Sunday, April 17, 2011

Citizenship in School

Kliewer's Citizenship in School

Kliewer states that people with disabilities need to be included in the community in order to learn and participate along with everyone else.  It is based on the values of respect primarily because each individual learns differently than someone else, so why do schools make it harder to be accepted if a child has a disability.  One quote that I think sums up his entire piece is, “We’re all here-kids, teachers, parents, whoever-it’s about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that’s what learning is.” This quote really stood out to me because it just hits on the fact that every person needs someone to look up to and rely on and be able to interact with in order to learn and grow up knowing how to be educated. 

The video above explains exactly what Down syndrome is.  It shows a family, in which a down syndrome little girl and her mother make the hard decision about what school to go to.  It is in her best interest to go to a special need school where she can get one on one help on speech and hearing.  She is allowed to learn through playing and benefits her in the long run.  It also shows a mother who has a little boy, who is a little further along in his education, and sends him to mainstream schooling.  He benefits because he can socialize with other children his age and participate in the things that other students are doing.  It is very interesting to see how parents really work to make sure they are making the right decision for their child. 
 One of the biggest themes I was seeing in researching down syndrome in the school system is having the guidelines and procedures ready for the school and for the teachers.  If the teachers are trained then the students with disabilities have an easier time adjusting.  They need the support, and sometimes mainstream can’t provide it because the classes are too big and there is not enough help to give the one on one a child needs.  Either way, most say that the biggest thing is that the goals for children with disabilities are the same as those without.  They want an education that will provide them to be successful in the world.  Learning is useful to everyone and should be taught no matter a person’s appearance or background.
The best things that a teacher can do and practice for a child with down syndrome are simple in saying but hard in doing.  The first is inclusion.  Keeping the student involved in what everyone else is doing is important for the child’s self esteem and even helps them in gaining intellectual strategies and necessities.  Giving direct instruction is also a key factor.  Most have a short attention span so distractions are a problem.  Keeping them engaged is important for routines, expectations and other life lessons to be learned.  Lastly, having a speech and hearing time is good because most down syndrome students need the extra practice learning these skills in order to stay on track.  Doing this without upsetting the child or discouraging them is the most crucial step. 
Most parents say that teachers need to also be educated in dealing with their special needs child.  Most mainstream schools don’t have the ability to provide the education, which is why most go to a special school.  In order to merge the students there has to be learning for the teachers as well.  They need to realize that they need to teach appropriateness and boundaries in a positive way.  They need to be able to communicate with parents and the child to make sure that everyone is on the same page and lastly, the child is unique, not a disease so don’t treat them that way.  

I really liked the sites I found online because I felt that they helped me understand what could actually be done in helping the merging process.  There is a lot of things that need to be worked on especially in the younger levels when a disabled child needs extra assistance.  Most teachers have 20 students so one on one is not an option.  When this changes, so can the divide.

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