Try augmentative communication devices to create opportunity for special needs students
I am a first year teacher with a background in exceptional student ed. I have a classroom of high school students with severe/profound ASD/IND.
I am so frustrated with my district right now. I came into the classroom and there were coloring sheets!
The teachers before me were not really interested in the students and left me very little in the way of information about the goings on in the classroom.
I have been muddling on all year trying to figure this out on my own as much as I possibly can. I was teaching as much as I could given the meltdowns and diaper changes that take place in my room every day.
A few weeks ago, I was told I was not teaching enough (even though my supervisor had been in my room exactly 3 times all year) and she did not bother to ask me what I was doing in the classroom, she just assumed that nothing was going on.
Not only that, she lies about teachers to get them into trouble with the big boss so that she can look good.
I am not saying I am perfect but I had almost no resources and was coming up with everything that I did on my own (except for my mentor who tried to help but has a classroom to manage as well).
I failed my teacher evaluation and the stuff that she said to me in private was not very nice. When we are around others, she is positive and sweet. I was an emotional wreck for weeks!
Then I decided that I am going to tighten up the things that I need to (like organization) and stay on for another year just to make her mad.
Any suggestions for me?
I need some from the real experts (parents and people who have been in similar situations)not from people who have a degree but have never taught in a classroom before or people who have never dealt with severe/profound issues before.
I can empathize. Generally speaking, most education systems are unprepared for the huge number of special needs students in classrooms, and budget cuts hit the special education departments way too often.
I started an additional site to address the very same concerns you have, teaching-special-needs-students.com
, and I also have a special education resource center in my store at http://buy.special-need-products.com/Special-Education
I've not had a chance to add much yet to the teaching site (though I'll be getting to it shortly!) but in the Resources section, there are a number of guides to help you out.
One of the biggest issues is help in dealing with the Autism Spectrum Disorder, and you can lots of help for that, as well as for help with assistive technology in the classroom. You can see an example with the augmentative communication device, the Go Talk 9, above.
Having the right equipment makes augmentative communication possible. And that opens the door to almost everything else - especially classroom inclusion.
As you do discover things that work well for you, please pay it forward, and contribute your knowledge to the teaching site.
Hope that helps!
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