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Do You Think Special Education Teachers Need Extra Support?

Posted by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM
  • 8 Replies



Teacher Accused of Hitting Autistic Student Should Alarm School Officials

Posted by Adriana Velez

danielle finlayWe've all heard stories about adults verbally or physically abusing a kid they didn't know was autistic. If you're not the parent or friend of an autistic child, it's often hard to understand why they act the way they do. But what if you're a special ed teacher working at a school for autistic kids?

A teacher at the Delaware Autistic Program in Newark, Delaware has been accused of hitting a student. Twice. Danielle Finlay was arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of offensive touching. Finlay allegedly hit a 17-year-old student in the head because he was "making noises." When he didn't stop she hit him again in the head, this time with an empty water bottle.

The student wasn't hurt, which is a relief. Well, he wasn't hurt physically. But that couldn't be good for his psyche and his emotional health. His parents are sending him to that school for specialized treatment. I'm sure this is the kind of thing they were hoping to avoid by not sending him to a mainstream school.

I can understand how working with special-needs kids could try your patience but this is still unacceptable. When you sign up to be a special ed teacher, and to work at a school for autistic kids, you should know what kind of challenges to expect.

Maybe Finlay wasn't getting the kind of support she needed to be a good teacher. Or maybe she's just burned out. But this should be a wake-up call to the school leadership. If I were a parent at this school, I'd be a little worried about the rest of the staff. Hopefully Finlay was an exception.

Do you think special education teachers need extra support?

 

by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 9:43 AM
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Replies (1-8):
fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Jun. 25, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Extra support?  How about hiring special ed teachers who specialize in that field.  Here in my town I personally know a special ed teacher who never even went to college before she finished 5 years of teaching special ed classes!  How about we pay teacher's what they are worth and raise the bar a little?

sunflowers12
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM
I think they need some betters training n probably more then one person around at the same time that could provide additional help with the needs of each person... It could also provide or defuse the issuse by having a third party there to provide more attention for the needs child.. hitting a needs child will not stop their behaviors just enhances them making it worse... Shame on her for loosing it... If indeed she did...
atlmom2
by Susie on Jun. 25, 2012 at 6:18 PM
Teachers are getting laid off so I doubt there is money for such a thing. Teachers here do make good money for the 8 months they work and have better medical than we do and they do not pay a dime for it.
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mumsy2three
by Shauna on Jun. 25, 2012 at 7:45 PM
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Not sure what supports she had available to her to begin with. Being a school specially designed for Autistic students I would imagine there would be tons of support from fellow teachers to psychs. Maybe the school should do better trainings regarding how to positively deal with student behavior.

In the Autistic support program I work for each classroom has a teacher, 2 assistants, Personal care assistants if required, Instructional Advisor (visits weekly), a psychologist (visits weekly) and the program supervisor (visits at least once/ school year or as needed). We are not a specialized school we are specialized classrooms in public districts. Assistants  are required to do 20 hours of trainings per year. Teachers have to do whatever is required to keep their certifications ~ so many hours in a certain number of years.

girl_incognito
by on Jun. 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM
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My son goes to a school for children with autism. All classrooms have 3 adults. One teacher and 2 assistances who are trained behavior specialists. Classroom size never exceeds 7 students to 3 adults. I highly doubt lack of support was the issue here. it was lack of qualification and training. She just should not have held the position she was in.

Teachers that are in specialized school deal with far worse behaviors than just simply annoying noises. So it just blows my mind that she could not handle something so simple.

puzzled216
by Member on Jun. 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

  i'm A parent of a 16 year girl with autism. I strongly think  that if teachers can't handle special needs kids the shouldn't be teaching them.

bizzeemom2717
by Jen on Jun. 26, 2012 at 2:30 AM
Yes they need support, but should NOT be teaching with that type of temperment. The poor kid!
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mumsy2three
by Shauna on Jun. 26, 2012 at 11:51 AM


Quoting girl_incognito:

My son goes to a school for children with autism. All classrooms have 3 adults. One teacher and 2 assistances who are trained behavior specialists. Classroom size never exceeds 7 students to 3 adults. I highly doubt lack of support was the issue here. it was lack of qualification and training. She just should not have held the position she was in.

Teachers that are in specialized school deal with far worse behaviors than just simply annoying noises. So it just blows my mind that she could not handle something so simple.

Two good points I forgot to add in my original reply.

Although we are not all trained behavioral specialists we are trained by them. I was also a TSS for 5 years in a wraparound program which provided behavioral support to families who have children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. I worked on behavior mod in classrooms, homes and the community with Autistic clients.

Our classroom size doesn't exceed 9 students.

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