Jackie, a teacher in a community-based childcare program shares a dilemma about including Luke, a 3 year old boy with developmental delays, in her classroom (running time: 1 min. 50 sec.).
My program has just become more inclusive, and they’ve placed a child with significant disabilities into my class. I’m just not sure I’m ready for this.
I had one course in college that focused on working with children with disabilities, but that consisted of an overview of children with different types of disabilities. It didn’t really tell me what I should be doing in my classroom.
I had a practicum in an inclusive program, but inclusion in this program just meant that children with disabilities only got to play with other children on the playground and sit with them during lunch.
My co-teacher and I have a classroom of eight children, mostly two-year-olds turning three. Now Luke has joined our group, and he’s an engaging three-year-old with curly hair and a sweet smile. But he also has pretty significant language delays and limited experience being around other children.
Although Luke uses a special communication device and knows some sign language, he still needs a lot of help expressing himself. His parents are hoping that with his social development it will help improve him being around his peers.
My biggest concern is how will I be able to address Luke’s learning goals while trying to address the needs of all my other children in my class. Am I expected to work one on one with Luke every day? And if so, who will supervise the other children? Will Luke have therapists coming in to the classroom to work with him and how would that work?
What are the best ways to help Luke learn how to play with other children and participate in learning activities, such as story time or center time? And I want to involve Luke’s family in making these decisions.