Trailing Off Some Quick Thoughts


We just have to say a really nice interaction with a local police department. Renay’s car was subjected to theft last week and while ultimately: she knows she’s never going to get her gear back, the officers that responded to take the report were professional and we appreciate their efforts.

But not out…

Renay was observing a new inclusive placement for three students who were not previously included. While the placement is still out, she is currently working with the case manager and the general education teacher for a modified curriculum for these three students.

Of highlight: she was struck by how much more serious two of the students take this subject matter. In the follow-up class, a support class, the students enjoy having the textbook to refer to. While previously, students had references, the act of transferring the material for the students is new and currently driving their desire to attempt the material. Arguably, the third student is still so stunned to be with peers, we aren’t really certain that the student understands that less will be expected of them than their peers, but they need to attend a class anyway.

Didn’t you get the memo…

The beginning of the year has nearly pulled a rug out from all of us. Between Renay’s new commuting schedule and the fact that demands feel very different this year, we think we might have even skipped last week’s blog posting.

We will post on Thursdays. We just cannot promise regular intervals of postings.

Moments that last in the heart…

We are also going to take time for a little personal story. Two of Renay’s godsons started Kindergarten this year, within weeks of each other. The joy of doing something each boy viewed as ‘grown-up’ was written on their faces in the early morning drop off photos. And then the afternoon photos of one of the boys in his car seat heading home slumped over catching a nap.

But this reminds of us of all our students. Those with and without disabilities. It’s not just Kindergarten. It’s not just those milestones. That first day, even when the student knows routine could possibly be waiting for them, that first day has sounds, sights, things that make their minds process that cannot possibly all be accounted for. That student that decided they weren’t going to walk anywhere else today sat down on the ground and refused to budge for any reward. That student that ran out of the classroom right before snack just really needed to get up and move. That student who is already pushing behavior buttons, may not understand that the adults around them care.

The hurdles of switching tasks can be difficult for many students. Use visual schedules. Prompt visually. Avoid overwhelming students with spoken instructions. Wait for the general education teacher to cue from, you share the student’s progress.

Especially those first-week reminders…

Be direct about choices for a student. A student you’re more familiar with might joke that they won’t do the work, and it might be something that sets you off. How about responding, “Sure you cannot do the work and you can get the grade you earned for that work.” The student you don’t know is stuck on missing a comfort item at the wrong time of the day? “I can see you really need that item right now, but right now we have two choices of how to move on without the item. I can tell from your tone and your body language that you really need that item so we can see what we can do about it later.”

Take that deep breath. Close your eyes for a moment and listen to the bell. Watch the flag on the quad flutter in the breeze. Support one another as professionals. The school year has just begun.

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 herehereherehere, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company interested in 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 Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.

About paraeducate

ParaEducate is a company run to help reach out to paraeducators or paraprofessionals in public K-12 schools, giving advice, talking about publications that ParaEducate produces, and other useful information regarding working in public school settings.
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