It’s a Miracle! You will NEVER believe this!
This just in! Training public school teachers to work with kids on the autism spectrum actually helps the kids achieve in mainstream classes.
A new study looked at elementary school teachers who had children on the autism spectrum in their classes. Researchers involved 60 schools in ten school districts in California, Florida and Georgia.
For half of the teachers, a website was made available to them with learning modules to assist them in relating to students with autism and modifying instruction for those students. Teachers at the other schools participated in three days of specialized on-site training.
Following the two types of training, videos were taken in the classrooms to see if there were any differences in the interactions of the two groups of teachers. Analysis of the videos showed that the teachers who participated in the live actively engaged training were significantly better in adaptive communication, social skills and executive functioning. There were no controls to make sure that the teachers who were supposed to watch the videos actually did.
Researchers say these results are meaningful because general educators in most states are not required to learn about autism despite the large potential of children on the spectrum being in their classes.
What are these school systems thinking? Children with disabilities, any disability, need specialized instruction to reach their full potential. It is fine to insist on children with disabilities being educated with plain students as much as is appropriate, but what about the training for those teachers who are working with these kids?
Is the thrill of being with a plain student so wonderful that children with disabilities are subjected to teachers who lack the specialized skills to meet their needs? I know that people who feel strongly about full inclusion are very invested in children with disabilities being in a classroom with non-disabled students. If their child had a heart condition would they feel as strongly about sending their child to a general practice or would they insist on a health care provider that had special training in cardiology. Seems to me it is the same issue. If my child has special learning needs, I want my kid taught by a specialist in learning challenges. But these are people who believe in miracles, give teachers some specialty training and they do a better job with the special kids who need it. Will miracles never cease.