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Teaching in a special school.............

Discussion in 'Personal' started by BelleDuJour, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Hettys

    Hettys New commenter

    FYI I have a 15 year old with severe learning difficulties who attends a special school and her teachers are nothing short of miracle makers. it takes someone very special to do their jobs. I'm her mother, they have a choice.
  2. dande

    dande New commenter

    Couldn't agree more based on what I know and clearly you appreciate what they do for her.
    Certainly dedicated, but the same could be said about large parts of the education sector. Would you want to work in a school where you were not appreciated? Would it be wrong to say that in most cases teachers in special schools are appreciated for what they do or do some parents (and don't think I am putting you in this category) simply see school as a form of respite?

  3. PlymouthMaid

    PlymouthMaid Occasional commenter

    I see where Belle is coming from re the national Curriculum. I worked in a special school for a while and it did seem odd teaching or trying to teach PMLD students some areas of the curriculum when it seemed they may gain more long term benefits from learning to shop, cook, make a bed etc as well as the having fun bit since some of their lives will be sadly cut short.
  4. Hettys

    Hettys New commenter

    I think there are lots of parents (and not only of special needs children) who see school as a form of respite. you only have to hear them complaining as another holiday approaches to see that!!. i think school can and does provide parents of challenging children with some respite but only if they know that the children are being well cared for, and stretched as as far as possible to help them reach their potential. These children are so vulnerable and if the school is failing them it is a huge worry for parents and then it is the very opposite of respite.
  5. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    Surely all those things can easily be tied into the National Curriculum though? I mean there are plenty of students without and learning difficulties who would benefit from learning those skills as well.
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Yip - and I'm annoyed I can't remember what our adapted curriculum is called but it includes the kind of skills that many 'very special' schools teach (raising spoon to mouth...that sort of thing - motor skills as well as life skills).
  7. dande

    dande New commenter

    That's a fair point. I often forget that schools are as much about child care as they are about education.
    I wonder how many special schools are/have beeen in special measures? I saw an ofsted report recently that provided percentages of each type of school and howw they performed. I think many special schools were regarded as outstanding.
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    That's exactly what I mean!
    The students I work with will NEVER lead independent lives. They will move on to an adult residential provision. They need life skills not numeracy. Literacy is more important but they are very non-verbal and all use PECS and can sign.
  9. impis

    impis New commenter

    I've worked in a special school for the last 8 years, Belle - and about half of our kids are on the Autistic spectrum. However, they are not as severely affected as the ones you now find yourself working with. Ours are verbal, and achieve well. We do teach the National Curriculum, but try to incorporate alot of life skills too.
    I know what you mean about finding Autism fascinating - I do too.
  10. I think that I find myself agreeing with Belle on this one. I worked as a TA in a school just like the one Belle describes for a while. There were a whole range of children in that school and of course the high functioning children must access the national curriculum (and even the middle functioning children). However, for some of these children there is absolutely no point. I worked about 60% of the time with the same boy and he was still in nappies at 15 and was taught in a class of 6 year olds as physically and mentally he was at about the same stage. I don't think that a day went by when he didn't bite or hit me in frustration, not least because makaton was well beyond his capabilities and he was completely non verbal (apart from "boh" which meant "bus" as he associated the bus with going to the park or swimming and so would jump around shouting "boh, boh, boh" if he wanted to go to the park). I can't imagine how he (or more selfishly, I) would have coped if he was being forced through a literacy or numeracy curriculum.

    This is of course one child in one school but it certainly shocked me and I think it is difficult to understand just how severely some of these children are affected if you haven't seen it yourself. When I got the job I had all of these big ideas about helping children and enriching their lives etc etc but to be honest if you got to the end of the day without this boy injuring himself by banging his head off the wall then it had been a good day.
  11. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    That just about sums it up.
    TBH when I took this job I really has no idea quite how severely affected the youngsters are.....this is all new to me. We have 'biters', 'shouters' and 'droppers' (all new to me!).
    At times I feel somewhat inadequate as the other staff and support workers seem so much more able with the youngsters and I don't seem to know exactly what I'm doing. Yet today one of my students came and took me by the arm to walk with me. I was very touched and felt I'd reached a milestone.
    I'm not sure this type of work is for me long term, but it give me endless valuable experience to take with me wherever I go.
    I have also come to realise that every single onw of us is up there, somewhere, on the autistic spectrum.
  12. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    From not knowing much about it to all of us being there?

  13. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Yes Seren....all of us are somewhere.
    I consider you an intelligent emough woman to understand exactly what I am saying, without spending the whole of this evening in some pointless TES dialogue on this thread.
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    But I don't agree.
    I'm trying to work out whether you consider anyone who disagrees with you on this is unintelligent.
    I think a lot of people may well be on the spectrum but still only a minority.

  15. Buuuuuuuuut, there is some theory that everyone is <u>somewhere </u>on the autistic spectrum. I remember coming across it when researching speech development.
    I can't for the life of me remember who purported it...

  16. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    I've heard that too CQand now, having worked with seriously affected youngsters, I said I have come to realise we are all there somewhere. I think Seren is seeing my words but not reading them....proof?
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I'm seeing them, reading them and disagreeing with them - but if you choose to see that as proof that we're all on the autistic spectrum you feel free.
    I cannot for the life of me see how working with severely autistic young people turns you into an expert or even gives you a sensible starting point for considering the question.
    Having worked for a number of years with a mix of sebd pupils many of whom were on the spectrum but precluded from attending either mainstream or autistic units because of their aggression, and having done various courses (including PGD SfL) I'm aware that there is a theory being bandied about but that doesn't make it a fact and the evidence suggests otherwise.
  18. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Seren, I do not wish to spend the evening arguing the toss with you on here but:
    1. I never said I was an expert
    2. I never said you weren't entitled to an opinion
    You are quite clearly NOT reading my posts properly.
    Also I did not say it was a fact. I just said I realise (that is my opinion) that we could all be placed somewhere on the autisitic spectrum. Pretty low down for most of us, but I know I, and most people I know, exhibit similar, if very mild, symptoms such as OCD and repetitive behaviours. It may be a tenuous connection but it's there none the less.
    You do not agree. Fine. Nuff said.
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Which bit have I misunderstood?
    Am I wrong in thinking you've just decided, on the basis that you've been working with severely autistic young people for about 5 minutes, that we're ALL on the autistic spectrum?
    ...and if we don't agree we're unintelligent, not reading properly or proving that we're autistic?

  20. Considering Belle has been asking for experiences of others, why don't you share some. E.g. by revealing to us whose theory this was and what evidence is against it?
    She hasn't claimed to be an expert but perhaps you may like to tell us at what point one is considered worthy of considering the question?
    Surely if Belle is working with such individuals at the moment, that is a starting point?
    Why is she being picked about on her every word by some?
    Why can't people do as she requested in her very first post and share similar (or differing for that matter) experiences?


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