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Actually I have many special ed kids mainstreamed in and often I don't
even know that they are special ed for months. As mentioned by several
members, the learning disabled students often do as well--or
better!--than the regular ed kids. My own personal philosophy for that
phenomenon is that they are visual learners and the art room is a place
where they shine! But I have two little guys who are just not
developmentally ready for the lessons I am giving. One is greatly
helped by his neighbor, who I just recently found out is also in special
ed--and I didn't know it! (I just joined this school in January) It is
a beautiful thing to watch the helper teach the other child, so maybe
the situation is OK after all. I was feeling guilty that I relied so
much on this other child to help me teach, where in reality, I now think
"Nick's" teaching is making him learn the concepts so much better. And
it's obvious that he enjoys it and it's not a burden. Whatever works.
But at my other school poor little "Andy" is in the preschematic stage
(early) and gets very frustrated by what I ask the first graders to do.
Then he wanders the room and we've had a few battles, he thinks I don't
like him, etc. He is really a sweet kid one on one. I've decided not
to push him so hard to produce. Most of the "art" that I've seen done
in the special ed classrooms is not what I would call "art"--color the
ditto kind of things. I don't know how to adapt my lessons for him.
I have also taught art to a self-contained autistic class where there
were about eight kids, three aides and me. We had two kids each and we
were BUSY! Often the aides would "do" the project for the kids. So I
tried to rotate among the kids, keep my mouth shut, and be happy for
small miracles--and we had a few! I came to love those kids very much.
When they were successful at a new skill it was so rewarding.
I now have a gifted class--ten kids, K-5th, not necessarily gifted in
art. Some have behavioral problems, but actually they are great fun to
In many cases mainstreaming is the best way to go for both teacher and
student, but when it's not working I would just like a little support
from the special ed teachers. All I'm asking for is an appropriate
Thanks for all the feedback. Once again the collective wisdom of the
members of the listserve has helped me think through a problem. I love