accommodating sped students

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    what does it look like in your classroom? Do you follow the IEP/504 exactly, doing what it says and only that? Do you change your methods and style for the whole class or just a handful of students? Do you do as the sped teachers request even if the requests aren't mentioned directly on the IEP? If an IEP mandate interferes with the learning of other students, do you address the issue?

    I still struggle with the "needs of one outweighing the needs of many" issue that sometimes comes into play with IEPs and requests from the sped dept.

    For instance, I am very sarcastic by nature. Not mean-sarcastic, mind you. I'm always playful with it and I have found that it really helps build rapport with students. No one is the butt of any joke or anything. I also use tons of analogies during lecture. I try to approach more difficult lessons from as many angles as I can and analogies help with that.

    I have twice been asked by sped teachers to refrain from using analogies or joking around while I have their students in my classroom. These particular students were not able to "get" what I was saying and do better with linear, concrete facts.

    Not only is this totally against my style would be almost impossible for me to change for a singular class period, I feel that it pulls away from what the other students get. The non-sped students deserve to be challenged and engaged.

    I have also been asked to turn off all classroom lights during lecture (via PPT) so some sped students can see the board and/or focus better. Dark rooms make my eyes strain and give me headaches. I even watch tv with a lamp on at home, much to my family's dismay. Despite that, when the lights go completely down, so do the heads of many of my students. Other students have eye strain issues like I do too. Behavior issues arise. When I walk by or into other teachers' rooms that are completely dark I find at least two students sleeping. They aren't getting much out of the lecture!

    An easy fix for the latter scenario is to simply give the students black and white copies of the ppt slides. Makes sense to me but it still ruffled some feathers in the sped dept.

    Thankfully neither of these suggestions were formalized in IEPs. I honestly don't know how things would play out if they were. I'm very fortunate in that the sped chairs at my schools have been awesome and really consider all of the students in a room when reviewing IEPs.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I definitely follow everything that is written in the IEP. By law you need to follow the IEP and if something is in the IEP that isn't working in your classroom, you have the right to ask for an IEP meeting to amend the IEP.
    I don't follow only the IEP though. If I was asked to do something by a sped teacher or something that I thought would help a student within reason, I would do this as long as it didn't violate anything in the IEP.

    I have changed my teaching style or method to meet the needs of my group of students. Everything cannot be exactly the same because each class is made up of different learners. That being said, I wouldn't change something for all students unless I thought that it would help most of the students.

    I have never had something on an IEP interfere with the learning of other students.

    If the analogies and jokes are helping other students to better grasp a concept, can you ask a student to explain the analogy and joke related to the concepts they are learning so that everyone can understand the extensions?
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It is important that follow the IEP exactly as it is written. You can do more, but you cannot do less. Your sped teachers should be having a conversation with you about what will work and won't work in your classroom when writing the IEP. If you feel that an accommodation won't work, speak up at the meeting.

    With that said, it is important to be accommodating to the needs of all students, and, as mopar said, it can vary from group to group. So, you may need to change what you do from one period to the next. You may still be able to use your sarcasm, but you may also need to explain the same concepts in a concrete way so that all learners can understand. I have the same issue with watching tv in the dark! My roommate never understood why I wanted the light on.... Anyway, could you ask for donations or for the school to supply lamps that you could turn on when displaying PPTs in your classroom? This would help those that have trouble seeing with the fluorescent lights but would also keep the room bright enough for those that may fall asleep in darkness.

    Look into designing your lessons with "Universal Design for Learning" in mind (http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl). Sometimes what works for students with special needs will work for their non-disabled peers as well.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    yes, I am fully aware of what my legal obligations are. I am not looking for advice in that regard. Thank you anyway.
     
  6. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I completely understand where you're coming from, 2ndtime. We all want to be the best we can be and do everything we can for every student, but sometimes it does feel as though I'm expected to sacrifice my GenEd kids for one or two SpEd kids. It has become almost a moral struggle for me, trying to find the balance.
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Agreed
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Aug 4, 2013

    Yep.
     
  9. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    I am the head of my special ed dept, and I consider myself an advocate for the children. I have no idea why this would ruffle feathers. Seems to me like you were going above and beyond by printing these off.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    If having the room with no lights on when doing powerpoints causes discomfort for you and other students, perhaps get a dim light or two to light up the sides of the classroom?
     
  11. bison

    bison Habitué

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    This is a good suggestion. Not the same thing, but I use it at home because BF likes total darkness when watching movies at night but my eyes need some light. It works for both of us. Giving the students copies also sounds like a perfectly reasonable suggestion to me as well. It may also help for those who have trouble taking notes.
     
  12. Nitch

    Nitch Rookie

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    Shouldn't you be accommodating to ALL student sped or not? I have two children. Neither is in sped, but both learn in compleatly different ways.
     
  13. Barbd

    Barbd Rookie

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    Several of our middle school teachers have used lights off but with a standing lamp or two in the room. Doesn't darken it quite as much and it does make the board a little easier to see.

    I've also heard of teachers using string lights (Christmas lights or porch lights) around the room for this reason as well.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oh, I dim the lights already. The request was to take them all the way down.
     
  15. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Idealistic but not very realistic. Sometimes the requests contradict each other. I teach close to 200 students a year. It is impossible to give into every whim or suggestion.

    Last year I had to ask our EC dept and parents of a couple of my students about changing IEPs because they were impossible to implement. I had six students that were supposed to sit "front and center" in my room. I had four such seats, lol.

    It was a ridiculous accommodation, all written by the same person at the kids' middle school. And all re-written at our school.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I have run into these exact problems. The most challenging issue for me is when I have multiple students who need everything read aloud to them. If I'm reading every instruction and question on every assignment and test, then I'm not available to assist other students who might need help. Like a PP said, this causes a moral dilemma for me, and I don't like being in that position.

    I haven't found a solution other than to try my best and talk to the counselor about a class change. It doesn't always happen.

    I do feel like our special ed teachers don't always understand that there are many other students in the room who also need our help. I want to accommodate and teach everyone, but with the way some of these IEPs are written, I can't. It's frustrating for me as a teacher and for my other students. I feel like if a student needs such major accommodations then they should be in a different setting or have an aide.
     
  17. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I had a student last year that absolutely hated when the lights were off, and we used the smart board. He had many issues and this always put him over the edge. Unfortunately, the board was difficult to read with the lights on. We had the dad send in sunglasses, and the problem was solved.

    It is so difficult to meet every child's needs. Unfortunately, someone isn't going to get what they need all of the time.
     
  18. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    2ndTime, I think the issue that you face is that you're working with SPED teachers who have unrealistic expectations and write IEPs that are unnecessarily detailed and nitpicky. I highly doubt that limiting your sarcasm is the deciding factor of a student's success in your classroom. That is just ridiculous, and know that is not how IEPs are written everywhere.

    I hope things get better :unsure:
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It isn't always about unrealistic IEPs but lack of proper staffing for support of students with disabilities. If a child needs the accommodation and it can't be met via the general education teacher (for a variety of reasons) either additional support is supposed to be provided because LRE may be the gen ed classroom or if it is beyond what can be done in the gen ed classroom with support or because of the environment or content then pull-out is what is needed. However, we know how that goes....


    Sometimes you have to get creative and beg for technology. For example, directions can be given via technology for some students. This also comes down to money, but it can be a cheaper way for a compromise.
     

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