The thought of becoming a special education teacher was always on my mind, but it was rather overwhelming. I was afraid that I wasn’t “cut out” for the job and I knew that it would be hard work. As the class progressed through the weeks, I started to have different thoughts about the special education profession. I began to notice that, despite what I thought earlier, this was something that I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
There are so many aspects of special education that I never considered until this class. One of the most astonishing things that I realized was how many laws there were to protect children with disabilities and to allow them to have an equal education. When I studied all of the components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, I was fascinated. It made me think about my high school experience and about the students who had disabilities.
The least restrictive environment was something that immediately came to mind. Sometimes, I found myself becoming frustrated in class when there was a child with a disability in it as well. The teacher would often have to repeat things multiple times and take the time to explain everything thoroughly. Most of the time, I would get upset because I felt like the teacher slowing my learning down. This class made me realize that, although it may not be to my best interest, children with special needs must be educated with students without disabilities in order to follow IDEA.
One thing that I never took into consideration was that special education does not just cover students who suffer from mental disabilities. In this class, I learned that special education was much more. There are so many physical and behavioral disabilities that never came across my mind. I really enjoyed the parent panel that came into class in one of the earlier months.
The women were able to enlighten everyone with wonderful information about their child and his or her disability. When the one woman was talking about Spina Bifida, I wondered what it would be like to suffer from it. Of course, I could not even fathom what young children with this disease go through every day, but I thought that it is probably just as hard for the parent. The parent panel showed me that, if I have a child with a disability, there is still hope in raising a wonderful child. Those women showed so much strength by coming to class and sharing their stories and I was touched by each one.
In my opinion, the best part of this class was when we had to design a playground for children with special needs. I really enjoyed this activity, although it took a lot of time and it is something that I feel you should keep in the curriculum. When visiting boundlessplaygroud.org, I was amazed at some of the things that people have come up with over the years for playgrounds.
There were so many things that I would never have thought of. I often take my ability to walk on my own for granted so it never crossed my mind that it is imperative to have flush ground levels and equipment that is wheelchair accessible. Also, I never thought about how essential it is to have things that everyone, no matter what the disability is, can use. Over the summer I work at a playground. This activity made me realize that our playground is far from suitable for children who are physically or mentally impaired.
This class had shed new light on my thoughts about becoming a special education teacher. Knowing that so many children are affected by disabilities made me want to strive to do everything in my power to help. I hope to continue my education and become a special education teacher that can make a difference in the lives of the children in my classroom. Thank you for a wonderful semester and I wish you all the best.