Alternative Requirement for Urban Experience
As comforting as it is to know that children today have more in common with each other than we did as children it seems to be at the expense of their uniqueness. As educators we need to celebrate the differences in individuals. As Dr. Seuss said “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” (Seuss 1959)
When I was a teachers aid at a local middle school I found myself changing my teaching style from moment to moment. This can be a bit taxing. I was in a resource room helping students on an individual bases. Each student was unique and learned in different ways. The students with social barriers I found to be the most challenging. As the year progressed I found ways of communicating with them and teaching the information they needed to be successful in school and life.
I was brought into the Parkway School District to work specifically with a few male students, who were on the moderate to severe end of the Autism spectrum. I was able to work closely with these students for two years. ASD is a disability that affects boys more than girls in a ratio of approximately 3:1 and is believed to occur in some form in anywhere from 1 in 500 to 1 in 150 children. It is also common for it to accompany other symptoms. (Freind, Bursuck. 200)
One of these students specifically was “in need of a male role model” as my supervisor would say. We’ll say his name was Adam, grew up as an only child of a single parent and was actually very responsive to male teachers through out the building. We were able to take advantage of this unique attribute by utilizing the male science and math teacher in a way in which Adam could take social behavior advice from. This also gave him more motivation to act appropriately with in these teachers classes. I was their to fill in the gaps. For example when Adam was in Art class I was able to observe him and work with him on how to display appropriate Art class behavior while also helping him with modifications on his assignments.
Students with Autism usually have difficulty with social relationships, communication, perseveration, and stress. These issues are time consuming issues that take away from academic learning.
Students that have IEP’s has exploded over the years, due mainly to broader diagnosing of students at a younger age. The individualized education program or plan, addresses all areas of student need, including accommodations to be made in the...