Special Education articles & reflections

Read and reflected on by Krista Landsman

The Impact of Sensory-Overstimulation by Elmarie Swanepoel

Source: https://www.mindmoves.co.za/articles/article/TheImpactOfSensoryOverstimulation_ElmarieSwanepoel.pdf

Summary:

The Impact of Sensory-Overstimulation by Elmarie Swanpoel explores the likelihood of sensory overstimulations impact in children’s learning processes and possibly to the early development of ADHD. Dr. CHristakis, a cited source in the article, stats that in the first 2 years of life a child’s brain triples in size. During this period of time, the childs’ early life experiences are what create synapses in the child’s brain. Dr. Christakis stated that in 197o tyhr age most children began watching television was 4 years of age whereas today it is four months. Additionally, he calculated that the average chiuld watching television for 40% of the time they are awake. This is important to acknowledge and to promote awareness of because studies show the likihood of developing problems in school are linked to the amount of television children watch before 3 years of age.

Sensory overstimulation can result in auditory hyper-sensitivity, visual stimulation overlaod, affected taste/smell, and tactile defensiveness.  Children with ADHD can be easily by over stimulating environments, for example one where there is too much noise or too many noises. Creating a more calming environemnt can help children who ahve ADHD to increase attentiveness, decrease hyperactivity and control impulses. 

Symptoms that signify sensory overstimulation include, but are not limited to,  angry outbursts, irritability, poor eye contact, muscle tension, difficulty focusing, difficulty with socializing, sesnory irritation (socks, tags, shoes), sleepiness and manic activity levels.

Our skin is our largest oragn and is made up of nerve endings which act as sensory receptors. This organ can play a large role in ovberstiimulatcion and likewise can eb used to calm oversticimulated children. Providing pressure on the skin in certain areas, providing boundaries around a baby or child’s body using rolled blankets  that curve around body, gentle rythmic breatsbone taps and applying pressure to joints can help soothe an overstimulated baby or child.

Independent Thoughts & Opinions:

It is difficult being a working parent with young children, while trying to make sure your home is clean and well kept, while providing healthy nutritious meals for a familys, and also maintaing a sense of self and self-care. It is easy to place our children in front of ipads, tablets, television so we may have extra time. My husband and I decided to not do this and to see what happens. We have found that by allowing our children to exercise their ‘boredom muscles’, they are creative and less bored. We need to provide them with ideas of what to do less and we also get more quality time with them because they dont want to just watch TV or just play games on tablets.

Personal Experiences:

I have found that using weighted blankets helps children to calm down and to feel safer. I have worked with children who have trouble calming their minds and bodies to rest. Weighted blankets are amazing because they provide pressure to the entire body through the skin receptors we previously discussed, which results in a feeling of securtiy and in turn a sense of comfort and calm.

Title: How Teacher Training Hinders Special-Needs Students by Jackie ader

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/03/how-teacher-training-hinders-special-needs-students/518286/

Summary:

Nationally, teachers are teaching mixed classrooms including special-education and general-eduation students. The range of special-education challenges range from learning deficits to behavioral disturbance disorders. DUe to tyhe national trend of inclusive classrooms, general-education teachers are teacvhing more special-education students along with general-education students, but there is a lack of prteparation for these teachers. Many schools offer only one special-education course requirement for teachers going through programs, but this is not adequate for the reality of teaching a mixed sepcial-education, general-education classroom. Teachers need to support general-education students- some of whom may be more advanced- while also impleneting and supporting individual education plans for students who benefit from them. The tecaher cited in this article states that she had to teach herself to offer the general-education curriuclum and then break it down into smaller, easier sections for students with disabilities.

Inclusion classrooms benedfit special-education students socially and acadmeically, but it is a big transition for which many general-education teachers are not prepared. Teachers need training and support if the goal is to have inclusion classrooms be high quality. Training, for example, in the various kinds of disabilities and helpful ways for teachers to address sturggles that may be caused by them would be benficial to inclusive classroom teachers. There are programs that are now working to better prepare teachers for inclusive classrooms such as Montclair State University, which offers an inclusive iSTem concentraion that specifically teaches STEM methods and approaches for inclusive classrooms. Additionally, it would benfit teachers to be required to intern in a speciaal-education of=r iunclusive classroom during their education for on-the-job experiecne.

Independent Thoughts and Opinions

Inclusive classrooms have been beneficial to students. There needs to be a focus placed ont raining the teachers on approaches to children with a variety of learning needs. Schools with in-house special education teachers can use these teachers’ experience to train the general-education teachers on inclusove classroom approaches.

Personal experiences

I work with mixed age group children now, ranging in age from 3 months to 5 years old. This requires for teachers to create curriculum plans for the preschool ages (4-5 year olds) and modify the curricullum to meet the needs of the younger children. Everyone learns the same theme/topic but at different intensity levels and through different methods.

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