I am dual certified Special Education and Regular Education teacher with a B.A. in Psychology and while living in Montreal, had the opportunity to student teach in a school with 50 different nations represented. Since then I have taught deaf student and hearing students and have interpreted for middle school to high school age students who were deaf. I have been a Special Education teacher for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders in hearing schools as well. Growing up in Quebec, I had first hand experience of being a second language learner as a U.S. citizen born abroad and appreciate the efforts that our school is taking to reach second language as well as low socioeconomic disadvantaged students in our culturally diverse community. What I love about Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School is that we all come to the table with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. I feel so fortunate to be working with such a fabulous group of teachers.
There are lots of questions that parents may have regarding their child's educational needs and how we can best meet them as a team. That is especially true for parents new to Special Education. For some the initial experience of meetings and eligibility can be overwhelming, and the questions don't come until later. Don't be afraid to ask and/or share ideas that you yourself have for your child. The goal is to find the most effective tools and strategies to meet the learning needs of your child and per situation. Those methods may change as your child evolves.
While special education is not a cure, it is a service that helps provide students access learning similar to their general education peers. Common core standards are deconstructed by the teacher and special education teacher so that students are given opportunities to show their learning in different ways while advancing skills in targeted areas not limited to reading, writing and math. Regular Education/Special Education placement is meant to allow students both opportunities to participate in general education as well as access learning in a small group setting with fewer distractions and/or equipped with tools and educational and sensory materials that are distinctly different than what may be available in a general education setting.
While technology is advancing, I encourage parents to explore other opportunities outside the classroom so that children can physically explore and experience their world, question and problem socially as well. While technology gives us immediate feedback, children need opportunities to develop their thinking and communication skills through physical interactions with objects and social interactions with people in the social world. The more opportunities they have to exert their thinking skills outside the classroom on the beach, in a park, forest, in sports, art, music, scouts, robotics, Special Olympics or other organizations and clubs, the more confident they can become as they discover things about themselves beyond the school setting. Such opportunities may be small increments of time to large depending on the child. By the same token, as technology is advancing, we do welcome additional resources and ideas that you might have to share.
Aloha and Mahalo Nuii!