Individualized Family Service Plan and Cooperative Teaching: Special Education Essay
Individualized Family Service Plan
Working with children with special needs requires making individual development plans, and the example of 2-year-old Maria with Down syndrome is no exception. Since the girl has sufficiently developed cognitive skills, particular attention should be paid to verbal skills because, when interacting with peers and adults, she experiences difficulty. Gargiulo and Kilgo offer a special technique called an individualized family service plan (IFSP) and propose a range of interventions that can be applied to children with special needs (138).
Based on Maria’s problems, I would offer to include the girl in the program of work with the professionals of speech-language pathologies, as well as to involve family training and counseling specialists. If properly implemented, these goals may have positive outcomes on the health and development of the girl.
Since the level of Maria’s communication skills is not high enough, it requires engaging specialists involved in speech pathologies. The development of the girl with Down syndrome should be controlled by medical employees. Therefore, one of the goals is to help her in adapting to society and teach the right communication methods. I believe that this intervention will help Mary to interact with both her family and peers better and will reduce the consequences of developmental delay.
Another relevant goal is attracting family training and counseling specialists. As Gargiulo and Kilgo note, this practice eliminates the development of abnormal habits in a child and helps relatives to understand the specific problems that they have to face and solve (139). Qualified professionals’ visits will help facilitate the process of educating Maria and give her parents clear action algorithms. Therefore, both interventions may be valuable for the girl with Down syndrome.
Principles of Cooperative Teaching
The method of combining the two principles of teaching, including standard and special techniques, opens up new perspectives for children with disabilities and influences teaching practice. According to Gargiulo and Kilgo, “cooperative teaching is about a true partnership and parity in the instructional process” (134). This statement is due to the fact that different students who are in the same environment influence one another, and in the case of correct correctional work, effective collaboration may be maintained.
Children without any disorders can support and help their peers who have learning challenges. Students with special needs, in turn, can follow the example of their classmates and develop essential communication and cognitive skills. I am sure that working in a cooperative classroom can be a daunting task if a teacher is not familiar with specific approaches to children with various forms of developmental delay. However, this practice can be a rewarding experience, and when applying this knowledge in a real working environment, it is possible to gain valuable attainments.
My individual co-teaching experience is limited to practical exercises with a group of children in the process of an art master class where both students with the manifestations of developmental delays and ordinary pupils participated. I can note that in the process of interaction, a common task rallied the members of one group, and no signs of bias or misunderstanding arose. As Gargiulo and Kilgo remark, a qualified teacher is able to establish such a mode of work in which team members help and support one another (134). Accordingly, in order to practice cooperative teaching, it is required to set clear and interesting goals so that all children are ready to achieve them.
Gargiulo, Richard M., and Jennifer L. Kilgo. An Introduction to Young Children with Special Needs: Birth Through Age Eight. 4th ed., Cengage Learning, 2013.
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