Each one learns differently, each one requires and deserves our attention!
I am a teacher and case manger for elementary students, who are considered to have “intensive” disabilities. The way my program looks has changed dramatically in the last 5 years. Five years ago I had a self contained classroom (self contained is defined here as a classroom that has strictly special education identified students and special ed. staff). We did our own thing pretty much, I was master of my curriculum and schedule! I have always followed the philosophy that my students can learn what the general ed. students are learning, only it might need to be presented differently and slower. So that’s how we rolled for quite a while. That didn’t work for everyone. That’s the special education mantra isn’t it?
My classroom has evolved, more children being in regular classrooms all day, with support from us in that classroom! Exciting and scary!
My goal is to share what has worked for me, both in a self contained setting and in a “regular” classroom setting.
Next time I will talk more about using schedules and visuals. In the meantime you might be interested in googling and learning more about the TEACCH program in North Carolina.