Next week I start by fourth full week at Summit Academy in Williamsville. Before I start to tell you more and more about my placement, I thought I’d spend some time telling you more about the school.  Summit is a private, special education school for students with a variety of disabilities. Commonly, these students are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, communication disorders, and/or behavior disorders.

Summit provides a variety of programs that help students develop self-help skills and reduce behaviors that interfere with learning.  All staff provide evidence-based, behavioral assessment and intervention procedures within the framework of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In this type of setting, it is imperative that teachers and staff persons provide a consistent, structured and nurturing environment.

Two years ago, during my first semester as a Master’s student, I took a class called “Functional Curriculum” with Dr. Hamm.  It was through this class that I spent a full week in a class of 7-10 year olds at Summit and taught my very first lesson ever as an educator!  I knew then that Summit was a place I wanted to return to.  Thankfully… I’m back!

As I said in my last post, I am currently in a classroom with 5-7 year old students.  There are six students in the classroom, one teacher assistant, one full time 1:1 aide, one part time 1:1 aide, and a speech therapist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist that push in for services.  Including myself, there are 8 adults that provide these six students services.  Two students are verbal but have very severe problem behaviors.  Two students use iPads as vocal devices due to lack of speech, and one student uses a Dynavox.  The sixth student uses the PECS system to express his needs.  These six students have very diverse needs, abilities, and requirements within the classroom.

I will report back as soon as possible about all the wonderful things I am learning in this placement. To say the least, I am always very excited to go to Summit each morning!