Overly accommodating

12-Jun-2015 09:39

Students with emotional support needs often don’t “play by the same rules” as other students.

They don’t always follow our classroom procedures and they don’t adjust their behavior when we correct them–gently or firmly.

Often we can tell you more about the student and the best ways to accommodate him/her in your classroom.

We might have helpful ideas that were not included in the paperwork or ideas that have helped students with similar needs.

One of the realities of teaching today is that most teachers work in classrooms with students identified with a wide variety of needs.

We often focus on how to best accommodate our students with learning support needs, but when we welcome a student with emotional support needs into our classroom, it can really turn everything upside down.

Some emotional support students are severely withdrawn and we find ourselves desperately trying to bring them out of their shells.

Others are overly energetic or aggressive, leaving us scrambling to manage their behaviors so it doesn’t disrupt the learning of their classmates. Without the proper support, it can also be intimidating.

The Special Education teacher can document that information and use it to adapt or change the student’s Individualized Educational Plan. If you’ve been given a behavior plan to follow and you have followed it for a few weeks and are not seeing any improvement–don’t hesitate to bring that up to the student’s IEP team.You should not have to deal with these challenges on your own.Having spent time as both an Emotional Support teacher and a regular education teacher with identified students in my class, here’s a list of dos and don’ts that have helped me to best accommodate these often-challenging students.If you're teaching a class with a student who has emotional support needs, read their paperwork–but also make sure to chat with the Special Education teacher who wrote the paperwork.

If you are concerned that the student is not improving, is overly distracting to other students or if you are concerned for the safety of the student, of other students, or of yourself–don’t feel like you have to deal with it on your own.

Reach out to the IEP team and to your administration and communicate your concerns.