Journal Contents Overview of child I have been spending time with; Overview of the family; The school day program situation; Goals from the parent, the professional, and the student personally; Outside activities/services the student participates in; What I learned from the family; What the family learned from me; What connections can be made with the textbook, Families and Children with Special Needs.
Overview of The Student I Have Been Spending Time With I have spent a lot of time this semester getting to know one of my students and his family on both a professional and personal level. The student is a genuinely good person that loves his parents, his two older brothers, and Indiana sports. My student is an active teenager boy with autism. I had this student in class first semester of this year and will have him again next year. In class he is very quiet but attentive. He does all that is asked of him to the best of his ability.
Overview of the Family I have known the family for nine years. I played soccer with the oldest son in the family all through my middle and high school years. My relationship with the family prior to this experience was limited to short conversations about the game we had just played or how our season was going. Through this experience I have learned how great of a family they have. The parents are actively involved in all three of their son’s education and personal lives. The family has close ties with one another. The older boys who have moved out and moved on continue regular contact with the parents. The family regularly attends family gathering and activities together.
The School Day Program Situation The student is in 10th grade and is in mostly pull-out classes where he can receive the individualized instruction that he needs from the special education teachers and assistants. This upcoming school year, he will be enrolled half of a day at the high school and the second half of the day at a vocational school where he will be studying culinary arts. This was a personal choice made by the student after taking a visit to the school. While at the high school, he will be studying math, science, language arts, social studies, and life skills.
Goals From the Parent, the Professional, and the Student Personally Goals From the Parent : The parents goal for their son is for him to become more independent. He is highly reliant on his mother in the areas of preparing food, cleaning up after himself, laundry, indoor/outdoor house chores, and communication When in an unfamiliar environment, the student will look to his mother to be his means of relaying messages to others. He is extremely quiet and reserved in new environments. The parents would like for their son to take on and accept more responsibilities.
I share the same goal for this student as the family and am working toward this each day
I also would like to see this student open his personality to others outside of his family and the few that he lets in at school
His personality comes out when we have our daily discussions on Indiana basketball or the Indianapolis Colts or any other topic that he is interested in. Even when others join the conversation, he will only direct his words to me.
My goal for this student is for him to become more social and accepting of others. I fear that he has a superiority complex with his peers. On the rare occasion that he does communicate with his peers it often comes in the form of a put-down.
To work toward this goal, he is enrolled in a program called Best Buddies where he is partnered with general education students who set aside time to “play” or “hang-out” with an assigned peer.
Goals Continued Student’s Personal Goals : The student would like to learn the skills needed to become a restaurant worker. He will be exploring his options while learning the necessary skills next school year at his vocational school. He plans on finding what he enjoys best in the restaurant business and learning the trade enough to find employment in the field after graduation. He often speaks of one girl in his Best Buddies program and he has expressed to me that he would like to make her his girlfriend.
Outside Activities/Services the Student Participates In My student is enrolled in Best Buddies, Special Olympics basketball, and Church. Through Best Buddies, he is able to socially interact with his peers and make valuable friendships. Special Olympics basketball acts as an outlet for this student. He is very passionate about the sport of basketball. This program allows him to actively participate in something that he loves. He develops friendships, coordination skills, and life lessons through his involvement. His family is active within their church. He is part of the church’s youth group program where he attends activities on certain Sunday evenings. Here he learns values, morals, and continues to work toward establishing appropriate social skills.
What I Learned From the Family I have gained a lot of insight into families comprised of a member with a disability. The family has openly accepted my inquiries and involvement. I have learned how a brother feels reluctant to bring his girlfriend home to meet the family. I have learned how exhausting and frustrating the search for sufficient answers early on in the diagnosis can be and how it can create rifts in the family. I have learned how after sending two sons off to college, the parents have no struggle in finding pride and confidence in their youngest son. I have learned how pleasing and exciting the seemingly smallest accomplishments can be to a family. I have learned how complex, adaptive, and demanding it can be to raise three diverse children, and also how to do it with grace and complete dedication.
What the family learned from you When a family is so on top of things as this family is, it is tough to teach them anything that they do not already know. I think that I have taught the family that their son’s transition to becoming more independent is more a goal that they will need to set for themselves than they realized. I carefully introduced the idea to the family that their son has been conditioned to rely on their support in most aspects of his life and that it will take a lot of work from them to help him become more independent. They must break their habits and resist their urges to step in and speak for their son, clean up after their son, or prepare his every meal and outfit when he is completely capable of assisting in all of these areas.
What connections you made with the textbook, Families and Children with Special Needs. I definitely saw the stages of reaction that families go through in raising a child with a disability. The family and I spoke of their initial emotions and reactions and how they have progressed or regressed throughout the stages of their son’s life. I also saw the extended role that a parent and sibling of a child with a disability must take. The student’s brothers not only act as role models but also as advocates and medical experts on the field of their brother’s disability. The parents have filled the roles of doctor, advocate, educator, protector, etc. I also have been able to live the book’s lessons on family involvement and the strategies that go along with this effort. I have used the strategies and learned what works with who and what not to do when.