An introduction and a challenge
Updated: Jun 18, 2018
During my ten years as a behavior technician, I have spent many hours in many classrooms working with children of all kinds of needs. There is one thing that I am certain of. Anyone can learn. Their progress may look different than yours. It may be measured in smaller quantities. Their learning environment may consist of more or different stimulus than others. But goals can always be reached. Progress can always be made.
We need to stop. We need to stop babysitting children who do not learn the same way as their neurotypcial peers. We need to stop assuming that a child has a definite plateu simply because they have a diagnoses and that’s what we can expect from this type of kid or that type of kid.
I have heard, read, and witnessed too many stories and comments of “regular ed” teachers who moan, complain, or freak out because a special needs student will be joining their class or they will be responsible to teach the special needs groups during specials this year. While we have come a long way in our acceptance and understanding of all types of needs and people, there is no arguing that we can still do more and we can still do it better. Let’s do it. Let’s talk about what is hard. Let’s throw ideas around. Let’s listen to our students and find their strengths and use those to improve where they are weak. Let’s have the same opportunities for kids who need the extra help or adaptive ways of doing things. Here in NWFL we have some cool stuff geared toward special needs children and families. We have a swim team, a baseball league, summer camps, a surfing group (because we’re that cool), art classes, Special Olympics, and a few of us teaching music. There are so many more possibilities. There are many people doing this thing right. I want to grow that number. I want to educate those who are unsure or inexperienced.
I began teaching music two years ago at the school that I work for. We are tiny and it isn’t uncommon to serve multiple rolls. Also, I opened my big mouth and said “I think we should do more with music. The kids responded well to the six week unit we did last year.” To which my director responded “That sounds great. You do that.”
After fumbling through the first couple of months before I discovered Preschool Prodigies I realized some of these kids really get it. Some of them enjoy what we are doing. So, I started offering 1:1 private lessons after school. At this point I am booked to capacity. I have more demand than I have time. I want to find, train, and network with more people who see what I see. I want to get those who think it’s a great idea, to take the leap. I want to start something that changes the stigma and opens opportunity to unlock the potential of any child we are given opportunity to impact.