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The Lessons Of Classroom 506 Analysis Essay

The article “The Lessons of Classroom 506” by Lisa Belkin is focused on the single experience of a family living in New York with their 5-year-old son Thomas, who has cerebral palsy. The family is trying to construct a classroom that would be appropriate for their son. Thomas was unable to speak and he needed a specially designed wheel chair that would help support his body weight. Thomas parents were worried that their son would not get the same opportunities as other children because of his physical disability although his thinking was just like children of his grade.

After researching schools Thomas parents realized that it was impossible to find the right school for their son. Thomas parents who were well established, his mother a physician and scientist, and his father, the founder of an advertising company set about to collaborate and advocate with his previous teachers and connections they had made over the years. Thomas dad wanted to help his son but also to provide a template that would teach children like Thomas so we did not have to recreate another program for other children with similar disabilities in the future.

One night Thomas father, Richard went to a restaurant and saw the mayor of New York. He approached the mayor and told him his problem, and suggested a solution which the mayor agreed. The classroom that Thomas and four other children like him were built. Thomas, his teachers, and parents worked hard to help the children adapt to their new surroundings. The classroom includes the use of electronic device to speak, an appropriate chair for Thomas so he could be at eye-level with his peers, and using Mayer-Johnson symbols to learn to read, and build his peer relationships.

Thomas, who could barely hold a crayon in his kindergarten class, or legibly write his name. He also had friends who knew him and could communicate with him. It is always good when parent take the initiative to do what is best for their children even if they are forced to change occupation. As words spread fast about the Manhattan School for Children and their groundbreaking classroom it shows that all children can learn and with today technology children given the chance to do amazing thing. Without certain device and technology, Thomas would not be able to speak.

Although it is an amazing gift for these children to have this opportunity, wonder about the many unfortunate children who are overlooked and get lost in the educational system. I pray that they will continue this trend and help as many disable children as possible. Learning to advocate Once you become the parent of any child means figuratively reconstructing your life with the child at the center, more so if you are the parent of a handicapped child. Before Thomas was born his parent knew virtually nothing about educational theory and practice for the disabled.

They knew nothing about recent changes in the law and society that offer equal parts opportunity and frustration for the parents of children with special needs. In the years since Thomas was deprived of oxygen at birth, resulting in cerebral palsy, his parent learned how to advocate. They have come to understand that “the law says we have to be heard. More important, though, they have learned that the provisions of I. D. E. A. have to be reauthorized every five years and that Congress has yet to agree on the latest reauthorization.

The Ellensons’ focus was never on their son alone, they stressed that their crusade was not merely about their child, they were aware that other children needed help just as much as theirs. Moreover they know that they have been heard not only because they are articulate and untiring but because they have resources and connections. The Ellensons voiced that they wanted to develop programs that could be recreated to help all children who needed it. Ellenson never met anyone whose contact information he didn’t keep, including a lawyer named Tucker McCrady, whose daughter, Valente had similar conditions as their own..

As a kindergartner, Valente was the only disabled child in her grade and up to that point, according to Susan Rappaport, the principal, “the most challenging student we had worked with. She believed that the school had not given Valente all she needed during her kindergarten year. The Ellenson got together with parents whose children had disability and create programs, using all resources available to them. When the first day of school began and Ellenson looked at what they had started, and saw the seeds of permanent change in special education.

Others envisioned simpler goals, as Wernikoff said “We want these kids, all of them, to get high-quality instruction and be truly included,” “You can be in the class. It’s another thing to be truly part of the class. ” Story Time The symbols that were used in classroom 506 are known as Mayer-Johnson symbols. Devices that were used, were large book with big bold writing and pictures that the teachers read aloud to the children, tech/talk, a box with a series of squares in which plastic strips and symbols are used, unfortunately Thomas did not like this technology because he was familiar with a device his parent given him earlier.

Although the technology seems like the best choice there were kinks that needs to be ironed out, like; where Thomas should sit and is he really learning what is been read. With much patience and hard work the program prove to be a success as Tom was able to create his own story. Making Friends At the beginning of the school year Thomas teacher thought it might be necessary to explain to the other children what was going on with Thomas. Thomas father agreed and had a meeting with the class and other parents.

This was important to Thomas father because he wanted Thomas to have friends. After the meeting in which Mr Ellenson explained the circumstance and causes of Thomas disability children were eager to sit beside him and be his friend. Thomas was able to communicate with hand signs and the technology used. His parents made new sets of friends who are parent of children with similar disabilities. With the new found friends Thomas became more social and more eager to learn.

Frustrations and Breakthroughs Spring Semester Thomas father was frustrated because he did not see the progress in the program or Thomas that he expected. He envisioned people working round the clock to master the program but it seemed he was the only one in a hurry. He felt too much time was spent on tech programs and not on his son’s needs. Richard saw an urgency that others overlooked and teachers and administration were not sure about the program. He eventually saw improvement in his son after more prodding and hands on work with him but it was not enough.

He hired an expert in teaching reading and writing to nonverbal children. This decision proved successful and his son and the other children improved in their communication and verbal skills. In the end Thomas was able to communicate both in written form and understood questions asked. Do you know about Valente? Valente, was a fragile but spunky girl a year older than Thomas, she was nonverbal and barely mobile but bright. She suffered from a seizure disorder, which came on often and without warning. Valente attended the same school as Thomas and they were friends.

She suffered a seizure and eventually died from that attack. One of the most difficult decisions made then, was whether Thomas should be told of the loss of his friend. The little girl’s death was a devastating blow to the school since she was an important part of the foundation of the school. All the plans for developing programs, location and technologies for these children with disabilities, it was never considered that any of these children may die. The children knew the meaning of someone dying and it was proven that children can learn and understand their surroundings.

Making Plans After the success of children like Thomas at the Manhattan School for Children, plans were made to increase the number of disabled children in the kindergarten class for the coming year. By baking goods and selling them back to the community proves that children learn from each other. The progress of Thomas not only helped him, but helped the adults and the entire community. The parents of Thomas show the entire educational system that with the right attitude and efforts we can all help to enhance someone’s life.

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