Teaching Students with Special Needs

At the beginning of the fall semester one of my studio families paid for me to attend a dyslexia simulation at a local learning center. It was one of the most insightful things I’ve done as a teacher! Thankfully, the family warned me that it would be frustrating. Nevertheless, I was sure that I could compensate for whatever challenges were presented and do well anyway. After all, I’ve always been a good student and capable of working through challenges to achieve success. Boy, was I wrong!

The simulation was very effective and I found myself wanting to while away the time doodling on my paper since I couldn’t understand the instructions being given. During a group reading session I wanted to act goofy with the other “students” and give the overbearing “teacher” a difficult time. I even found my eyes wandering to the “student” next to me who seemed to be doing a much better job figuring out the correct answers in spite of the constant disruptions and sound glitches. Perhaps I could just copy her answers… I came away from the experience with a whole new appreciation for struggling learners and the behavior that often results from their inability to complete the assignments as expected by the teacher.

Amanda Furbeck recently posted about Music Lessons and the Student with Developmental Delays on the Music Teacher’s Helper blog. I appreciate her observations as a parent and want to continue learning as much as I can about teaching all kinds of students because I know it will help me become a better teacher!

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