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Training #2 Homework 1

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1 Training #2 Homework 1 on January 10th 2014, 1:10 pm

Please review the Attention Deficit Disorder- ADD and Individual Age Characteristics packets discussed in training on April 1st.
 
Special Needs: Please be mindful that there is always the possibility of having a child with special needs at your camp. Although our camp is not meant for children with severe cases, we are required to make reasonable accomodations to all children.
 
Individual Age Characteristics: Our program allows children to participate anywhere from ages 5-13. As I'm sure most of you already know, the activities that might interest a 5 year old, may not hold the interest of a 13 year old. This packet reviews the specific age characteristics and what activities best fit children's interest at this age.
 
 


 
You have the choice this week to comment on either packet. If commenting on the Special Needs packet, or the speaker, please comment about your own experiences with Special needs and how you handled the situation. Did the speaker change your mind or help you in anyway for the same situation in the future?

If commenting on the Individual Age Characteristics packet, how have you gone about working with a large age group in the past? How has this packet helped you in separating ages for more age appropriate activities? Was there something about a certain age that surprised you?

After replying, please comment on 2 other fellow staffers' posts. Do you agree or disagree with them? How could they have better handled a situation? Can you give them any pointers with special needs or age groups?


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2 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 3rd 2014, 11:13 pm

I've dealt with special needs students on multiple occasions, especially in the classroom setting. The thing that I have found to be most effective with special needs students, is to partner them up. I find a student that I know will work well with and has their best interest in mind. Pairing a special needs student up with a reliable partner allows the instructor to help other students in the class. One situation in particular was when I had a large class of students and of the special needs students was acting out and screaming. I quickly removed the student from the gym and took him out in the hall way to limit the distractions. When the student finally stopped screaming he said that he was upset because nobody would pass him the ball. My simple solution to this was to put him in a different group where he was with students who would work better with him. Something I did find helpful from the guest speaker was how to deal with ED students. I found it useful when he was say if a ED student has a meltdown to clear the room and let them run their course.

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3 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 2:20 pm

Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

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4 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 3:43 pm

I have had a lot of experience with special needs at my current site. We have a few children with ADD or ADHD and also a child that has Asperger's. I've learned from working with these children that it just takes a little patience and understanding to figure out what does and doesn't work for them. It has been a learning process for both kids and counselors but just like anyone else, these kids have their good days and their bad days. I've learned with our ADD/ADHD kids that addressing the child alone works better than trying to get and keep their attention in a large group or around other kids. They also need to be kept busy as idle hands will wander. I learned a lot from the speaker on how to better handle high stress situations so that the children feel as though they are safe and in a trusted environment. I especially enjoyed hearing the speaker talk about handling children with Asperger's since we do indeed have a child that has this special need. I am learning day by day what works, i.e. explaining the schedule, listening to him talk out his problems, and what doesn't work, i.e. isolating him, not explaining the why of a situation. Working with kids of all types, not just special needs, is a learning process in which you will never know everything but all you can do is try.

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5 Children with Special Needs on April 6th 2014, 5:59 pm

Like many of us, I have also dealt with a number of children in various settings that have special needs. I found the speaker, Bruce Harrel, to be very helpful and I kept some of the children currently at my site in mind as he spoke. One child at my site for Kids Klub after school has Asperger's and I could not agree more with many of the things Mr. Harrel stated about children with Asperger's/Autism. One thing that stuck out in particular was when he mentioned the importance of sticking with a routine when dealing with children with Asperger's/Autism. I've noticed that the child at my site with Asperger's has a much smoother day and is a lot less stressed when I give him a clear breakdown for what's going to happen that day. Because our site is so small, our schedule tends to change often based on how many kids are left after homework time. I find at these times that it is more difficult for my child with Asperger's to stay calm during these times when our staff is trying to figure out the best way to make use of the remaining time.
At my site, we also have a child who according to his records does not have ADD/ADHD but shows many signs of the disorder. Just as Mr.Harrel stated, our staff is sure to give this child a specific task/objective especially during homework time and do our best to isolate this child when they are throwing a tantrum. I plan to continue with some of the methods of picked up on for dealing with children with special needs as well as keep in mind many of the things that Mr. Harrel stated last Tuesday.

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6 reply to Caila on April 6th 2014, 6:11 pm

Caila, I like that you demanded that children look you in the eyes when you explained what was expected of them. I feel that the children I work with, especially those with special needs, will find other things to look at and focus on while I am talking to them and I many times wonder if they even truly listen to what I am saying and not merely hearing. At our site, we also try to ensure as much as possible that our special needs participants are encourage by a staff member when it is time to pay attention.

CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

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7 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 8:19 pm

I too found it helpful when Mr. Harrel was talking about the importance of sticking with a routine for students who have Asperger's/Autism. It really does help the children function when they are kept on a set routine. One suggestion that I would make, is when you and your staff are determining what to do when you have a limited amount of children, is pair the student with Asperger's up with a student that you can trust to keep them occupied so that they can remain calm and engaged in something.

svaughan2 wrote:Like many of us, I have also dealt with a number of children in various settings that have special needs. I found the speaker, Bruce Harrel, to be very helpful and I kept some of the children currently at my site in mind as he spoke. One child at my site for Kids Klub after school has Asperger's and I could not agree more with many of the things Mr. Harrel stated about children with Asperger's/Autism. One thing that stuck out in particular was when he mentioned the importance of sticking with a routine when dealing with children with Asperger's/Autism. I've noticed that the child at my site with Asperger's has a much smoother day and is a lot less stressed when I give him a clear breakdown for what's going to happen that day. Because our site is so small, our schedule tends to change often based on how many kids are left after homework time. I find at these times that it is more difficult for my child with Asperger's to stay calm during these times when our staff is trying to figure out the best way to make use of the remaining time.
At my site, we also have a child who according to his records does not have ADD/ADHD but shows many signs of the disorder. Just as Mr.Harrel stated, our staff is sure to give this child a specific task/objective especially during homework time and do our best to isolate this child when they are throwing a tantrum. I plan to continue with some of the methods of picked up on for dealing with children with special needs as well as keep in mind many of the things that Mr. Harrel stated last Tuesday.

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8 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 8:21 pm

When working with a large age group in the past, I had to remember how different their interests are. Just like the packet mentioned, all ages go through stages of liking certain things and disliking other things. This can create chaos among a large group and can start behavior problems if they are not happy or having fun. This packet did help me with sorting activities that might interest each age group. One thing that did surprise me was the age group of 8-10. A lot of the kids that I work with now do not show pride from achievement and are not that thoughtful for others. I was surprised to see that the activities involved singing and dancing because I often picture only small children liking these things.

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9 Special Needs on April 6th 2014, 8:32 pm

I really like the idea of pairing students with others that will work well with them. I feel that this makes the child feel comfortable and will help them with behavioral issues. I also agree with what you did in the situation in the gym with the screaming child. I think it is always best to remove the child and let them take a break from the group. The speaker gave us some great advice for dealing with these types of behaviors. I think for all children, not just special needs, they need structure, room to take break if getting upset, and also to know what is expected of them

dallasmavs134140 wrote:I've dealt with special needs students on multiple occasions, especially in the classroom setting. The thing that I have found to be most effective with special needs students, is to partner them up. I find a student that I know will work well with and has their best interest in mind. Pairing a special needs student up with a reliable partner allows the instructor to help other students in the class. One situation in particular was when I had a large class of students and of the special needs students was acting out and screaming. I quickly removed the student from the gym and took him out in the hall way to limit the distractions. When the student finally stopped screaming he said that he was upset because nobody would pass him the ball. My simple solution to this was to put him in a different group where he was with students who would work better with him. Something I did find helpful from the guest speaker was how to deal with ED students. I found it useful when he was say if a ED student has a meltdown to clear the room and let them run their course.

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10 Special Needs on April 6th 2014, 8:36 pm

I like what you said about patience. It is going to take a lot of patience for counselors and other campers to know how to work with children who have special needs. Just like the speaker mentioned, we should all communicate with the parents to know how to best handle a situation with each individual child. I agree with you that talking with a child one on one is better than in a group since they will be paying more attention to what you are saying and it will ensure they don't feel embarrassed or singled out of the group. I also agree that they always need something to do. This will keep their minds on the task at hand and not on acting out.

cnewton1 wrote:I have had a lot of experience with special needs at my current site. We have a few children with ADD or ADHD and also a child that has Asperger's. I've learned from working with these children that it just takes a little patience and understanding to figure out what does and doesn't work for them. It has been a learning process for both kids and counselors but just like anyone else, these kids have their good days and their bad days. I've learned with our ADD/ADHD kids that addressing the child alone works better than trying to get and keep their attention in a large group or around other kids. They also need to be kept busy as idle hands will wander. I learned a lot from the speaker on how to better handle high stress situations so that the children feel as though they are safe and in a trusted environment. I especially enjoyed hearing the speaker talk about handling children with Asperger's since we do indeed have a child that has this special need. I am learning day by day what works, i.e. explaining the schedule, listening to him talk out his problems, and what doesn't work, i.e. isolating him, not explaining the why of a situation. Working with kids of all types, not just special needs, is a learning process in which you will never know everything but all you can do is try.

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11 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 8:46 pm

Special Needs

Throughout my life, I have had experiences with kids with disabilities. I've had the opportunity to work with teenagers with disabilities like autism, as well as younger kids with ADD. Across the board, I believe the most important thing in working with these kids (or any kids in general) is encouragement. Motivation is key. As the packet says, it is important  to support children's self esteem and self concepts. Using words like excellent, fantastic, and excellent make children feel valued. For small victories, thank them for their cooperation.I also have found it helpful to look special needs kids in the eyes, and even kneeling down to speak to them on their level.

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12 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 8:57 pm

Though it is more satisfying to know that the children are acknowledging you, i.e. through eye contact, caution needs to be taken when using this method with children who may have special needs. Some children with disabilities such as Asperger's find it difficult to make eye contact and if that is forced it can often make the situation worse. I know that the child at my site does not respond to forced eye contact but rather vocalization of the issue. I think that keeping a stern voice and talking to the child one on one is often enough to get the point across. Explanation is key when trying to bring a situation down to the level of child, especially for someone with a special need.

svaughan2 wrote:Caila, I like that you demanded that children look you in the eyes when you explained what was expected of them. I feel that the children I work with, especially those with special needs, will find other things to look at and focus on while I am talking to them and I many times wonder if they even truly listen to what I am saying and not merely hearing. At our site, we also try to ensure as much as possible that our special needs participants are encourage by a staff member when it is time to pay attention.

CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

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13 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 9:06 pm

I totally agree you with Kelly! We often times forget how much children love to hear someone tell them "Good job!" or "Thanks for being such a great helper"! I find a compliment does wonders for even the most unruly child simply because they like to know they are doing a good job. Every kid, special needs or not, needs to feel encouraged and as counselors we play a huge role in this process. The kids look up to us so much and they often strive to impress us. We have the ability to make every kid's day that much better by paying them a well deserved compliment for something big or small. Especially with special needs kids, motivation is extremely important. At any age, kids like to question and analyze the world around them and we need to create and sustain an environment in which they can do just that!

kellymags1 wrote:Special Needs

Throughout my life, I have had experiences with kids with disabilities. I've had the opportunity to work with teenagers with disabilities like autism, as well as younger kids with ADD. Across the board, I believe the most important thing in working with these kids (or any kids in general) is encouragement. Motivation is key. As the packet says, it is important  to support children's self esteem and self concepts. Using words like excellent, fantastic, and excellent make children feel valued. For small victories, thank them for their cooperation.I also have found it helpful to look special needs kids in the eyes, and even kneeling down to speak to them on their level.

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14 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 9:15 pm

CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

I agree about getting on the campers level and looking them in the eyes. It helps get their attention and allows us to keep their attention as were having a conversation with them. It is also necessary for them to see and know we are focusing on them, particularly if we are trying to change behavior.

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15 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 9:20 pm

bsapp1 wrote:I like what you said about patience. It is going to take a lot of patience for counselors and other campers to know how to work with children who have special needs. Just like the speaker mentioned, we should all communicate with the parents to know how to best handle a situation with each individual child. I agree with you that talking with a child one on one is better than in a group since they will be paying more attention to what you are saying and it will ensure they don't feel embarrassed or singled out of the group. I also agree that they always need something to do. This will keep their minds on the task at hand and not on acting out.

cnewton1 wrote:I have had a lot of experience with special needs at my current site. We have a few children with ADD or ADHD and also a child that has Asperger's. I've learned from working with these children that it just takes a little patience and understanding to figure out what does and doesn't work for them. It has been a learning process for both kids and counselors but just like anyone else, these kids have their good days and their bad days. I've learned with our ADD/ADHD kids that addressing the child alone works better than trying to get and keep their attention in a large group or around other kids. They also need to be kept busy as idle hands will wander. I learned a lot from the speaker on how to better handle high stress situations so that the children feel as though they are safe and in a trusted environment. I especially enjoyed hearing the speaker talk about handling children with Asperger's since we do indeed have a child that has this special need. I am learning day by day what works, i.e. explaining the schedule, listening to him talk out his problems, and what doesn't work, i.e. isolating him, not explaining the why of a situation. Working with kids of all types, not just special needs, is a learning process in which you will never know everything but all you can do is try.

That is a great point about letting the child know the schedule and what is expected of them. Taking that a step further, I like the idea of letting all the kids know whats going on that day! A lot of time, even if a kid doesn't love an activity, if they know something they like is happening soon, they are more likely to participate in the current activity. I also want to incorporate the idea of having kids have a say in the schedule. By hearing what each kid would like to do, we as counselors can create a schedule that will be fun for everyone!

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16 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 9:47 pm

Individual Age Characteristics

My experience with this age group in the past is with 2 or 3 group leaders. We would work together to come up with age appropriate activities. The one time I helped lead a soccer camp in Chicago it was hard to find age appropriate activities because at one time we would have 6 to 12 year old children. This made it difficult because of the wide range of ages. This is when we would pair children off with children close to the same age because at this age all kids can work on the same thing but at different levels. The packet gives me an idea of the kind of behaviors/attitudes I will be encountering throughout the summer. The program implications for each age group will be nice to have over the summer. Soccer is a sport that all ages can play. The most important implication for every age group will be keeping a routine. I was most surprised that during the ages of 11-13 bullying is seen most often. I honestly thought bully occurred before the age of 11. I think in our society bullying is becoming more frequent at a younger age.

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17 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 11:16 pm

Individual Age Characteristics

When working with different age groups you have to make sure that everyone is being occupied and doing something, whether it be the same or different activities. When I was working with a large group I tried to think of a couple of games that both would like to play, which was normally some sort of tag game. But also we would take turns with the different groups. I would say for the younger kids we will play there game first and then the older kids game next. That worked most of the time because it gave them different kinds of activities to do. This packet helps with organizing different activities that each age group will enjoy. Also, it gives us a better understanding of each age groups and how they will act. Nothing really surprised me, but one thing did catch my eye was that for ages 6 and 7, it is easy for them to get frustrated. I can see where that would come into play but I feel like younger kids just like to have fun and aren't that worried about things if they are occupied.

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18 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 11:37 pm

Working with other people to help organize age appropriate activities makes it easier to handle. But the way you handled your situation was a good idea. I agree with how you handled it because when it comes to sports the ages can play a role in how well they are able to do the activity, so pairing them up with their age makes it easier to be able to do the activities and helps them get better as an athlete. But I agree I thought that kids younger than 11-13 would be bullying others but if you think about it, this is the age where cliques start to happen for girls.

moretur wrote:Individual Age Characteristics

My experience with this age group in the past is with 2 or 3 group leaders.  We would work together to come up with age appropriate activities. The one time I helped lead a soccer camp in Chicago it was hard to find age appropriate activities because at one time we would have 6 to 12 year old children. This made it difficult because of the wide range of ages. This is when we would pair children off with children close to the same age because at this age all kids can work on the same thing but at different levels.  The packet gives me an idea of the kind of behaviors/attitudes I will be encountering throughout the summer. The program implications for each age group will be nice to have over the summer. Soccer is a sport that all ages can play. The most important implication for every age group will be keeping a routine. I was most surprised that during the ages of 11-13 bullying is seen most often. I honestly thought bully occurred before the age of 11. I think in our society bullying is becoming more frequent at a younger age.  

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19 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 11:52 pm

I agree when working with a large group you have to remember that the interests are different and some kids might not like the activity that you are doing. But that is also true that if one kid doesn't like it he or she can act out and that can cause some problems with the group. But if you have the right counselor to kid ratio it shouldn't cause that much chaos in the group. The age group 8-10 is difficult at times. But if they are the right songs and are catchy I feel like some of them will participate and also since kids want to be goofy and silly, they might do it just to get the other kids to laugh.

bsapp1 wrote:When working with a large age group in the past, I had to remember how different their interests are. Just like the packet mentioned, all ages go through stages of liking certain things and disliking other things. This can create chaos among a large group and can start behavior problems if they are not happy or having fun. This packet did help me with sorting activities that might interest each age group. One thing that did surprise me was the age group of 8-10. A lot of the kids that I work with now do not show pride from achievement and are not that thoughtful for others. I was surprised to see that the activities involved singing and dancing because I often picture only small children liking these things.

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20 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 12:39 pm

talvanos1 wrote:Individual Age Characteristics

When working with different age groups you have to make sure that everyone is being occupied and doing something, whether it be the same or different activities. When I was working with a large group I tried to think of a couple of games that both would like to play, which was normally some sort of tag game. But also we would take turns with the different groups. I would say for the younger kids we will play there game first and then the older kids game next. That worked most of the time because it gave them different kinds of activities to do. This packet helps with organizing different activities that each age group will enjoy. Also, it gives us a better understanding of each age groups and how they will act. Nothing really surprised me, but one thing did catch my eye was that for ages 6 and 7, it is easy for them to get frustrated. I can see where that would come into play but I feel like younger kids just like to have fun and aren't that worried about things if they are occupied.

I completely agree with you. It is important to keep kids busy. If they are busy there leaves no time to cause problems. I can see how it is easy for 6 and 7 year old to get frustrated. At this age kids like to play, but if it doesn't go their way they seem to get up set, anyways, this is my experience with my nephews at this age.

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21 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 12:49 pm

kellymags1 wrote:
CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

I agree about getting on the campers level and looking them in the eyes. It helps get their attention and allows us to keep their attention as were having a conversation with them. It is also necessary for them to see and know we are focusing on them, particularly if we are trying to change behavior.

It is very important for children to know they are important and are being heard. In education classes they stress getting on the students level when explaining something. When we tower over anyone it is intimidating even when adults tower over other adults. If we get on their level it reassures the child we are not big and scary. Routine is also stressed in the education field because children tend to misbehave when there are no routines.

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22 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 1:57 pm

Cailia I really like what you said about having a counselor or older camper sit next to a student who is having difficulty paying attention or staying on task. I have also found this very helpful, proximity to the students is very benefcial. I also really liked what you said about getting on the same level as the student. This helps to reduce distractions when talking to the student but also shows that you are really interested in hearing what they have to say. When dealing with special needs students in the future I will remeber to try this.






CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

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23 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 3:22 pm

The speaker absolutely prepared me much more for KKSE. I had anticipated students having high energy and feeling the need to sow their oats once school let out. However, I had not considered the possibility that the parents would take their children off their medication since they don’t have a school grade and assignments to focus on. Awareness is the first step to being prepared and I think the speaker did just that. Previously, I heard you should roll someone to their side when they are having a seizure, and to make sure they don’t bite their tongue. It was interesting to learn he doesn’t recommend that.

Right now, I work with some special needs students in my classroom. As an intern, I am not privy to the specifics in their IEPs. One of my students has ADHD and I’ve found that he is really fidgety. If I can keep his hands occupied, his mind is able to focus a little more on the task at hand. Mostly, I’ve found that the educators in his life have reached their frustration level with him. He needs more one-on-one to encourage him to keep trying. Another student with a disability in my class has slower development. He can speak and communicate just fine, but his writing is slow and he misses words in his writing. Either myself or an assistant will read assignments and directions to him, and occasionally act as scribe. Sometimes he misses social cues, but I find his honesty refreshing. He’s sweet natured, kind, and inquisitive.

While we aren’t able to reward these students immediately, as the packet says, and in some situations not encouraged to reward, I think it will be easier outside of the classroom setting. We will be able to reward ADHD students for good behavior with activity. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where each kid feels happy and accepted, one that fosters friendships and promotes a fabulous summer break experience.

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24 Individual Age Characteristics on April 7th 2014, 5:48 pm

Working at a field hockey camp with similar age ranges to KKSE, both skills and competitiveness were different with different age groups. When it came to very physical team games it was better to separate kids into age groups and take turns playing a game. I found partnering up an older kid and younger kid helped to merge together the age groups in activities, often the older kids helping the younger ones along the way. Also, when it comes to less in depth games or projects I find it would be good to have junior counselors. Letting the older kids help out while also, keeping them busy. The packet provides plenty of ideas for different age groups and how to keep them entertained, it's interesting to see the differences. One thing surprised when it said that kids ages 11-13 are less competitive.

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25 Reply on April 7th 2014, 5:59 pm

Bruce Harrel was extremely helpful for me as well as I've had very little experience with special needs kids. Knowing that keeping with a schedule and taking time out to make sure they understand what is going on will be helpful if there is a special needs child at the site. I believe patience is key and that you must keep calm if a child does breakdown or starts to get distracted.
svaughan2 wrote:Like many of us, I have also dealt with a number of children in various settings that have special needs. I found the speaker, Bruce Harrel, to be very helpful and I kept some of the children currently at my site in mind as he spoke. One child at my site for Kids Klub after school has Asperger's and I could not agree more with many of the things Mr. Harrel stated about children with Asperger's/Autism. One thing that stuck out in particular was when he mentioned the importance of sticking with a routine when dealing with children with Asperger's/Autism. I've noticed that the child at my site with Asperger's has a much smoother day and is a lot less stressed when I give him a clear breakdown for what's going to happen that day. Because our site is so small, our schedule tends to change often based on how many kids are left after homework time. I find at these times that it is more difficult for my child with Asperger's to stay calm during these times when our staff is trying to figure out the best way to make use of the remaining time.
At my site, we also have a child who according to his records does not have ADD/ADHD but shows many signs of the disorder. Just as Mr.Harrel stated, our staff is sure to give this child a specific task/objective especially during homework time and do our best to isolate this child when they are throwing a tantrum. I plan to continue with some of the methods of picked up on for dealing with children with special needs as well as keep in mind many of the things that Mr. Harrel stated last Tuesday.

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26 Reply on April 7th 2014, 8:25 pm

JBaker wrote:The speaker absolutely prepared me much more for KKSE. I had anticipated students having high energy and feeling the need to sow their oats once school let out. However, I had not considered the possibility that the parents would take their children off their medication since they don’t have a school grade and assignments to focus on. Awareness is the first step to being prepared and I think the speaker did just that. Previously, I heard you should roll someone to their side when they are having a seizure, and to make sure they don’t bite their tongue. It was interesting to learn he doesn’t recommend that.

Right now, I work with some special needs students in my classroom. As an intern, I am not privy to the specifics in their IEPs. One of my students has ADHD and I’ve found that he is really fidgety. If I can keep his hands occupied, his mind is able to focus a little more on the task at hand. Mostly, I’ve found that the educators in his life have reached their frustration level with him. He needs more one-on-one to encourage him to keep trying. Another student with a disability in my class has slower development. He can speak and communicate just fine, but his writing is slow and he misses words in his writing. Either myself or an assistant will read assignments and directions to him, and occasionally act as scribe. Sometimes he misses social cues, but I find his honesty refreshing. He’s sweet natured, kind, and inquisitive.

While we aren’t able to reward these students immediately, as the packet says, and in some situations not encouraged to reward, I think it will be easier outside of the classroom setting. We will be able to reward ADHD students for good behavior with activity. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where each kid feels happy and accepted, one that fosters friendships and promotes a fabulous summer break experience.
I was also surprised that the speaker mentioned parents often take their kids off of medicine for the summer. That's now something I will definitely keep an I out for. I agree that these kids do better with one on one attention, but it may be difficult to give that to them when handling a large group of kids.

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27 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 10:04 pm

It was extremely helpful having Mr. Harrell join us last week. He emphasized some things I've been practicing at my site that I didn't know if it was protocol. Working with Kids Klub, I have had a special needs camper at just about every site. From Asperger's to Autism, each need and each child is different. I am glad Bruce reassured us that we have to just follow a few simple guidelines for a smooth environment. I couldn't agree more with his rule of matching kids with special need and a counselor. I think in many ways it helps the kid with trust, coping, and social skills. One thing I did last summer was pulling the kid aside (when having a bad day) and really listening to what is going on. Mr. Harrell says to clear the room, but for our camp it may be best to remove the kid. One last thing I think I'm going to try and do more is helping my camp stick to a predictable routine more. We did a good job, but there's always room for improvement! That would have solved a few occasions where the kids with special needs had an off day.

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28 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 10:10 pm

Kelly, I couldn't agree more! For me, I think the "high-fives" are key. Nothing makes my heart feel good like when a kids looks up to you and is sporting a big grin waiting for that high five. I think we have to remember that we can possible change their bad days into good ones by simply using those self-esteem boosters like you mentioned!

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29 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 10:16 pm

I agree with you, I do think the older a kid gets, the more competitive he/she becomes. The competitiveness just becomes more focus driven while zeroing in on a certain target. As far as the partnering up the older and younger kid, I would love to know you you went about the pairing. I always found that to be a difficult task to get the older kids to enjoy hanging around the youngsters. Especially at my site last year where we had just an age gap.

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30 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 1:41 am

Individual Age Characteristics

At the daycare I previously worked at, at the beginning and end of the day, children from ages 5-12 were all placed in the same room while parents dropped off and picked up. This was an interesting situation because it was difficult to do any structured activities since children were constantly coming in and out and needed signed in and out. So, we opened different stations throughout the room (legos, coloring, books, blocks, sometimes dress-up, and more) which allowed children to be grouped by interest, so age did not tend to be a huge factor. This was also helpful because, like our packet said, 11-13 is where bullying starts to appear (and it seemed to appear even in the 8-10 year olds a little), but it seemed as though the bullying was only directed towards others in that age group. Having different stations allowed for a little separation of those ages for a little while, and since they spent the rest of the day together time apart was crucial. The younger kids also really looked up to some of the older ones, and some of the older kids really enjoyed spending with the little ones (especially when they had a sibling in the room), so this interaction gave the older kids a sense of importance, which was great because they started to act like role models to some of the other younger kids.

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31 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 1:48 am

I definitely agree with the idea of making sure campers are aware of what is expected of them, whether the camper has special needs of not. Knowing what they should be doing not only makes them aware of what they should be doing at all times, but also if they do misbehave, you can remind them of what you previously said and hope that the little reminders will help change their behavior instead of having to pull them aside each time they aren't listening.

CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

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32 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 1:51 am

I definitely agree with you! Simply telling a child "great job!" or giving them a high five motivates them to always have that great behavior because they take pride in you noticing their actions. I've also noticed that things like this tend to help change the behavior of the other campers/kids in the room, because they see someone else get a high five from the counselor and now they want one as well, and will change their behaviors to match.

quote="kellymags1"]Special Needs

Throughout my life, I have had experiences with kids with disabilities. I've had the opportunity to work with teenagers with disabilities like autism, as well as younger kids with ADD. Across the board, I believe the most important thing in working with these kids (or any kids in general) is encouragement. Motivation is key. As the packet says, it is important  to support children's self esteem and self concepts. Using words like excellent, fantastic, and excellent make children feel valued. For small victories, thank them for their cooperation.I also have found it helpful to look special needs kids in the eyes, and even kneeling down to speak to them on their level.[/quote]

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33 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 11:51 am

kjenkins3 wrote:Individual Age Characteristics

At the daycare I previously worked at, at the beginning and end of the day, children from ages 5-12 were all placed in the same room while parents dropped off and picked up. This was an interesting situation because it was difficult to do any structured activities since children were constantly coming in and out and needed signed in and out. So, we opened different stations throughout the room (legos, coloring, books, blocks, sometimes dress-up, and more) which allowed children to be grouped by interest, so age did not tend to be a huge factor. This was also helpful because, like our packet said, 11-13 is where bullying starts to appear (and it seemed to appear even in the 8-10 year olds a little), but it seemed as though the bullying was only directed towards others in that age group. Having different stations allowed for a little separation of those ages for a little while, and since they spent the rest of the day together time apart was crucial.  The younger kids also really looked up to some of the older ones, and some of the older kids really enjoyed spending with the little ones (especially when they had a sibling in the room), so this interaction gave the older kids a sense of importance, which was great because they started to act like role models to some of the other younger kids.


Setting up different stations is a good idea to engage all different learners. I think it is good for children of all ages to interact with each other for a short time because sometimes older kids will be aggressive when playing with kids their own age. But when they play with someone younger they have to have be aware that kids younger than them are less aggressive.

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34 Working with Special Needs Kids on April 8th 2014, 12:12 pm

During the summer of my senior year in high school, I worked with a little girl who had Down Syndrome and her little brother who was highly autistic. It was the the most challenging experience of my life. In the beginning, it was hard because I didn't truly understand how much pattern and routine matter to a child with special needs. If we switched to an activity too soon, it would cause a meltdown. Anything that disrupted the flow of their day would cause a meltdown.
Eventually I learned how to predict an issue before it occurred, which in turn would stop a meltdown from happening. I learned how to manage my own patience when working with kids, because to work with special needs kids, you have to be understanding and willing to remain calm. It was a great experience and I'm glad I was able to work with such a different group of kids over the years.

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35 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 12:51 pm

Individual Age Characteristics

I have had the opportunity to work with large age groups during my field placements throughout the past few semesters of college. I tend to work with younger age groups but I have had the opportunity to see how different each age group handles situations and the types of activities that they need. When I would with different ages groups I always take into consideration where the children are developmentally and what activities will work best for them and give them the best experience possible. I also try to make sure that all students are doing something and that each age group is doing an activity that is appropriate for them. I think this packet helped me see more how to handle older children because I haven't really had a chance to work with children above the age of eight. This packet helped to show me the clear differences between age groups where it is appropriate to separate them at. I think what I found the most surprising was the amount of bullying that can still take place, even in a summer camp. I know that bullying is a very big issue in the teen years but in a summer camp you normally encounter the same people year to year and you would think that would influence them in a more positive way but I also like how this packet addressed this issue because it is a serious one. I know that I will be on the look out for bullying behavior and will strive to entertain the kids and keep them busy so this does not occur.

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36 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 12:55 pm

sekiefer wrote:During the summer of my senior year in high school, I worked with a little girl who had Down Syndrome and her little brother who was highly autistic. It was the the most challenging experience of my life. In the beginning, it was hard because I didn't truly understand how much pattern and routine matter to a child with special needs. If we switched to an activity too soon, it would cause a meltdown. Anything that disrupted the flow of their day would cause a meltdown.
Eventually I learned how to predict an issue before it occurred, which in turn would stop a meltdown from happening. I learned how to manage my own patience when working with kids, because to work with special needs kids, you have to be understanding and willing to remain calm. It was a great experience and I'm glad I was able to work with such a different group of kids over the years.

I really agree with how you handled this situation. I think that it takes a lot of patience to work with children with special need and that it is best to keep a routine as much as possible. I think that this is a great experience and I would love to have an opportunity like this one day.

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37 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 12:57 pm

CailaWhite wrote:Special Needs

I have a number of experience with special needs campers and students. In both situations I have found that a variety of the same methods work. When there is a situations where they need to be paying attention/listening I have found that it is often helpful to have a counselor or older camper next to them, quietly encouraging them to pay attention. Another thing that worked well for me last summer was getting down to the campers level and making sure they heard what was expected of them. I would ask them to look me in the eyes, explain to them what they needed to change about their actions or whatever else was the issue, and finish by making sure they understood their expectations. Another things that often helped was telling the camper when they arrived what we would be doing that day. They way they would not always ask what was next, a specific schedule can make many campers feel more comfortable.

I really like how you strived to make sure the children knew what they were doing during the day. I think that is important to inform them in advance about what is going on because it helps them feel like there is a routine which they need. I also liked how you provided them with extra help because that truly goes a long way with children with special needs.

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38 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 3:34 pm

The speaker really opened my eyes on new ways to handle specific disorders that we may come to at our sites. I knew how to handle kids with disorders, but the speaker showed me approaches and techniques that may work a lot better than what I have been doing. There have been some times where I can get frustrated with kids that have the disorders and do not want to listen to you as a counselor. It makes the job really hard when you need to focus on 45 more kids along with those who sometimes need extra attention. I now know to be more patient with the kids that have disorders and how to react when they become frustrated with me and quite possibly themselves. The speaker taught me how to remain calm and be patient with these children.

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39 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 3:36 pm

dallasmavs134140 has a really great idea that I have never even considered before about partnering the special needs students up with another student. The only thing to be aware about with this is to make sure that it will not cause frustration or arguments along with the other kids if they are not happy about who they are being paired up with. This is where the counselors need to work together in trying to avoid those situations when pairing kids up.

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40 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 3:39 pm

cnewton1 I agree with how you said that the kids with disorders need to be kept busy or their hands will wonder. When the children with special needs get bored that is when they become a little bit more of a handful to handle because they get so much energy from not being occupied. As counselors, we need to keep their minds and hands going and make sure they have plenty of things to interest them and keep them busy while they are enjoying themselves.

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41 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 5:55 pm

I thought the special needs speaker was very informative and interesting. I learned a lot of new things about how to best handle different situations involving campers with a various range of special needs. I though one of the most useful pieces of information shared with us by the speaker was the method of talking to parents about their child’s camp behavior. I think this is important in order for us counselors to keep a professional image.
I have had experience working with people with various types of special needs. In my previous job at a children’s facility, I occasionally hosted a birthday party for or otherwise worked with a child with some kind of special need. I am also an active member of Best Buddies at Salisbury University, where I frequently participate in many activities with people with special needs. From these experiences, I have realized that like the speaker pointed out, routine really is key for children who have a form of special needs.

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42 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 6:01 pm

cnewton1 wrote:I have had a lot of experience with special needs at my current site. We have a few children with ADD or ADHD and also a child that has Asperger's. I've learned from working with these children that it just takes a little patience and understanding to figure out what does and doesn't work for them. It has been a learning process for both kids and counselors but just like anyone else, these kids have their good days and their bad days. I've learned with our ADD/ADHD kids that addressing the child alone works better than trying to get and keep their attention in a large group or around other kids. They also need to be kept busy as idle hands will wander. I learned a lot from the speaker on how to better handle high stress situations so that the children feel as though they are safe and in a trusted environment. I especially enjoyed hearing the speaker talk about handling children with Asperger's since we do indeed have a child that has this special need. I am learning day by day what works, i.e. explaining the schedule, listening to him talk out his problems, and what doesn't work, i.e. isolating him, not explaining the why of a situation. Working with kids of all types, not just special needs, is a learning process in which you will never know everything but all you can do is try.

I agree with your point that patience is key when working with special needs campers or students. From my experiences this is something I have often observed. When a person is not patient with a special needs child, the child sometimes becomes even more distraught and challenging.

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43 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 6:09 pm

svaughan2 wrote:Like many of us, I have also dealt with a number of children in various settings that have special needs. I found the speaker, Bruce Harrel, to be very helpful and I kept some of the children currently at my site in mind as he spoke. One child at my site for Kids Klub after school has Asperger's and I could not agree more with many of the things Mr. Harrel stated about children with Asperger's/Autism. One thing that stuck out in particular was when he mentioned the importance of sticking with a routine when dealing with children with Asperger's/Autism. I've noticed that the child at my site with Asperger's has a much smoother day and is a lot less stressed when I give him a clear breakdown for what's going to happen that day. Because our site is so small, our schedule tends to change often based on how many kids are left after homework time. I find at these times that it is more difficult for my child with Asperger's to stay calm during these times when our staff is trying to figure out the best way to make use of the remaining time.
At my site, we also have a child who according to his records does not have ADD/ADHD but shows many signs of the disorder. Just as Mr.Harrel stated, our staff is sure to give this child a specific task/objective especially during homework time and do our best to isolate this child when they are throwing a tantrum. I plan to continue with some of the methods of picked up on for dealing with children with special needs as well as keep in mind many of the things that Mr. Harrel stated last Tuesday.

I also though the part of the presentation about keeping to a routine was crucial for us as camp counselors. The campers will be doing many different activities throughout the day, so it is important for us to give campers with special needs a steady routine to the best of our ability.

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44 Re: on April 8th 2014, 6:46 pm

Great suggestion! I agree that getting down on their level can be really helpful. I have tried this with success in the classroom as well. Not only are you able to establish eye contact but that extra effort can go a long way. It makes the child feel less like you are just an authority figure talking down at them. they won't feel so nervous and they will be more receptive to what you are saying.

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45 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 6:54 pm

I agree with your statement to move the camper instead of the camp. It would help the counselors stick the the schedule rather than having to vacate the area and find a new activity, especially if the majority of the campers are enjoying that activity. It makes me wonder if clearing the room also sends an undesirable message to the camper having a bad day: my actions can force everyone to move and find a new activity. I would agree the protocol would be to spend a few minutes with the camper in another area and just talk it out.

shwnmard wrote:It was extremely helpful having Mr. Harrell join us last week. He emphasized some things I've been practicing at my site that I didn't know if it was protocol. Working with Kids Klub, I have had a special needs camper at just about every site. From Asperger's to Autism, each need and each child is different. I am glad Bruce reassured us that we have to just follow a few simple guidelines for a smooth environment. I couldn't agree more with his rule of matching kids with special need and a counselor. I think in many ways it helps the kid with trust, coping, and social skills. One thing I did last summer was pulling the kid aside (when having a bad day) and really listening to what is going on. Mr. Harrell says to clear the room, but for our camp it may be best to remove the kid. One last thing I think I'm going to try and do more is helping my camp stick to a predictable routine more. We did a good job, but there's always room for improvement! That would have solved a few occasions where the kids with special needs had an off day.

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46 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 15th 2014, 2:16 pm

I agree that sometimes it is difficult to keep a group made up of different aged campers occupied. I noticed myself that often the older campers get annoyed and bored. I liked your suggestion about playing the younger campers game first. If you explain to the older campers that you're doing this and that after they will play their game they are often more interested in playing. I think all campers just want to know that their counselors understand what they want and that they will do their best to help them get it.

talvanos1 wrote:Individual Age Characteristics

When working with different age groups you have to make sure that everyone is being occupied and doing something, whether it be the same or different activities. When I was working with a large group I tried to think of a couple of games that both would like to play, which was normally some sort of tag game. But also we would take turns with the different groups. I would say for the younger kids we will play there game first and then the older kids game next. That worked most of the time because it gave them different kinds of activities to do. This packet helps with organizing different activities that each age group will enjoy. Also, it gives us a better understanding of each age groups and how they will act. Nothing really surprised me, but one thing did catch my eye was that for ages 6 and 7, it is easy for them to get frustrated. I can see where that would come into play but I feel like younger kids just like to have fun and aren't that worried about things if they are occupied.

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47 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on April 15th 2014, 2:25 pm

I agree, being in field placements has allowed me to gain a tremendous understanding for where children stand developmentally as well. I have also worked with younger age groups and spending a whole semester with a specific age allows you to understand how they response to situations and what types of activities are best for them. This also allows for a better understanding of what is considered an "age-approriate" activity.
Kmarz17 wrote:Individual Age Characteristics

   I have had the opportunity to work with large age groups during my field placements throughout the past few semesters of college. I tend to work with younger age groups but I have had the opportunity to see how different each age group handles situations and the types of activities that they need. When I would with different ages groups I always take into consideration where the children are developmentally and what activities will work best for them and give them the best experience possible. I also try to make sure that all students are doing something and that each age group is doing an activity that is appropriate for them. I think this packet helped me see more how to handle older children because I haven't really had a chance to work with children above the age of eight. This packet helped to show me the clear differences between age groups where it is appropriate to separate them at. I think what I found the most surprising was the amount of bullying that can still take place, even in a summer camp. I know that bullying is a very big issue in the teen years but in a summer camp you normally encounter the same people year to year and you would think that would influence them in a more positive way but I also like how this packet addressed this issue because it is a serious one. I know that I will be on the look out for bullying behavior and will strive to entertain the kids and keep them busy so this does not occur.

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48 Re: Training #2 Homework 1 on May 11th 2014, 11:25 am

I have worked with individuals who have special needs on multiple occasions. In my field placement this past semester, I have worked with autistic and ELL students, and also students who have IEPs, ADHD. I believe the most important thing to remember when working with campers who have special needs is to remember that they need a little more one-on-one attention than other campers may need. Patience is also key when working with campers who have special needs. Sometimes they may get frustrated or upset, and may need to take a moment to get themselves together. When this happens in my field placement, my mentor teacher allows them to take a quick walk to either the bathroom or water fountain, and return when they get themselves under control. It’s also important to remember that campers with special needs want to feel included, and not singled out for their special needs. Assigning these individuals buddies during camp may also help them complete challenging tasks.

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