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As a teacher, we have specific moral/ethical and legal responsibilities for educating students with disabilities. Laws, such as IDEA, have been created to ensure that each student receives a free appropriate public education, the least restrictive environment, an individualized education program, procedural due process, nondiscriminatory assessment, and parental participation. We have to be highly effective teachers who understand our obligations and duties to help our students.
Working with a student with an IEP during my field experiences was very rewarding. I learned so much about Tier 1 and 2 interventions, and I feel much more confident in the referral process for IEPs and how to implement them in real life. Reading and discussing about accommodations is so great in helping us learn the foundation, but actually preforming interventions with a real kid increased my understanding tenfold. At one point, I was getting a little frustrated that Talon couldn’t understand the fraction conversions while I worked with a small group, but I decided to take a step back and try a different angle, and it clicked! He finally was able to do the assignment, and this experience helped me see that every child is different. Every kid has unique challenges and is doing what they can to do their best.
I feel like my perceptions of disabilities has changed after this experience. My student has an IEP, but he is so much more than an IEP. He’s motivated to do his best, and I can see how hard he works. I have been in Mrs. Young’s class before and never would have guessed that Talon had an IEP. Kids with disabilities are kids first. Their IEP or disability does not define them. This experience is helped me focus on the children as children.
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