What do you mean I have 2 children with autism, 3 with learning disabilities and 2 with behaviour challenges in my class next year? School Boards are moving towards integration. This means that children who were in classrooms specifically for physical, mental, behavioural and developmental disabilities are now in regular classrooms. The trouble with this is that teachers don’t have the support they need to teach integrated classrooms. As integration is being rolled out, support is being rolled back. So what can teachers do when they have no or little training to help these students and when there is no or very little support?
- Take a special education Additional Qualification course. It will help! There is lots to learn and it is better to be proactive than to complain!
- Read books. If you know you will have a child with autism in your class next year – or even if you find out on the first day of school, read a book or look it up online.
- Squeak. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and this is certainly true in schools. If you continually ask the principal, the special education teachers and anyone in a position to help you for help, you will certainly get more help than if you don’t ask. This year, a behavioural regional specialist came to a class I taught to help with a student who was kicking, hitting and throwing objects. It was great to get the help and to learn strategies – all because a teacher squeaked!