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Cooking Autism: SpEd Teachers will need your help as students return to classrooms

From April Burch:  Cooking Autism:

As our area begins to see plans for students to return to school, SpEd teachers are preparing to meet the needs of students who have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic.

When schools began to close in March most teachers were unaware and unprepared to say goodbye to their students. There were no high fives and hugs, no moving on ceremonies, no special face to face farewells. Teachers quickly adjusted their sails and navigated the new seas of remote learners. Teachers handled virtual learning with great poise and positivity while struggling with the loss of the end-of-the-year routines and closure. It is magical how a teacher’s heart can grow bigger every year to make room for a new classroom of students that will forever be a part of their family. Although it stings to say our good-byes each year, this year hurt a little more than usual.

Now, teachers are closely listening as the governor gives guidance, the school board enters into work sessions, and planning committees all work their magic to help give teachers and parents an idea of what the upcoming year will look like. Teachers and parents of special needs students are nervously awaiting more information as to what the future holds. The good news is that our local leaders and administrators seem to be highly aware that SpEd students will need extra considerations as we navigate back into the classrooms safely and efficiently.

As a mom of one child with an IEP and another child with a 504 plan I feel the overwhelming struggle of balancing the scariness of my children’s health and safety, and the feeling of being lost because my child with the IEP was on the struggle-bus for the months of virtual learning.

Often children inside of a Special Education classroom may have significant developmental delay. That student will most likely have a team of highly educated and qualified teachers who have made an individualized plan (IEP) on how to ensure that child has the very best education available to them. That team will work on areas that the child struggles in. Ex: Language skills, number sense, reading, fine motor skills, socialization, and even cleanliness and life skills. The student’s teachers have written down these goals to help give that child the very best opportunities so that he/she may graduate and live a fulfilling life as an adult. Teacher are superheroes!!!

Our SpEd teachers will be very busy this upcoming year. They will be filling in the educational gaps that Covid-19 has made. They will be graciously handling the anxiety and worries of students who also struggled with having their routines ripped from them. SpEd teachers will now navigate face masks, extra washing of hands, social distancing, diaper changes and bathroom needs, lunches inside the classrooms, and other activities that may be difficult for some special education students to master. SpEd teachers will lovingly support their students in these areas while adding to their data collection, IEP meetings, limited planning periods, multiple collaborative meetings with general ed teachers, and increased student presence inside their classrooms. SpEd teachers have their work cut out for them this year.

All teachers will!!!

How can we help our SpEd teachers as they navigate these rough waters?

Here are some ideas from local educators;

Stay engaged with your child’s emotional needs, stay active in your child’s education while at home, ask for help when your child or family is struggling to stay afloat, show grace to teachers as they learn how to work out the bugs of new learning, and most importantly… do not, for any reason, send your child to school when he/she is sick. One low grade fever or sniffle has the potential to greatly impact the education of an entire classroom and the health of it’s teachers. The days of perfect attendance is in the past.

Cooking Autism, Inc., a non-profit organization, is staying engaged in the success of our local SpEd teachers and students. Our heart is to help in any, and all, ways to ensure the success of our children with special needs. One of the ways that we can help is by providing grants and a modeled curriculum of an important life-skills cooking programs. These programs, through multiple access, can help students master important life-skills that are often very difficult for our special needs community to learn. Cleanliness, communication, socialization, asking and answering questions, advocating one’s desires and needs, following written and verbal directions, are some of the many skills that are practiced in these programs.

If you are a SpEd teacher and would like our financial support to help you provide these important life-skills to your students, please apply for our 2020/21 school year grant here. We are here to help you as you provide support to our children! Please let us help!

Please apply soon. Our grant applications will close soon so that we can get support to SpEd classrooms in the area before classes open.

If you are interested in helping Cooking Autism, Inc. as we supply help to our community, please contact [email protected], start a Facebook Fundraiser in our name, become a classroom sponsor, or volunteer!!! We always appreciate your help as we continue to meet the needs of our community! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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