What are your thoughts on recent SPED initiatives?

“Giving special needs students everything they need to be successful, whether it be occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical therapy, or inclusion, are the current trends and I am in full agreement with this multi-faceted approach.”

What is your approach to collaborative teaming in SPED?

“Great leaders usually have a team of people supporting them.” When asked about his team for special education students, the interviewee explained that a team should be “well-balanced and represent all areas of [Special Education]. Representatives in nursing, psychology, pupil appraisal, occupational therapy, adapted physical therapy, physical therapy, and legal representation creates an ideal team of professionals.”

What were the rewards of being a special educator?

The interviewee stated that professions full of challenges often produce great rewards and one of his greatest rewards is witnessing student growth. “Kids are like sponges. They grow so much every day. The job is instantly gratifying because you get to see so much growth.” Through his past experience, he stated that he has seen such growth in students that are part of inclusion classrooms. The current development in Special Education is more inclusion, with resource rooms used as “a way to remediate what is taught in regular [education] classrooms.”

What are the challenges of being a special education leader?

“Federal regulations. The small class size ratios of adults to children, the strict daily schedules, and the endless paperwork are all challenges.” However, he stated that after he learned how to “delegate responsibilities and multitask” he was able to better manage the challenges and overcome them. “Delegating responsibilities, multitasking, and prioritizing duties are principles all educators strive to perfect.”

What is the state of special education with regard to inclusive settings?

“Inclusion is the way of the future. The leaders at the top want every student in an inclusion setting with regular ed children. Currently we typically only have 2 inclusion classrooms out of 5 in any given grade level. I believe this will increase to all as we progress.”

What do you see in the future of early childhood special education?

“A lot more inclusion classrooms… possibly every classroom will be inclusive. A lot more children will participate in inclusion in regular classrooms. SPED will service these children in those classrooms.”

What advice would you give to a new teacher in special education?

“I would say to be flexible! Regulations are always changing, rules are always changing, and IEPs constantly change. Never get too used to the way things are going. Learn to evolve with the job and you’ll be successful.”