When working with students with exceptionalities, it is important to understand the roles of various members of the special education team. Administrators, paraprofessionals, service providers (such as a speech, occupational, and physical therapists), teachers, and school nurses can all be members of this group, depending on the individual needs of the student. Understanding the role of each person during the IEP process and providing students with services in an educational setting is an integral part of instructing students with disabilities. This ensures their needs are being met within the requirements of the law and that the students and families are receiving appropriate support and resources.
Allocate up to 2 hours in the field to support this field experience.
Because this course does not require you to have a fingerprint clearance card, your field experience must be completed before or after school, or during another designated time when students are not present.
In person or via phone, interview two individuals who each represent a different role on the special education team specific to a grade range relevant to your program of study. Potential interviewees could include a school administrator, paraprofessional, school psychologist, service providers such as a speech, occupational, or physical therapists, or a school nurse. Do not interview a special education or general education teacher for this assignment, as those individuals will be interviewed in later field experiences. Be prepared to take notes, as these will be submitted as part of the assignment deliverable.
In the interview, address the following.
- Discuss the characteristics of individuals with exceptionalities whom you serve, including gifted as well as those with disabilities.
- Describe the educational, developmental, and medical services available for individuals with disabilities in your district.
- Describe the specific steps in the IEP process.
- Explain how special education and general education teachers are supported in the IEP process.
- Describe how you collaborate with members of the IEP team. List other stakeholders you collaborate with as part of the IEP process and describe this collaboration.
- Describe what you do to support families of individuals with disabilities.
- Explain the process of addressing behavioral issues for students with disabilities.
- Discuss the professional development that is available to you regarding special education policies, services, and educational strategies. Discuss whether there is specific training related to confidentiality, including who leads the training and how often it is required.
- Discuss what you do to stay current on special education law.
In 250-500 words, consider what you learned from the two interviews and discuss the following:
- Describe the similarities you noted in the responses of both interviewees. Include discussion of why you think that, regardless of their unique roles on the special education team, these commonalities exist.
- Describe what made the role of each of your interviewees unique on the special education team. Include discussion of the key responsibilities each has in ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities are being met in the educational setting.
- Discuss what you learned about the significance of collaboration between members of the special education team. Include discussion of why collaborative professional practice is essential to meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the educational setting.
- Explain how you will apply what you have learned from the interviews in your future professional practice related to using collaboration and other best practices to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the educational setting. Provide specific examples of ways that you can collaborate with individuals in the roles of the interviewees.
Submit your interview notes and reflection.