Students who have significant special education needs as a result of their disabilities are highly reliant on your expert teaching skills to get the most out of each day in the classroom. You need to be creative and use your skills to ensure you are meeting the needs of each student with severe and multiple disabilities. Some ways you can do this include:
1. Focusing closely on a different students' IEP document and goals each day or half day. Get out their IEP and read through it at the start of the day. Ensure your programming closely aligns with their goals and consider whether you need to do any baselining of behaviours or skills, documentation or reporting tasks for that student. Think to yourself, 'Do I need to prepare some Makaton signs and symbols before class for this student?' 'Do I need to discuss their goals with a volunteer or aide so they are focused on the same goals as I am?' etc.
2. Use volunteers and aides with care, so that they can safely carry out particular tasks that you set for a student which are labour intensive and require one to one support, but in a way which ensures you are meeting your duty of care requirements.
3. Use technology such as iPods, taped stories, electronic versions of books available online or music to cater for some students in your group when your hands and mind are busy elsewhere in the room. This is a useful inclusion strategy which can relate directly to literacy and numeracy goals by reinforcing learning or providing additional experiences.
4. Consider physical movement tasks that can be done without direct teacher support, such as hitting a soft ball suspended from a string from the ceiling, or sorting through shapes in a feely box or manipulating a textured toy or object.
5. Change your environment regularly so that you and your students get out in the fresh air to complete learning tasks.
6. Inclusion intentions for students with severe and multiple disabilities sometimes leads teachers to do tasks they shouldn't really do as part of their work, such as doing a lift or transfer that is dangerous. Don't!