Monday, March 26, 2012

Field Experience Day 10 - March 20th, 2012

           Students with Special Needs:

            Today at St. Mary’s school, I optioned to stay an extra class and observe the 6th grade class. The students from this class had the same opportunity as the last class to go outside on this beautiful day. They played kickball, through footballs, jump roped and hit balls against the wall. The reason I decided to stay an extra class was to observe a particular student with special needs.
            This student was a high functioning autistic child. He rarely needed help focusing on a task. The autistic child had certain obsessions that would overwhelm him if not given an opportunity to satisfy his obsessions. He liked to hold the door open for students and teachers going in and out of the gymnasium as well as outside. Mr. Mack explained that if another student or teacher intervened the autistic student would throw a fit and yell dramatically. Mr. Mack also expressed that one time the student held the door open at the end of class for students for almost ten minutes not knowing if students were still in the locker room. There were no teachers or students around the area. Mr. Mack found him waiting there for people to come out. He had to explain to the student that he was suppose to be in class and that next time he should yell into the locker room to see if anyone is there.

            Mr. Mack expressed that he did not have to change or adapt to any of the student’s needs. The autistic student is treated the same as rest of the students in the class unless Mr. Mack visual observes that the student is having trouble. During the kickball game the student seemed unsocial with his peers. He did enjoy running around the bases and getting an opportunity to kick the ball when his turn was up. Although he is aware of everything that is going on during the game, the speed and communication between students can be challenging for him. An example of this is when he was covering third base and collided with a runner without obtaining the ball or being aware that the runner was trying to go home. The other students are aware of the student’s autism and seemed understanding of the confusion.
            The option to allow the student to learn in a similar environment as the rest of the class I think is a great idea. It gives the student an opportunity to feel a part of the class and not feel like an outcast. Mr. Mack being prepared to adapt the student’s learning experience if the student begins to struggle demonstrates an effective teacher that is cautious of the student’s self-esteem and social environment.

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