Friday, September 23, 2011

Students with Special Needs

The population of students with special needs is getting predominantly larger as the years go on. This is one of the many reasons why I decided to take up the opportunity that SUNY Cortland offers and get my concentration in Adapted Physical Education (APE). So far I believe that I have learned a lot of information that I can relay to teachers that are in the field right now. Many of us are educated about students with special needs, but there is a vast majority of physical education teachers that do not know much about the subject. Students with special needs are often seen as unique and different especially in the physical education environment. They may not be able to do the same things that students without special needs can, but there are certain easy modifications that can be done that teachers do not realize. These students should not be sitting on the sideline for every activity while they watch their peers participate in the class activities or keeping score while the other students are playing games. Some modifications that you can use for students in the physical education classroom is using a brighter or lighter ball, making the boundaries bigger or smaller, or changing the rules of the game if it may be too hard. I got first hand experience with this last weekend when I went up to Raquette Lake and worked with individuals with disabilities. When working with these individuals, you first look past their disability and focus on what the individual can do and not what they can't do. For example, one of the individuals was in a wheelchair, but the entire weekend we were focusing on what he could do, and how to make certain tasks easier for him to complete while still staying involved. When we went out on a hike during the afternoon, we put him in a wheelchair that was made for rocky and muddy terrain. With someone pushing him, he was able to participate in the hike rather than staying back and waiting for us to return. It was rewarding to see him smiling and interacting with all of us, as we were getting to know him and looking past his ability. Students with special needs are going to get frustrated at times and it is up to us to help them through any difficult times they are having. We can set attainable goals in the beginning of the year that the student can work toward achieving. I felt as though after last weekend I made a difference in numerous individual's lives. It is an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life and one that I will use in the future when I get a teaching job.

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