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Special Education Portfolio
Transcript of Special Education Portfolio
Why Spec. Ed?
Strengths & Needs
Exceptional Students Deserve Exceptional Teachers:
Special Education Portfolio
A Culminating Project for Special Education AQ Part 1
Programs to Learn:
Dragon Naturally Speaking
A reflection on becoming a Special Education teacher
I began the Special Education AQ course quite confident that I already possessed a good base knowledge of special education and exceptionalities in the classroom. However, I was proven wrong from the very first day. Not only did I underestimate the number of different exceptionalities present in the modern classroom but I also underestimated the prevalence of these exceptionalities and how they present themselves in the school setting. As a 21st century educator, I am aware that my future classroom will, without a doubt, contain at least one student with an exceptionality. Whether it is an identified exceptionality or not, it is a teachers’ responsibility to ensure that their students receive the support and resources necessary to connect them to his or her dreams. Because in the end, that is all education really comes down to: connecting students to their dreams. No matter what exceptionality the student may have, (physical, intellectual, behavioral, communication or multiple) all students deserve an exceptional teacher who understands and meets their individual needs. I believe that my experience in this AQ course has greatly expanded and deepened my knowledge of special education in Ontario, including the available resources, policies and programs, development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP), in-school supports, community supports, assistive technology and the most effective teaching strategies.
I began the course with an understanding of the emotional and social development of a child with an exceptionality through my own family experience. I left the course with a much greater understanding of the overall development and needs of a child with an exceptionality in the classroom. Through personal interviews with professionals and para-professionals, I developed a greater understanding and respect for the highly-trained and experienced school staff and community workers who help in providing resources and programs for exceptional students. Furthermore, I was able to develop a greater appreciation for my role as a classroom teacher and the ways in which I can teach, assess, and motivate all my students in a way that also supports my exceptional students through the Universal Design for Learning approach. Most importantly, I was able to interact and engage with other professional educators with various levels of experience in special education. Through discussions, sharing of research and peer critics I developed an understanding of how special education programming and policies are applied in a variety of situations and the ways in which other teachers have successfully integrated and adapted their teaching to support their exceptional students.
After completing this course, I whole heartedly believe that every educator should be required to take this introduction course during their pre-service teaching years. Not only is this course necessary to prepare teachers to meet the needs of all of their students academically, it also works to deepen teachers’ sensitivity and awareness of the learning environment in their classroom. Overall, I have left this course feeling more confident and knowledgable as an educator and ready to meet the needs of my future students. In my professional development as an educator I will continually strive to be the exceptional teacher that my exceptional students deserve.
In order to further develop my knowledge and skills in the field of special education, I plan to:
volunteer with special needs programs and community groups; i.e. Best Buddies Canada
volunteer as an EA in my school board
perform regular professional readings and review current special education news and policies
complete Special Education AQ Part 2
attend a T.R.I.B.E.S training session
familiarize self with assistive technology and software
Best Buddies Canada
- through all of the research, reading and discussion that I have performed in this course, patience remains as one of the key strategies when working with a special needs student.
- having had a family member with an exceptionality, I can understand the perspective of an exceptionality for a student, their family, their community and their teacher.
Knowledge of UDL
- through my pre-serveice teacher training and my practicum experience I was able to develop my skills in effecttively applying UDL strategies whereby all students benefit from adaptions that are directed at particular students.
Upon reflection, I understand where my strengths lie in regards to working with exceptional students. These include:
Upon reflection, I understand what my needs are as a teacher working with exceptional students. They include:
Greater experience and guidance in creating and assessing an IEP
Developing experience in planning for multiple forms of assessment as per accomodations of exceptional students
Develloping the skills and experience in using assistive technology and software
Developing the skills and strategies to postively and effectively engage with parents of exceptional students
Looking to the future, I hope to strengthen my skills as a special education teacher through:
Open, frequent communication with parents/guardians of an exceptional student
Training for any equipment/technology an exceptional student is expected to use in my classroom
Weekly progress meetings with resource staff, Education Assistant(s), SERT, etc. to dicuss goal setting for student
Access to assistive technology and resources to support exceptional students in my classroom
Support of school administration and other teachers
Knowledge of community resources
- having lived, worked and participated in my local school board, along with meeting several community professionals, I feel confident in my ability to refer families and parents to appropriate community resources for their needs
Community Resources in Halton Region
Halton District School Board Resources
Child and Youth Counsellor
Speech and Language Pathologist
Aboriginal Liaison Officer
Association for Bright Children -
Autism Ontario - Halton Chapter -
VOICE for Hearing Imparired Children -
Easter Seals Ontario -
Halton Council of Home and School Association -
The Halton Down Syndrome Association -
Learning Disabilities of Halton Inc. -
Tourette Syndrome Association of Halton Inc. -
VIEWS -Support for Families of Blind and Visually Impaired Children -
Canadian Mental Health Association -
Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) Oakville -
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) Resources
Teaching Students with FASD -
Print resources for teachers working with students with FASD
FASD Society -
Connecting adolscents and adults with FASD -
Information for expectant mothers -
Canada FASD Research Network -
"There are many ways in which the community can contribute to the development of social participation, social competence and self-confidence for all students including exceptionial students and students from Aboriginal communities" (Inclusion ofExceptional Learners in Canada Schools, pg.336)
The Importance of Community in Education
Strategies for Increasing Community Connections
Bringing in community members to the classroom
Develop communit-based learning projects for students to complete
Share community resources with parents via wesbite for easy access
Organize school-wide (Dis)ability awareness activities that brings in key community groups
Make learning directly relevant to the community around students