I have special needs students K - 6 and their ranges are so diverse...but
each one has a specialty. Some special needs students, for example those with
autism, who are very sensory oriented/tactile and do not like to touch certain
art supplies while loving others. I have one that hates the feel of crayons,
another that loves anything that he can rub between his fingers, another that
hates anything that is wet like paint or clay, etc. What will happen after
spending some time with these students is that you will get to know them and what
each student's individual reaction will be to diverse media.
I try and talk with their teachers and therapists to get some insight on what
skills they are focusing on, and look at their Individual Education Plan
(IEP) that has been developed between their family, their teacher, their physical
therapist, and their speech therapists.
My lessons mostly focus on fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as
communication skills. I have learned my colors in sign language for those who are
hearing impared to improve my communication as well. I associate our project
with a story or theme, even bring in my large art history posters to talk
about the pictures and what is happening in the picture...to focus on their
visual and communication skills. You will be so pleasantly surprised what some of
them will remember from week to week.
I agree with Maggie's comments about the classroom aides doing for the
students what they should be trying themselves. Sometimes they become impatient and
do for the students if the child is not cutting exactly on the line. The
importance is with the process, not the product.
This is my first experience with working with students of the special needs
population and I can honestly say that I look forward to those classes every
week. They are the most enthusiastic, polite and friendly students! Some have
a great sense of humor and it is great to laugh with them...we all need that
release in our days. It is a comfort level with the students that comes with
some time. The different things that are unique to the special needs room,
like muscle spasms and fits, can look scary at first. We are most afraid of what
we do not understand. With some time and familiarity, things are not so scary.
Hope you got some insight from what I shared. Let us know how it is going !