The last issue's article on Chantal Hébert's
remarkable teacher was not as pleasing to the eye as previous articles.
It was downright drab! Go back to the previous format - it was visually
attractive and made me look forward to reading about a remarkable teacher.
The Remarkable Teacher articles are my favorites and I use them to inspire
the student teachers that I work with, but they would be even better if
you included a photo of the remarkable teacher. It's sort of like describing
the latest SUV and not showing a picture of it!
Mark Summerfield is a retired elementary Phys Ed teacher from the Thames
Valley District School Board in London.
Syndrome andthe ISA Profiles
What exquisite irony lies in the juxtaposition
of two of the articles in your Look at Special Education issue. (Professionally
Speaking Dec. '02)
"Asperger's Syndrome: the Invisible Disability" is placed immediately
before Special Education at the Ministry.
The first piece faithfully describes students with "the mother of
all neurological disorders" as being easy to not support, because
they show no outward signs of their disability. It goes on to describe
successful transition programs in which extra, informed staff are provided
(in an 8:2 ratio) to modify, accommodate and support these students on
an ongoing basis.So far, so good.
Next comes the ministry piece, which speaks of Intensive Support Amount
(ISA) grants for students with severe needs. The extra money most often
buys extra staff support and is based on student profiles. Here's the
problem: there is no ISA profile that fits students with Asperger's (AS).
I have spent much of the last year intensively involved in the Toronto
District School Board's ISA process for students with autism. It became
frustratingly clear, very early on, that students with AS are not sufficiently
language-impaired to meet the "clear descriptors" of the autism
profile. Naturally, they do not fit the intellectual, behavioural or physical
Information concerning this serious omission was passed on to ministry
auditors, but no changes were made to the profiles. To my knowledge, no
student with AS has a successful (profile 4) ISA claim.
My own personal experience has taught me that these students, when not
given adequate support, can often be amongst the most challenging to serve.
Just as they have the potential to succeed, they have a high potential
for (self) destruction. Despite this, it seems crystal clear that our
Ministry of Education is wilfully refusing to see Asperger's Syndrome:
The Invisible Disability.
Linda Stacey is a Special Education consultant with the Toronto
District School Board.
It was the familiar smile that caught my eye
as I paged through December's issue, "For kids to be successful,
Who other than my former colleague Betsy Ramsay-Currie? For two years
I had the incredible learning experience of teaching beside and below
Betsy (we taught in stacked portables) while in Singapore.
When a teacher works with Betsy, they have the opportunity for daily professional
development just by walking into her class, seeing the excitement of her
students involved with their work and observing her teaching methods.
How can you not get caught up in the excitement of kids studying Space
while they are busy tracing themselves in spacesuits on mural paper which
will later be hung from the ceiling as if floating? This is Betsy!
One aspect that makes Betsy an outstanding master teacher is her willingness
to learn something new that will enhance her program. For us, it was the
fun we shared while learning to use the computer for developing activities.
My time spent teaching with Betsy has forever changed my approach with
children. On a daily basis I smile to myself and think, I just did a "Betsy,"
and for my students, this is a really good thing!
Thank you Betsy for the invaluable lessons.
Mary-Lou Dunnigan teaches Grade 5 at St. Bernard Catholic School in
for the PLP
The proposed fee increase amounts to a 50 per
cent hike in the few years since the College's inception. I am trying
to think of another part of my budget that has risen so high, so quickly.
Certainly not my salary.
My drinking water has skyrocketed 400 per cent, but that was caused by
the Walkerton hysteria and the government's need to make work. Hmm ...
some similarity here.
Perhaps teachers on the College Council are not the best persons to make
these decisions. Business is not our strong point. Ask members on the
board who are in business how they behave when an agreement is made, then
funds withdrawn after the foundation is laid.
If the government has pulled the plug on funding ongoing costs of the
Professional Learning Program, perhaps they are no longer serious about
its need. The simple, common sense, business answer to them is that if
they, the government, are not willing to fund the structure, we, the College,
are not willing to take part in it at our cost.
As a teacher and as a citizen of Ontario, I am antagonized to the nth
degree with picking up the ball where this government has intentionally
dropped it. Tell the government we are willing to do the job of running
PLP but we must be paid for our effort.
John Mason is a retired elementary teacher from North Bay.