Student with Tourettes
Sarah comes from a close family of five, she lives with her parents, brother and older sister. Sarah noticed her Tourettes symptoms when she was in the 4th grade. She has a very supportive and understanding family. There are minor tics that come along with her tourettes, she has learned to control these in certain situations. She also has some obsessive behaviors when it comes to germs. She washes her hands many times a day and always has to carry hand sanitizer with her. There are a few things that help her to calm her nerves, she loves to focus he energy into softball and painting. This helps to keep her calm and keep her mind off of her tics.
There are a few different ways that I have used to help connect to this student and make her time in my classroom more comfortable. I have allowed her to do any oral presentations using accomodations, allowing her to record her presentation on a recorder and play it to the students, and using a power point with a voice over on it so that she doesn't actually have to talk in front of the students. We also have a cue that both her and I know so if there is a day where the room get to be to much for her to handle she can just give me the cue and go cool off somewhere else for a while. She also has a copy of our daily schedule on her desk so that she always knows what we are doing next, this helps to keep her anxiety level down, which helps her to keep her tics under control or manageable. There have been a few ways that I have tried to help Sarah build her connection with the rest of the class. She was comfortable getting in front of the class to talk and wanted to tell the other students about herself and more about her Tourettes so that they would understand better. This helped to make it more personal having her tell them, it also gave them an up front view of what her tics could be like in stressful situations. I also talked to some of the teachers the students had from the year before and found a student that I thought would be a good "buddy" match for her. This student has become a close friend of Sarah's, she helps take notes if Sarah ever needs to leave the room, she also knows what our cue is so Sarah can just tell her and then this student will come tell me. This has been a very positive relationship for Sarah.
Motivation Strategies, Teaching Methods and Assessment Techniques
I have noticed that music seems to help keep her focused, so I allow her to wear headphones while she is working on her work. She is very interested in sports so we use that as a motivation, keeping her grades up so that she can participate. She would also like to one day go to college to play softball, I have talked to her about how important her grades will be in getting her to be able to play in college. Any time that she needs extra help we stay after or she will come spend her study hall with me so that she can keep her grades up. She also seems to work better when she is not cooped up at a desk so there are a lot of time that she will take her music and go sit on the floor in a corner of the room so that she can work.
- Reading: A majority of the reading program should be closely aligned with the general education program, some accommodations may be necessary.
- You can use a read along method, where the student reads a book but has a tape that reads along to help them with any words they may have trouble with.
- If the student has a memory problem then you can have them take notes to help them remember what they need to.
- If you have a student who has sloppy writing or writes slow then you can give them a recorder to let them record what it being said during note taking time.
- If you have a student that has short term memory problems you can give them a multiplication chart to have at their table or a calculator to help them.
- Using hands on concrete materials is very helpful.
- Giving them real world application problems can also help make it easier to understand.
- Pencil and paper assessment should be that last resort for students who have a learning disability.
- Presentations: a verbal demonstration of the skills they have learned.
- Conference: Having a one on one conference with the student. The teacher will use prompts to get the student to describe what they have learned.
- Observation: observing a student and the work that they are doing can be a very good way to see how they are doing. This can be done in small group setting or individually.
Modifications to Plan
- Giving each of the students a daily schedule to keep on their desks would help them all to know what to expect, this may help to keep behaviors of the rest of the class down.
- I think that letting each of the students develop a presentation about themselves to bring in and show the classroom would help to make the students closer and help them to feel like they know each other better.
- If letting the students listen to some light music helps them to focus and work on their assignments I would not be apposed to doing that as long as it didn't cause any other behavior issues.
- I think that using a hands on concrete method to learning would help all the students learn. They would have a visual to look at to help them better understand. I like this idea because I am also a very visual learner and understand better when I have something to look at.
- Assessment: I know that paper and pencil assessment can't really be avoided, but I believe that if it could be used less and have other ways to assess their learning you would see better results. Some kids just aren't good test takers, even if they are a great student. I like the idea of having them do a presentation or some type of project to show the class. Then they have something they are proud of to show off to their friends.