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The main and most important concern that ANY teacher should always be aware of is whether or not the teacher, the curriculum, and the school are meeting all the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.
What is currently defined as "special education accommodations" observes the implementation of success factors that will allow individuals with health, physical, psychological, or developmental disorders and conditions to operate in the real world.
Therefore, the teacher's concerns should include:
- Ensuring that there is complete accessibility in the classroom. I.E, books are at a reachable level, wide open spaces, chairs and tables are accessible for wheelchairs, telephone service for emergencies.
- IEPs/504 forms as well as SST/CSC forms must be always updated. The Individual Education Plan is clear in the interventions that are to be taken for each specific SPED student. Educational behaviors are monitored by the SST (Student Success Team) as well as the teacher. Documentation is a life saver for educators.
- Ensuring that all confidential information and documents are in a safe location and only under the control of the teacher, parent, and principal.
- Make the student assessment data readily available for the parents so that, during conferencing, there is evidence that the teacher is working on one with the student to improve and succeed.
Documentation and accessibility are the main key. In any educational setting those two factors determine the efficacy of mainstreaming.
To help make sound judgments of participation within the general education setting, a clear expectation of the goals and objectives of the classroom must be available to the committee members. General education teachers serve as the resource of information for the skills necessary for success in this educational setting. Teachers should have knowledge of not only their subject area objectives but also specific student skills that are needed to show mastery of this content. In addition to knowledge of content objectives and needed student skill levels, the techniques and methods utilized by the teacher are vital to determining needed accommodations and modifications that will be needed to help ensure successful participation by the student. If the general education teacher will be responsible for instruction of the objectives, it is important that they are provided with sufficient information on the student’s disability. This will enable them to anticipate any need adjustments to the classroom setting and limit any discomfort they may have regarding the child’s disability.
Students with disabilities should be allowed to participate with students without disabilities to the maximum extent possible. Although school is designed to ensure academic exposure and success, other skills are learned within the school environment. Interaction with peers is a critical piece for development of appropriate social skills and general rules of society as a whole. For some students with severe deficits, this interaction may occur only during nonacademic settings.
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