Do you feel comfortable teaching special needs students?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by ecteach, Sep 7, 2013.

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  1. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 8, 2013

    A deaf student would have an interpreter. A blind person would probably have modified materials and Braille items. Neither of them would necessarily need academic modifications.
     
  2. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have had a child with cerebral palsy, several with autism, aspergers, and Downs Syndrome. The only one that I had any real problems with was the child with Downs Syndrome. She was not disciplined at home and was very disruptive. I almost went crazy! She ran wild, coloring on walls, tables, taking off down the stairs, out the door, throwing everything in the toilets, stealing kids food off their plates.
     
  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I work at an ALL special ed school starting this year. All, but 2 of my students are high schoolers, which is also brand new to me. I work 1-on-1 or 2-on-1 with them & they each have one of the issues you listed in red. Since it's 1 or 2-on 1 from just a short portion of the day 30-45 min, it's of course much different & easier for me. Sometimes, there's this one kid I have that will start swinging his arms at me & hit, etc., so an aide is called over to get him & bring him back to his classroom. I'm not that comfortable with this particular student since he's VERY unpredictable with his physical actions. He & a few others I work with either do no talk at all (they just make noises), talk but are so unintelligible that I can't tell what they're saying, or echolailiac, which means they ONLY repeat what I say (pretty much single words only).

    They each have their own peculiarities, which is interesting. I just do the best can with them and that's it. Will they forget what I just did with them when they step out the door and return to their other room? I'm pretty sure, yes, but I'm there to do a job & make my living, so I just do my best.

    I have a question to you guys: How do you protect yourself when a kid suddenly starts flailing & swinging his arms at you & tries to hit you AND he's mute? I assume you hold your arm out quickly to protect the face & chest area.

    Another question: If you're working alone with someone like that & need to get help from another staff member, but you can't leave the kid in the room alone, yet there are no phones in the rooms because it's a run-down school, what do you do then? Would you open the door & yell for help? I think that's when it's good to have a whistle.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Yes. I was also recently told by an admin to grab a pillow and hold it in front of me while I'm simultaneously backing away from the child. I guess the pillow is supposed to just pop out of thin air.

    If you can anticipate the situation, then I'd make sure you tell another teacher to listen for you. Yes, you'll probably need to yell. If your school has walkie talkies, that's even better.
     
  5. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Either way I think it was being presented as a hypothetical situation.

    I teach inclusion with all of these types of students (except CP, my school is not accessible so I've never had experience with this) so obviously I'm comfortable with all of them, but of course I have a full time co-teacher so you can't really get better support than that. I'd be comfortable doing it without the co-teacher but if I still had so many students I definitely wouldn't be able to do my job as well which would be a disservice to all my students. But that's because I often have 8, 9 or 10 (or last year 14) students with special needs. If it was 1 or 2 I'm sure I could make it work.
     
  6. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm a special ed. teacher and I wouldn't be fully comfortable working with students like this either. You have to know your limits and pushing them isn't going to be good for you or the student. I really, really enjoyed working with the moderately MR student in my class last year even though in my heart I knew she belonged in a different setting and it wasn't right that she had to sit out the year in my class. She'll be in a new school this year and I'll really miss her. But I know I wouldn't work as well with a student who is more severely handicapped than she was.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Ms I, I'm sure your new school setting can be challenging, but consider that it can also be incredibly rewarding. It may require a paradigm shift, but adopting a growth mindset would help you view your role and your students' development in a different light. Instead of peculiarities, think of your students as having struggles with which you can help. Instead of thinking they will immediately forget what you just did with them, celebrate small successes and believe in their potential. We are all 'there to do a job and make a living', but focusing on the students, their growth and the difference you can make transforms that experience to so much more than a job. You can be that transformative experience for these kids if you would just believe you can be. :thumb:
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Ms. I, if you are working alone with students who can become violent, you should look into taking CPI training. It will teach you ways to safely (for yourself and the student) deal with a student whose behaviours become physical. However, I question the wisdom of having a potentially violent student alone with any staff member, particularly if you don't have a phone or walkie talkie to communicate the need for immediate assistance.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

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    which is why I said they would have an aide with them.

    However, I do a lot of visual stuff in class. Lots of "look at me" going on. I rely on colors and graphical organizers. I have students watch animations. It would be very challenging to me.
     
  10. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Not to split hairs, but a sign language interpreter for an otherwise typically developing deaf child is not an aide.

    If you had a blind student, they might have an aide, but there would still have to be a lot of accommodations so that child could access the curriculum.
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I don't have a designated room yet. Sometime this month, I'm supposed to have one, so we'll see how far I am from other staff, etc.

    I work at a run-down school with barely the basics in each room: Clock, desks, & chairs...no "fancy" stuff like walkie-talkies & n ot even phones, like I mentioned.

    bella84, I like that idea about the pillow! Thanks so much for bringing it up. :thumb: I don't care if I have to buy a cheap pillow from the dollar store. If that means protecting myself, I'll keep a pillow within arm's reach as soon as I get my designated room. I've been meaning to put a louder, better whistle in my work bag too. I'll let my P know that since I work with these kids 1-on-1 that since there's no phones, I won't hesitate to blow my whistle hard if my safety is in danger.

    MrsC, speaking of the CPI training, my P told me over the summer that I need to take that training, so I haven't forgotten to mention it to her soon.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you're getting hit by a kid, especially a little one, you don't need a pillow for protection. Just turn your body slightly so that they are hitting you in the butt. Sounds weird, I know, but it probably won't hurt either you or them. Your butt is likely the most "padded" part of your body. When I worked at an inpatient psych hospital for children and adolescents, this is one of the strategies we used. No adult-initiated contact with the child (such as a restraint), no injury to the adult or the child, easy peasy.

    I'd be hesitant to use a pillow during any sort of angry kid outburst, especially if I were alone. Too many dangerous possibilities involving a pillow.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Quoted for truth.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I wouldn't be anyone's punching bag.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Fair enough. But if the kid is hitting you anyway and you're waiting for help to arrive, at least position yourself in such a way as to avoid serious injury. That scenario is probably a lot better and safer than trying to restrain an angry, squirrely kid without the authority to do so and/or proper training. PS punches from a five-year-old aren't really super painful.
     
  16. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    I feel comfortable working with all types of students except those who are large and not toilet trained.
     
  17. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I see what you're saying.... In my case though, it was more about the shoes and teeth than fists. I didn't have a pillow, so it didn't matter. That's just what my admin suggested when I asked her what the future plan should be.
     
  18. HorseLover

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    I don't think I am completely comfortable with working with special needs children, but this (I think) mainly comes from not knowing a ton about it and feeling overwhelmed by making sure they get what they need. It does not, by any means, mean I would be unwilling to work with them
     
  19. TeacherNY

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    You could try those things. Do you ever have meetings in the school? If you do, at the next one I would try to suggest having walkie talkies. If everyone has them then they could call for help quickly.
     
  20. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Yes, good point. Better to be hit in the butt than in the face! This particular student of mine isn't exactly young nor small. He's just about as tall as me.

    I still like the pillow idea. Are you afraid some kind of accidental suffocation could happen with a pillow? I seriously doubt that would happen in my case. I'd rather have a pillow for that extra protection/cushioning.

    I don't need to attend any meetings, but I can easily talk to the P most of the time. I seriously doubt they would get walkie-talkies. They can't even put batteries in the clocks & correct it to the right time. But, yes,I D plan to talk to the P about vaious options.
     
  21. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Sep 10, 2013

    Can you keep your cell phone on you and call the office from it?
     
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