Severe needs preschool- PLEASE help!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by waterfall, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 6, 2011

    I posted on here before that I will be working at an ESY preschool this summer. I did realize that the students' would have a lot of needs, considering that they are already identified in preschool and have qualified for ESY. However, after talking to their teachers and getting their IEP documents, I realized that I am basically dealing with the most severe needs of all here. I am in way over my head! I barely have any training in special education as it is:eek:...I used my knowledge of students/teaching in general as well as being a fast learner to get me through this year, but right now I am working with kids that just have learning disabilities or minor cognitive delays. Everything is still teaching as normal, just using some sort of intervention. I am in for a shock here!

    I will have 6 kids. I will also have 3 TA's. One of my TA's works with me currently and she has actually taught preschool before, but it was general ed. Another of the TA's knows 2 of the kids and works with them currently, so that will be great. My 3rd currently works with middle schoolers, also with minor disabilites like I do.

    If this comes off as rude, I'm really not meaning to sound that way...I'm just honestly not sure what to do. The kids' needs are SO severe that I honestly can't figure out what I'm going to do with them! All of them are nonverbal, with the exception of one child who currently knows 2 words. 3 of them are unable to move at all (they have goals such as follow something with an eye gaze), and 2 others require hand under hand assistance to do almost all tasks. All require special seats/placements to sit on their own. For my 1 that is somewhat able to move around, his IEP notes that he will throw tantrums when asked to do a new task, hecannot handle touching anything of a new texture, and will use nonverbal communication such as hitting or biting to express emotions. One of the students can eat on his own if you put one small thing in front of him at a time (as in one bite) and the others all need to be fed.

    Again, not trying to sound rude, but I am just at a total loss as to what I'm going to do with these kids for 3 hours. Obviously, we'll be spending some time working on their individual goals, which it looks like will have to be one-on-one. However, there are only 4 of us and 6 kids. Also, it seems as if none of them are able to do any sort of task independently, so it's not like I can have some of them work on something and then pull others aside for goals. I can't really do a whole group lesson or anything like that with kids who are all nonverbal (even their teacher admitted this would not be possible), and I don't want to exhaust them by trying to work on their goals for 3 hours straight.

    Thankfully, there is a regular summer preschool going on at the same time, and I have gotten them to agree to let us join them for at least their circle time. Hopefully, with the support of the TA's and I, we can get the students to at least sit in the circle and participte in whatever way they can. However, that's only going to be about 20 minutes of the day...they did mention that we could talk about doing centers with them too, but I'm not sure what kind of centers my kids would be able to do. We're not allowed to just integrate with this other preschool the whole day, because they are seperate programs under seperate funding, and they have to follow their student-teacher ratio. So there will still be a lot of time where it's just us with these kids.

    If anyone has ANY suggestions as to what kind of routine I could do, or anything that we could set up...I would be extremely grateful!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 6, 2011

    Plan on the first 20 minutes or so to arrive and leave parents. Then plan on the last 20 minutes or so to get ready to go. 40 minutes covered so far.

    Now, I'm not sure what the goals are for the students, but you will probably want to figure out what supplies you have to work with. I would make sure that you have songs and cd player, preschool kids love to listen to music.

    Provide lots of materials to touch and feel (shaving cream, jelly, sand paper, leaves, etc).

    I would have lots of books to read to work on language skills. Just having a read aloud (something short with lots of pictures) is always good to build word knowledge.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    They're arriving on a bus, so no parents. I suspect that given the SES of the surrounding areas, their parents do not have the type of vehicles that would accommodate transporting the kids. I've been told they'll all be arriving on our special transportation bus.

    I like the read aloud idea. That could be something to do together or maybe something one of us could do with a small group while the rest of us were working with kids one on one.

    We'll be in a significant support needs classroom (what my state calls severe needs), so I'll have a lot of materials...but seeing as how I have NO experience with significant support needs students, I'm not sure I'll know what said materials are and/or what to do with them. I won't be allowed in the room before school starts. I plan on arriving VERY early (probaby 2 hours at 7 am) the first day to at least try to figure some things out.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 6, 2011

    Will you have access to a playground or pool?

    We did quite a few water, art, sand activities. Boats on water, shovels in the sand, etc.

    You may want to try things like marble painting where you put a piece of paper in a box, put a few splatters of paint on the paper. Then put a marble or two in the box and close. Let the students shake the box. This makes a neat picture without needing to touch a messy substance.
     
  6. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jun 7, 2011

    Will you have acces to switches? The switches could be used to help include the kids in singing a song or story.

    http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/02/sundays-toy-silly-six-pins-ramp.html This site has so much to offer when it comes to adapting activities, it has ideas for art projects, easy ways to adapt toys, and just tons of great ideas and information!

    Do you have acces to any adaptive equipment/assistive technology? Such as a spin art machine that could be switch adapted/hooked up to a switch? Switch adapted toys? switch adpated scissors could be used for art, a switch adapted pouring cup could be used for snack, cooking, science and texture table activities.

    Communication boards could be used: http://prekese.dadeschools.net/BMD/activityspecific.html (need boardmaker)
    What about doing a question of the day (do you like apples?) Yes or no the students could use eye gaze to look at the picture of their choice. http://prekese.dadeschools.net/BMD/flipchart.html

    http://prekese.dadeschools.net/AS/prewriting.html adaptation station ideas

    If you have a smartboard you could do sensory stories with your students, here is a turtle one creted by pete wells. http://www.northerngrid.org/ngflwebsite/sennew/software/teacher_created/petewells.html Here is a link to his other stories http://www.portlandcollege.org/curriculum/sensory-stories/

    For your one student who can move around somewhat independently, but tends to tantrum when asked to start a task, what if you set up a work system for him? Kind of TEACCH or ABA style? You would have to find things he was interested in, and use a reward that he really likes to motivate him. Here is a site with some task box ideas http://www.preschoolfun.com/pages/teacch.htm

    This site has some great cause and effect activities and other switch activities http://www.priorywoods.middlesbrough.sch.uk/page_viewer.asp?page=Resources&pid=4

    Some other preschool special education resources:
    http://speech.jppss.k12.la.us/speech-prek-aacsubjectareas/
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 7, 2011

    Thank you for the ideas! I have been checking out some of the websites. Unfortunately I'm not allowed in the room until that first day (and the program is held at another school) so I'm not really sure what materials there are. Our severe needs programs are housed at this school though, so there should be a lot of resources. If those switch things are a common thing, I'm sure they have one. I would almost bet there is no smartboard though. I think that first day we're really just going to have to sort of "wing it" (as much as I HATE doing that) because we won't know what materials we'll have or what these kids can actually do. I've been e mailing the director of the regular preschool and she said I could call her this week to set up times to integrate with them, so I'm feeling better about that. I'm still pretty nervous but I feel like I am sort of getting a handle on things. I think I REALLY freaked out one of my TA's...like me she knew we'd be dealing with some really low kids, but didn't realize we were getting into signicant support needs. She used to teach preschool and I think she was looking forward to being able to do some of the same things she used to do, so she was disappointed. She came in late to cover for someone else who quit, so she hasn't officially accepted the position yet...I'm really hoping she doesn't decide not to do it!

    If anyone else has any ideas, especially for some sort of routine to set with the kids, I would love to hear more!

    I'm also a little unsure about working with TA's...this is not something I've done before. Two of my TA's are full time teachers during the school year, so I know they want to be involved in some planning and preperation and things like that. They've both already asked me if there was anything I'd like them to do. The third is not a teacher and is a preschool TA throughout the school year. I was always taught in classes in college that TA's should not be involved in planning and things like that, but this person will be the only one of us that has any experience with these types of kids, and she knows 2 of them already, so I'd value her input. However, I know she's making even about half of what my other TA's are (certified teachers acting as TA's make a much higher salary), and I don't want her to feel like I'm unfairly putting more work on her, and I don't know how much she's used to doing. I also don't want her to feel left out if I just plan with the other 2. How would you approach it? Should I just ask her how involved she wants to be? I was going to suggest to the other 2 that we go out to lunch maybe on the 2nd day after we've seen what the kids can do and such and talk about setting up a more formal routine for the following weeks.
     
  8. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2011

    Waterfall... I teach students in grades K-5, with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. Three hours is not alot of time so I think once you get in there and hands-on with the kids you will be fine. It will be a huge help having the TA that is familiar with at least 2 of the students.

    Just curious: Will they eat breakfast or lunch while they are at ESY or is it 3 hours of instructional time?

    If all of your students are non-verbal you will definitely want to use some type of augmentative communication device which I'm sure the classroom will have when you get there. Even if it is just a Big-Mac (one button communication device)! They are easy to use and your TA who has worked with these kids before should know how to work it and show you how.

    Having never worked with your particular students before I can't say for sure, but you should be able to do some group activities with them, especially with 4 adults in the room. I have 5 students (3 adults) and we do several group activities throughout the day, but keep in mind I teach K-5th, so preschool may be a little different in that respect.

    Here are some activities you could try building into your day:

    1) Circle Time - with regular preschool

    2) Music/Sensory Time - have a short group time with musical activities. Play fun preschool songs the kids will enjoy. You could do different sensory activities on different days or let the kids choose, using pictures, what they want to do. You could alternate days with (playing instruments or DIY shakers, shaking pom-poms, blowing bubbles, using puppets, etc.) For example, I sing Old McDonald with my kids. Each of them holds a puppet and when we get to their animal, they hold it up for us while we sing. Most of them need assistance holding it up but it gets them active, participating, and listening for their turn and they have to hold the puppet, without throwing, dropping, mouthing, etc.) That one activity can work on alot of skills. :)

    3) Story Time - Read a short, simple story for the kids. If it is a story with a repeated line you can program the repeated line into a Big Mac communication device so they can "read" the line each time it occurs in the story (even if it's with hand over hand assistance).

    4) Art Activity - come up with short, simple art activities for them to create. In my class I have a weekly theme, usually centered around the story. So for example... if you read "Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom" each day for a week, you can come up with simple art activities based on the book. Glue Alpha-bit cereal pieces to a picture of coconut tree to spell their name, paint a coconut tree, decorate the first letter of their name with tissue paper, glitter, etc. Of course this will all be hand over hand, but let them do as much as possible (choose what color paint or tissue paper they want to use, etc.)

    5) Snack Time - if they are not eating breakfast or lunch while at ESY, could you have a simple snack time. You could work on eating skills.

    6) Bathrooming Skills - You'll have to plan some time for bathroom time. They can practice washing their hands after using restroom so this will take a little time too.

    7) Individual work time - You'll want to incorporate some individual work time as well to work on specific skills. That will vary depending on each student but get ideas from their IEP's for which skills to work on. Since you only have 4 adults you may try pairing a few students together. Once you work with them a little you will get a feel for which kids are at about the same level and would be working on similar activities. What I would probably do is use your TA's during this time... group 2 students for each TA. Then while they are working with the students you would be free to pull each student individually for a few minutes.

    8) Structured Play Time - Give the students some free time to choose an activity they want to do. Some fun activities could include: switch toys if your classroom has them or whatever toys are available, play-dough, rolling/tossing a ball, etc.

    I hope some of these suggestions have helped. I feel like I was just rambling along. lol I do have a website with some suggestions if you care to look. I think some of it would apply for pre-school too. www.workofheart.bravehost.com
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 9, 2011

    Thanks for the ideas! They will have a snack, but all but one of them has to be spoon fed, so I don't think we can do it all at the same time since there aren't enough of us. They're also all in diapers so no bathrooming skills. From looking at the IEP's, it looks like one student is a whole lot closer to a typical preschooler than the rest. She can move around on her own, talk briefly, and her IEP says she can even follow the normal routine with some support. I'd love to just have her with the regular preschool all day and pulled out some to work on skills, but I assume they'd want me to send a TA and I can't afford to lose one! I feel bad for her b/c I don't feel like she's going to get much out of our class since everyone else is so low. The other IEP's say that the kids either won't sit in cirlce, or that they can sit for 2-3 minutes. Yikes! I thought that would at least take up part of the day, but 3 minutes isn't going to help me any. I'm wondering if I can even set up any routine at all with all the kids doing such different things. Two of them will tantrum with any new task, and I know the 5 of them have their own seperate activities that they did all day in the regular school year preschool, and they each had their own para- they all require hand under hand assistance to do anything. 3 hours is looking like a loooong time with kids that are all doing completely seperate things and won't keep doing anything for more than 3 minutes. I love your ideas inhisgrip and I would love to do stuff like that, but what do I do if they won't do the activities?
     
  10. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jun 9, 2011

    I wonder, can the students activate a head switch?
     
  11. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2011

    Waterfall, from what I gathered from your OP, 3 of your students use wheelchairs and 3 are mobile. Is that correct?

    If this is the case, I would utilize your TAs during the group activities to help the 3 mobile students stay seated. For example, during a group art or story activity at the table, each of the 3 TAs will be sitting next to or behind one of the 3 students who will not stay seated. The TA's job would be to keep their assigned student at the table and help them complete the activity, while you lead the activity and assist the others. If the preschoolers will not stay seated for longer than 2-3 minutes, this is definitely a skill they need to work on. When they get to kindergarten they will need to be able to sit at a table for longer than 2-3 minutes. It can be a challenge, but with 4 adults in the room, you should be fine, especially if 3 of the students use wheelchairs and won't be trying to leave the table.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is: plan approrpiate activities for their age group and be prepared to follow-through and have them complete it... with whatever supports are necessary of course. If you want them to do a simple 10 minute art activity, then set out the materials, put them around the table and help them to complete it. If a student refuses to stay seated, then whoever is assigned to that student for that particular activity will keep bringing them back to the table to finish the activity. They have to learn to follow directions and stay on task. You can build in reinforcing "free" activities between each task if that will help. For example, after they finish their art activity, they get 5 minutes of free time, then start the next activity. Be sure to give them clear directions... first, then... first you have to finish painting your picture, then you can get up and play with Elmo (or whatever it is they prefer to do). The key is to follow through... if you ask them to do something, expect them to do it and give them the supports necessary to complete it. Plan short, engaging activities, that will keep them interested and make them finish it. Yes, it can be exhausting. lol But that's the only way they learn what your expectations are and they can't just get up whenever they want and run around the room. I hope this makes sense. Sorry, rambling again. :)
     
  12. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    Jun 9, 2011

    P.S. Yes, you definitely need a routine. It will help your day and the kid's day go MUCH smoother. Even if your routine is something like this: Definitely have a plan a stick to it. Of course you'll have to tweak it after the first few days as you learn your kids more.

    Arrival
    Circle Time in regular class (20 minutes)
    Free Play (10 minutes)
    Story Time (10 minutes)
    Art Activity (10 minutes)
    Individual Work Time (15 minutes)
    Snack Time (15 minutes)
    Bathrooming (15 minutes)
    Free Play (10 minutes)
    Music Time (10 minutes)
    Gross Motor Activity (10 minutes)
    Individual Work Time (15 minutes)
    Centers in regular class (20 minutes)
    Bathrooming (15 minutes)
    Load Buses to go home!!

    Yes, your kids will all have different needs and abilities, but they can all participate in the same activities, they will just need different levels of support.
     
  13. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jun 9, 2011

  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 10, 2011

    Thank you for the additional ideas! I just found out that 2 of my preschoolers are being switched out (they had the wrong names-aaah). Our department is so disorganized! So now I have one student in a wheelchair (she is operating at about a 3 month old level), and 5 who are able to move around, but 3 of those need hand over hand assistance for everything. 2 have severe behavior issues, including violence towards self and others. They both are not typically even around other students at all. One has supposedly just started meds that have really helped- I am praying that is true! One student can use 1-2 word phrases and/or imitate speech. Some others can sign a few things- does anyone know of a website that would show basic educational sign language? I don't know any sign language. Four of the students are Spanish speakers. My receptive spanish is pretty good, but my expressive spanish is nowhere near good enough to teach or speak more than a few phrases. Now I'm worried they'll be even more frustrated because they can't understand me! To the best of my knowledge, I think all of the regular school year prescools have Spanish speaking teachers in them.

    I talked to the director of the regular preschool, and she knows all of my kids because they've been there throughout the year. When I mentioned that I would like my students to come to circle time, she immeaditaly said absolutely not! She flat out said they couldn't handle it and that it wouldn't be a good use of their time. She mentioned 2 of the students who would only sit there for 2-3 minutes. I asked her if she thought I should do a seperate circle with them, and she said that she did not suggest doing that at all. I thought that would at least be something easy to take up some time:dizzy: She said center time would be a much better time for the students to join them. This is an hour long, but she said the students wouldn't be able to go in without a 1-1 para, so I'm going to have to send some of my TA's in with kids for half of it, stay back and work on skills with others, and then send the other half. The student in the wheelchair will only be coming once a week, so the other 2 days we'll have 5 students. I'm hoping that once we meet the kids and figure out what they can do, there may be some that we can send to the regular circle (even just one or two) with a TA, and then we can use that time in my room to work on more individual skills. I'm also hoping we can maybe figure out a way to pair a couple of the students up with one TA (maybe those that aren't behavior issues) so that we could spend a longer time in centers with the regular preschool. I also just realized that 5 of the students have speech goals, yet I have heard nothing about a speech pathologist...so I e mailed our director and asked if one would be coming in. I really hope so as I have absolutely no training in anything related to speech. That might also help bring down our ratio in the classroom if the speech person was working with one of the students. I am SO nervous!
     
  15. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jun 11, 2011

    Here are some ideas:
    Circle time could be adapted, the students could use switches, eye gaze, sign language etc.

    Here is a site with a CD that has songs for students with multiple disabilities.

    You should definetly take a look at the website I gave in a previous post: adpatations 4 kidz ( or something similar). It has great ideas of art projects that you could use with your students.

    The art activities on this site are:
    fly swatter painting http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/01/art-time-swatting-flies.html
    bubble wrap painting http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/01/bubble-wrap-painting.html
    no hands painting (how to make an adaptable paintbrush) http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/01/look-no-handspainting.html
    sensory painting http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/01/sensory-painting.html
    wheels art http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/02/wheels-art.html
    foot painting http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/04/foot-painting.html
    yo yo ball painting: http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/2010/05/yoyo-ball-painting.html

    http://www.tunedintolearning.com/cgi/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=VOL8
     
  16. LifeSkills

    LifeSkills Rookie

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    Jun 12, 2011

    I teach a severe needs preschool during the school year and I will have them for ESY as well. I have two paras. This is what my schedule looks like.

    8:20-Unpack/Toileting
    8:40-Breakfast (we work on them exchanging a PEC's symbol or activating a device)
    9:00-Circle Time-They sign into school using their picture/name, "sing" the student statement and review the schedule
    9:20-Music- this is my prep
    10:05-ELA We read a short book, usually one where they match pictures from the book, listen to a song about our topic. Then we break up into centers. There are three going at the same time,my paras and I each run one.
    11:20-Snack (one of my paras goes to lunch)
    11:40-Math- We read a math book, do some interactive songs. Then centers again. One is always listening because I am short staffed and they will sit with something in their hands and headphones on.
    12:20-Lunch (my lunch as well)
    1:10 We either have science, social studies, art, or technology. Normally we read a book and then do a whole group project. (my other para goes to lunch
    1:45-Toileting, begin to pack up
    2:00-Bussing

    Let me know if you have any questions about the centers, or anything else.
    Good Luck!! They are really cute at this age
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 14, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the ideas! We start next week. I'm sure I'll be back with questions once we actually get going :)
     

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