Educational Implications for Students with Physical and Health Impairments
The three classes of physically or health impaired chosen included the visually impaired, the deaf, and physically impaired. Modifications that the teacher used in order to assist students with physical or health impairments include the following ones: arranging the classroom and desks, providing specialized equipment, providing mobility support, using auditory cues, using visual cues, using verbal narrative, providing lesson-specific tools, using demonstrations, providing instruction materials, offering assignment materials, orienting the incoming students with the environment, and offering assistive technology among others.
The above accommodations were effective in helping students in their specific areas. It also helped parents or caregivers to work with the teacher to provide the student with the items needed during the lesson. However, these accommodations were only effective in particular situations, as some may not provide solutions, where another device is required.
Arranging the classroom and desks was important in order to give students maximum space to move around. Notably, for the visually impaired, as they required enough space, so chances of students knocking over other objects are minimized. The use of specialized equipment was key in ensuring that the needs of the students were met. Teaching physically impaired students required specialized equipment for particular groups of students (Petscher & Proctor, 2007). As a tutor, it is also important to support students in every way. In case a student is not able to walk around alone, it is your duty to provide mobility support. The instructional modifications were selected in relation to the groups of students one was dealing with. For instance, for the visually impaired you can effectively communicate through the use of auditory cues, while for the deaf you can use sign language (Rourke, 2002). This is facilitated by assigning the correct learning materials.
Orienting students within the environment involves making them familiar with their surroundings. This should be the first step for the safety of the students you are dealing with. It also involves giving attention to the surroundings in order to ensure that the students are secure. This is specifically for the physically impaired. The teacher should ensure that the students are aware of the surrounding area and are familiar with it. The training areas should also be free from any flying objects, since the blind cannot see when the object is coming to them. In case the trainer implements any other change within the environment, the students should be informed, as well as given some time to tour and to get oriented within the new environment. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that students are aware of what is within their learning environment. This enables them to take the necessary precaution; hence, avoid getting into a danger (Rourke, 2002). Modifying the available technology to meet their needs is also crucial. For example, the use of white board, use of loud speakers, and braille among others increases the effectiveness of the learning process. Providing students with assistive technology is vital in ensuring that they are learning fast; moreover, this will increase their understanding.
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Instructional modifications help students to understand what is required of them in a better way. For visually impaired, they are supposed to access both written and oral guidelines where demonstration is also required. The teacher should be able to provide real life examples that involve vivid description in terms of pictures and objects. This gives them hand-on experiences. The teacher should also provide readable visual aids, so that the child can receive information, as it is being displayed, say on a white board (Petscher & Proctor, 2007). At the same time, the directions should also be very clear. This implies that the tutor should use explicit language when directing the students. For instance, the teacher can say “Give your paper to the person on your right” instead of just saying “Pass your papers”. Most importantly, the tutor should give students optimum time to give a response. This is because students may require extra time to read and to comprehend the information. Oral description should be supplemented by visually displayed information. For example, an art or part of a film. Experimental learning should also be incorporated. The teacher should also recognize and accept their limitations. This way it is easy to interact with the students giving the necessary modifications or considerations where it is needed (Carrier, 2000). Dealing with physically impaired also requires involving a team, such as the parents and medical professionals, in addition to providing the training.
Physically impaired students require special equipment to participate in any kind of learning. For the visually impaired, they required mobility tools and other equipment so support them. Often, students come to class with their own tools, such as the guide dog or a walking cane. It is important to also include these in the lesson. There are other modifications for the visually impaired in regards to the use of specialized tools, such as the guide ropes for running, especially during the Physical Education (P.E) class (Finn, Rotherham, Hokanson, 2001). It is also advisable that students should use light-colored equipment, which is easy to be identified with. Such colors include white, yellow, as well as orange.
Instructional modifications should also be implemented, so that there is an understanding between the teacher and the students. For visually impaired, instructors should be in a position to give verbal instructions that specifically describe what the students are supposed to do. For instance, walk towards the exit. The verbal instructions should be detailed enough. It is also advisable for trainers to use auditory cues for the blind, such as running bells (Rourke, 2002). This may be used to suggest that it is time to start or tonend a certain activity. Support modifications were also offered. However, this is determined by an individual. In this case, support provider should only do so, when it is necessary in order to avoid the situations, where a student will become fully dependent.
The accommodations or modifications that I was able to implement included the following ones; instructional and environmental. These modifications are easy to apply as a teacher, because you do not need to team up with other people, such as parents, in order to help students. Moreover, they are not costly. For instance, environment modification may involve arranging the room and ensuring that it is safe, while instructional modifications involve ensuring that you are able to demonstrate the students what you are telling them to do, and be assured that they can follow it.
However, the implementation of the accommodations or modification did not unfold smoothly and effectively. This is because students had different needs, experiences, and status. For instance, it was especially difficult in dealing with the visually impaired, because people have different experiences in coping with the surrounding environment (Bradley, Louis, Daniel, 2002). There were some people, who could walk around without knocking over objects, while other needed assistance to walk around the room. I had to orient every student with the new environment. This was difficult, because at times you could not take students as a group. You had to deal with each student at a time for safety and effectiveness.
The elements of the accommodation that were most effective include those that involved offering support to the students. For instance, it was easy to provide a walking cane for a student, and for the rest of the time he/she would not ask for any assistance while walking around. On the same, interacting with the students while teaching them was to some extent effective. The students were in groups according to their own specialties. For the visually impaired, all I needed to use was auditory cues and explicit language while giving instructions (Finn, Rotherham, Hokanson, 2001). Students found it easy to respond to the queries that I asked them, although I had to give them maximum time, since they needed additional time to read the information.
Nevertheless, there were some aspects of the modification that were difficult to facilitate. This was because some aspects required a team that was not present at that moment. For instance, parents or care givers were not able to provide all the required materials to the students. At the same time, some activities had to be coordinated among the tutors, and being alone, it made it somehow difficult to deal with the students. I had to organize the class and offer physical support when students started coming in. To some extent, this has negatively affected the overall success of the lesson. For example, some lessons took a longer period of time than expected, because I was actually involved in organizing everything, including providing specialized materials required by the students (Rourke, 2002). The special needs of the students required full attention not only to one student, but to all. However, as a teacher, I had to find a way of dealing with these difficulties and ensure that the objective of the lesson was achieved.
During implementation of the modification, the level of students’ engagement and motivation was moderate. Modification or accommodations implies that students are exposed to the new environment, although they are expected to do what they normally do. For example, while teaching the visually impaired, the same methods used in other classes were still used. However, due to some difficulties experienced, such as lack of absolute support, the level of engagement was moderate. Communicating with the students through the use of the correct cues for the right group of students was not a major problem. The problem was related to the lack of the specialized materials to facilitate learning. However, this can be modified by ensuring that special consideration is given to the physically impaired and all the required materials are available when engaging them in any lesson (Petscher & Proctor, 2007). This will help to improve the effectiveness in understanding, as well as making learning and teaching easy.
Modifications or accommodations implemented during the lesson were well suited for that particular purpose. For instance, instructions modification were meant to serve in response to their special needs. There is no way you could use auditory dues for the deaf and expect to have a success. Right instructions had to be used for the right group of students. Moreover, materials specific to the needs of the students were also meant to accommodate them in the learning environment. All these modifications could only take place if the environment was able to accommodate students. For instance, the classroom had to be arranged in a way that students had enough space to move around without knocking objects. It was also important to ensure that the environment did not have any flying objects.
In conclusion, it could not have been any better than to see students participating in the lesson. This was a sign that the modifications or accommodations used have indeed assisted the students during the lesson. Although there were a number of challenges, they did not hinder the objective of the assessment.