Observing Eddie Essay

1292 words - 6 pages

On November 20th, 2013 at 12:30 in the afternoon, I visited the Lakeview School in Edison, New Jersey. The school provides everyday education for over 180 children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21 years from twelve New Jersey counties, as they told me when I walked in. The classroom is rather large with a table in the middle and other tables and storage containers against the wall for optimum space to create the least restrictive environment for the students. Additionally, when walking in, the only knowledge I had about the child was that it was Deafblind.
The it turned out to be a fourteen year old boy named Eddie, and he has one teacher with two aides in the classroom, one of which is reserved for him, Danielle. Eddie was sitting in an activity chair with his legs crossed like a pretzel and he is wearing a blue shirt and trousers and black converse shoes. Eddie keeps a gavel on a string, and the green rubber gavel has circular bumps on it and squeaks. In class we discussed focusing on a student’s abilities, so I asked Danielle about Eddie’s, while she was filling out some paperwork and Eddie was chewing his squeak toy. Rather than answering my question, Danielle replied that Eddie has CHARGE syndrome, which stands for Coloboma, Heart defects, Atresia choanae, Retardation of growth and/or development, Genital defects, Ear anomalies and/or deafness. Eddie’s right eye is better and he can see from his peripherals and directly below, but in comparison to his classmates, his sight is rather good; he uses eye gazing often. Black, yellow and red are most recognizable to Eddie when it comes to tangible objects, as well as his communication cards. Eddie’s parents and sister are very involved in including Eddie in “normal” activities, and are active members of the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation. Children with CHARGE have about a “70% survival rate to five years of age,” a statistic that Danielle immediately regurgitated and then supported her statement by telling me that in school they try to make the environment as comfortable and relaxing as possible, since “he’s lucky to be living.” I was astonished by Danielle’s statement; I suppose I see his life in a different way, and that his educators should support his life and celebrate it by teaching him more life skills rather than treating school as a vacation. Frankly, it’s disrespectful to Eddie and unnecessary. At home, Eddie has home healthcare with a personal aid, and a behavioral plan implemented.
In the classroom teachers should promote independence by facilitating partial participation, teaching self-care and care-management. Eddie’s class schedule on Tuesdays begins with ADL/toilet (ADL: Activities of Daily Living), occupational therapy, breakfast (served for all students at school), sensory drama, toilet, lunch, ADL, family life, cooking, ADL/dismissal. When I came the class was just finishing lunch and then Danielle took him to change his diaper behind the curtain. Eddie wears diapers...

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