Working with students with severe MR

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Hillary04, May 11, 2006.

  1. Hillary04

    Hillary04 Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    I have a question for those of you who have been teaching in SPED for a while. I will be a first year teacher in the 06-07 school year and I have had two job offers. One is for a Resource math position at the middle school that I sub at daily. I am already doing this position once a week so I know somewhat what to expect. The other position is at a high school in the area teaching students with severe MR. I'm pretty sure I am going to accept the job at the HS, but I was just wondering if anyone has worked with this group of kids and if so, if you could tell me a little about your experience...what to expect, what your days were like, etc. I would really appreciate it...I'm so confused.
     
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  3. jhamm57

    jhamm57 Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    My first question would be.....what is your degree in? Elementary or Secondary? And then, do you have any Special Ed. certifications?
     
  4. Hillary04

    Hillary04 Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    My certification is in Special Education EC-12
     
  5. jhamm57

    jhamm57 Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    Hillary,
    I just think I should point out that if you take the job with high school with severe MR, the students will probably have feeding, toileting, seisure, and/or behavioral issues. If you are considering this, it is absolutely essential that you have an aide that is reliable and dependable. You both may have to be trained to restrain some of your students. It will absolutely take the both of you working together as a team to deal with some of these issues. Whereas, Resource students don't usually have so many issues to deal with. They will probably be able to make more progress more quickly than the students with more severe handicaps. You said you are already working at the same school. Perhaps you could arrange with the principal to observe the resource room program. For that matter, that would be an excellent idea to also observe the severely handicapped class as well. Let me know what you decide.
     
  6. Hillary04

    Hillary04 Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    I am already doing the resource job as a part-time, long-term sub once a week so I know what that positions like already. I am actually going tomorrow to observe at the high school and to get a better idea of the position...I know its a good problem to have..I just dont know which position I want to take.
     
  7. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    May 11, 2006

    Severe MR is still a rather broad umbrella--I've worked residential with students with severe to profound MR ages 3-27, and there can be quite a bit of variation. How big is the class? As jhamm said, you will have at least one aide, and building your working relationship will be very important. Depending on where the students are, cognitively and health-wise, you could be working on life skills such as community access and pre-voc, or you could be doing more activities of daily living--increasing participation and independence in areas such as communication, feeding, motor, toileting, etc. HS is challenging because you are putting very basic skills in the context of age-appropriate grade level curriculum, which your students are so far from ready for. It is a challenge to meet their needs while being somewhat age appropriate. I'm not 100% sure about TX b/c I don't have experience with TX, but you will probably be expected to complete alternative assessments in some way demonstrating progress towards the state's grade level curriculum frameworks. Those are one of my least favorite parts of my job now (I have multi-handicapped grade 2-4 students right now, so some of the aspects are the same). If you are at the public HS, another component of your job will be in some way including your students with general education students. I assume if your class would be severe MR, you would be in a substantially separate class, but it is important to involve them in the life of the student body. Alot of people accomplish this through "reverse inclusion," bringing general ed students into their classrooms for various activities or assistance instead of sending their students into the gen ed classroom which is too much for some students. It's true what jhamm said about the resource students making progress more quickly, but I have to say that when your students with more severe difficulties do make a step of progress, it is precious beyond words. As a teacher or caregiver, you learn to value and appreciate the small triumphs, and to recognize the seemingly little things for the huge deal they really are. And you celebrate it. Hope your visit tomorrow goes well and gives you a clearer picture of what choice you are making--it is an exciting dilemma to have!
     
  8. Hillary04

    Hillary04 Rookie

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    May 12, 2006

    I just got back from observing the self-contained MR classroom and it was exactly what I had hoped for...I'm definatly taking this position. They also asked me to be the JV cheerleading sponsor so thats exciting as well...I look at it as an opportunity to bridge the gap between general ed and special ed. Now, if anyone could help me with how they structure their classroom with these kiddos that would really help. Thanks!
     
  9. jhamm57

    jhamm57 Rookie

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    May 12, 2006

    Congratulations! I'm happy for you.
     
  10. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    May 14, 2006

    Hilary,

    I think it's fantastic that you're willing to open your eyes to students with moderate/severe disabilities as well. I currently work in an autism classroom which serves the needs of students who are moderate/severe. It takes a special person to be able work with this population. I always tell teachers who get burned out quickly with special education, "you're in the wrong profession!" If you aren't happy with your career, then you won't be happy with the students. I would suggest products from Attainment Company to help you with some of the modifications. They have products which have life-skills materials. They are provided at the secondary level rather than an elementary level approach. Make sure you use Picture Communication Symbols, visual schedules, and plan activities accordingly. I use a timer for activities in my current classroom and it works rather well.

    Good luck and again congratulations
    AspieTeacher
    Troy in Downey, CA (btw, i'm originally from Corpus Christi)
     

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