For my practicum, I went to Crossing Points on the University of Alabama campus in Garland Hall, room 308. I observed and helped with individualized tutoring on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00am to 9:00am, and Thursdays at 12:30pm to 1:30pm from October 2nd through November 20th. My supervising teacher was Amy Williamson.
The student that I will focus on for this work sample is an eighteen year old African American female whose exceptionality is Cerebral Palsy, as well as speech and language problems; which are mild. For the sake of this paper, we will call her Mary. Mary is mobile via a motorized wheelchair that she operates with a joystick in her right hand. Mary has little muscle mass and the muscles themselves are stiff, as a result of the disorder and her inability to walk and being in a wheelchair fulltime.
Mary’s level of inclusion is full-time in the Crossing Points program. She takes part in the general special education classroom most of the time, but she also takes part in her own studies individually and one on one help with special education teachers. She does however; interact with all the other Crossing Points students on a regular basis. To give better understanding, while Mary does have speech problems, she is not required to take part in the group that has practice conversations. So Mary’s speech problems rest in her ability to form the words, not the capacity to carry conversation. When Mary’s level of inclusion does not allow me to speak of a topic, I will transfer to what I’ve observed of other students and make note of Mary’s state at the time.
The learning environment of this student was, as mentioned, mostly the general classroom. In the general classroom the student interacted with the special education teachers, non-disabled volunteers from the University of Alabama, and other Crossing Points students. When not in the general special education classroom, Mary was with another special education teacher in another classroom downstairs working on her own individualized studies. When students broke off into smaller groups (i.e. to work on conversation), Mary would stay off by herself to work on other projects, namely a paper on an author with Cerebral Palsy; which I will discuss later in more detail via my reflection. In addition to the general classroom and small group environments, other students also learn via an authentic workplace experience. It is unclear if Mary participates in such an environment because of her wheelchair. I was unable to gather such information as I was constantly being rotated between students; I do not wish to speculate and give false information. I did however get to see another group of students (one of which has a hearing and speech problem) in their workplace environment, as they worked cleaning the Bryant Conference Center. While on the job they practice social skills and responsibility. For example, they must clock in on time and carry out their assigned task. They also speak with...