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I have found the current discussions about mainstreaming children
interesting. I also have mainstreamed children. Sometimes I have the whole
self-contained group come to art together (with no one else) and sometimes
they are mainstreamed. It's up to the principal, guidance counselor, the
self-contained teacher, and the parents to make the decision. Many of these
students do as well, if not better, when mainstreamed. The biggest
difference I see, is that some students begin to learn socially acceptable
behaviors by being mainstreamed. I think it helps that when students are
mainstreamed, there are only two to four "special," students in each class.
That way the students must learn to fit in with the larger group. When you
have 5 or more mainstreamed students, it turns into two separate groups.
I have a six year old student mainstreamed into one of my K classes. He's a
wonderful boy with great manners. But he gets upset and cries
when there is no adult at his side (his family is supposed to be hiring an
aide, but it's not here yet). I'd actually prefer that he not have an aide,
but I think he needs one. He cannot go to the bathroom by himself (I have
to call his teacher). I could deal with most of that, but I'm not sure what
to teach him. He has little control of his hands. He can hold a crayon and
scribble. I'd be happy to let him just experiment with the media we're
using, but he's not interested...makes a mark, and says, "I'm done!!" I
believe he will get better as the year goes on, but do you have any
suggestions for what I might have him do now? Just using his hands will
help, they are small, cold, and red, perhaps with use, they will strengthen
and get better circulation?