Getting Included in the Mainstream Classroom Despite SPD — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Getting Included in the Mainstream Classroom Despite SPD

by Gina


Every school year proves to be different than the one before; this year is no different. This year though has proven to hold an interesting change; J’s teacher wants him.

Now, that simple statement is convoluted and confusion. I’m sure some of you might be saying ,”of course J’s teacher wants him” or “does that mean his other teacher’s didn’t want him” or “which teacher are you talking about? The New Ms. SSN or his ‘assigned’ or ‘home room’ teacher”?  Well…this year, I mean all of those.

No assigned teacher has ever discouraged J’s participation, but they weren’t openly enthusiastic as his current assigned teacher, “3rd Grade Mrs. S.” is. She told me…”I want him in my classroom! I’m his teacher. I want to teach him. I want him included. I want him in here as much as possible!” Unprompted, clearly unscripted, his assigned teacher “wants” him. What’s makes this even more appealing is her classroom environment.

Fluorescent LightThe overhead fluorescent lights are OFF. She feels they’re too bothersome and hard on the eyes, distracting to kids. She uses the sunlight that streams in from the windows and accenting ‘party’ or ‘christmas lights’ (white) to give a little extra soft glow. She has other soft colored lights (like lava lamps only not) placed around the room. Soft sitting areas with pillows. No desks preferring ‘work tables’. She also prefers kids to find a place that’s comfortable for them to work in. She uses scented oils, with each student choosing their own after an okay from parents. And, she strictly keeps her room calm and quiet. Reportedly, VERY strictly. Oh, and she hosts a ‘Yoga Class’ for all students every Wednesday morning before school.

Though she is not for every parent, every family or student, I can’t think of a better person / teacher / opportunity to help J get into the mainstream classroom for a longer period of time, or for more often. Most if not all of his sensory “distractions” are taken away. The only other thing he needs is something to focus on that’s at his level. For instance, the New Ms. SSN has worked on it this way: he has learned to ‘read’ books on tape. She is having him learn to be in the main classroom, reading his book on tape (with headphones) during the classroom’s reading time. Slowly, through partnership, The New Ms. SSN and 3rd Grade Mrs. S are working together for his increased inclusion.

How do sensory issues influence your child’s classroom participation?

If you’re still considering how to work with sensory issues and the school setting, I invite you to download this complimentary article from Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine, “Sensory Smart School Solutions”.

(This is not a sponsored post. AADigest Magazine passed this along to me so that I may pass this along to you, if I choosed. No compensation of any sort has been promised for this article).

Email Author    |    Website About Gina

Gina St. Aubin is a mother of 3, one diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, PDD-NOS, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) . A former Victim's Advocate turned advocate for those with intellectual and physical challenges, Gina believes being a 'Special Parent' means to discover, embrace, educate, advocate, encourage, treasure and laugh.

View all articles by


This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you support this site. Thank you!
See our Disclosure Policy for details.
1 Jo September 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

Gina Her and her classroom sound just wonderful Can we clone her and then we could share her with the wider world. My heart soared when I read this.

2 Gina September 30, 2011 at 12:47 am

Hi Jo. I know what you mean. I was more than thrilled to know she was his teacher, and then to meet her, and her enthusiasm for him…well, I was not disappointed! He’s doing a good job trying to get acclimated to her classroom too.

3 Michaela September 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

So happy for you Gina! My son has SPd among many other disabilities and grades K-1 were very rough in a mainstream setting. We moved to NYC in 2nd grade and have been doing the CTT class setting (some special ed, some typical students, 2 teachers) and it has been lifechanging for our now 11 yr old son. His social skills, confidence and typical behavior are all on the rise thanks to his amazing teachers and the inclusive classroom experience. After K and 1 it was a hard decision but we’re so glad we stuck it out! For NYC info and stories about my son check out my blog at!

4 Gina September 30, 2011 at 12:48 am

Thanks for the link Michaela. I’m so glad he was able to get into a classroom like that. It’s amazing what inclusion does for our kiddos AND typical kiddos!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: