SPE 222 – Orientation to Education of the Exceptional Child

SPE 222 is one of two courses that I am taking towards my elementary and special education degree this semester. SPE 222 is by far my favorite course of the year, and it’s just getting started. I connect with the class on a very personal level. I walk in a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why, because I am so extremely public about my medical history, but I have continued to leave feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. We learn about disabilities, and as someone with a “disability” of sorts, I feel like my classmates are learning about me. The course “provides an overview of the education of children with special educational needs from birth through age 21, and is intended to provide background to allow for the meaningful inclusion of diverse learners in educational environments.”

In my mind, not only am I learning about my future students, but also about the system I would have navigated if I had had my brain surgery earlier than my senior year of high school. If my crantiotomy was in elementary or middle school, I would definitely have more cognitive delays. The resource room I noticed in passing would have been my homeroom. I would have needed a 504 plan. A 504 plan refers to section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and explains the modifications and accommodations needed for students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers. In a sense, I have a 504 plan through my accommodations via the Disability Resource Room here on campus. I have most of my textbooks available via audio for extra enforcement because too much reading leads to unusual fatigue that I had not experienced before surgery. Blame it on the gaping hole in my left insula (aka the speech and language hub).

Maybe my grades would have been based on alternate achievement standards when I was younger if my speech and language capabilities had taken a bigger hit. Maybe I would have needed alternate assessments, or supplementary aids and services. A direct quote from the textbook states that those with “traumatic brain injury are most likely to be educated in a hospital or their home (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).” I know that the traumatic brain injury the text is referring to is most likely geared towards car accidents and not brain tumors, but the information is still relevant. After all, any disruption or subtraction of gray matter is a brain injury. We’re covering students with traumatic brain injuries in Chapter 13, 10 chapters from now, and I will most likely write a review of the chapter on here afterwards.

I’ve noticed a similiarity between neuropsychology testing and IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings. Major components of IEP meetings include: Evaluating current levels of performance, sharing thoughts about resources, priorities, and concerns, and sharing visions and expectations for the student. Meetings also involve considering student goals, placement, and services as well as determining modifications for assessments. A neuropsychology evaluation starts with a 6-8 hour evaluation and then moves on to discussing results, and determining strengths and weaknesses. Patients are also given advice on how to improve their functioning, as well as what accommodations they might need when returning to work, school, etc. Then, like how IEP meetings are revisited, patients visit six months, a year, etc. to retest where they are at, the progress they have made, etc. and set new goals. 

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