Ashley C In each classroom there are about seven to ten students, some who required a dedicated lade and others Independent. The classroom that I observed had a total of nine students, five aides, and one teacher. With the ratio given, it is apparent that the students are about half with and without the need of one to one supports. Although the students’ support needs vary, many of the independent students in the class need additional assistance due to their minimal communication skills. In this class, five of the students are completely nonverbal, two speak in echoes (calceolaria), and two are vocal.
Between the two of the students that are vocal, one is shy and does not speak that often, while the other Is extremely talkative. Just like In many schools, this class Is set up with evident “centers” and work spaces. The students that require a dedicated aide have table-desks for individual Instruction, while the other students are able to work at a choice of two group tables. All students meet at one large group table for group activities and lessons. Each center Is clearly labeled, reading. Computer, and music “centers”.
Students are able to choose a favorable center on their breaks in between work tasks and also as positive enforcement for having earned It during the day. Most students prefer to get a magazine and go back to their seats to view alone or occasionally with a staff While a couple others listen to music on the radio or computer, and one student in particular prefers puzzles. The students have not been seen looking on at a magazine together; however two students have shown interest in listening to the same song on the radio.
Most peer interaction has to be set up and guided for this group of students. The classroom observed does have adaptations for the students such as name stamps, cause most students are unable to write their name, 8 cell Talk Etc for a nonverbal student in addition to modified glasswork. Because the students are unable to form sentences on paper, most answers are one word or pictures to assist In answering. These are usually cut and paste activities done in a group setting. The students I will be comparing are Lee and Aaron.
Lee Is the student that Is verbal and extremely talkative, while Aaron is nonverbal and supplied with an 8 cell Talk Etc. On Aaron’s 8 cell Talk Etc there are 6 cells In use. Those icons are bathroom, water, yes, no, and two staff members (his aide and teacher). From observing the two boys I notice that Lee is interested and able to have dialect with a person, while Aaron Is more to himself and does not look to interact. The boys are very different verbally, but they both enjoy music. Lee can be seen singing songs that come on 102. , while Aaron sits next to the radio to listen also and occasionally dances a little. During group activities, Lee is able to answer some questions correctly with most of his attempts being silly blurts. Aaron Is able to answer using the 8 cell Talk Etc, usually being a yes or no question with prompting. Lee is able to go to the bathroom independently, while Aaron has to be changed If he has an accident because he wears a pull up. Lee has an overall love for music and sings when the radio is off, however he can be mistaken by the teacher for mumbling unclear statements.
Aaron has to be 1 OFF prompted to use Nils evolve most AT ten tile, unless nee wants ten attention AT Nils aide or teacher. A lot of the times the staff uses his device to model the pressing of appropriate buttons. While doing this observation, I would say one of the best things this program has is technology. For the student to be able to have been given a voice because of a Talk Etc device is great. Also the small class sizes are better due to lack of focus and behavior issues. At this school the support ratio in the class can also be very helpful when dealing with crisis situations as well as overall classroom management.
The school also has a very good transition plan for students once they age out of the grade school. Although they have technology at the school I do not believe they are using it to the full capacity. I feel that if Aaron had more options to his Talk Etc he would be able to communicate more and become possibly interested in becoming social. With him only having 6 of the 8, I believe his communication is Ewing limited. I also feel that he would benefit from cells with functional vocabulary per activity.
For an example an icon would change from good morning to good afternoon for his greeting, the teachers would change for each special, and the necessary icons would be added depending on the activity. If there is an art project have a scissors, glue and crayon icon or if it is time to comprehend a story, give two pictures of the characters for him to choose from. This is a modification that can be beneficial for all nonverbal students. The use of communication books that contain he PECS icons would be a beneficial as well to students without the Talk Etc.
To increase peer interaction I feel that the class should dedicate at least one of their daily breaks to guided interaction to build social skills. Adapted books and recreational work tasks would be another addition to the class that could encourage more students to do fun yet enriching activities during their leisure time independently or with help. Overall it was a fun and experience enhancing observation. I enjoy working with and around students with disabilities. In my opinion, I feel as if the trade of knowledge between educator and student can be