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As a kid I dreamed of working with children as a teacher. Due to medical issues, I was in a wheelchair during the second and third grades, and had a teacher come to my home two hours per week; my mother was my teacher for the rest of the time. Not being able to go to school made me feel different than the other kids and as I grew up, I realized that being different is OK. I also realized that I could incorporate that knowledge with my love of teaching and passion for special education.
I went to the University of Maryland, College Park for my BS degree, and graduated with a dual degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I then found a temporary position as a hospital teacher, teaching at the Children's Hospital in Washington, DC. The following year, I applied to the public schools in my community, and was hired as a Special Education Resource Teacher in Loudon County, Virginia. Working with the students was wonderful, and I often spent free time making games and planning activities.
Needing to go to graduate school, I moved home to NY and enrolled in Manhattanville College, where I earned a Master's Degree in Special Education. After graduating, I was hired by Yonkers Public Schools and remained there for my entire teaching career. I was again having fun teaching students!
Working in the Yonkers Public School system, I worked with children with varying disabilities and functioning levels. Reading seemed to be the largest area of weakness, and I began to look for ways of helping my students. I took a course in multi-sensory education and began researching and trying different methodologies. I was afforded the opportunity of being trained in Reading Revolution and the basic course in Wilson Reading and began training teachers and students in multi-sensory techniques. My colleagues were inspired and my students were successful. Most important, the children benefited from alternative multi-sensory approaches to learning especially when conventional approaches didn't work.
After many years in self-contained classrooms and as a Resource teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, a move to the Board of Education was the next logical step. I applied for the position of Chairperson of Special Education, was appointed to the position, and felt I was making a positive impact on more of the students. Working with parents and students, and designing appropriate individualized educational plans was very rewarding.
As I thought of my retirement, I knew I would still keep my connection to teaching children and training teachers. I have kept my private tutoring clients and began doing teacher and student trainings for New Paradigm Reading. My love of children and education continues, and I am open to new opportunities to do what I love.
As a Special Education teacher I have worked with many students who need redirection, refocusing and special attention so they can be successful in class. I have used token economies, charts, and self-talk as ways to help children stay connected to the lesson and their work. Rewarding appropriate behavior is the way to go. Tasks were presented in small chunks so they were more manageable by the student.
Some children needed to stand during lessons, or tap their foot. I also had an area of the class where the student could move about without disturbing his/her classmates. There are many techniques to try with an ADD/ADHD student, and you have to match the right technique to each student.
Working with children diagnosed with Asperger’s can be challenging, but rewarding. Literal academic skills are usually strong, but inferencing skills and the interpretation of non- literal language are difficult. Although each child is different, predictable routines work best and the child’s environment should be consistent. It is not unusual to see obsessive routines revolving around a specific behavior (counting, for example) or interest (cars, for example).
These children usually have visual learning styles and require visual cues to help them with their lessons. For example, visual schedules or explanations of the work to be done are of invaluable help. In addition, because students’ with a diagnosis of Aspergers often have difficulty organizing their time and materials, lessons need to be efficiently organized. Tutoring sessions are based on the child’s needs and involve maintaining focus and organization while content is explicitly taught.
Dyslexia is a form of a Learning Disabilty that requires specific techniques and instruction. My Master's degree had an emphasis on Learning Disabilities. I have worked with students with dyslexia during my career as a Special Education teacher, and through my private tutoring.
I have a Bachelor's degree in Elementary education and spent most of my teaching career working in an Elementary school. I taught all elementary school subjects as a Special Education teacher, and worked with grades Pre-K through six. I have been tutoring privately for about ten years and have tutored in Reading, English, Math, Science and Social Studies on the elementary level.
I particularly love teaching reading and using good children's literature with my students. I used many trade books as supplements to the core basal reading program used throughout the school. Writing is another area I love to teach because many students feel they can't do it well, and I have to prove otherwise. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. It is very exciting to see them becoming proficient in content and skills.
As a Special Education teacher, teaching reading became my specialty. Many of my students had difficulty with phonics, so I studied, learned about, and began using multi-sensory techniques that were beneficial to these students. I am certified in Reading Revolution and have experience with Wilson Reading.
Teaching reading to young and struggling readers is my passion. Some children struggle with decoding, others struggle with comprehension, and some struggle with both. As a classroom special education teacher, I developed unique techniques to help struggling readers.
Because children learn in a variety of ways, it’s important to have a variety of techniques so that each child’s program works for them. One such successful program uses multi-sensory reading techniques that engage all learning styles and makes decoding skills easier to learn. Other techniques use graphic organizers and pre-questioning exercises to aid in comprehension.
Tutoring sessions are based on the skills that need to be learned and involve matching the child’s learning style with one or more of these or other techniques. I also work with the child to make classroom and homework assignments easier and more manageable.
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education and have taught Special Education students for my 30 years as a teacher. I taught in self-contained classes, worked with students in an inclusion model and as a Resource teacher. I have worked with students with varying disabilities, as well as working on many committees to improve instruction for my students.
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