Submitted by Walt Chapman
Insights based on the article found here:https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/gimme-a-c-for-collaboration-meeting-the-needs-of-special-education-classrooms-through-outreach-and-advocacy/
Creating an inclusive environment in our school library has been a priority for me. In the class, Invigorate your School Library with the AASL National Standards, taught by Deborah Rinio of University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was introduced to the standards. The second foundation that the standards are based on is “Include”. Our school has a diverse population with many languages and cultures represented. It has not been too hard to find literature that represents our student’s heritage. I have had a more difficult time getting our physically and behaviorally challenged and developmentally delayed students to be part of our library community.
I have been in discussions with our integrated preschool teacher and our DEC spec. ed. teacher on how to provide services to their students who are in self-contained classrooms. At the start of the year we had talked about formally scheduling an adaptive story/library time to get students and staff used to using the library. In both classrooms, the student’s challenges made it difficult for them to come to the library. Each teacher said they would try later in the year and I did not think too much about it.
Reading the article about how a Public Librarian is going into Spec. Ed. Classrooms, brought out what should have been an obvious next step for me. If the students are not ready to go to the library, the library needs to go to them. I am now envisioning following the model of the librarian in the article and slowly getting acquainted with the students, assessing their needs and providing story time and chances for inquiry learning experience in their classroom. Hopefully this will build relationships and make it easier for these students to eventually make down to the library.