The first article that I read was called “Engaging Youth With and Without Significant Disabilities in Inclusive Service Learning” and it was written by Eric W. Carter, Beth Sweedeen, and Colleen K. Moss for the journal: Teaching Exceptional Children. This article discussed the question of the most effective setting for teaching secondary students with disabilities: in the general education classroom or in the community? The article suggests service learning as a valuable option for students with disabilities in the secondary setting, as it helps them “experience how to make an impact on the community while enabling them to see the relevence of what they learn in the classroom to the world outside of school” (Carter, Sweedeen, and Moss 2012). There are many programs that are designed to help students get involved in the community before they graduate from high school. Some of these programs are The Natural Supports Project and the Cooperation for National and Community Service. Overall, it has been shown that these service opportunities are extremely beneficial to students with disabilities, but too few students are involved in the service learning activities. Carter, Sweedeen, and Moss suggest that more schools develop programs for their students to get them involved in the community in order to help them learn vital life skills that will pertain to their future.
I believe that the article “Engaging Youth With and Without Significant Disabilities in Inclusive Service Learning” brings to light some very important issues about the lack of involvement school systems have in the future of their secondary education students with disabilities. Service Learning opportunities seem like a very beneficial way for these students to go out in the community and learn real life skills that they are more likely to use in their future. Many students with disabilities have a hard time transferring the information they learn in the classroom to other settings, so it is most helpful to teach the students the skills they need in the settings they will need them so that the students can continue to utilize these skills when the teachers are gone. Service learning opportunities are abundant and there are many organizations that show how much help is needed in the community, so it seems to be an obvious choice to establish a connection between the people who need the skills done and the people who need to learn the skills, or the businesses and the students.
“Engaging Youth With and Without Significant Disabilities in Inclusive Service Learning” pertains to the current issues discussed in class because it highlights a problem in the school systems today that relates to students with disabilities. Not all school systems are finding the best options for the students with disabilities, and some administrators and teachers have the idea that these students have come this far already and won’t be of much help to the community once they have left school. It is important for teachers, parents, administrators, and students to work together to create a transition plan for the student so that the student can find their purpose in the community after graduation. Service learning allows these students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to be successful and independent, and it also provides students with the ability to use self-determination skills and make their own decisions based on their interests and strengths.
The second article that I read was called “High School Physical Education Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Students with Mild to Severe Disabilities” by Kevin M. Casebolt and Samuel R. Hodge for the journal Physical Educator. This article discussed the opinions of physical education teachers about teaching students with mild to severe disabilities in an inclusive setting. After interviews with five different teachers in five different secondary education schools, the researchers could come to a conclusion that the overall attitude of teaching students with varying disabilities in an inclusive physical education setting was a positive one, but the teachers all felt that they could use more training. Out of the five teachers interviewed, only one of the teachers had access to an adaptive physical education coach on a weekly basis. All of the teachers had between zero and one professional development classes on teaching students with disabilities. Overall, there seems to be a need for additional training for physical education teachers when it comes to teaching students with special needs in their classrooms.
After reading the article “High School Physical Education Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Students with Mild to Severe Disabilities” I was astonished to discover how many physical education teachers were left to try to understand students with disabilities and adapt their lessons to fit the needs of these students with little to no training. There seems to be little support for physical education teachers, and all five of the teachers interviewed had classes of up to 32 students at a time with zero to three of those students with a disability and no access to an aide. I can understand how many of the teachers found it very difficult to adapt their lesson plans to include adaptations for these students, especially with little or no training on students with disabilities. I find it appalling that these teachers are left to flounder because it is not providing the most positive environment for any of the students – the general education students or the students with disabilities. I believe that every physical education teacher that has the potential of teaching a student with disabilities, which is the majority of physical education teachers based on the current push for inclusion, should have access to at least a county-wide adaptive P.E. coach to help train the teachers on the best ways to adapt their lessons for the different needs of the students.
This article connects to the current issues discussed in class because it once again shows how the needs of students with disabilities are not being met. All students with disabilities have the right to learn in the least restrictive setting, but if the teachers are not prepared to allow them to learn in this setting then it becomes more restrictive for all students. All needs of the student should be established on their IEP, including what type of physical education they will be participating in and any accommodations for that class. Physical education teachers should be notified of any accommodations needed for these students and they should be trained to provide these accommodations. Because of the push towards inclusion, the problem of un-trained teachers is not going to go away any time soon, and it is important for schools and counties to understand that any teachers that have contact with these students should be trained to provide them the best learning environment possible.
The third article I read was called “Secondary and Transition Programming for 18-21 Year Old Students in Rural Wisconsin” by Lana L. Collet-Klingenberg and Sharon M. Kolb for the journal Rural Special Education Quarterly. This article discussed the statistics of transition services for students with disabilities and found that there is a lack of services for these students. The most important skills for students to learn in order to succeed well past high school include “self-determination, self-advocacy, and self-management, as well as the social skills necessary to make and keep friends in adulthood” (Collet-Klingenberg and Kolb, 2011). It is important for schools to instruct students in all of these areas and set the students up for success in the areas of curriculum, employment, independent living, instruction, leisure/recreation, post-secondary education, transition, and transportation. Unfortunately, not enough schools have the programs available to make these students most successful after high school, and the reason for this is the lack of resources.
After reading this article, I realized that there are so many implications that come with students with disabilities transitioning to independent functioning and adulthood, and many places are not prepared to provide accommodations for these students. It is not just about planning for transition on the IEP, it is necessary to research what the town provides, how the student with get from place to place, what programs are available for them to be involved in, how they will earn a living, and how they will get involved with their community in a social aspect. In some situations, it is above the school’s control to provide these things for the person with a disability, and the success of the person can only go as far as the resources provided in the town. It is easy to say that more resources should be provided for people with disabilities, but that is unfortunately not where priorities lie in many counties and cities across the United States.
This article connects to the current issues discussed in class because it brings to light the steps the IEP or transition team has to go through in order to appropriately prepare for the student’s transition. It is important for the team to research what resources are available for the student before planning for them. For example, it is not enough to plan for a student to simply get a job at the local grocery store, it is important to research and discover the prerequisites the store requires to hire a new employee, how the student with be transported to and from the grocery store, whether they are able to learn all the skills necessary to hold a job including managing income and time. As a special education teacher in charge of transition for high school students, I believe it would be smart to research all of the opportunities that are available and provide parents and the rest of the team with this information when it comes time to prepare for transition. Parents and the student should also get involved by deciding the student’s interests and researching what opportunities are available that pertain to those interests and strengths. Transition planning is a very in-depth process and it is not one that can be completed half-way.
Amy SpearsJanuary 20, 2013 EEX 6065UCF Spring 2013
“Engaging Youth With and Without Significant Disabilities in Inclusive Service Learning” by Eric W. Carter, Beth Sweedeen, and Colleen K. Moss Where to teach secondary students with disabilities? Classroom or Community? Service learning Service Learning Programs The Natural Supports Project Cooperation for National and Community Service
Service learning opportunities beneficial for secondary students with disabilities Many students with disabilities have a hard time transferring skills and information There is a need for volunteer work and a need for the students to learn these skills.
Are schools helping students thrive? Important for team to work together to create a transition plan Students should be able to have a say in their transition plan Students use self-determination skills to identify their strengths and interests to choose what they want to do after graduation. Service Learning opportunities help these students find their strengths and interests.
“High School Physical Education Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Students with Mild to Severe Disabilities” by Kevin M. Casebolt and Samuel R. Hodge 5 physical education teachers interviewed in different schools Overall attitude towards including students with disabilities in their class positive, but all teachers felt additional training was needed Additional support should be given for physical education teachers when it comes to teaching students with special needs
Many physical education teachers left to fend for themselves Little or no training for these teachers Unreasonable to expect them to know how to adapt their lessons if they don’t understand the disability or the student Access to adaptive P.E. coaches county-wide
Needs of students with disabilities not being met Is it the least restrictive setting if they are not able to learn? Teachers should be aware of and trained for any accommodations the student might need in physical education Schools and counties need to understand the need for training all teachers that come in contact with students with disabilities Best learning environment
“Secondary and Transition Programming for 18-21 Year Old Students in Rural Wisconsin” by Lana L. Collet-Klingenberg and Sharon M. Kolb All services not provided for secondary students with disabilities to promote successful transition Lack of resources
Implications that come with planning for transition to adulthood What accommodations does the city provide? Not enough resources in many towns and cities
Many steps an IEP team must go through for transition services Many questions need to be answered Research local resources and opportunities for student Have everything prepared before graduation
Carter, E. W., Swedeen, B., & Moss, C. K. (2012). Engaging youth with and without significant disabilities in inclusive service learning. Teaching exceptional children,44(5). Retrieved January 20, 2012 Casebolt, K. M., & Hodge, S. R. (2010). High school physical education teachers beliefs about teaching students with mild to severe disabilities. Physical Educator ,67(3). Retrieved January 20, 2013 Collet-Klingenberg, L. L., & Kolb, S. M. (2011). Secondary and transition programming for 18-21 year old students in rural wisconsin. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 30(2). Retrieved January 20, 2013