Overview of Abby<br />Age – 7 years old<br />Autism<br />2nd grade<br />Public school – inclusion classroom<br />Loves Barbie, “girly stuff”, and computer games<br />Very shy<br />Struggles academically and socially<br />Dreads coming to school each morning – leads to at least one absence each week<br />Does not deal well with change<br />Not comfortable talking to people she does not know <br />
Overview of family<br />Lives with mom, dad, and siblings<br />2 brothers – first grade and fourth grade, at same school as Abby<br />1 sister – high school<br />Very close with grandma<br />Entire family is very supportive<br />Younger brother labeled with Tourette Syndrome<br />Mother enables Abby a lot – gives in to Abby's crying fits each morning when coming to school<br />Mom does not push Abby to do anything she is not comfortable doing – which can be good and bad<br />It doesn’t seem mom has very high expectations for Abby and her future<br />
School<br />General education inclusion classroom – Mom would rather Abby be in a self contained classroom. She thinks Abby would adjust easier and feel more comfortable because there are fewer students. I disagree because Abby is capable of learning general academics. The self contained rooms at our school only teach life skills. Her mother and I have discussed this several times.<br />Attended special education preschool – which may be why mom has her opinions about moving her to a different classroom<br />Speech – 30 minutes one day per week<br />Occupational therapist – 30 minutes one day per week<br />Works with special education teacher approximately 2 hours a day outside of the classroom – Abby does not willingly go with her<br />Repeated first grade<br />School is a struggle for Abby socially and academically. She does not seem to enjoy school. <br />Only attends field trips if mother or grandma attend with her<br />
Goals for Abby<br />Due to Abby’s age, she does not have any lifetime goals set for herself as of now<br />Abby’s mother does not seem to have many goals for Abby either. She enables Abby a lot. Abby misses a lot of school because of this. She does not show Abby the importance of school and learning. Mother would turn in Abby’s homework packet in her own handwriting each week. I know Abby is capable of learning at grade level. Her mother would claim to work with her at home but Abby would not show improvement in the areas we asked her to work with. She only shows improvement in what we teach her at school. She is capable of so much more. I have tried to get Abby’s mother to see this and encourage Abby. She is no longer my student so I continue to hope Abby’s teacher cares as much as I did and keeps encouraging Abby and her mother.<br />
Outside activities<br />As I mentioned, Abby is very close with her family. Outside of school, Abby does attend events, but only with her family by her side. I have tried to encourage mom to enroll Abby in Girl Scouts or dance classes. She could even attend the meetings with Abby. I think this would help Abby socialize with children and it would be a smaller group than our entire classroom. Mom has still not done this as of now. After school, I always see Abby playing outside, but only with her siblings, never with any other neighbor children. <br />
What I learned<br />Working with this family has taught me a lot. I have learned that every family deals with having a child with disabilities differently. Some families may try to ignore issues and hope it goes away. While some families worry too much about the child and are afraid to let go. I learned not all siblings are jealous of the child with special needs because they get more attention. This family is so supportive of Abby it is amazing. I have learned when I one day have children, it is ok to let my children be themselves and not stress over their every move. I know Abby’s mother wants what is best for Abby, but sometimes I am not sure she does know what is best. I have learned to educate families on what is best for the child and why. I have learned to put myself in the shoes of the family and try to understand why certain things are happening, and why families feel the way they feel. I will do my best to continue to do this in the future. <br />
What the family learned<br />After several discussions, I believe Abby’s mother has learned it is best to keep Abby in a general education classroom. She did stop pushing for the switch so I hope she realizes this.<br />I think in the back of her mind, Abby’s mother has learned it would be beneficial for Abby to join Girl Scouts. I think she is just afraid to encourage Abby to do this because Abby does not deal well with change. <br />Mother has also learned to accept help from the school. She has taken advice from school personnel regarding Abby. <br />
Connections to text<br />The textbook Families and Children with Special Needs helped me understand different aspects of the family I was working with.<br />The stages of grieving when you have a child with special needs can vary and last any amount of time depending on the person.<br />Family-school partnerships are very important and it is ok to give families support even if they are not asking for it. Some families may never ask for something, but help is still appreciated.<br />I have tried strategies from the book to encourage family involvement and communication. <br />Learning about the special education process was beneficial to the family as well as me. I am new to this whole process, as is the family. <br />The chapter about transitioning children connected a lot with this family. I worked with Abby and her mother to ensure smooth transitions each year. So far, our plans had been successful but I did learn a few more tips from the book. <br />
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