I’ve discussed this topic in my previous four blogs. (You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 here.) Aren’t I done? Not quite yet.In my previous blogs, I discussed inclusion students, the aides they typically accompany them, and how a teacher can incorporate an inclusion aide into their classroom. I provided advice on how a teacher can properly incorporate an inclusion aide into their classroom routine.
Now, let’s nail this home…
What’s the best way an inclusion aide help me in the classroom?
The inclusion student’s aide may know this autistic child very well. You may have just met the child on the first day of school.
What could be better than that?
The inclusion aide may be very familiar with what works with this child, and what doesn’t. She may have strategies that work. They may know their behaviors and what triggers a behavior. And, they may have a routine and a “flow” with this child.
I’m asking you to listen to the aide who already knows this autistic child. Give him or her a chance to help you.
What if I don’t get along with this aide?
What happens if you’ve worked together for a month or two and you and the aide just don’t get along? What can the teacher do if the working relationship just isn’t working?
Call an IEP.
Why can’t I just ask for a replacement?
You cannot simply ask for a replacement because the child’s education is dictated by an IEP – you are a team member but you do not singly have the power to replace an aide.
An inclusion situation is designed to assist a child on the autism spectrum to obtain an education while attending a general education class. The aide is there for support of that child, to help that child flourish in a general education setting.
First, if the parents object to the aide being replaced, there is very little you can do to demand a replacement. The parents may work well with this aide and they may have their own reasons for wanting to keep the aide.
Plus, consistency is better for our kids but hard to find. As a whole, parents of children with autism try to retain consistency for our kids.
The bottom line is you should try not to approach this situation with an easy, “get me a new aide in my classroom” attitude. Even though calling an IEP is the necessary first step, the aide may not be replaced by the IEP team.
What can you do?
My son hasn’t had this problem, but I would suggest that the teacher sit down with the aide and the principal to see if some common ground can be established. The spirit of this meeting should be, “We have to find a way to work together.”
What other advice can I give to teachers?
I’d have to say that adapting and flexibility are on the top of my list.
If you are not used to a child in your classroom needing to use a timer, you may just have to get used to ONE child who HAS to use a timer.
However, if something feels uncomfortable or you need clarification, you can always call an IEP or ask the parents to come in for a meeting. My son’s 5th grade teacher did just that recently. I met with her and clarified some things to help her understand my son better.
You might as well get used to the inclusion aide being in your classroom. As long as the autistic child is there, and that autistic child’s IEP requires an aide, there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, I suppose you could get that student to switch classrooms, but I’d like you to ask yourself if that’s really productive? You may very well have another autistic student, plus aide, in your classroom next year. And the year after. And the year after.
I have witnessed plenty of inclusion aide and teacher relationships that work. You are both adults and you both care about the student. Plus, you both need to accept that that child struggles in a very specific way.
Give it some time and patience. You may come out a better teacher in the end when you learn about how our kids can be successful inclusion students.
In my opinion, inclusion works and teachers can be a part of something very special.
Parents need your help. All with ask is for you to try. Work with us, work with the IEP time, and help us get our autistic students the education they deserve.
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