Help students see spec ed student perspective

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by deefreddy, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. deefreddy

    deefreddy Companion

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    Apr 24, 2012

    I need advice on how to help gen ed students see things from my sped student perspective. Some of my intellectually disabled students attend gen ed classes in HS. This is a new situation for many gen ed students in our district because inclusion is not promoted. Three gen ed students were seen telling one of my students to repeat "bad" words, which he readily complied with because he is echolalic and really wants to please and be part "of the gang." I have also witnessed these same student be very helpful to my student in his gen ed class, so my assumption is that they just got carried away and the game went from bad to worst. Anyway, the Dean assigned them to help out in my classroom tomorrow. I'm not sure it is a good way to teach them appropriate ways to interact with intellectually disabled students, but I wasn't given a choice. Any advice on making it a worthwhile and good learning experience for them? They do seem genuinely interested in seeing what my classroom is about. I teach in a functional (life skills) HS self-contained classroom.
     
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  3. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Apr 24, 2012

    If you do ever need to speak to a student about not being kind, make sure you do it privately, you will get a more sincere conversation. I've found talking about potential hurt feelings gets the best response. For the most part, I find students to be very compassionate. Even though students are sometimes immature, they usually don't want to be hurtful to a peer with special needs.
     
  4. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Apr 24, 2012

    At my last school, I started a peer buddy lunch program to help facilitate some relationships with students from the regular ed classes. They were always staring, making fun, and otherwise saying hurtful things to/about my kiddos, so that is when I decided to start the lunch program.

    I made it inviting and motivating for kids to join (Burger King on Wednesday! Hawaiian luau next week! Cookie decorating on Friday before Christmas break!) I also played "hip" music videos and other such popular stuff on the Smartboard when kids were in the room. We always had the door open and we let other kids look in and see how much fun we were having. I started with two kids in the program, and it grew to over thirty kids in two years. We actually had to start a rotating schedule and would have several lunch programs a week to accommodate all of the kids who wanted to be in it. I made being in the autism room "cool," which helped decrease some of the stigma attached to being in the class.

    Anyway, with that being said, I always did an "Orientation" for every new cohort of kids. At that orientation, I did a little "Awareness" activity every time. I think it IS so important (like you've mentioned) for the kids to understand what it's like to be in their shoes. Now this might not apply to you (not sure what kinds of disabilities your kids have) - but you could maybe get some ideas from it.

    I wrote three different sentences on three different index cards.

    1. I want to have a hamburger with pickles and ketchup.
    2. I sandwich lettuce. (I want a turkey sandwich with lettuce).
    3. I w_ _t t_ _rd_r ch_ _ _k_ _ n _ _ _ _ts. (I want to order chicken nuggets).

    I asked for three volunteers...

    1st kid: (card 3) - You have to say this sentence, but you need to omit certain sounds. You cannot say the full sentence, only the letters that are on the card.

    2nd kid: (card 2) - You have to say this sentence, but you need to omit certain words. You cannot say the full sentence, only the words that are on the card.

    3rd kid: (card 1) - You have to "convey" this sentence, but you can't say anything at all (no words allowed).

    As they "acted out" or "said" their sentences, the group had to guess what they were trying to say (as you can imagine, it was very difficult, everyone was laughing, the volunteers were getting "frustrated" etc).

    At the end, I explained that this is what it's like to have autism. You know what you want to say, but you can't quite say it (at all, the right way, correctly), etc. based on your communication abilities. That's when I would show the communication devices, PECS books, etc. and other tools we use in the classroom. This REALLY seemed to help the kids understand why that kid carries a computer around his neck, or why that kid has a meltdown in the cafeteria when you get the wrong sandwich, etc.

    Little activities like this can be really great for "understanding what it's like."
     
  5. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Apr 25, 2012

    I like that, teachersk! Do you have any other nice orientation/awareness activities you could share?
     
  6. deefreddy

    deefreddy Companion

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    Apr 26, 2012

    perspective

    Thanks for the suggestion teachersk, and I will use that activity for my peer tutor orientation next year.

    I actually printed a news article about a young man with autism who was roughed up by police in a neighboring town because they mistook his erratic behavior as a threat. I explained that even though they might have meant it as a joke, my student would not be able to defend himself in the future if he repeated the bad words to someone who took offense. I also painted a picture of my student's life which unfortunately pretty universal in my area: he has no afterschool activities, he doesn't attend school functions or have friends outside of his family members, after he leaves HS he will attend an adult transition class until 22, and then we will move to an adult workshop program where he will do menial tasks for less than minimum wage. He will be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I told them that my hope is to at least make their HS experience as integrated and happy as that of a typical students. All three students ended up doing a great job and having a great time in my class yesterday and couldn't wait to sign up as peer tutors next year!
     

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