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    SPED students in the classroom
    By Amanda

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    I teach 1st/2nd grade at a small private school with no full time SPED teacher and no aides in the entire school. Our SPED teacher is in the building on Thursdays and from 9-11 on Fridays. Last year I had 1 student with an undiagnosed LD (I don't know but I would say he is educably mentally handicapped). This year I have that student again, his brother who I hear is very similar (both were born drug addicted as well), a student who is undiagnosed but may as well wear a flashing sign saying "I'm ADD", and 2 students who are in the process of being tested for some sort of LD (their first day was Friday, so I don't know yet). Basically my class is full of children who were taken out of public school by their parents because they don't want them pulled out of regular Ed classrooms.

    *Is there a SPED classroom in your school? If there is, what is the reason being given for why these students (especially the DS student) are not placed there? If there is not, find out what role the SPED teacher should be playing in your classroom and try to make it happen.

    *Have you spoken to the parents of these children? I'd say that close interaction with the parents would be essential in your situation.

    *If there are behavior issues related to these children, I would talk to your principal or whoever heads the school's discipline policies about what they suggest you do. Perhaps there needs to be a modified system, but you should have a series of steps to follow (something to do with the student who covers his head and won't stop wailing)

    *You could pair each student with a well-behaved, focused student who could give them assistance. You could talk to the parents of the "buddy" students and maybe do a little "training" session with them to talk to them about what you'd like them to do to be your helpers. Some students would really love that! In some ways it seems like putting extra work on those students who are helping, but it's also teaching them compassion and other positive character qualities. It can also help those students because it can reinforce what they know when they explain it again to someone else.

    *You could do your own modifications. Allow those students to complete different (shorter, less complex) assignments or test verbally. This will be a lot of extra work (that the special ed. teacher should probably be helping you with). Find out if you are expected to grade these students as regular ed. students since they are in your class, or if you are expected to modify grades.

    I hope some of this helps! Good luck!

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