Having to teach special needs kids in a general education classroom according to a General Education Teacher ~
First of all, I consider all my kids special needs because everyone comes to me with their own needs, I think that helps reassure special needs parents that their children aren't the only ones.
One of the first things I want, is to make the classroom environment, feel welcoming and safe, so that they're comfortable being here and they want to come to class and join us.
I'm also very organized as a teacher and I think that helps with the special needs, because I have good classroom management. I create the environment comfortable and safe for them.
I have a minimal amount of behavior issues because of being organized. I felt it's my professional duty to model the behavior for everyone in the classroom, students, parents who are in the classroom. I never act like I am frustrated with that child, even when they're having a bad day.
How do you learn about your students sensory needs, and how do you incorporate those into the classroom.?
Sometimes they're identified in an IEP and I get those prior to the start of the year, so I can look at those and then look at my classroom environment and see what I have already in place, and what more can I do. I often find that they change as the year goes and as I get to know the child so then I can bring in other types of things to address their sensory needs.
I have a little bumpy cushion, I use a lot of the squishy toys. I have beanbag chairs. I also do things for sensory weights. I use appropriate lighting, I can give a child a break by going outside, doing the swings, go down stairs.
How have you found OT to be helpful in the classroom?
I use so many different types of things I've learned through our occupational therapists, and it just applies to everyone for instance we started last year, when they would come in from recess and lunch, they're all wound up. So we started with sitting down on the rug and using some pressure point exercises and just immediately, everyone calms down.
Sometimes, if they're having a bad day there's something soothing about using the lighting too. If we're all having a day where everybody's kind of drowned out, we do a time with the lights down low and quiet stories.