250 word reply with references
Since all students have the legal right to receive their education in the least restrictive environment (Chapin, 2013), most general education classrooms in today’s elementary schools have students with special needs. General education teachers usually work with other specialized teachers to follow an IEP (individualized education plan) in order to provide the student with the best education possible. I believe that prior to the student entering the classroom, depending on the disability, the teacher might want to discuss any classroom adaptations that might take place. Once again, this is dependent on the type of disabilities that the student might have.
For instance, if a teacher will need to wear a microphone for a hearing-impared student, she might want to show students the device and explain it prior to the new student joining the class. A child in need of wheelchair access might require that the classroom be adapted for movement, so students should be aware of the changes prior to the new student’s first day. If a special needs student requires a teacher assistant or other “helper”, this situation should be explained to students in a discreet way. The teacher might say something like, “We will have another adult joining our classroom with our new student. He will be here to help Jake, but you can feel free to interact with the adult as needed. We want both Jake and the helper to feel welcome in our classroom.” Preparing students for these changes and discussing them in advance might help the new student feel more comfortable on his/her first day. This should be the primary goal of any discussions that take place beforehand.
Students with less visible special needs do not need others to know about their personal situations. IEPs and the details on them are meant for teachers, resource teachers, students, and parents to read, interpret, and discuss privately. Teachers should never share information about students’ IEPs. The teacher should not explain to students any test or assignment adaptations that might take place for the new student. Nor should the teacher give students any information about a diagnosis that a child might have been given like ADHD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Students receiving services from other professionals like speech therapists can be pulled privately from the classroom without the knowledge of classmates. Discussions about the services or assistance that students receive at school should never be discussed with other students. In my experiences, children are always more than welcoming to new students. Teachers should do everything possible to ensure that students in their classrooms are excited and welcoming when a new student joins them, no matter what his or her special needs might be.
Chapin, J.R. (2013) Elementary Social Studies: A practical guide. Boston: Pearson.