I recently was accepted as a Substitute Teachers Assistant with our local Intermediate Unit. The Intermediate Unit is in charge of all of the Early Intervention/Special Education/Life Skills/Etc. classes in the 3 local counties in my area.
I was both excited and nervous to go to my first assignment. I wasn't sure what I would encounter. My husband has an aunt who has Down's Syndrome and I also have friends that have children that are Learning Disabled in some way or Autistic. So I wasn't a stranger to the needs of these types of students. However I had never worked with a group of them at once and wasn't sure how it would go.
Last Friday I was called out to sub in a Life Skills/Learning Disabled Class. These students were high functioning. I don't know the exact diagnosis but I do know that one had Down's Syndrome and at least one was autistic. There were 7-9 kids in the class depending on the time of the day.
We started out the day with breakfast and then to our room for Spelling. Each student is given his/her own set of words for the week depending on their individual skill level. I helped check the spelling of their words and had them say and spell them to me. I enjoyed the one on one time.
Next two of the students went to regular classes (Art & Computer) while we took the rest of the kids bowling. They bus them to a nearby Elks club that has an OLD 4 lane alley in the basement. What I mean by old is that the Elk volunteers actually had to set the pins back up and roll the balls back. After they were done, the kids went into the lounge area and were served soda and chips/popcorn as a snack. This Elks club does this service/outreach to many of the local Learning Disabled classes in the area.
When we got back to the school they had free time/music time before we headed to lunch. After lunch they had a few more worksheets to do and one they did together on the overhead projector.
After that they head teacher set up a little store and auction center. At first I was unsure of what they were doing but I soon caught on. See the children have a 'bank account' in class. Each day they are given 'money' for certain jobs they do in the classroom. At the end of the week they can buy stuff. I kept track of their purchases and gave them a 'bill of sale'. They then had to go write me a 'check' for their bill and subtract it from their account. What a neat way to teach. I personally think all students should be taught this.
Friday was prom at this school so in the afternoon we had movie time. They combined classes with the low functioning students for the movie. They all shared popcorn and juice and laughed while watching "Spirit".
All throughout the day I felt so completely and totally blessed. And I haven't stopped thinking about those students and praying for them. They touched my heart and completely fulfilled my day, week, month, year.
I cannot wait to get called out again! I love the direction that God is taking me and can't wait to see where I end up!