For the last five years, I have had the pleasure of working with the special needs population. And for the last five years, I have been full of joy and can not picture myself doing anything else. I love being part of helping people learn new skills and growing to their full potential. SRVS (pronounced “serves”) is the only agency in West TN that provides residential, employment, family support, clinical, and learning center services under one roof.
For the first part of my morning, I was able to spend time in one of the classrooms in the Learning Center. The Learning Center provides access to progressive learning and the ability to choose activities according to personal interests. The clients in the classrooms seem to really enjoy being able to pick their own activities. When I walked into the classroom, a few of the clients said hello and introduced themselves. I could not help but smile as I sat talking to each client. They were genuinely happy to see a new face. Each client was working on something different. I helped one client put tiles numbered 1-100 in order and then he was to write them out on a grid. He was struggling to get them correct. I had him work on just ten numbers at a time, and he did great! I could tell he was less overwhelmed and this allowed him to perform the task with accuracy. Next, I helped a different client work on a Solar System puzzle. He had been working on the puzzle for quite a while and was making slow progress. I was able to help him look at the different colors on each puzzle piece and use that as a guide to help him figure out where each piece went. When he finished the puzzle, he had a big smile. I made sure to encourage him and let him know he had done a great job.
A lot of the clients in this particular classroom had difficulty communicating. From my years of experience, I know that there are more ways to communicate than by just using speech. I can communicate a lot by just facial expressions, hand gestures, or even by pointing. I was able to use each of these types of communication while in the classroom. In my past experience working with people with disabilities, it is much like putting together a puzzle. There are many different pieces for each person; for the puzzle to become whole, the different pieces have to be put together in the right order in order to achieve success. Those pieces can include concepts such as communication, level of motivation, sensory input needs, and interest in activities. As the educator, it takes time to discover everything there is to know about each piece and how each interaction affects how the puzzle is put together. If a client does not like music and is otherwise interested in art, these are characteristics I have to take into account when planning activities for that particular client. If a person does not enjoy what they are doing, they are less likely to learn from it. Once I discover how to fit the puzzle pieces together in order to make the puzzle whole, it allows me and the client to benefit the most from their learning experience.
My morning at SRVS reaffirmed everything I knew about my love for those with special needs. My time with SRVS is not one I will easily forget. Though I am there to teach people with special needs, I always end up walking away having learned something new about myself.
Thank you for reading! I’m searching for a job as an educator to children and adults with special needs. If you know of a great fit, please send it our way: Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or Leweaver0428@gmail.com
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