Part-Time Faculty – California State University Los Angeles-College of Education
I taught undergraduate and post-baccalaureate courses in Early Childhood Special Education for teacher candidates seeking licensure in early childhood special education. I enjoyed collaborating with faculty for curriculum development, planned lectures and administered examinations. I had the opportunity to supervise field experiences of early childhood teacher candidates, advise, and contribute to student growth and development. I provided services to university, community and conduct programs relevant to research and professional development.
Early Childhood Special Ed Teacher
The preschool intensive (PSI) special education program that I run services students between the ages of 3 to 5 years of age diagnosed with moderate to severe disabilities (i.e., autism, mental retardation, deaf and hard of hearing, multiple disabilities orthopedics, visually impaired and other health/phisical impairments). English is used as the primary means of instruction; yet, Spanish is used to reinforce instructions for Spanish-speaking students by all of the adults in our program. I follow a transdisciplinary teams approach in order to better service our students. That is, I collaborate with related service providers from other specialties (i.e., speech pathologist, occupational therapist, etc.) with hopes of determining the most appropriate service and supports that our students may benefit from. I am currently mandated by the school district to implement a general education curriculum and assess students using their mandated tool; Desired Results Developmental Profile-access (DRDP-access). I use a wide array of strategies in my program that includes visual strategies (i.e., daily schedules, mini-schedules for tasks) and simple and high tech devices for communication. I use a picture symbol system that includes photographs of; classroom workstations, school settings, support providers and daily events. The special education assistants in my program are given specific student assignments for the week, which guides their approach when working with students limiting interruptions and confusion.
I established a parent component for the program in order to promote parent involvement in the ECSE program and services, as well as, provide resources families require. I collaborate with support providers to develop and provide monthly workshops for families in a variety of areas (i.e., behavior management techniques, The IEP process, etc.), train, supervise and develop ongoing schedules for special education teacher assistants, adult assistants, behavior implementation personnel and parent volunteers. I am currently implementing the Developmental Learning Materials (DLM) curriculum in designing lesson plans for learning, physically, and emotionally impaired students. The Desired Results Developmental Profile-Access is the assessment tool used to evaluate student strengths and needs within developmental domains required for case studies. Other assessment tools include a battery of informal assessments to evaluate student individual needs (i.e., play-based assessments, parent interviews). I use the Creative Curriculum only as an alternate assessment tool. I am responsible for writing Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) reports (i.e., Annuals, Amendments, Three-Year Review-‘Transition’), Classroom Team Assessment Reports, Behavior Support Plans, Functional Behavior Analysis Reports and attend and/or facilitate IEP meetings.
Different Kinds of Minds (DKMinds) derived from a project I developed while completing my Master of Arts degree in special education. The project included a self-developed 16 minute video on my program (entitled- PSI: Behind Closed Doors) with hopes of establishing faculty and community awareness of my program’s curriculum, methodology, our student population and related services. The project involved surveying faculty (during our professional development meetings) and the immediate community (during Parent Support Group and Parent Council meetings) on their awareness of students with disabilities. The results of the survey not only showed a frightening lack of awareness (and understanding) of children with diverse disabilities at our school site by teachers and parents alike, but also, showed very little knowledge on how much preparation, training and patience was required on the part of the teacher and special education teacher assistants in order to run the program effectively and efficiently to support student learning.
“You must have it easy!” “I wish i could play all day!”
“It must be nice to have three assistants.”
“Can they really learn?” ”You must be a saint!”
“You must be SO patient.”
“Why are you so tired after only three and a half hours?”
“I could never do your job!”
Thus emerged the project, DKMinds.
DKMinds has since been used (by myself and colleagues from other school districts) for professional development meetings, special education and counseling department presentations at various universities, conferences, seminars, and non-profit organizations that support families of children with disabilities. The project, along with the collaboration between these organizations and myself, was used to support efforts in writing and acquiring grants from corporations of over $300,000.
It takes dedication and perseverance to begin the gradual change of false ideologies and stereotypes that exist in our society regarding individuals with disabilities. As an educator and advocate for children with disabilities and their families, I can’t imagine accomplishing change without the collaboration and partnerships between families and professionals.
Join me in the efforts that have been started by so many families and professionals long ago. Its up to us to determine the changes for tomorrow!