Family Experience Emily Brian IUPUI Spring 2010 EDUC-K548
Overview of child Thomas is a 4th grader that recently turned 11 years old. He is good at Math. He likes football and basketball best. He hates broccoli and soap in his eyes. One day Thomas wants to be an acrobat, a police officer and design video games. He likes to play outside with his brother and cousins. Thomas lives with his Grandmother, two aunts, an uncle and 4 cousins. He has an emotional disability. Thomas likes to use the computer and do Science experiments at school.
Overview of the family Thomas lives with his grandmother because his mother was young when he was born and she struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. He has an aunt that lives with them that has a developmental disability and he does not get along very well with her. She tries very hard to be his friend, and he does not want anything to do with her. His grandmother has a lot going on and I can see where it would be easy to become overwhelmed. His brother recently moved back into the home from a residential treatment facility. This transition concerned his family, but so far this is going well. I think his grandmother is doing the best she can with the situation she has in front of her. There are some high need family members and she holds it all together. His mother comes around and has been involved in his life to varying degrees, but he does not live with her. They all seem to get along well. Besides the other aunt and her family moving in Thomas has a stable home life. His grandmother has been a consistent person in his life since he was born.
school Thomas is in my regular ed 4th grade classroom he receives services from his inclusion teacher. He was in a self-contained ED room until last year. He did not like that situation and initiated the move to a regular classroom. He needs the extra support the inclusion teacher offers, but he knows that when he was in the other classroom his work was watered down. He told me one time that the only reason he passed 3rd grade was because they gave him baby work in the self-contained classroom. He is doing ok in my class this year. He has improved on his interpersonal skills and is getting better at making friends. He does not like to look “different” than the other students so it was a struggle at first to convince him to use the support from his special education teacher. He is occasionally pulled out for different assignments with a group. At school Thomas is a part of the Password Mentoring Program. He has a wonderful mentor this year that has worked really hard with him to use strategies when he becomes angry. I have seen him use the skills she has taught him and avoid some negative situations as a result. He can become very angry and react before he has time to think about what he is doing. Password has helped him replace the old, negative behaviors with positive ones.
goals Thomas wants to pass 4th grade. Thomas wants to be a policeman when he gets older, we discussed the training it takes to become a police officer. His grandmother wants him to graduate from high school and obtain a job to support himself. From a professional standpoint, I want Thomas to graduate from high school. He is capable of doing this with the right supports in place. After high school I hope he finds a job that can support him or attend a vocational or technical program. His mentor’s goal for him is to continue to improve his social skills and use the strategies she has taught him to control his anger.
Outside activities Boys and Girls Club Password Mentoring Program Library Programs at the neighborhood library Intramural Basketball Team Baseball Camp Football Team Password Mentoring Program
What I learned I learned that I can have misconceptions about people before I really know them. Before I got to know this family I assumed that there was not much support at home for Thomas and he was on his own in a sense. I was wrong. His grandmother does everything she can and knows to do to support her children and grandchildren. I have learned to really listen and communicate with families I work with. This will immensely improve our relationships and in turn provide a more complete education for the student involved. From this experience I have learned to have empathy for parents and try to put myself where they are and not to assume they know things about the educational system. I have learned that most families and parents want what is best for their children and want the support of the school to help them achieve that goal.
What the family learned I hope I have shown this family that there are support groups and services out there to help the grandmother deal with everything she has going on at home. I have tried to help the situation with Thomas and his aunt improve. So far, he is tolerating her better, but still not on the level that his grandmother would like.
Connections to readings I think this text had some valuable information. I think the parts about communication were the most helpful to me. I need to remember to truly listen and try to understand where the parents of my students are coming from. Also, the case study stories were very interesting and told the story from such an interesting perspective. Sometimes, I forget that even though I have many students in my classroom that each of those children are someone’s child. I think remembering this will help me to try to always put the child’s best interest first.