Educating children with students who have a special impairment, could be beneficial to their health and in environmental conditions. Parents spend an average of $326 per month, or just under $4,000 per year, on out-of-pocket medical expenses on their special needs child according to New Mexico Statistics for Special Education. Making an environment more comfortable could increase their grades and social interaction in high school or college (2017 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium). 17% of high school students receive accommodations and support at the postsecondary level. A disability does not label any student on their ability to do an activity or job. Whether it is in the classroom, sports, a job, and others, having a shoulder to lean on because it is very important that the impaired children feel supported. A special education teacher, Clinton, at an elementary school in Iowa, teaches alternatives to students who always have to be moving, such as tapping their finger on the table. Fidget spinners are supposed to help those students with ADHD. About 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD. The types of interventions could possibly help the Pueblo of Acoma.
The idea of Special Education programs started in the United States around the year 1776. Special education started off as almost little to nothing. Over the years, laws and mandates were made to help special impaired children or adults receiving special education. In the 1970s, state and local institutions provided 91% funding for special education, the other 9% of the funding came from the federal government. Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) established in 1975 to offer a free and public education to those special impaired children who need special education. IDEA offers parents to have a say so in the children’s education. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) serves under IDEA. An IEP is a plan that provides services to meet the unique needs of a child and it is offered grades kindergarten through 12th grade. IDEA and IEP only serve 13 impairment such as ADHD, deafness, and Autism. A 504 is different from an IEP. The Rehabilitation Act, Section 504, is a plan on how the child will have access to learning at school and there are no age limits as to have a 504. A 504 also helps those students who have suffered from head trauma or medical condition, such as epilepsy. 504 also make accommodations for students such as extended time on tests, excused lateness or absences, and adjusted class schedules. Special education is a sensitive topic to talk about especially to a community. I am interested in researching and learning about the topic of Special Education because I do not know what it is like in the classrooms on the Pueblo, for those younger children with impairments. “It is important to address people’s needs so that they can be successful in or out of the classroom” (Raelene Woody. Interviewee. Sept. 13, 2018). How and what the educators are doing to educate them in the best way possible. What benefits are not only the children receiving but the families as well. My brother is 1 year and 9 months old and we found out he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome when he was just 4 months old in the womb. As I started to get more aware of his conditions it made me think what can I do to help him and be an advocate for him and his education. It is very important for me to know what kind of help he is going to be getting to help him learn and speak. Getting an education is very much important for him to become successful, not only just him but the children in Acoma who have an impairment as well. As for the Pueblo, I want to know if they are at least helping them with physical therapy, speech pathology, and other medical needs. What do the school offer to those special impairment children? Do they serve all children with special impairments?
On October 3rd, 2018, my brother had open heart surgery to fix a hole in his heart that we thought would go away on its own. Going to go see him in the hospital, I was expecting to see him as like crying, but he was energetic and laughing. He is a very happy baby and loves attention. He gets sick often and his mom takes him up to the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna (ACL) Hospital to get checked. His mom, in the beginning, was uneducated about his condition and unsure where he was going to go to school. Building a better community with knowledge to the parents and other students as well with a sibling or cousin that may have a disability. I want to bring the education out to the people. I want my community to interact with children with special needs and see what it is like talking to them or even just seeing how their behavior changes. A simple change to start informing the community is to have a short biography in the monthly paper that comes out in Acoma. Education for children with impairments is not often looked at and ignored even sometimes. In Acoma, the programs have little to no information to what the schools offer, such as what the pueblos are doing specifically. No child deserves to be left behind in the educational system, because they should have those equal rights to their own education. I would really like the children to feel good about being enrolled tribal members in Acoma. The entire Acoma community needs to welcome all special needs individuals with open arms.
Theories and Methodologies: Learn and Accept
Special education today in society can be very scary for some children. Special education today is very important, why? Is because there are students going to school that have learning disabilities and have a special education class to help improve their weaknesses in learning. Special education helps with students who need as much help as they can get, for example, school projects, quizzes, finals exams, and more” (Kaylene Valencia. Interviewee. Jan. 8, 2019.) Special education today is becoming more aware of such as what schools can do to provide the best of education the child is receiving. In the past, the children were being kept apart from the non-special education students. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was introduced in 1975, along with the Individualized Education Plan. Special education since the early 1970s has increased by 90% over the years (ASCD Services).
Interactive Action Plan One: Wonder
On December 18th, I showed a movie in the high school dorm rotunda to any high school student that wishes to come. The movie I showed was Wonder. The movie is about a little boy named, Auggie who was born with facial deformities. He attends a public school for the very first time and he does face a lot of challenges. Showing the movie I received four people, two freshmen, and two sophomores. After the movie, I provided the students with a questionnaire about the movie to see if they were paying attention. The individual who got all the questions right received a $15 dollar gift card to Target. Showing this movie will bring awareness to those who have a disability and how they are just like us. Providing an optimistic perspective as well to show how important it is to show that acceptance from family, friends, and even the staff. I also provided snacks. Prior to this Interactive Action Plan, I did plan to speak at the Special Education Parent Meeting here at Santa Fe Indian School in October. That didn’t go quite as planned because I had an urgent family emergency. Canceling that put a huge gap in what I was going to do for an action plan. Coming up with the movie was something easy to get together. Spending about $65 dollars on snacks for about 25 people all went to waste and I did not know what to do with the leftovers. I am glad some students even showed up at all.
Interactive Action Plan Two: Scholarship
On March 6th, I had a meeting with Ms. Rosetta to discuss future scholarship funding that will take place either here at SFIS or in my home community. Ideas my SHP instructor, Ms.Huber and I, have come up with is hosting a possible Special Olympics with a donation of 5% or 10% of the funding, Senior account could possibly donate some money or it could come from my community in Acoma. Ms. Rosetta liked my idea, but I will present the information about the scholarship to the Board of Trustees here at SFIS. Scheduling this meeting is a little hard due to the number of events that are happening toward the end of the year. Apart from that, I will plan to meet with the Department of Education in Acoma to promote my idea. The name of the scholarship that I am thinking of is “Gifted”. Children in special education are gifted with something unique and challenging. Providing funding to attend higher education gives them that attention and care. Acoma Pueblo would like everyone to attend college and provide back to the people. If I have trouble with promoting this idea to both, I will try and have the governor of Acoma join in me in watching to see what is happening in the special ed classrooms at Haak’u Community Academy.
My inspiration for creating this scholarship is a 38-year-old woman named Marla Gonzales. Marla has Down Syndrome since she was born. Marla is a Global Messenger which is someone who advocates for others with a challenge. One of her favorite speeches to give was, “Spread the Word to End the ‘R’ Word”. Getting bullied in middle school occurred a lot to Marla. Marla got to high school people where more aware of her condition. College was just around the corner and Marla wanted to take some college classes. Funding for college can be expensive and finding out that she paid for college out of pocket, was a question I had and wanted to do something about.
Special Education Data: Santa Fe Indian School Community
In my Special Education Data, I conducted a school survey here at SFIS and I received 102 responses from grades 9-12. The first question that I asked was ‘Do you have a disability?’ I was honestly surprised by how much responses that I received and the number of kids that are in a special education class. With 13 students having an impairment is shocking, to think that, I thought there would only be 3 or 4. The next question that I asked was ‘Do you know what a disability is?’ based on a definition. I chose this quote because it showed a great example that an impairment can be more than just physical. It can be mental and intellectual. It can also develop when you are born or develop later down the road.
Global Data/Connection: India and the United States of America
In India, there are children that are not in school. 90% of the students that are not in school wired to 90% of the students that are not in school are due to the parents. Children with impairments in India are kept inside all day because the parents are ashamed of them. India has a total of 30,000 children who are or have never been enrolled in a school before (Special Needs in India). Some parents even kill impaired children because they’re so “ugly” and they can’t look at them.
In California, a 13-year-old male had autism. The boy was acting up in class and the teacher restrained them and ended up killing him. This is not the first time that this has happened to this school today in California. The school has been saved more than three times and has gotten away with the charges (Student with Special Needs Dead After Being Restrained at School). In my Senior Honors Project, I showed a graph on the restraint right levels on children with impairments based on ethnicity. American Indian/Alaskan Native stands at 1%, but I and educators of indigenous students would love to have it at 0%.
Conclusion and Sustainable Change
In Acoma, sustainable change to the accepting special inspired children could be even greater and better. A part of my sustainable change that I would like to do is having a Special Olympics within the Pueblo of Acoma. Having a Special Olympics will combine different kinds of families and it’ll create a more welcoming environment in those who have an impairment. Having this annually will also bring more people to talk, and maybe even possibly have donations along the side. Secondly, I would like to have the children who have a special impairment, have a little biography in the Acoma Department of Education newspaper that goes out every month. Having a section with for children with special impairments could also bring the public to know these children personally. Getting to know the child a little better you could even say hi to them when you’re at the feast, at the grocery store, or even just around the community common areas. Another thing and I, that could be possibly done is hosting an honorary night to the parents and to the students at the special impairment along with the tribal leadership. Hosting this honorary night well let the students know that the tribal leadership is 100% behind the children as to receiving higher education and being enrolled members of Acoma. Lastly, I would like to include the student artwork that they do in the classrooms on some flyers that can go out during either trash day or even through the mail. The artwork is very powerful and having these children’s work out into the community, will show how strong they are in the classroom and outside of the school.
Here at the Santa Fe Indian School, the sustainable change that I would like to make is also hosting a Special Olympics here for the very first time. Schools and families from all over Santa Fe could be welcomed and are allowed to make a donation if they want to. Santa Fe Indian School is already a welcoming campus and I want and love for it to stay this way. It is very important for the children to know that they are welcomed here and are accepted by the students, staff, and educators. When progress reports or report cards go out to parents included some artwork along with those papers would be extraordinary as well. Last but not least I would still like to continue the scholarship here at Santa Fe Indian School. Having the scholarship will not only allow the students to continue on to post-secondary education but it will also let the students know that Santa Fe supports them in that decision to attend. I myself will still donate money to the scholarship every year in the future to come. Any student that is willing to continue the topic of special impairment children I am 100% behind them if they decide to proceed with this scholarship and make it even better.
Learning from my action plans and my research it is very important that children do feel accepted by not only their parents but my friends other family members educators staff and people on the outside world. Not only Acoma but everyone would like to see these children succeed in the future and see what The children could do. Accepting the students will make them feel more comfortable in the classroom and outside as well.