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615FinalReflectionPaper
MadalynnSmith
SPE615

Learningthatyoursonordaughtermighthavealearningdisabilitycanbeverystressful,
frustratingandfrightening.Aparentcanalmostgothroughsomestagesofgrief.Thefirstthing
forteacherstodoistovalidateparentsfeelingsofanxietyandconfusion,buttoencouragethem
thatthisdiagnosiswillhelptheirchildbygivingthemtheservicesandattentiontheyneedtobe
successful.
When a child is first referred for an evaluation for a diagnosed learning disability, it is
important to work well with families of thestudent.Theschooldistrictisrequiredtogivenotice
of a proposed evaluation after a referralhasbeenmade,this mustbedoneatleastfivedaysprior
to the evaluation. As special education teachers,wewillbevery sensitive toaparentsfeelingat
this time. We will reassure them that this is something that will help their child get theservices
they need. Other than the information we will provide, we will give the parentsalistofsources
to contact for any additional assistance in understanding the disability. If the family does not
speakthelanguagetaughtinyour school,wewillprovideatranslatororsomeotherwaytoallow
parents to be involved in the process. Once we have gained consent from the parents to do an
evaluation, that evaluation must be done within 60 days. During this time, parents and teachers
should have an open communication relationship which will best benefit the child. As special
education teachers it is absolutely essential that we view thechildsparentshasan essentialpart
oftheteam,anddecisionmakingprocess.
After a child has been identified as having a disability, many things start tohappen.The
label that our students now carry can help, or isolate them. The overall benefits for labeling a
child with a disability is that they will have access to services they would not have otherwise.

Special education teachers, general education teachers and parents could voice their concerns,
form goals and have certain supports put into place toensureachildisgettingtheattentionthey
need. A student who has been identified might receive more empathy from their peers and
teachers. A teacher who has previously seen a child as lazy or having a behavior problem, can
also learn how to better support that student while keeping them in the general education
classroom. In sharp contrast, teachers and fellow students knowing a child who has been
diagnosed with a disability can also present itself as a disadvantage. Students might create
stereotypical feelings toward a student, and might not learn abouttheindividual.Whileteachers
could have lower expectations academically, socially and behaviorally with their student. It is
important that special education teachers are aware that these misconceptions will occur, andto
insistthatthechildberespectedandchallengedintheirlearningenvironment.
As future special education teachers, we will have an immense amount of responsibility
put on our shoulders. We will have to be constantlyevolvingandlearningnewwaystohelpour
students. Throughout this class I have grown to understand and appreciate the IEP process. I
have grown sensitive to the hours upon hours teachers, parents, and other members of a school
district spend to make sure a child is getting the best education they can. I will take away the
knowledge of how an initial evaluation comes to be through the drafting of the final IEP. I am
not blind to the fact that every case and school will have its own set of rules and expectations,
but I have built the framework to feel competent in my work. I will approach challenges with
respect, especially when it comes to a parent who might be feeling confused, anxious and
frustrated. I will validate their feelings and make sure they understand they are part ofateam.I
willunderstandthatmyattitudesandfeelings on certainculturalelementsmightbedifferentthan

those of the students I will work with directly, and other students in the school. I believe that I
can still respect my own opinions and thoughts while maintaining a professional, empathetic
relationship with my students. I will show them that I care about them, andwillmakethemfeel
safe with what cultural beliefs they have. At the same time, I will teach my students how to be
respectfulofotherseveniftheydonotagree.
I am able to put our course objectives into practice with our final case study. I have
enjoyed feeling like I have the tools to start and develop an IEP. The most difficult part of
completing the case studywasusingallthedatacollectedandfindingthemostusefuldatatouse
as evidence for our decision. It was very clear that Lauren was not making adequate progress
even after intense observations, but it was challenging toorganizethedataintoitsspecificplace
to best implement our plan. We knew that Lauren was an intelligent child that seems to enjoy
school. She was bright, and could pick up on new things when givethepropersupports.Lauren
excelled when she was able to preview information, and given connections to prior knowledge.
Front loading information would be a definite benefit toobtaininganIEP,andspecialeducation
services. It could be writteninLaurensplanthatacertainamountoftime would bedelegatedto
previewingnewmaterial,andadditionaltimeworkingonrecall.
I am gratefulforallthiscoursehastaughtmetodowiththeIEPprocess.Iwilltakethese
objectivesandputthemintopractice.