To effectively talk about the effect of ID’s in the classroom I thought who better to talk to than a teacher that has a classroom full of ID students. Ms. Tornetta Clark, she is an Intervention Specialist in a SED room for grades 1-4 depending upon age. We began our conversation with what lead her to become an Intervention Specialist? Ms. Clark stated that she had always wanted to be a teacher even as a child, so when she went to college she decided to become a teacher she started as an elementary teacher and later decided to get into special education.
As time went on she learned that she enjoyed these children even more than the others, it was more gratifying. So now that we have broken the ice so to speak can you tell me what some of the problems associated with assessing the children with ID may be? Tornetta asked me which group of children would I like to discuss, the culturally diverse, gender specific, the psychological these are all type of ID children and different types of assessments, so where would you like to begin?
I thought that it would be best for her to tell me about the most difficult one and she choose culturally diverse students. Ms. Clark states that when dealing with the minorities there are additional layers of complexity to consider especially if the child is of another ethnicity than the person that is doing the assessment. Ms. Clark also states that she prefers to do the majority of her assessments on her own simply because she has been doing this for a long time and that she has worked with several different ethnicities.
Having worked with the different ethnicities I have the upper hand and a child can feel when they are understood or when someone is placating them. In my many years of teaching I have also realized that children can feel when someone really understands them and cares. In my classroom we start the morning off by saying good morning to everyone by name and then we each can stay one thing that happened last night or over the weekend or just something that they may want to share each child gets two minutes and we have a timer to ensure everyone get quality time.
This is also something that works well on their social skills. Now as far as the assessment on the psychological side most of these test and assessments are done in the clinic or with the therapist, now there have been an occasion or two where I have sat in and I have even administered the assessment.
However the same problems still exist these test need to be tailored to each child and they are not they are standard which in my opinion is ridiculous each child is different so each child should be tested differently. Now I asked about gender specific testing but I have only ran across that twice in my many years of teaching, however it does exist and as educators we need to be able to deal with it and continue to tech and maintain our classes.
There are or at least it used to be several teachers that were homophobic and thought that school is no place for a child’s sexual preference to come out or even to be discussed. Now in the schools we see it everyday boys holding hands with other boys and girls doing the same so therefore it has to be addressed, it cannot be slid under the carpet anymore. This is something that as educators we also need to be able to deal with especially in our SED classes, these child need more open discussions so that they do feel that they are being included.
Our children have a tendency to get picked on and then they end up feeling as if no one understands them and they begin to contemplate suicide, as educators it is our job to do our best to deter those types of feelings and to encourage a child to be true to who they think they are and to not judge others for being different. We attempted to get back to the interview with on last question and that was, what are the characteristics of the teacher’s students with ID that result in eligibility for special education? Ms.
Clark informed that the majority of the students that go through some sort of testing do not get into a special education program. However there are reasons for that in some cases it is because the parents do not push and keep up with the appointments as well as follow through with what they need to do as far as information that may be needed to get a child into a program and doctors’ appointments, the letter’s from the doctor’s. There are all sorts of reasons and then there are specific programs that some parents would like to see their child in, but there is a waiting list or there is another program that is comparable but the parent is reluctant.
Also some parent’s may not want their child labeled as a special education student so they are in denial. And last but not lest then there are the neighborhood schools that are full and there are no exceptions to be made so that the child can stay with their siblings, this also goes into the transportation realm of the problems as well, some districts offer transportation to children but if there are siblings they cannot receive transportation so parents do not want their children separated and that is undrstandbale in most cases.
Clark tells me that she feels that if one child attends the school in the special education program then the siblings should attend that school as well and they should receive transportation as well. This would probably keep down some of the confusion on the buses anyway, especially if there is an older sibling that can watch out for the younger ones. This is how we were raised the oldest always looked out for the younger ones and made sure that everyone was home safe when mom and dad got in from work.
I think that we need to get back to the motto that it takes a village to raise a child and if we did then the school system and the communities would be a better place. After talking with Ms. Clark I thought about how I raised my children and she was correct when she said that it takes a village to raise a child, I was a single parent for several years and I had six children two were in the special education program at the neighborhood school. I took them to school and my mother picked them up from school.
The neighbor watched them as they would enter the house and have snack a start their homework until I got home from work. I did the same for her on the weekends when she worked and she also had a child that was special needs and we made it work if the school called and I was unable to go she would go and vice versa. The point is that as parents and educators we need to work together to let our youth know that they are loved and that they are going to be taken care of not just in the schools but at home as well. References Clark, Tornetta: Intervention Specialist. 2013 Personal conversation. June 20.