For every child whether they experience delay or not, it is important to know that they will learn just as well provided they are given the right tools and that they are allowed to take part in the normal activities that go on around the schools and even in the surrounding environment (Friend, 2014). They should be exposed to this as allowed to do so to their best of their capabilities. It is not right to have the special needs children grow apart from those who are not affected in any way. Children will learn optimally in a surrounding that is as natural as possible (Friend, 2014).
The classroom setting is not like the regular classes where the students sit in rows and at individual desks, but they are sat in groups around the five tables in the class (Ginsberg, et al 2004). There are 18 students in total in the classroom, ten girls and eight boys. All the students are Caucasian in this classroom. The students are arranged in such a way that three round tables in the classroom are sat by four students while two tables have three students each.
The exceptional child is placed at the center table in the class and he shares the workspace with two other students. He uses a special chair and a walker that aid his movement around the class. The right kind of equipment will be beneficial to this child as it helps ease his movement and makes him as comfortable as possible during the time he is at the school.
The assignment takes place at the J Collins English Elementary school where I am expected to complete my fifteen hours field experience by interacting with a special needs student, either one or several and use the knowledge to indicate the experience from the interactions with the students with special needs. The student in question here is a five-year-old boy who is enrolled at the school as kindergarten students. He has been diagnosed with spina fibula, orthopedic impairment. He also has stunted growth.
On this day, I sought to observe the interaction between the student and his peers as he went about his school work. It was important to note that the student tried to catch up with the students in some aspects, and he tried to be as independent as possible doing so. The kindergarten students are in their formidable years, and they learned a few of the basic things and they were mostly having fun doing what most five-year-olds do.
While he cannot freely move from one corner of the class to another, he is actively involved in the group activities being carried out. Sometimes he looks to be in thought but will break into a mischievous grin when called to the attention.
Special education is defined by the federal law as an education system that is specifically designed by the educators and is offered at no cost to the parents and the education program is designed to help meet the requirements of the student in the environment they are exposed to as well as the physical education classes which they are entitled to (Friend, 2014).
The students are given some math problems by the teacher to solve and I take a seat at the center able with the exceptional students and his peers seeking to interact with them. He does have some difficulty expressing himself at times and his classmates may have to guess what he is asking for (Friend, 2014) . He seeks to be as independent as possible sometimes getting grumpy when he cannot find the right solution.
The students are out for recess and with the aid of a walker; the student leaves the classroom to join the students. The teacher walks alongside the exceptional child as he approaches the swings and carefully places him on the swings. While he has to be monitored so as not to fall over from the swing he is quite happy to be on the playground.
The inclusion of learners with special requirements into the classroom setting is a significant step for the education system in America (Friend, 2014). That the students can interact with each other means that they will learn to be tolerant of one another especially for those students who do not have any physical or special needs (Friend, 2014). It will also transcend to the outside world where they will learn to be welcoming of others. It is through this way that we will understand special education (Friend, 2014).
October 29/ November 5
In both these days, the students have a test, and it mostly involves identifying objects and matching the names to the objects. The exceptional student does just as well as the rest of the class, but it is clear that he requires more time to digest the information properly. He is jubilant when he can make a proper identification. Teacher does his best not to show special treatment to the student but instead he is treated as a member of the class.
Learning disabilities has been identified by the federal government as a disorder where one or more of the psychological processes that are involved in understanding, spoken or written that may manifest itself and have the student inability read and write well, to have proper speech and so forth (Friend, 2014). This is different from those students who inhibit such disorders as ADHD, speech or visual disabilities, hearing loss or visual impairments. The IDEA does not classify these as persons who have learning disabilities (Friend, 2014).
On this day, the class is learning etiquette; How to say 'please' and 'thank you' and in what situations. The students are very excited during this class, and they come up with all natures of scenarios some funny that have the class laugh along with it. The teacher also teaches them a song that depicts the etiquette that they have learned that day.
The next session involves the students making drawings for their art class. The exceptional student is keen on his drawing trying very hard to color within the marked lines. He loves bright colors and while he does not express himself clearly he tries his best to make his point known.
It is difficult for the student to express well as is the case with most exceptional children. As they move thought school it will be harder for them to succeed at task that require expression (Friend, 2014).
The class is given the task to do one good thing in the coming days and indicate what it was and how they felt. As the class is leaving for lunch, you see two students aiding the special student through the walkway.
The class teacher has organized for the students to bring along their parents for a day of fun and them to see what their students are up to during the hours they are school. The teacher has lined up a number of activities for the children to show to their parents and the activities are designed in a way that they are inclusive of all the students. At the reading corner, the exceptional student sits with his other classmates as they read aloud from their books. Prior to this day the students had practiced their reading and I was very pleased to help the exceptional student in his learning. He was distracted by certain objects in the classroom and could point them out and say the names.
Some of the students who are exceptional can also be put in the category of gifted and talented students (Friend, 2014). These students are in need of the specialized education but will also be in need of encouragement for them to further develop these skills and talents (Friend, 2014).
The activities are designed not only to aid the special needs child but o bring out the most out of every child. The parents are contented that their children have understood tolerance, and while it is a learning process, it is an all round fun day with minimal incidents.
The general strategies for working with special needs children are to have them seen as valuable members of the classroom. It is paramount for the rest of the class to understand the needs of their classmates and those things that they need to do to make him feel welcome. They need to know that every person needs help at any particular point in their life (Ginsberg, et al 2004). The teachers need to enforce a zero tolerance policy when it comes to incidences of bullying, name calling, teasing or laughing at students for any particular reason. Teach the children the best approach in such situations. Do not set up the students to fail in any situation. Give the child tasks that they can accomplish so as to build self-confidence and self-esteem.
Ginsberg, A. E., Shapiro, J. P., & Brown, S. P. (2004). Gender in urban education: Strategies for student achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Friend, M. (2014) Special Education: Contemporary Perspectives for School Professionals (4th ed) Upper Saddle river. NJ. Pearson publishing inc