My son, Ethan, entered Kindergarten last year. He was a general ed student except that he received some speech and occupational therapy. However, in the classroom, he was lost. He would get frustrated when someone wouldn’t understand him or when he couldn’t hold the pencil correctly when writing with his other classmates. Ethan felt very isolated and became a very sullen, unhappy boy.
This was not acceptable to me and my husband and we fought for him to get the help he needed. My son was refusing to do work, wouldn’t pick up a book to even try to read. You see, it was more preferable to get in trouble, then read aloud, where others noticed his speech problems or would react when he had trouble with the reading.
After much back and forth and many tests, it was decided that Ethan would benefit from what is known as a C.T.T. class. C.T.T. is an acronym for collaborative team teaching. Such classes are comprised of regular general education students with those students who require some services from the school – physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, speech therapy, etc.. With two fully certified teachers, (one with special ed training, the other more general ed) these classes was said to offer both groups of children a very rewarding experience.
I heard advice from everyone, family, friends, other teachers. We shouldn’t try it, you are going to be putting Ethan in with emotionally disturbed children, this will stunt his educational growth. I also heard the opposite, that it will help him enormously. Well, what we were doing now certainly was not helping him. We decided to make the change.
There is a very obvious benefit to having two teachers every day. All children, even most adults, need a gentle push to get going at times. With this set up, the children can have more individualized assignments and more time to be helped should they need it.
Has it worked? Judge for yourself. Ethan joined the class two months before school ended for the summer break. In just two months a transformation has occurred. My child now tries to read everything he can, gets excited when he notices books on his favorite subjects, and grins wickedly when he picks up on what my husband and I are spelling in the car when we try to keep something secret. That won’t work anymore!! But, do you know what the best thing is? He is smiling again. I have my happy boy back. Nothing can be better than that.
So, if you think your child can benefit from such a class or the school administration contacts you with this possibility, don’t automatically dismiss it. It has changed my child’s outlook and our family dynamics. It could be exactly what is needed. All I suggest is keeping an open mind.