An Autism Connection

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Special Education Blog Hop

It's been awhile since I have blogged. I needed a mental health break, so I have taken one, and it's been great. I am currently in the great state of Colorado, enjoying the sunshine and great company of friends. I came for the NEA annual convention as a delegate, which was a marvelous experience. Afterwards, I met with old friends. So, I will be away from blogging for the next few weeks and will start again in August. But I am still reading blogs and wanted to participate in this blog hop. Unfortunately, I tried to do it by phone, and that wasn't working too well, so I am delayed in posting after I shared my link. However, I have brief access to a computer, and thought I would try to finish up.

You can find the other link-ups at the Tales of a Carolina Girl.

I wasn't able to add the template so I am just going to add my info below.

1. Name: Jannike (pronounced Ya-ni-ka and rhymes with Hanukkah). I'm originally from Norway.

2. Job title: Special Education Teacher, Autism Self-Contained; Co-Chair Special Education Dept.

3. Grades: 6-8

4. Number of years teaching: 12 years total. 1 year as a high school Autism teacher; 5 years as a life skills middle school teacher; 5 years as a self-contained resource teacher-middle school; 1 year  in my current position. Prior to that I was a Paraprofessional for 3 years in a life skills high school program/transition program; prior to that I was a Nurse.

5. Advice: I quite simply could not do my job without the support of the paraprofessionals in my program. When I first started, I tried to be friends with my Paras, since I had been one myself, which made it difficult when I had to give them direction they didn't agree with, or when conflict arose. This is different than being friendly. It took some time for me to see this difference, but I finally did. We might be the same age, or have lots of different or even more, experiences, but we have different roles. So  I  had to establish boundaries. One way to do this is to be very clear at the beginning of the school year what our individual roles are, and what my expectations are for the education of the students we all work with but that I am ultimately responsible for. I have written a very detailed Handbook that outlines all my expectations, our individual roles each day, and with specific students, as well as some educational info regarding Autism and other disabilities. I go over this prior to the school year so that we are all on the same page and I can answer any questions. I also do this with new Paras. I have shared this handbook with my administrators so that they know what is happening in my program. But I also listen to my Paraprofessionals and we plan many activities together. They run stations in my classroom depending on interest and need, and assist me in carrying out the IEP goals and objectives. I never forget that we are a team and I respect what they do, and show it.