“Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome”By: Kliewer
This is the first semester of my collegiate career that I have actually thought about children with special needs, and what I could do to help. Actually, between this class and one of my physical education classes, we have been focused on children with special needs for the past couple of weeks. What I have learned is that every single classroom can have modifications done to make sure that all students receive a "Free and Appropriate Public Education".
What we have been going over in my Physical Education class is how to use adaptive physical education in order to make sure every single person can participate, and that it is still a fun and engaging task. One example of this could be a tag game. Say in your class you have two children with Down Syndrome, one child who is restricted to a wheel chair due to an accident, and another who is in a wheel chair due to Cerebral Palsy. The tag game that could be made would be a version of capture the flag. Each team would have brightly colored pennies so that everyone can see who is on which team. The two children in wheel chairs can be the "Flag Defenders". Giving them a special role is very important. Instead of normally just sitting out to the side, they are given a very important position on the team that doesn't involve them moving around too much. Give each child in a wheelchair a pool noodle as an extension, so its easier for them to tag. Since the child with Cerebral Palsy may have a hard time moving his upper body, he may have a child with out disabilities as a partner who can help him tag. All of the other children who aren't "Flag Defenders" can be put in pairs, making sure that the children who have Down Syndrome are with children who do not have disabilities. That way, this adaptation to the game makes sure that everyone is included, while still making the game fun and competitive for all. (Sorry I went off on a tangent here, but Adaptive Physical Education is something that I am really interested in.)
Like many others in the class, I would connect this text to "Safe Spaces" by August. No one likes being excluded or looked at differently. While people with disabilities may not feel the same as people who are LGBT, they still want to be included in the classroom, as well as in society. This text would also go along with SCWAAMP. Since able-bodiedness is one of the A's in SCWAAMP, it is very connected to children with disabilities. Society values people who are able-bodied, and look down on those who are not. Again, no one likes being looked down on or excluded from things, which is why this is important.
Questions/Comments/Points to Share:
One main question I have is how would you include children with disabilities in your classroom? It is different for me because I am going to be a PE major, and part of the degree is taking classes specifically on how to accommodate to children with special needs in the classroom.