Today, on arriving at school I found out Mac’s aide would be arriving a bit late. Mac also had a fill in teacher (but one who has been around the school a fair bit).
What I LOVE…
there was NO suggestion I needed to hang around until the aide arrived.
And better still…
when I offered to hang around they reconfirmed that it was ‘totally unnecessary’ so I happily went on my way. Mac just settled in for roll call with the rest of the class while a couple of kids busied themselves setting up his gear ready to start work.
One of Mac’s IEP goals has always been ‘to become an independent learner with the long term goal of aide support needed only for personal care and not for meeting his education needs’.
It’s one of Mac’s more powerful IEP goals for a number of reasons:
- It sends a message to Mac that he has a role to play in his own learning and removes the suggestion he “needs an aide” from his world.
- It shows we have confidence in, and high expectations for, Mac.
- It helps ensure the teacher takes greater responsibility for Mac’s learning.
- It provides room for Mac’s peers to really learn how to work with, and advocate for, Mac in the absence of another adult (aide).
- It allows the aide confidence to constantly strive to become redundant in their role or, at the very least, invisible in their role.
- And it removes any possibility that threats around ‘withdrawing or reducing aide support’ can be used as a power play by Principals or education departments. If that is ever suggested you can simply say “fantastic, a step closer to our IEP goal, what a great opportunity! What will we need to adjust in the classroom to allow this to work well for the teacher and students?”
A typical school day for Mac has a period of half an hour where where no aide is in the classroom. During the lunch time period the aide was helping develop and facilitate more inclusive opportunities for Mac which has proven successful and has allowed her to now assist other students who actually need more help with the chaos of the playground instead.
So Mac is on his way in meeting that long term IEP goal… days like today only confirm this.