We hope everyone is having a great beginning of the school year. Some of you have been in school for a few weeks, some are just starting, and some haven’t started yet. There are some important things that your students with Complex Needs want you to know.
1) Inclusion – What is inclusion? Inclusion is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups. For us at Rett University, inclusion means that our students have access to their instruction and their curriculum. Often you will hear the term “Geographically Included” meaning the students with Complex Needs are physically in the classroom but are still not included in the curriculum or instruction. This can happen both within the regular education and special education classrooms. Our students want to be given access to their instruction and curriculum so that they can learn. They need to be given opportunities to be part of their educational setting. We have a great course on Rett University about Inclusion Practices using soft and high-tech options.
2) Presume Competence!!! This does not mean that our students with complex needs know everything. What it does mean is that our students can learn and learn a lot when given the right tools and access to their curriculum. What it means is that when they are communicating this is intentional and should be given credit. Please don’t assume that when they do things it is a mistake or an accident.
3) Give wait time and learn their best “yes”. Work with your student’s team to find out what their best “yes” is and acknowledge it and respect it.
4) Model, Model, Model. Modeling can be done both individually and in a whole group setting. Every single word does not have to be modeled but model as much as possible. Use the core word and ABC flipbooks when you are writing to model writing with their writing tools. We have great courses on Rett University regarding modeling here: Modeling – Part 1, Modeling – Part 2, and Modeling – Part 3
5) Peers are imperative to our student’s success. They can help model on their device and they are fun and engaging. Peer interaction increases communication, interaction and engagement. Please see this Rett University course: Supporting Students with Complex Needs: Connecting with Peers