How to help special needs children- loving them is the key!

Today I’m so excited to introduce to you a new-found friend at Wealthy Affiliate who works with special needs children for a long time and is so passionate about it.

Her name is Angela but the kids usually call her Mrs N ( N being the first letter of her last name, which the kids apparently have a hard time saying it. It’s kind of a tongue-twister, you know! )

We have an advertising relationship with the stores or affiliate sites we link in this post. We get a commission when you click and buy products or services with them. Your fees are not affected at all.

How did I find her ? 

The Wealthy Affiliate community has this  “helping each other succeed” attitude and one day, she posted a comment in one of my blogs where she said she is a Special Needs Educational Assistant, so I emailed and asked her if she wanted to share her experiences in her job.

She was very nice to reply and said yes! 

 So here goes her story on how to help special needs children, which basically starts with loving all kinds of kids.

BTW, she is also the founder of Your Aromatherapy Store, so please check her out on her website youraromatherapystore.com.

Being a Special Educational Assistant is a calling.

How many years have you been a Special Needs Educational Assistant ( SNEA )? Please elaborate on what you do.

“I have spent the last 19 years working as a SNEA in specialized diagnostic classrooms located in a rehabilitation hospital. This hospital has a contract with the local school board to provide educational services to the students while they are in program in the hospital.

The program I work with uses a team approach to assess the children. Our team consists of a teacher, an assistant ( me ), a nurse, physiotherapist, physiotherapist assistant, speech and language pathologist, speech and language assistant, a pediatrician, and a neurologist.

The classroom I work in services children in grades 1-3. The students who attend our classroom have been referred by physicians. They come as day patients for six weeks. Some reasons for referral can include: learning difficulties, social issues, speech and language concerns, neurological queries, physical issues and medication trials. Numerous testing and evaluations are completed during their stay.

After six weeks with us, the students may return to their previous schools or another more appropriate classroom in the community that better suits their needs.”

What groups of special kids are you handling?

“The groups of students that I work with changes five times throughout the school year. Every group is unique. Some are quite easy to work with and some are quite challenging depending on their needs.”

What motivated you to become a Special Needs Educational Assistant?

” Many years ago, I was employed in a group home that was providing service to some children from out of province. 

During that time, it was decided that these children needed to be in school. The school board created a classroom to support their needs. 

The classroom needed an assistant and since I knew the children well, I decided to apply for the job. When these particular children left the province and returned to their homes, I continued my employment with the school board and began working in the diagnostic program in the rehabilitation hospital.

That was almost 20 years ago now. Time sure flies! “

How do you work with the Special Education teacher on a typical day?

” Every morning I greet the children and parents from their buses. If medications are needed, we stop to see the nurse before heading outside for some fresh air before school begins. At the end of recess, we go to our classroom and begin the day.

I lead circle time, using the smartboard, while the Special Education teacher works with the children one on one to assess their reading skills.

( During the six week stay, the students are taken out of the classroom regularly for assessments and tests by our team members. )

When it is time for recess, I take the children out to the public playground ( on the hospital premises ).

 I also spend lunch time with them. At times, some of our students have eating issues that need to be monitored and any problems reported to the healthcare professionals on our team.

Much of my day is spent assisting the teacher and professionals that work in our classroom. My duties can change depending on what the children need.

At the end of the day, I make sure the students meet up with their parents or get on their proper buses to go home.”

Do you have any struggles or big challenges on being a Special Needs Educational Assistant?

” The only challenge or struggle that I can think of is building a relationship with children in a six week time frame. It often feels like I am just getting to really know them and then it is time for them to leave our program. There is nothing I can do about this, as it is just the nature of the way things work in our classroom.

Other than that, I don’t have any BIG challenges or struggles. I am so blessed to work with a team of people who are always there and ready to lend a hand when needed.”

How do you handle a very difficult child?

Sometimes, I find I need to change my expectations. If a child is unable to sit still, be quiet, finish work, walk in line down the hallway, etc., it’s okay. Some children are just not capable of doing these things. They don’t mean to be disobedient and they are not always intentionally trying to disobey the rules.

I try to show them understanding and love.

There have been times that I cannot change my expectations for safety reasons. The student must listen and obey. For example, if at the end of recess and a student refuses to leave the playground with the group, I will kindly explain to them the reasons why they can’t stay on their own and if need be, they will be helped back to the classroom. I do this in a patient way and they will usually comply. 

In our classroom, we have a time out chair. When we are introducing the children to the classroom, we NEVER present it to them as such. We call it a Calming Chair and we invite them to use it on their own whenever they are feeling upset or just need a break.

When it is positively presented this way, instead of in a negative way, I find many children will just go there on their own before any escalation begins.

It’s so neat to see kids make use of this Calming Chair on their own.”

How are the parents involved in the progress of their kids? Do you take an active role in talking to the parents about this or any concern at all?

” There are numerous meetings with parents throughout the six week term.

There is an intake meeting with the team prior to program starting.

There are two meetings at the end of the term where the team meets with parents and then with the parents and the school to present the findings of all the diagnostic testing and assessments.

During the term, the team and parents communicate via a book that is sent back and forth between home and school.

If the parents would like, they are also invited to do an observation visit. This means they are welcome to watch the program through a one way mirror and if they have questions during observation, they have access to a medical professional whom they can ask.

I am not involved in the meeting per se. I will often communicate with parents in an informal manner at bus times. If important questions or concerns arise, I will pass them on to the appropriate person on the team.”

How do you feel at the end of a school day?

 There are days that I go home mentally exhausted and some days I am just fine. It all depends on the particular group of kids that we have in the program at that time. “

What makes you happy or fulfilled on a certain day?

Just being around kids makes me happy.

My job is generally fulfilling, in that, it is great to see kids getting the help they need.

When they leave our program, they usually leave with their school or parents having a better understanding about how to help them.

Perhaps they will leave with a diagnosis that will provide them with extra resources that might make life easier, maybe a medication to make them feel better.

Honestly, most days are quite fulfilling and I love that part of my job. “

Any advise/s on those who want to pursue a career as a Special Needs Educational Assistant?

 You have to love kids, all kinds of kids to do this job. 

To be honest, you need to be okey with a little excitement, too.

There are days when the children are in bad mood, they might try to hit, kick, punch, etc. You need to be aware of your personal space and know who and what to watch for.

I learned the hard way many years ago. I was trying to help a child who was very upset. I ended up with two black eyes, I should have not been in the child’s space. I could have helped him from a little further back and not had the injury.

That only happened once, that is all it took, I learned about personal space and body positioning, ha ha!

Despite the potential for things to go bad, and they do, there are many, many moments that make all  so worth it.

I guess, I am saying if a person wants to pursue this kind of career, it is best that they have tough skin, so to speak. “

How do you de-stress after a difficult day?

 There are usually a few minutes of time left at work after the students leave, if there has been some difficulty, we usually de-brief as a team to discuss it. I find this helpful.

When I get home, I like to do some mindful meditation or yoga, to de-stress as well. “

There’s a point in our career that we realize we have made a difference in someone’s life, in your case a special child’s life. Please share with our readers.

” I have been fortunate enough to be involved in the process of changing many children’s lives. It might be a diagnosis, a medication, or strategies.

Most children we see in our program leave with some help that will benefit them for a lifetime. I love this part of the job.

Sometimes, the kids come back and visit us years later. It is so rewarding to see the progress they have made and to know that we were a little part of it. “

What is the best lesson that you have learned from a special child/ren?

” I have met many children during my career, it is hard to pinpoint just one child and one lesson that I learned.

I have learned much in the last two decades. I suppose the biggest and most important thing I have learned from children is this, “ It is possible to be happy and enjoy life, despite all obstacles. “

I have seen so many kids with so much going against them and somehow they still go on and make the best of it. “

 

Working with kids has been bringing joy and still is to Angela, our dear Special Needs Educational Assistant. She has started her career with the greatest lesson in life, “Love the kids, all kinds of kids.”

And then every working day is a miracle unfold.

Thanks so much Ms N for sharing your experiences. You are an inspiration to others who would like to embark on the same career as yours.

 

Would you like to know Angela better and find out her other passions? Please follow her and visit her website youraromatherapystore.com.

 

Is your child with special needs bonding really well with her Special Needs Educational Assistant? Share your story with us.

"We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, which provides a means for us to earn a commission when you click our link and you purchase from Amazon.com. Buying with no additional cost means helping the Special Education of kids in Romblon, Philippines."

 

School is almost here! Are you done buying and preparing the school essentials for your special child? Click here to read the checklist and learn some tips on what to buy.

.Check out your back to school checklist if you have missed anything.


 

 

Please like and share

Back to school checklist-what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs

School is just around the corner.  Or it has actually started in other parts of the world. 

I guess the kids have mixed feelings. 

Some maybe excited to see their teachers and classmates once again.

Others may feel a little bit sad that summer vacation will be done and they will be missing the late night sleep and sleeping in the following morning, the campings, the out of towns, the never ending video games, etc. 

For your child with special needs, they may have the same mixed feelings.

I guess they are more excited than the regular kids. I know they show more enthusiasm and elation.

They are more open to express their joy and eagerness to be back on track.

How about the first timers? Is your child with special needs starting school just this year? How does he or she feel about it?

Maybe a little bit nervous to be out there on his own? Or also excited to be with other kids his age?

Of course I’m talking about those kids who are verbal and could express themselves already.

For the non-verbal ones, I guess the parents are the ones who are either nervous or excited.

 

 

So, my dear parents, have you started buying the things that your child needs come school opening or you already have bought some essentials way back in June or July and just about to complete the list?

This post maybe a little bit late but I’m sure it’s still very helpful for that final look for school must-haves.

I have prepared a back to school checklist-what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs, so be ready to check out what you still need.

 

 

 

1. Adaptive stroller

  • If your child is still non-ambulatory or is walking but gets tired easily, this is really essential.
Getting ready for school, in adaptive stroller
Ready for first day of school
The school bus is here!
Riding the school bus is a breeze with the adaptive stroller with a transit  tie-down.
  • These strollers are usually what they sit on in the classroom as well, so choose properly with the help of his therapist or rehabilitation doctor.

Click here for some choices of adaptive strollers

 

2. School bag

  • This is very important as well. 
  • You have to consider a few things though. If your child has attended school the previous year, you might not need to buy a new one if his bag is still useful.
  •  I know kids always want something new, but if you feel his old one still looks okey, a little talk with your kid might be all you need to let him know that he doesn’t need a new one.
  • Anyway, if you’re ready to purchase a new one, keep some things in mind before buying. How big does your child need? Big enough to put his sweater or jacket in winter?
  •  Will his lunchbag plus some school essentials like his planner and pencil case fit in comfortably?
  • How heavy will it be with all the essentials in there? Think of his back for all the time that he will be carrying his bag. Is it a long walk from his classroom to the parking lot or to the bus stop?
  • Does he need just a back pack or a school bag with wheels?

Please see some choices below. Click the image to see the price.

Unicorn backpackBatman backpack Frozen backpackCars backpack

Click here for more choices of backpacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Lunch bag / kit

  • The size will depend on how many hours is your special child staying in school or the time of his class. 
  • If he is in school for just 2 hours, more or less, then he needs to bring in snacks only but if his school time is done just about lunch time maybe you need to pack lunch for him.
  • Consider packing a crunchy snack because chewing is great for reducing stress and a good concentration tool.
  • Of course during recess, your special child needs to eat something to reward him for a good day or to sustain his interest to learn his lessons.

  Look at these awesome lunch bags that your kid might love.  Click the image to see the price.

  Frozen lunchbag Pink lunchbag  

 

 

 

4. Water bottle

  • A 2 glass water bottle is also an essential part of his bag. He needs to be hydrated at all times so he will not be sluggish and will continue to be receptive of the day’s lessons.
  •  After a hectic  or an active day, your special child needs to drink his juice or plain water ( the healthier option ), so be sure to fill his water bottle to the brim!
  • Make sure to buy a BPA and PVC free water bottle which has leak proof lid with cap

Here are some awesome water bottles, click the image to see the price

Paw patrol water bottleSpiderman water bottleHearts water bottle

 

 

 

5. Pencil case

  • Choose something that is spacious enough to fit in his pencils, markers, and sharpeners.
  • Your special child will love opening and using a pencil case with designs that he loves like animal prints or his favorite cartoon character.
  • Having a pencil case will teach your special child to organize his stuff and put them back properly to where they belong. This develops in him responsibility. 

  Here are some choices. Click the image to see the price.

Superhero pencil caseMinnie mouse pencil casePaw patrol pencil case

 

 

 

6. Pencils, markers, and crayons

  • Buy as many as you can.
  • Your special child may just be starting to scribble or just beginning  to learn how to hold a pencil, but the more choices he has, the more chances of getting him excited to do his part in learning how to write.
  • If possible, buy the big grip pencils and crayons or markers.

 Here are some choices. Click on the image to see the price.

        Emoji pencils     Crayola markersJumbo crayons

 

 

 

  • You can also buy some additives that will be useful for your special child such as these  pencil grips for perfect grip for him to be inspired to write or scribble as much as he can.
  • These are useful even if the pencil is small.

Click the image to see the price ( pencil grips and erasers )

Pencil gripsEmoji erasers

 

 

 

  • Your child’s teacher or school might have these items provided, but it is still best to buy so your child will have something to use at home for his homework or just for practice.  

7. Notebooks

  • Buy those with beautiful covers that your child with special needs would love to open time and again. Designs that would let him smile and giggle and get him inspired to write down because his favorie animal or cartoon character is in the cover.
  • Those with lines are the most essential ones so your child will learn how to write with proper alignment. If possible choose notebooks with three lines, so he will be guided how to write big and small letters properly.
  • These colorful notebooks will delight your special kids.

  Click the image to see the price.

Tiger notebook              Unicorn notebook

More choices here.

 

 

8. School shoes ( and socks )

  • Find shoes that are most comfortable on his feet. You would not want your kid to be coming home limping with sore ankles because his shoes is too tight that he develops a blister after a day’s wear.
  • They should  just be the right size so your child can run or walk without difficulty while playing in the playground or doing tag with his friends and classmates.
  • Socks that will allow his feet to breathe  properly even in winter are a must. Buy socks that he can wear depending  on  the weather outside.

   Click the image to see the price for some choices of  girls’ and boys’ sneakers/ shoes.

Blue sneakers   Skechers sneakers    Reebook girl's shoesGirls' black shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Sweaters/ Pull overs

  • Always let your child wear a sweater or a pull over on top of his shirt  because it will usually be cold outside once school starts or put it in his bag if it is warm, so he can wear it if the weather changes.
  • This is really important if your special one still cannot express his feelings.
  • Again, sweaters with awesome designs will become a favorite of your kid. Also match the color of his sneakers with his sweater. 

Click the image to see the price of the awesome sweater  your special one will love to wear on the first day of school.

Yellow cardigan   3 D Floral sweaterRoblox sweater

 

 

 

10. Clothes and accessories

  • If there is no uniform in the school that your child goes to, you may need to buy a few set of clothes especially those that he can wear and show off on the first day or week of school. 
  • He will always be proud showing off to his teacher and classmates a blouse or shirt with his all-time favorite cartoon character  or a shirt which is his favorite color.

Click the image to see the price.

Just a girl shirt   Long sleeve boy's shirt  Pink shirtWhite shirts

Click here for more choices of clothes for your child with special needs

Click here for more choices of boys’ outfits

Click here for more choices of girls’ outfits

  • Your little girl’s hair will be pretty either tied or with an awesome bow.

Click the image to see the price.

    Goody hair tiesHair bows

 

 

 

  • A cute beannie hat ( and mitts ) for your little boy or  girl that can match his or her backpack and shirt will be useful to keep his or her  head safe from some cold or draft at the start of fall.

Click the image to see the price.

                  Starwars beannie and mittsFrozen beannie and mitts

 

 

 

Weighted vests,  ( also works like weighted blankets ), like these below would be very helpful as well if your child has a hard time focusing in school. When worn, it relaxes the child and allays his anxiety.

11. Calming toy or pillow

  • Let him bring to school his favorite toy or pillow for calming effect especially if it is his first time to attend school. This will really be helpful to allay his fears and anxiety. 
  • You can allow him to bring it to school on the first day or week or the whole school year whichever he prefers. 
  • Your special child will be more focused with his school work if he has these handy.

If you are planning to buy, read some suggestions here.

  Click the image to see the price of the calming pillows

Calming pillows
“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Are you ready for school?

There you go, my dear parents, have you looked into the list of school essentials that your little one needs for his first day of  school? Did I forget anything? Hope not.

Anyway, most of the time, kids want to show off to their classmates or teachers their new backpacks, new clothes, new pencil case, etc, so I suggest buy him something new , even though some are recycled from last year or the previous years or maybe hand me downs from older siblings or cousins.

 I remember when my son was in the elementary, even though we just buy his schoolbag from the thrift store, he was so excited to show off his “new” backpack to his friends and he was proud to show off how many pockets it contains, the awesome design, etc. 

I guess even our special kids would love to show off their stuff to his teachers and classmates, so as parents, let us try to be aware that this is something that our kids get excited about school.

We don’t want him to hate his school bag or lunch bag that would ruin his enthusiasm to go to school everyday.

There’s this excitement or some fears on the first day of school that something ” new ”  especially if it’s his favorite toy or marker or shoes or top or bag and if his classmate or friend also likes it, it will be a big factor for your special child to have a reason each day to get excited to come back to school everyday.

Let the start of school be something that your special one will look forward to with an AWESOME school essential.

Happy shopping!

 

We have an advertising relationship with the stores/ business  we link in this post. We'll earn a commission when you shop/ click  through our link with no added cost to you.

 

What is your special child’s favorite cartoon character that he wants for his backpack?  Have you bought or prepared all the essentials for his school this year?

As parents, are you excited that your special one is up to another school year of learning and discovering new things?

Did you know that I created this website with the help of Wealthy Affiliate? Look for yourself how awesome this platform is.

Click the image below!

Wealthy Affiliate helps us to be successful with our online business.

Please like and share

Teaching kids with special needs….took the chance and loving it

She became a Special Education ( SPED ) teacher by chance.

Wanting to raise her  family far from the hustle and  bustle of the city , Teacher FAM  planned on  moving to a new school in the province.

The school that took her in had a spot for a Special Education teacher due to increased enrolment of  kids with special needs. Pretty soon, she delved on scholarship training to become certified as a SPED teacher .

For the past three years, she felt that teaching kids with special needs is her calling. Definitely, she took the chance, and loving it.

Teacher FAM  maybe new in this special field, even in the teaching profession in general, having served for six years only, but deep inside, her heart tells her that this is for her and probably for keeps.

What a nice revelation!

 

Teacher FAM

Q: What group of special kids are you handling?

I teach kids with emotional and behavioural disorder, as well as those with  intellectual and learning disability and Down syndrome.”

Q: Why did you  become a SPED teacher?

“I did not plan on becoming a Special Education teacher. I just took an offer when I moved to a new school. When I began to deal  with my special pupils, I realized my purpose and self-worth.

Gradually, I fell in love with my new pursuit and my passion and love to my pupils grew each day. I became more patient with them and more determined to make a difference in their lives.

I believe GOD gave me this opportunity so I can understand well my niece who is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.”

Q: Can you describe your typical day?

“I teach my pupils,  2 at a time for 3 hours . We usually start our class with a prayer, greets to one another and songs. Before we begin the lesson for the day, I ask simple questions like how they are, what they ate for breakfast and what they did before coming to school.

Then, I let them do the daily living skills like mopping the floor, dusting the desks and tables, watering the plants, washing the glasses and plates and washing some handtowels. Letting them do these household chores will develop in them the values of independence  and responsibility.

Our lessons are usually from Monday to Thursday only. On Fridays, they all come together at the same time for play, crafts, zumba class, educational cartoon movies and sometimes, they cook a full meal for themselves, which includes simple dishes like rice, egg and meatloaf.”

 

Regulation Putty™Regulation Putty™Regulation Putty™

Regulation putty to encourage stress reduction and develop fine and gross motor capabilities

Q: I know you have  struggles and challenges in teaching special kids? How do you face them?

“Thinking of strategies to motivate the kids to learn the lessons and remember them is a big challenge for me. Many times, I feel it’s  a struggle for me to see that because of the  kids’ intellectual disabilities, they find it hard to retain what I teach them, thus they forget the lessons easily, so I have to look on their capabilities and conceptualize the proper approach for them to respond positively.

I always have to be patient and repeat the lessons all over again. I believe constant repetition do improve their learning abilities..

Practice makes perfect,  so the saying goes.”

Q: Any strategies in handling a very difficult child?

“This is not an issue for me because I love what I’m doing. I learned in my training how to handle these kids and through the years I have developed passion and devotion  to my career.

It makes me feel fulfilled  and  rewarded to realize that I’m making a big difference in the lives of these children with special needs. It may take long for them to acquire knowledge, but with patience and perseverance, they will eventually learn something and I feel great knowing that I did my best in motivating them to improve their intellectual disabilities.”

 

Wiggle CushionWiggle Cushion

Wiggle cushion encourages weight shifting and movement to improve focus

Q: Do you involve the parents in teaching their children?

” Involving parents and guardians in teaching their kids is very important. They play a big role in implementing home instructions . I encourage them to observe their kids at home if they follow my suggestions because this gauges  improvement of their children.

My pupils have a journal where  I write down my observations, recommendations and home instructions. I emphasize to the parents that teaching their children is a collaborative effort. They have to read the journals for them to see what assignments their kids need to submit and they should assist them.”

This post contains affiliate links. We might earn a commission when you purchase or sign up to something. Your fees are not at all affected.

Q: How do you feel at the end of a school day?

” I feel great and happy because I know that everyday I impart knowledge to my special kids to prepare them to become productive members of society.

There is a sense of fulfillment seeing them become independent. Also, I’m hopeful that by helping them improve their academic skills, I  am preparing them to be mainstreamed in regular school  to graduate someday.”

Q: Any advise/s to those who want to pursue a career as a Special Education teacher?

Teaching Special Education is not an easy job. It takes a lot of effort and patience to understand children with special needs. You have to always look first at the student’s interest and gain their trust and confidence, so you will get their attention.

It is vital to provide motivation everyday in whatever level of curriculum they are in. No two students are alike. They have their own level of capability when they start with you.

Assess each child thoroughly, so you will discover their unique abilities and needs, and from there, you conceptualize your individual approach for a particular kid .

Most importantly, love them with all your heart and be compassionate.

At the end of the day, you will always feel loved back and it’s very heartwarming. Then you can say, this is really my calling.”

 

 

There you go, even if we don’t plan on our careers, we can always be the best on any endeavor as long as we learn to embrace the opportunities presented to us. 

Teacher FAM maybe a new  mentor in the  field of teaching kids with special needs, but because she has been open to the challenges that she faces everyday, she has learned to LOVE her demanding career.

We salute you teacher FAM for wholeheartedly accepting the challenge.

May your tribe increase!

 

An awesome teacher appreciation gift

 

True story of 6 special kids and

their amazing teacher who embraced them

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

 

Do you know an awesome Special Education teacher? Please share us his/her story. We would love to hear from you. 

If you are a SPED teacher, thank you for all the work that you do. Please connect with us so we can let our readers know about how passionate you are with your craft.

Please post your comments below.

 

Therapist picks for your special kids. Click on the image to see the price.

Ball pit balls develop visual and tactile skills
Ball Pit Balls allow kids to toss, roll and juggle to develop visual and tactile skills.
Transformer sensory sack for relaxation
Transformer sensory sack to help special kids relax
Balance blocks enhance gross motor and visual processing skills
Balance blocks improves gross motor and visual processing skills

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning on making your own website to unleash your passion? We can help you!

Wealthy affiliate helps your online business to start and grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please like and share

On becoming a Special Education teacher- getting to know the kids’ second parent

Being a teacher is a gift.

Mentoring the young ones especially kids with special needs involve a lot of patience and determination.

Parents with special kids are really appreciative of the teachers’ efforts in guiding and teaching their kids more so because their kids need utmost attention. And because these mentors spend a lot of time developing the kids’ capabilities, they are considered their second parents.

I would like to honor a very dedicated mentor at the Romblon East Central School, where Pangga ta Ikaw helps, as she shares her journey on becoming a Special Education teacher.

 

 

TEACHER BING has been nurturing kids’ minds for twenty years. For the last 12 years, she has been a Special Education teacher handling children with various special needs like Down syndrome, hearing and intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum disorder, to name a few.

Q: What motivated you to become a Special Education ( SPED ) teacher?

“Honestly, my being a SPED teacher is not my choice.

I was just encouraged by the then Assistant Schools Division Superintendent, Mrs. Susan F. Malihan, but then when I came to the field I realized that probably this is my mission in life.”

Q: What is your typical day like?

“Compared with teaching regular children, I would say that handling children with special needs is very challenging and takes a lot of patience and commitment in my part to be able to help them enjoy my lessons and end their day with learning.”

Q: Do you have any struggles or big challenges on being a SPED teacher?

“Yes, a lot, especially in behavior modification which needs the involvement and collaboration of parents which usually is a big challenge for them.

Most parents do not give follow up lessons to their children at home and much worse is that they expect a lot from us and even think that their kids will be cured from their disabilities even though we tell them from the start that we are not doctors who could cure them, what we could only do is help them overcome their disability.

When the kids learn to read and write, they expect us to mainstream their children in the regular class right away.

Likewise, parents of children with severe disabilities expect that their kids will be mainstreamed to the regular class soonest but we can’t do that because we rely on their learning pace. We have to wait for them to learn and we can’t force them to learn just like kids in the regular class.

Mainstreaming– Some regular teachers are not open or positive to us mainstreaming our kids. They neglect our children, but of course it is already difficult for them to handle 30 – 40 pupils and here comes another special child, who is equivalent to 10 regular children, to teach and help. It is an additional burden in their part.

Bullying – Our children are oftentimes bullied by the normal kids when mainstreamed in the regular class.

Parents – Some parents are in denial and could not accept the condition of their children and they always resist when there are programs or activities required for their children.

Monetary Benefits that SPED children receive – Parents enroll their children in SPED just because of the incentives that they get from the government. From the month of June to September, we get a good attendance of the kids, but from August onward after they get their allowances in July, absenteeism becomes a norm for some children.”

Q: How do you handle a very difficult child?

” I always start with behavior modification. We cannot affect learning if these children are not focused and are manifesting negative behavior.

I reach out and emphasize the cooperation of parents. There are behavior modification techniques that we employ but these techniques will only be effective with the strong collaboration of the parents who should follow – up at home.

We also use rewards and punishments but for me I always focus on the rewards. But not monetary, I often use tokens that gradually fade out as soon as they are conditioned with the very good stamp on their hands. “

Q: Do you involve the parents in teaching their kids?

” Collaboration of the parents is very important especially in behavior modification. There should be follow-ups at home and teachers’ and parents’ discipline should be consistent both in school and at home.

It’s really hard for me to teach discipline but when the kids get home, the parents tend to compromise , especially the mothers who pity their children. I do understand though that when their kids have tantrums, they usually give up. So when the kids go back to school,  I have to repeat the lessons all over again.

And some parents are  indifferent that they tend to just leave the teaching to us.

Sometimes, our pupils come to school without pencil, notebook and even snacks.

What  frustrates me the most is when I give homework and when the kid comes to school and has nothing to show that he did it, and of course, I know that the parent did not follow up their kid. Sometimes they even lose their assignment portfolio and when I ask where it is, they would answer, ” I don’t know,” or ” I lost it.”

Q: How do you feel at the end of a school day?

” Of course, I feel fulfilled and happy when my pupils accomplish something.

But I get discouraged and feel unproductive and exhausted if they don’t get my lessons and especially if parents don’t cooperate and despite my efforts of getting through the challenges of the day, I don’t feel appreciated at all. “

Q: Any advise/s on those who plan to pursue a career as a SPED teacher?

Teaching SPED classes is a very challenging task and they need to realize that these children have special needs to start with. They should not be taken lightly. 

Like normal kids, they have dreams and want to become productive and useful in the community.

We should always remember that we could make or break these kids.

So, if they want to be a SPED teacher with meager salary, they should think twice.”

 

There you go, being a Special Education teacher is no big joke.

It involves a lot of patience, dedication and commitment.

Parents truly are so grateful that these Special Education teachers keep their sanity in dealing with their kids with special needs.

 

Hey parents, would you like to show appreciation to your child’s teacher with a gift certificate? Click on the image above.

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

If you have a child with special needs and he has an awesome teacher, please share your story with us. We would love to hear how your kid enjoys being in school.

 

Planning on putting up a website to earn extra money?

Look no further. Wealthy Affiliate can help you. 

 

 

 

 

Please like and share

Special Educational Needs for Children-starting early is the key!

Any parent with a special needs child would want the best for her kid.

A caring mom would be very happy hearing her special kid speak for the first time or learn that she is able to read the ABCs and write the alphabet or her name. Even if the special son or daughter is already way above the age that they’re supposed to.

A dad who is very supportive of his kid’s development would try his best to find the number one school for him or the most dedicated teacher out there.

It is without question that the special educational needs for these children should be on the top priority when considering their growth and development, and of course their future.

Let me present to you some information about the ongoing program in the town where I grew up and where we are giving our support.

The Special Education ( SPED ) Program at the Romblon East Central School ( RECS )

When we started Pangga ta Ikaw in 2015, Brittany, my niece, interviewed the pioneer SPED teacher, Mrs. Lulu Lo and read some materials in the school about the program. Likewise, she was able to witness how teacher Lulu spent half an hour or so teaching a visually-impaired  kid.

She was so amazed at how that time was spent by the teacher in guiding the special child.

The Special Education teacher doing one-on-one with a visually impaired child.

 

Brittany wrote a very nice article then about the program and her experiences, which I posted in our Facebook page.

Here goes….

Romblon East Central School’s ( RECS ) Special Education (SPED) Program is dedicated to supporting Romblomanons of different ages with special needs through the development of necessary social, academic and livelihood skills.

The establishment of SPED was supposed to start in the 1990’s, but unfortunately didn’t push through due to lack of resources. It was only in the year 2003 when RECS – SPED was fully established, with Mrs. Lulu Marzonia-Lo, a trained visual impairment educator who humbly taught SPED classes starting with only 5 children from different barangays around the municipality.

In the program, handling just one student is equivalent to a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 when compared to regular, non-SPED classes thus the maximum number per SPED class required by the Department of Education should only be 4 students. However, due to growing public awareness about the advantages of the program, 3 Philippine Normal University trained teachers are now catering a total of 23 students having special disabilities such as ADHD, HI (hearing disabilities), autism, blindness and Down Syndrome to name a few.

Considering the variety of disability areas, the program’s curriculum is specially crafted around these to ensure high quality special education. While most of their students are taught as a class, some of them are given special, individualized 30-minute lessons where they are taught hand coordination, mobility and space familiarization one on one.

On the other hand, 4 transitional students of ages 20 years and above are taught how to do haircuts, prepare the dining table, cook and sell what they made at the RECS canteen for them to earn additional income and consequently, become more independent individuals in the future.

With only a few years under their belt, the program is still very much in the development stage. Thriving only on minimal government subsidy and a few private donations, financial constraints hinder both the teaching staff and the families of these special children to deliver the best possible education there is for these children.

And because parents tend not to send their kids to school due to lack of resources, there was even a time when Mrs. Lo had to sponsor the transportation allowance and let five of her SPED students from the barrios to live in her apartment for them to be able to go to school.

This is where our help comes in. We need you to help enable Romblon East Central School’s Special Education Program continue their legacy of providing the very best, and only the best special education for the students and their families.

A very touching article and very informative as well. This was written three years ago and the program has expanded tremendously.

From an initial enrolment of five ( all visually impaired ) in 2003, each year enrolment adds up.

Last year in 2017 they enrolled 27 special kids under 3 Special Education teachers. Of course not counting the ones who have been mainstreamed in the regular classes. These kids included 5 with Down syndrome, 5 with autism, 4 with hearing impairment, 1 with visual impairment , 10 with intellectual disability, and 2 with behavior and emotional problems.

So, why do special kids have to be enrolled in Special Education programs?

As parents or caregivers , what are your goals for your kids? Do you want them to gain knowledge as fast as they can or would you want your kid to become independent and productive someday?

I’m sure you always want the best for your kids by providing them with special education suited to their capabilities and to let them start as early as possible.

To quote the Objectives of the SPED-RECS:


” The Special Education shall be the development and maximization of learning competencies as well as the inculcation of values to make the learners with special needs a useful and effective member of society. “

It goes without saying that the mentors only want the special kids to develop the best that they can be, to develop their fullest potential and for them to learn values and traits such that they become productive, independent citizens.

I have so much respect and admiration to these teachers who are so passionate in guiding and encouraging these children with special needs. They must have lots of patience and love for their craft that they are able to fulfill their roles so well. I’m sure the parents of these kids echo my high regard for their kids’ mentors as well.

Interventions in the SPED program

Various interventions are implemented in the program with the objective of teaching the kids basic skills like fine and gross motor skills, depending on where the level of the kids are when they start school.

Activities are usually made fun to promote learning, like using toys and letting them do art activities.

Film viewing in class widens a special kid's horizon.

Film viewing could be done as a group activity where children can enjoy as well as learn the moral lesson of the story or add to their vocabulary.

Likewise, interventions  involve skill-building strategies that are designed to progress special children  to advance their  academic knowledge.

More often, one-on-one is  introduced because these kids need special attention and their attention span is  very limited.

Daily living skills are taught to prepare the special kids to be independent.

Ordinary chores at home like cooking are taught in the SPED classroom.

 

Daily living skills, like cooking  or cleaning , are likewise implemented for older kids to prepare them to become independent and productive as they age.

The children of course are able to learn at  their own pace; no two children are alike. Several factors are into play, most especially their mental development, their readiness to learn and the parents’ support.

And the most important thing? Start the kids early!

 

What happens after SPED?

The special children at the SPED-RECS are mainstreamed to grade one once they are able to read, can do simple math and no longer hyperactive.

The SPED teacher sits in with them in the regular class for two weeks until they are comfortable in their new classes. They are also being followed up regularly as to their progress.

Many times because of their disabilities, these kids are bullied by the normal kids. This is another challenge that these kids have to face. Of course with the support of teachers and their parents they can overcome these obstacles eventually.

It is so heartwarming to learn that  a lot of the special children who have started at the SPED-RECS are able to continue and be successful  in their studies.

Success stories… where are they now?

Mark, my nephew who has Down syndrome is now 9 years old but still unable to talk, he only has some babbling sounds when he complains . He started the SPED program two years ago. Initially, he had very limited attention span. He couldn’t sit still, but now he listens to his teacher 30-45 minutes at a time. He can now hold manipulatives and can sort geometric shapes but with maximum assistance. He is able to listen to short stories as well. Teacher Bing, his very patient mentor, hopes he learns to hold crayons and pencils soon for him to be able to scribble and doodle.

Chloe, who is hearing-impaired, just finished Grade 9 ( Special program in Arts ) with honors. She was started in a regular Kindergarten school and the teacher observed that she was probably deaf and mute because she never talked. After 2 years in regular school, she was moved to the SPED program at the age of eight. Soon after, the teacher heard her talk for the first time when she was bullied by a classmate. She was stammering and talking in phrases. Started on one-on-one lessons, she eventually learned to read and talk in sentences. After two years, she was mainstreamed to Grade one and the rest is history. She has also a special talent in drawing thus, Chloe was a consistent contestant in sci-art competitions in school. She is  a graceful folk dancer as well.

CJ is another hearing impaired kid who started  the SPED program early at 6 years old. With constant mentoring, he learned the sign language and was able to talk. After 3 years in SPED, and after learning to read and write, he was mainstreamed to regular school and continued,  until recently, he just finished grade 9. He is a good dancer as well. Although able to talk already, he still uses sign language at times, to express himself fully.

Truly, we cannot ignore how  vital Special Education is for our special children.

Early intervention is the key to maximize their learning capabilities. We have seen that they can excel in school if properly guided in the beginning.

They may start late with learning their basic skills like reading and writing, but once they are able,  there’s no stopping them to succeed.

 

Do you have a child with special needs and is presently enrolled in a special education program ? Please share with us how he is doing in school. Leave your comments below.

 

"We have an advertising relationship with the stores we link to in this post. Think of it like a tip for bringing you awesome content. Prices won't be affected at all."

Autism Gross Motor Equipment

Click here to browse on some toys

 

 

 

 

Please like and share