Laura Frericks

August 17, 2016

EDUC 605—Inclusion

Bill Porter Plan

Bill Porter is my newest student. He has just joined my class as a third grader and has

been identified as having speech-language and orthopedic disabilities, requiring an IEP. During

birth, an injury to Bill’s brain caused cerebral palsy (CP). In Bill’s case, his cerebral palsy

affected his muscle movement and speech. In order to help achieve a goal of 100% inclusion, the

following detailed plan has been created to help ensure Bill’s success in academics and life.

Disability Awareness

The first thing I did when I learned Bill was going to join my class was get in contact

with his family. Letting Bill’s family know that I was excited for Bill to join my class was very

important as that began our positive line of communication. I also contacted his previous teacher

for some insight into his capabilities and limitations. The most important person I talked to,

though, was Bill himself. I think often times children with disabilities are overlooked as it is

assumed they cannot communicate or articulate for themselves. This creates an even larger

disparity for our students. In the mornings, I always greet my students with a high-five,

handshake, or hug at the door. This variation in greetings allows me to meet the needs of my

students. Since it was difficult for Bill to shake my hand, I gave him a high-five, which he

seemed to enjoy. During breakfast time, we all go around and share one thing from the night
before. Giving Bill a chance to speak made other students aware of how challenging speaking

was for him and allowed students to become comfortable with his voice. Community building

strategies like this are also great get-to-know-you tactics, especially helpful for reticent students

like Bill.

In order for Bill’s transition to be as smooth as possible, the staff, parents and students

needed to have a better understanding of who Bill is and what his disability means. To introduce

the staff to what cerebral palsy is, I played an informational video titled, “What is Cerebral

Palsy?” created by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance during a professional development day. In the

presentation, Prue Golland, a senior physiotherapist with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, did a nice

job explaining what cerebral palsy is and what causes it. Since Bill was our school’s first student

with cerebral palsy, I thought it was a good idea for all staff to learn about his diagnosis. An

additional video I showed was a TED Talk with Maysoon Zayid who has cerebral palsy. This

TED Talk titled, “I Got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One,” has Maysoon presenting information

on her CP with humor. Both of these videos benefited the staff: the first video gave detailed

information about cerebral palsy and the second video gave teachers an opportunity to get to

know someone with CP.

In addition to gaining support from the staff, another important component was to inform

families that Bill was joining our class so they could join me and the school staff in making

Bill’s family feel comfortable. A brochure created by the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center

on cerebral palsy created a “talking piece,” so parents could answer their child’s questions at

home and understand what was happening in the classroom in reference to Bill.
Students were possibly the most important group that needed to be well informed about

Bill’s condition. They became his friends, mentors, and confidants and became knowledgeable

of who Bill is and how best to help him. Kidshealth.org provided a kid-friendly article about

cerebral palsy. Students did a jigsaw reading of the informational article and then created

presentations to tell their class about what they read. Students chose their own methods of

delivering the information. One group made up a song the different types of cerebral palsy;

another group made flashcards to help students remember the medical terms associated with the

disease. Bill’s group opted for an online presentation. Bill chose the pictures since speaking

before the class at that early point in the year was uncomfortable for Bill. Disability awareness

was incredibly important to creating an open, welcoming community for Bill and his family. Bill

had a team of supporters including myself, other staff members, families, and his peers. All

members of this team familiarized themselves with Bill’s situation in order to ensure a positive

school year.

Barriers, Accommodations, Modifications & Interventions

There are many barriers that Bill faced this year. First, it was difficult for Bill to keep up

physically with boys his age, which made it hard to create friendships. Since Bill’s muscles have

been weakened by the cerebral palsy, running and jumping at recess created challenges for

playful interactions. Unless students knew someone with a disability, it was hard for them to

understand and connect with Bill. One way I modified this barrier was to demand playground

equipment that provided more accessibility. The school board ordered a special swing, so Bill

could swing alongside his classmates. This way, without straining his weakened muscles, Bill

was able to play with kids his own age, instead of hanging back and watching. During playtime,
the other students and Bill were be able to get to know each other (often times without a word

needing to be spoken).

Another barrier Bill faced was discrimination. Stereotypes of disabled students include

the notion that students with IEP’s cannot learn or that a physical disability automatically means

an intellectual disability. Despite Bill’s muscular and speech limitations, he was able to

cognitively function at the same level as his peers. By assessing Bill’s knowledge in ways that

met his needs, his classmates could see his academic level was on par with theirs. Another way I

dealt with this stereotype was to have Bill’s parents come in and speak to the students about his

abilities and disabilities. His parents helped break these stereotypes as students learned his family

was more alike to theirs than it was different. The more I talked with students about stereotypes

the more they will hold back the judgements that come from stereotypes.

A third barrier, communication, provided other challenges for Bill. Even though he was

in speech therapy, understanding Bill was still difficult, and Bill and those communicating with

him became frustrated or simply avoided conversing with him. Giving Bill the Augmentative

Alternative Communication device allowed him to communicate through signs, letters, pictures,

and voice. This device also introduced the other students to new a mode of communication as

well.

Accessibility for Bill was another barrier. Our 1901 building does not have an elevator,

and the gym is on the 4 floor. It took Bill seven minutes to climb all of those stairs to participate
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in gym. There is no ramp for strollers or wheelchairs in the building either, so the assumption is

that everyone visiting and attending our school has the ability to climb stairs. One way I

modified this problem was to have gym outside (where Bill would only have to walk down a few
stairs) or in the classroom. There were many games and activities that, with slight modification,

can be made just as fun when played outside.

The last barrier Bill was indirectly affected by was the lack of funding for special

education programs. Many devices and tools, such as wheelchairs, augmentative communication

devices, and mechanical lifts that could be useful to Bill, cost a great deal and our school was

already on a tight budget. To pay for the augmentative communication device, I applied for a

grant.

Writing and reading were two subjects that Bill had an increasingly difficult time in.

Writing was difficult because of the spasms Bill has; his handwriting is nearly illegible. A tool

called the Steady Write Writing Instrument was created for people that are plagued with

involuntary muscle movements like Bill. This made a great modification for Bill, making him

feel a part of the writing class. In regard to reading, Bill had a difficult time communicating his

thoughts verbally. However, with the use of the augmentative communication devices, Bill still

had an opportunity to communicate his ideas to his class with symbols, pictures, or letters.

Social Interaction & Extracurricular Activities

One of the first plans to socially integrate Bill with his peers was to make certain that he

participated in recess every day in as many activities as possible. Whether an adaptive game of

football or walking the perimeter of the playground, being around his peers during recess was a

pleasant time for Bill because of socialization opportunities. Too often are students taken from

recess for adaptive therapies; I believe recess should be counted as an adaptive therapy. The

second plan to allow Bill socialization opportunities was for him to work collaboratively with his
peers in class. Many times, a student with an IEP has one or two “helpers” that assist them

throughout the day. This assistance creates great bonds. Giving Bill and the rest of the class

chances to interact during academics allowed all parties social interaction.

While participating in these consistent social interactions, I wanted Bill to have an

opportunity to expand his horizons and try some extra-curricular activities. We have a

“Forensics” team at our school that focuses on speech. This was a great option for Bill, even

though he struggled with his speech. Bill used his augmentative alternative communication

device as a tool to present his speech. Just because he was not able to clearly articulate his

thoughts, he knew what he had to say was important because we made the effort to hear him.

Another extra-curricular Bill participated in was our Boys and Girls Club. This club gives

students a myriad of smaller clubs, activities, and sports. Student choice leads to student

engagement which leads to socialization. Bill was be able to try many activities before

committing to pottery club. Lastly, Bill loved sports even when he couldn’t play, so he helped

keep stats for the basketball team, and Bill sure did smile big when the coach gave him a jersey

to wear.

Outside Agencies/Organizations

The first organization, Disability Rights Wisconsin, a private non-profit organization,

helps to ensure the human and legal rights of people with disabilities. Disability Rights

Wisconsin helps people gain access to services, opportunities, and legal expertise. This

organization was incredibly helpful to Bill and his family, especially by starting the process to

implement a lift at the staircase, so Bill would not have to move schools next year to attend 4th

grade on the 4th floor. In addition, Disability Rights Wisconsin connected Bill’s family to a
personal care attendant and will continue to help with services and opportunities for Bill’s post-

secondary career.

The second organization, Goodwill Industries employs people of all abilities. In addition

to employment opportunities, Goodwill also offers financial coaching, educational programs,

clothing vouchers and medical rehabilitation. Working with Goodwill will give Bill practical

work experience and additional assistance when needed.

The third organization, the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities

(WBPDD) is dedicated to improving the independence, productivity, and integration of people

with developmental disabilities. Bill is the type of young man who appreciates and values his

independence, so he would appreciate the work this organization does.

The fourth organization, the Wisconsin Healthy & Ready to Work Project aims to support

youth with special care needs as they transition from high school to higher education, working

and living within their communities. Since public education supports special education

programs, Bill will be supported throughout his high school career. Many organizations, in

addition to the previous mentioned, help disabled students transition into the next phases of their

lives.