It just seems like yesterday we were setting up for the first day of school via distance. The world has shifted once again and while the dust has not entirely settled, it is time to start wrapping up and reaching for end of the year expectations. While the common unusual fun events like a school sing along or some annual challenge that comes in the late spring might not be there this year, we are still moving ahead with all the things we need to build our campus for that culminating event.
It is still time for school. Even if there are unusual schedules. But do realize that there is that flexibility for relaxing. Whatever that looks like for the students you support. Is it more breaks? Is it fewer demands? It is all right to be aware of what a student can get done and what their attention has them get done. And it is all right that they do not get it done. Give them permission– undoubtedly peers without disabilities are struggling with attention too at this time of year. Just make sure to stay in contact with the teacher about what is getting done. It is always far better to have an accurate representation of what the student can do instead of any work you have helped to produce.
Now is also time to figure out what the student can do with the least amount of support possible. Is it navigating campus? Is it doing an errand independently? Is it asking for help? And it is all right that they fail at this.
Enjoy the moments. Perhaps even more so than ever considering the last year we have experienced as a whole, and the year we have yet to have ahead—enjoying the moments we have with our students. What will you remember about each student personally? What will you ask of that student next year? What will you miss about that student?
Perhaps even more so than ever considering the last year we have experienced as a whole, and the year we have yet to have ahead—enjoying the moments we have with our students.ParaEducate
While we are thinking about a specific student…
What words do you use to describe students you work with? Difficult? Challenging? Cute? Responsible? Exhausting? Focused? Occasionally stuck? Great kid?
Think about the words. Think about the age of your student. While it is socially acceptable to be ‘cute’ under seven years old, how might a teenager react to being described as cute? How might an adult? And yet, all too often people with severe disabilities are described as ‘cute’ and rarely this has anything to do with their clothing.
Describing a student as ‘challenging’ or ‘exhausting’ has two sides. If you believe the student is challenging your ideas of how to best reach them, then keep challenging yourself to think of the best way to reach that student, and that challenge is unfortunately ‘exhausting’. If you believe that the challenge the student presents only serves as a barrier for your relationship, think about how you want your relationships with students, even challenging students, to be? Can you be that safe person in the crisis for that student?
It is also important to think about the descriptors when you see that student in the future. When you see them when they are twenty, thirty, and even older.
Making that transition in your vocabulary ensures some students with disabilities have a point in their life that someone believes that they are capable. And some students may not notice, but you will notice your body language shifts, and the student will see that and respond to that shift.
One more thing…
ParaEducate will end for the 2020-2021 academic year on June 7, 2021.
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Mondays, unless a holiday or announced day off. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.