Addition in the kindergarten Setting

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In many preschools and child care programs today you can find a growing number of special-needs kids. These kids have disabilities ranging from hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, speech and language difficulties, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, and physical impairments. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our culture is becoming better equipped to meet the needs and challenges of these special kids. Sadly, many daycare providers have little to no special training to deal with these kids. There are a few workshops available to help and more teachers are taking them. Regrettably, many of the plans for teaching these kids depend on the use of technology that many providers do not have access to. Early childhood education has put together a few ideas to help most teaching staffs to provide for these kids on a shoestring financial plan and a little creativity.

Circle Time
The easiest way to include a special needs child is to have them sit either in a lap or beside an adult. The child will most likely need more direction and direct help with finger plays, songs, and listening skills. The teacher or assistant can help by whispering to the child about how well they are listening, confirming a point in a story, asking common questions and planning a shorter time. Kids who use special equipment like a chair can be integrated by having all the kids sit in chairs, or sitting the child in a supported position on the floor. Ask the parents what the best place would be. As well padded as a wheelchair is, kids still need to get out and stretch once in a while.

Using sign language also helps not only hearing impaired kids, but also gives other kids a visual clue as to what you are saying. Some learning disabled kids as well as those with communication disorders recognize a visual sign or picture easier than just the spoken word. Having small cards with songs pictured on them can also help a child to decide his or her favorites like everybody else

Meals
For many special needs kids, mealtime is one of the best learning opportunities. The areas of small motor skills, self-help, manners, language, eye-hand coordination, and social communication are all stressed at every meal. Have the child seated next to an adult and have towels at the ready. If the child has difficulty feeding himself, the adult needs to sit behind them tenderly guiding the child's hand through the process.

Class time
the special needs child will need some adjustments to be able to fully contribute in your classroom. Luckily, most of the adjustments are small and can be accomplished with a least of effort. The easiest things to do are modify a few of your standard items. Put in knobbed puzzles, add a tape recorder for language, use press only scissors, put in board books, big size logos, increase spacing between tables and walls, make sure shelves are tightly anchored, and arrange rooms so that all of the areas can be effortlessly seen by an adult from any position.

Self-Help
many special needs kids are slow to potty train and may still are in diapers or in Pull-ups. Potty training is very essential for these kids and is done just like for any child. The significant thing to keep in mind is to use as much optimistic support as you can

Common Problem Areas
according to preschool teacher training the biggest concern with any special needs child is behavior. Attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning disabilities and more all control a child's behavior. These kids become irritated more easily and annoyance can lead to behavior problems. Yelling, throwing, running away, breaking toys, hurting kids, these are all things that I have had to deal with. The best tool for handling pessimistic behavior is to anticipate it. You can identify what leads to an episode of intolerable behavior and change things early to head it off.

For many kids, changes are the main focus. Try announcing any transition at least five minutes ahead of time and every minute subsequently. Go over to the child and tell them face to face that the activity is coming to an end. Give the child a precise job to do such as put away crayons, slide in chairs, set out carpet squares. Have a picture timetable up on the wall for kids to reference. Old catalogs are wonderful for this. Repeat what is coming up next and have the kids tell you what is going to take place.

Handling Aggression
In spite of your best efforts, any child with or without special needs may become violent. There is no best way to handle the annoyed and hostile child. I have used optimistic behavior charts to support acceptable behavior. These seem to work well and can be used for the entire classroom, not just the individual child. Each teacher will have to decide what works best for her or his class. I tend to use a mixture of rewarding with words or stickers, an optimistic behavior chart, a corner for a student to be all alone by choice, time-outs, and absolute removal from the classroom. What works for one child may or may not work with another.



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