I would change the classroom size of students and the number of supporting staff to every classroom. I know that this may seem unreasonable, but we are stating our ideal way to have the education system of children with disabilities so I think it still applies.
I think that special and regular education teachers are overwhelmed. Teachers feel that they have very little support in the classroom. I think that certain students should have personal aides with them at all times on campus to assist that child as necessary. This is particularly true for students with cerebral palsy disorder or other physical disabilities which makes it physically difficult for the student to get around. More teacher’s assistants or aides in the classroom would help out enormously, particularly in the general education teacher’s classroom. The teacher needs support in order to effectively teach all children. The collaboration and partnership among teachers, aides, and other paraprofessionals is paramount in successful teaching outcomes.
I think children do better, feel more confident, take risks more often, build relationships, and have more long term positive outcomes in smaller settings or groups. I believe in smaller size classrooms or more adults per number students in the class. The teachers are overwhelmed as it is and perhaps reducing the size of the classroom could help out greatly.
I’m sure there are many more things that would help provide services to children with disabilities, but classroom size and a better support system for the teachers seems the most important to me.
In special education, I don't think there could ever be too many inclusion programs. If I could change the way services are provided it would be in the category of inclusion. I think that there needs to be more support for students and more ways to include students with special needs in the regular education environment. I've noticed that many special education programs seem to be separated from the rest of the school site that they are located at. Schools and special education programs can do a better job of integrating school activities and functions between the regular education students and the special education students. There should be more opportunities for special education students to be involved in school functions. There should also be more opportunities for regular education students to be a part of special education activities. This may include things such as buddy programs where regular education students can help out in special education classrooms and develop friendships with these students. I know that some schools do have these programs, however, I would want to make it mandatory for schools across the United States to have a program in place that involves regular and special education students working together. Because not all students in special education are able to spend time in a regular education classroom, it is important to involve them in extracurricular activities that the rest of the students at the school are doing. Also, I would want to increase their part in the community by gaining support from local businesses for on the job training so that when these students with special needs are finished with school, they have skills and experiences that will help them get by in the real world. By increasing these opportunities for inclusion, students with special needs will develop better social skills and friendships that will carry on past their school days.
3. If you could change the way we provide services to children with disabilities, what would you recommend?
If I could change how students with disabilities were taught I would have the teachers attend in-services for the newest and more effective strategies in helping students with disabilities and disorders. Most teachers are familiar with disabilities such as autism, learning disorder, communication disorder, etc. But having teachers attend in-services, and have group exercises about certain situation teacher’s face with allow them to receive more insight and new information on the best ways to help students with disabilities. If the school does not have enough money to send all the teachers to an in service, they could send one or two teachers and then have them come back to the school site and teach the rest of the teachers their new techniques, and strategies. Teachers that get the opportunity to attend in-services have new training in helping students with disabilities. In the in-service, teachers should receive the opportunity to talk to expects if they have any specific questions, and the administrators should also allow a time slot to allow teachers to share their experiences with the group. This will allow teachers get familiar with disabilities or disorders that they do not have experience with. Another things teacher can learn at in-services for students with disabilities and disorders is to instruct the teacher classroom management. Being able manage a classroom efficiently needs to be a necessity especially if there are students who have disabilities and disorders. I am sure teachers attend in-services already, but I think we need to increase the in-services teachers attend, or have the information of the in-services be taught to the other teachers.
I’m not to sure what I would be able to offer as a change in the services provided for children with disabilities, but at this moment, the only thing that I would change is to incorporate more inclusion for students with disabilities into the general education classrooms, and into playing more with children who do not have some sort of disability. Be able to offer that both systems allow for children to play together at recess time, with the appropriate supervision. It is tough to see how kindergarten teachers at times do not want to have their children play in the same playground with children who have a disability. I also think that there should be at least an hour of the school day in which every child in a special education classroom, who is not being transitioned into general education classrooms at all be allowed to get part of their daily lecture in a general classroom. This will benefit the child as a whole being able to learn via observation, and by pairing with peers. Also it is may be a great way to help with generalization. The more this service can be incorporated, I believe the students will gain more benefits. There will still remain to have the same routine, so predictability will still be there and the child will view it as a normal part of there day. As stated in the book, children with disabilities have shown to benefit more when paired with other peers who are not diagnosed with some sort of disability. All this can be done with appropriate supervision, and with the appropriate paraprofessional that are already a part of the children’s classroom. After this slowly increase it to more time in the general education classroom. As long as it is seemed to the best interest of the child.
Currently, I believe special education, in its ever changing realm, does an acceptable job of providing services to children with disabilities. I have experience both poor and incredible programs at various school sites, both public and non-public schools. Special education has come a long way from locking people away with disabilities, but there is definitely room for growth and improvement. Children with disabilities face a variety of challenges each day, and it is our duty to assist them, and if possible, get rid of some of those challenges. These children should not be treated any less than other children. If I could change the way we provide services to children with disabilities, I would first recommend emphasizing the fact that all children can learn. I believe that some professionals in special services have forgotten this, or have never believed in this statement. If professionals held this belief, I believe more progress and inclusion would occur across the spectrum of special services. I would also increase the implementation of full inclusion at all grade levels for all disabilities and decrease the number of pull-out/special academic instruction programs. It is a law and should be each specialist’s goal to have students with disabilities spend the majority of their school day with the rest of their school: not excluded from them. Additionally, I would start testing for special services earlier, for students in Kindergarten and First Grade. If this is done, and these younger children happen to qualify for special services, they will be able to receive them right away, instead of having to wait years for intervention that should have begun some time ago. I also believe that there should be a greater emphasis on comradery of teachers and specialists. Cooperation and communication between teachers and specialists would benefit the children a great deal. General educators could also learn more about the disabilities of their students receiving special services and better serve them in the classroom.
3. If you could change the way we provide services to children with disabilities, what would you recommend?
If I was able to critique the way in which we provide services to children with disabilities, there would be a few areas that I would change so that the needs of the children with disabilities was better met. One of the first things that I would change would have to be the fact that students are not treated equal if they have a disability and there for they are not provided for equally. I would recommend that more services be offered to students with disabilities such as more one on one time or different learning methods. For different learning methods maybe a teacher could provide a more hands on approach to teaching or a more visual approach. Something that is able to really engage the student with disabilities would be ideal. Another change that I personally would recommend for the services of children with special needs is changing the size of the classroom so that there is a more manageable amount of students to teacher ratio. With smaller class sizes, teachers would now be able to give that important one on one time and not feel overwhelmed with the amount of work require for providing for all the students. The last change that I would make is simply providing the teachers with more skills to be able to better suit the needs of children with disabilities. Teachers feel stressed out about have a regular classroom of children and then when you add a student with special needs it can become too much to handle, however if the teacher was given more training then they would be able to adapt and deal with the situation better.
One thing I would change how students with disabilities are taught, would be to better educate our teachers in the regular classroom. It is so sad to hear stories of teachers who will not provide services for children with disabilities in the classroom. My daughter is in kindergarten and has a fellow classmate who has autism. Their teacher informed me that this is second year of kindergarten. I was informed that the mother of this autistic child paid for private education for his first year of kindergarten. The teacher at this private school did not have a clue with what to do with the child. For the entire school year, he sat in the corner with his head down during class. The teacher felt that he was being a trouble maker and refused to help him. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Now it is the middle of the school year and this child has learned so much in this public education classroom. This teacher has brought so much joy to this child. I feel that this has been an important experience for all of the children including my daughter because it has taught them to be patience and to have respect for everyone including children with disabilities.
What I think would have been beneficial for both the child and the private education teacher would have been for them to be educated on his condition. Techniques and strategies in dealing with children with and without disabilities would be extremely beneficial for any teacher. What I would like to see are conferences held annually maybe even quarterly that will teach our general education teachers about the different disabilities they may face in their classrooms. A suggestion would be for a teacher to attend conferences that strictly teach about the particular disability a child in their classroom might have. That way everything won’t be so overwhelming for the teacher and he/she can learn how to better educate this student.
I think that accountability should extend to special education, in that their should be an appropriate way to ensure that the students are being exposed to material and becoming proficient in the material to the best of their ability. Students with disabilities should be being exposed to material that is specific to their needs and capabilities. If a students is severely disabled, then their accountability will not focus on academics as much as encouraging self care and students with high mental abilities will be accountable for material that is appropriate for them. I think that having a specific plan of accountability is important, and that having a broad non specific view of the students and their abilities will no be successful. I do not think that standardized testing would be successful for students with disabilities in many cases. Many students with disabilities are not physically certifiable of taking standardized tests, for example students who are blind and many students couldn’t take the standard tests simply because as of now, they are not part of the standards in which the tests were based on and their exposure to the material is limited. Perhaps if an adapted test was created that was flexible to the needs of a wide range of students, standardized testing could be successful. However to achieve this there would need to be such a huge number of tests that it would not be standard and would not serve its purpose. I think that we need to realize that the tests are not what make our students successful, it is the knowledge that they possess and their capabilities in use that make them successful, and a standardized test is not the nest way to measure success in the classroom or the success of out students.
There are a lot of things about the public education system that are successful and that work well. There are also things about the system that are inefficient or ineffective and are a detriment to our students. I do not have enough experience working with students with disabilities, however based on the knowledge that I have gain through the readings, think there are a few things that would be improved. I think that all students, of average ability and of varying degrees of disabilities, benefit from reduced class sizes and more small group interactions with the teacher. Having a classroom of 25 students with average abilities and 3 students with disabilities is over whelming. It is too many students depending on just one teacher. It seems like an uphill battle, students depend on our attention and our ability to reach them as individuals and none of that can happen if a teacher has too many individuals to reach. Another thing that I think is important in providing excellent care for our students with disabilities is having enough training and having the ability to explorer, ask questions and seek advice when needed. Its not enough to take a few courses during the credentialing process to prepare our teachers for students with disabilities. I think that schools should provide workshops and lectures as well as provide on site assistance for their teachers so that they feel supported and prepared at all times in their classroom. This would benefit the students with disabilities and it would also benefit the students who do not have disabilities who are in an integrated classroom.
If I could change the way service is provided to children with disabilities I would explore the area of other health impairment and separate that category into more specific categories so that I could service the students properly. I would also take a look at the students who are placed in special education classes under other health impaired who are placed there because of behavior problems. Many children who have special needs and disabilities are placed in these classrooms with students who are super behavior problems (not necessarily having to deal with or as a result of a disability). These students should be placed on a probationary period and if they can not conform to the general population rules and regulations they should be placed in a very controlled environment where behavioral issues can be address on a more intense level and in a more intense environment.
It is very unfair, to the students who need the extra help and the specialized environment to success, for these other students to be such a huge distraction to their education. Students with extreme behavior issues need a specific place just a students with severe disabilities.
I would like to create what is called a behavioral disability school for students who’s behavior impedes the learning of others and them selves over a certain percentage on a daily basis. If there is a child that falls into that category, I would like them to be taught in a much smaller setting and if necessary in a one-on-one/ independent/home school setting. They should be taught that extreme inappropriate behavior is not tolerated in the general population. This statement also holds true in the real world. Since it is our job to prepare students for the real world it is only fair and logical to use a little reality when we work with them.
If I could change the way that we provide services to children with disabilities there are several things I would do. First I would, change the current resource pullout model that is in use at my school site along with so many others. Special education students are denied the opportunity of inclusion by using our current model. They are treated as different and the stigma that goes along with that is very detrimental. I think that by utilizing a collaborative model, students can benefit by having consistency. This consistency of placement is a benefit to students who struggle with change. I have a student who hates to come to resource. He refuses to work and sometimes lashes out. This disrupts my teaching and the learning of everyone in the classroom. I think that if we utilized a collaborative model we could explain it as an extra support within his regular education classroom and his attitude could be changed. Another thing I would change is this “bottom line” philosophy we currently have going in the school system. We have students whose needs are not being met because it is “too expensive.” I understand that budgets must be maintained and schools cannot bankrupt themselves. However, I see that if a cut is going to be made, at least at our school site, special education usually feels it first. For example, we were told that the school was “out of money” for substitutes for the rest of the year. This meant that on our IEP days where we may have 4 or 5 in a day, requiring that we are out for a good portion of they day, we would simply have to split up the students between the other resource teacher and the two aids. At times we have upwards of 30 students between the two classrooms. However, regular education continues to hold their “data days” which require 6 to 8 substitutes in a grade level. I think that this seems ridiculous. I think that what benefits students should be held in the highest regard and having 30 or so resource students in a classroom that is not equipped to handle them is asking for trouble.
Obviously I cannot speak for every school or special education program, but I can speak to the changes I would recommend at my current school site, where I am an aid in a severely handicapped 2-4th grade classroom. The biggest change I would make, and I’m sure this applies to many special education programs across the board, is to take steps to eliminate the “otherness” that results from separating children with disabilities from non-disabled students. At our school, there is a distinct sense of segregation that benefits neither the special education students, nor the general education students. Our classrooms are in portables at the very back of the campus, complete with a playground that is separated from the main playground. We have begun to take our students to recess on the main playground, but just the fact that there is a separate playground where the special education students play reflects a mentality that is damaging to any potential progress in attitudes towards special education. I would also change the amount of time that our students are mainstreamed into general education classes. We have several students that, despite severe physical and linguistic disabilities, I believe would be able to be in a general education classroom 100% of the time, with the support of a special education teacher. However, I don’t see this happening until the attitudes of the administration, general education teachers, and even special education teachers change. A change in the way we think of students with disabilities is the main recommendation I would make for the way we provide services to children, because without a fundamental change in mentality, other changes will not produce results. Once we make real steps towards modifying how we view the potential and capabilities of these students, we can begin to increase integration into general education, and take steps towards producing adults that will be able to function in a post-school integrated community. As video #11 said, segregation begets segregation, and integration begets integration. We cannot seriously expect the children we teach to have any level of preparation for life after school if we deny them the right to be treated as equal to everyone around them in school.
I would start with the principles, training them with their teachers, special education teachers, and para professionals, all together to help them all understand their own parts that they bring to classrooms and bounce ideas off of each other from the experiences they have had to better work together and prepare for mild to moderate students to be included in the general education classes. I still have mixed feelings about severely disabled children being in the general education classes. I believe that rather than throwing all the children that have been in special education classes in to general education classes, they need to have the choice to choose whether they want to join these classes or not and they need to be fully involved in their future once they are old enough to understand what this means. I think that at the beginning of the school year for all children first beginning school (preschool or kindergarten) that they should never be in a special education class. Every year that, the next grade will change and cause a ripple effect until all grades have no special education class with students who are mild to moderately disabled. The gradual process will cause less stress on the schools and students who have already been used to and comfortable in special education classes. I think that there should always be at least one teacher to every ten students in each classroom so that the students get the attention they need to improve their education.
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