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Inclusionary Educational Practices 2017-18

 

Shannon Johns, M.S.
Education Specialist

Shannon Johns, M.S. has worked in the field of special education for over 18 years.  She taught elementary-aged students with moderate to severe disabilities in a public school setting for 13 years before beginning her work at the Diagnostic Center, North. Shannon specializes in working with students with moderate, severe, and profound disabilities and has special interests in inclusion, assistive technology, and positive behavior support.

 


 

Cecelia Timek, M.A.
Education Specialist

Cecelia received her Master’s in Education from the University of San Francisco. She specializes in curriculum and instruction, inclusive education, the use of technology to improve educational outcomes, and adapting and modifying general education curriculum for all learners. Cecelia also has extensive knowledge in best practices for positive behavior supports, differentiation, and Universal Design for Learning. She has been serving children with special needs in the bay area for over a decade.

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  • new!A Paraprofessional’s Role in Supporting an Included Student

Question:

I am a paraprofessional who is working with a 3rd grade student with disabilities that is included in a general education classroom this year. The student’s case manager/special education teacher is very busy supporting students in many different classrooms, and I don’t get to talk to her often. The general education teacher is also extremely busy, and I feel that I am being asked to adapt and modify lessons and activities for my student without much guidance. Is this okay? Do you have any recommendations for how we can address this issue?


Answer:

First of all, know that you are not alone! This is an issue facing many paraprofessionals and many school teams as busy teachers learn how to best support students with disabilities in general education classrooms.

The teachers can, of course, ask for your help in adapting and modifying classroom materials, but they should always be providing you with guidance for how this should be done. It is important that the special education teacher work closely with the general education teacher to discuss upcoming units and lessons and to plan for how your student will participate. They can then ask you to adapt materials and to instruct the student in a particular way, but again, this should always be under their guidance.

I encourage you to voice your concerns directly to the teachers. Schedule a meeting to discuss these issues and set up a formal communication system. Determine the best method for you to communicate with each other – through e-mail? In person at a certain time of the day or day of the week? By text message? Through a communication notebook? Once you have determined how and when you will communicate, try your best to stick to the plan. Communication and collaboration truly are the keys to making inclusion work!

Best of luck to you, and thank you for the work you do. It is very important work.