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What kind of disabilities? Emotional, developmental, physical? I
volunteered for a while with emotionally disturbed, developmentally delayed
youth (8-19 years of age) in a self contained classroom, and their needs
were very different than students which I teach now (some which have
emotional/developmental disabilities, one student with Cerebral Palsy and
Autism, one student with pretty severe Cerebral Palsy, another student with
high functioning Cerebral Palsy) - these students are part of a regular
classroom with about 25 students.
It sounds as if you have a self contained classroom. I would ask if you
would be able to meet with the physical therapist before the position began
(invaluable in helping in adapting such things as cutting with scissors -
e.g., what is best for the student vs. what seems easiest for them may not
be the same). Ask what kinds of adaptive materials they supply? Slant
boards/easels are invaluable with certain degrees of cerebral palsy where a
student cannot physically, even with help, work on a flat surface. Ask if
you would be invited to participate in team meetings - this will give you
invaluable insight into your students. Ask what kind of help/aides you
would have during class.
If you will be working with developmentally delayed/emotionally disturbed
students, more than likely there are specific discipline proceedures.
These may disturbe you. I would find out what they are before taking a
It would be a great experience, and I wish you the best of luck!
Sincerely, Cynthia McKeon