Teaching Strategies in Supporting the Cerebral Palsy Student in an Inclusive Settings
Inclusion means the act of including someone as part of the group. Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-special needs students.
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Inclusion rejects the use of special schools to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities.
Inclusive education refers to schools, centers of learning and educational systems that are open to all children. Many of the suggestions given in our professional development “Certificate Course of Inclusive Education” can be applied to children with cerebral palsy. In particular:
- Create a warm atmosphere in a group teaching so that students are willing to participate in teaching activities. Show acceptance and respect to have a good interaction between teacher and students.
- If the child speech is unclear, devise alternative means for communicating,examples through pictures or drawn symbols. These can be placed together on a board and the child points to the picture to convey the message. Computerized versions are also available. When the child touches the picture or symbol, a synthesized voice says the word. (McConkey,R.) p. 61.
- Encourage the child to join in answering questions but leave extra time for them to respond either through speech or via symbol boards. Encourage the peers to interact with the child as children usually find their ways of communication. (McConkey,R.) p. 61.
- Writing will be especially difficult for children if they have problems controlling their hands and arms. They may need extra time to do their writing, or they can be provided with a written copy of the information or another pupil may write for them. Computer keyboards can also be used to make it easier for children with cerebral palsy to produce written words. (McConkey,R.) p. 61.
- Children who find it difficult to communicate may express their frustration in bad temper or aggressive behaviour. This may mean keeping a note of what leads up to the bad behaviour; in other words, trying to establish the triggers. (Tatlow, A. (2005).
- School routines like assembly, morning exercise. Finger eating is easier than eating with a spoon; giving the child a piece of bread in the shape of small stick maybe a suitable beginning. Use a two-handled mug so that the child uses both hands to grasp the handles. (Tatlow, A. (2005).
- Saliva control problem, it is better to make the children aware of lip closure and swallowing in various ways. Let them face the mirror and practice how to open and close their mouth having fun with blowing games. (Tatlow, A. (2005).
- Musical activities encourage the children to work together. Rhythm coordinates
motor action. A wide variety of thematic play activities, emboldened our inexperience and timid
children to attempt spontaneous art activities.
- Look at each child as an individual and not just a ‘batch of needs’. Accommodations and modifications that allow students to perform to the best of their abilities yet lead them on the road to independence.
- Address the mistaken belief that all children with cerebral palsy need one- to- one support.
Actions teachers can take to adapt the Curriculum
This section focuses on the school curriculum and how teachers can adapt it to better suit to pupils. The following are adaptation examples to remove some barriers to learning and participation; the level of the content in the school syllabus; the outcome expected from learners; equipment and teaching aids used to poop a lot in the toilet; methods used to assess learning outcomes; involvement and engagement use with families and community.
The goal of education here is broader than acquisition of knowledge and specific competencies in school subjects. It includes: being able to identify and solve problems using creative thinking; collecting, organizing and evaluating information; collaborating with others in a group or team. We also have to make these aspects of the curriculum accessible to all children. [Adopted from McConkey, R.(2001) p. 64].
A Framework for Adapting the Curriculum are as follows: the pupil; the classroom and the school environment; school subjects; teaching strategies; participation in other school activities; and test and examinations.
Below are some of Alfred’s evidence-based practices to fulfill his lesson’s objectives for each theme.
One of Alfred’s interests was in Music. Music was a great help to improve his attention, memory, concentration and retention of concepts in every discipline. Structured musical settings fostered his classmates’ interaction and collaboration. Playing soft music while doing his work or other tasks was effective. Some curriculum related-songs I taught to help Alfred connect with the concept, were depending on the current lessons.
Alfred felt and understood the lyrics of the song. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” In fact the song entitled “Three Little Kittens” made a great impact to him that made his emotions unstable quietly crying as he remembered the song and felt sad with those kittens.
Alfred’s writing skill was totally difficult. He had difficulty holding a pencil and writing within the lines. However his communication skill was quite better. He would rather voice his thoughts instead of writing it on paper. Stations or centers in our classroom were used to highlight weekly, monthly or annual curriculum objectives. He had to identify names and sound of letters or animals.
Eating and Drinking
Make good use of activities of daily living (ADL) independent eating at first goes through a messy stage, and it should be accepted that there will be mishaps.
Up to this day Kindergarten nap time is included in the curriculum. As a K3 teacher I made sure that all kids were able to sleep inside the classroom because they need this time to rest. Alfred’s nap behavior was a success. He just needed my attention to be with him while lying on his cot tapping him while soft music playing.
Alfred’s separation anxiety was the hardest problem to deal with. On a daily basis, he had to be accompanied by his nanny inside our classroom, going to the toilet otherwise he would be needing teachers’ attention for the whole day.
However, it was one of our goals to let him overcome this difficulty. Accommodations and modifications were given in order for him to perform his abilities that led to his own independence. He was able to attend daily class activities only to believe that not all children with cerebral palsy need one- to- one support. Please see attached tool
Separation Anxiety Tool Adapted from (Denno, D. M., Carr, V., Bell, S. H. (2010). p. 64.
Alfred’s inclusive teacher, Ms. Tracy and I together with his mother and nanny fully cooperated each other patiently talking to encouraging him that he’s having a good time playing with his classmates rather than his nanny. On my part as a teacher I treated him with love and care. He then learned to trust me.