In each classroom there are about seven to ten students, some who required a dedicated aide and others independent. The classroom that I observed had a total of nine students, five aides, and one teacher. With the ratio given, it is apparent that the students are about half with and without the need of one to one supports. Although the students’ support needs vary, many of the independent students in the class need additional assistance due to their minimal communication skills. In this class, five of the students are completely nonverbal, two speak in echoes (echolalia), and two are vocal. Between the two of the students that are vocal, one is shy and does not speak that often, while the other is extremely talkative.
Just like in many schools, this class is set up with evident “centers” and work spaces. The students that require a dedicated aide have table-desks for individual instruction, while the other students are able to work at a choice of two group tables. All students meet at one large group table for group activities and lessons. Each center is clearly labeled, reading, computer, and music “centers”. Students are able to choose a favorable center on their breaks in between work tasks and also as positive reinforcement for having earned it during the day. Most students prefer to get a magazine and go back to their seats to view alone or occasionally with a staff. While a couple others listen to music on the radio or computer, and one student in particular prefers puzzles. The students have not been seen looking on at a magazine together; however two students have shown interest in listening to the same song on the radio. Most peer interaction has to be set up and guided for this group of students. The classroom observed does have adaptations for the students such as name stamps, because most students are unable to write their name, 8 cell Talk Tec for a nonverbal student in addition to modified classwork. Because the students are unable...
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