Some of the discrepancies and similarities between students with and without exceptions were shared by the licensed special education instructor during the interview. One of the key parallels between these students is that they both have food-related needs. A student without exceptionality, for example, would specifically ask for food while the other one will only gesture. On the other hand, the variations include the challenge of students with exceptionality in terms of engaging in skills such as sustained focus and eye contact maintenance. In addition, in social skills such as turn-taking and facilitating play with their peers, students with exceptionality often have a challenge. In general, the teacher underscored the difference of recognizing that each child is unique so as to provide them a good learning experience.
The characteristics of students with exceptionalities include their inadequacy in social skills which hinders their academic development. Additionally, some of the students also have a difficulty in concentrating on one task in the classroom environment.
Additionally, during the interview, the specialist teacher also shared the importance of collaboration with general education teachers. Collaboration is fostered through constant communication so that each teacher is aware of the needs of students with exceptionalities. Respect and professionalism also has to be maintained among the teachers so that suggestions on how to improve the experience of students with exceptionalities can be shared.
Notably, during the interview, the teacher also shared some of the ways in which exceptionalities can affect a student’s academic and social development. Firstly, students with exceptionalities have difficulty in grasping academic concepts. In terms of social skills, the student will have difficulty in creating and maintaining friendships with their peers. Moreover, their attitude is also affected as they engage in disruptive behavior such as throwing tantrums. In general, it is important for teachers to recognize these difficulties so as to provide reasonable accommodations.
At the same time, during the interview, the specialist teacher also shared the ways on which the unique learning needs of students with exceptionalities are addressed. Firstly, the teacher had to come up with a hierarchy of needs so as to determine which ones to prioritize. For example, if the child speaks a different language, the need that will be prioritized is making them learn the common language. The unique needs are also met by collaborating with their parent and caregivers who share valuable information on how the learning experience can be enhanced.
In terms of privacy, the teacher ensures that they discuss with the student’s parents on whom they are comfortable sharing information. Furthermore, the student information is only disclosed with the consent of the parents. Privacy is also maintained by having a signed contract between the parents and the teacher. However, this also comes with dilemmas such as the committing time to one student without leaving others. I will use the information gathered from this experience in future by using strategies such as balanced teamwork and individual work as well as use of project based learning.