Poor kid caught a stray bullet a few years back and is now my student. I’m not uncomfortable around wheelchairs but this is my first time being a teacher to a student in a wheelchair that did not also have a diagnosis of MR. Just her legs, not her brains.
SO! I’ve already made the usual mistakes (“When you’re done, we’ll take a seat in the conference room and chat about your goals” - :smack:) that are no big deal. And she has a sense of humor, too.
But I realized yesterday that she doesn’t have a 504 plan. She dropped out after being shot and is now back in school a year later. Obviously she’ll need the basic accommodations - making sure pathways are clear, clearing the chair at the desk when she comes to class, etc. No big deal. She knows some of the other kids and is comfortable.
Our “school” has three sessions that are 4 hours long each. Kids attend one session for four hours. I figure someday she’ll need to use the restroom and I seem to be the only teacher who thought of the obvious.
We have a student bathroom that’s large and accessible. How to best approach this with the student? How do I know if she needs assistance? She knows where the restroom is, but I don’t know the extent of her injuries - just that she can’t walk.
And…anything else I should think of? I noticed one of the other teachers was being…well…I’m not sure how to explain it, but especially nice*. It’s hard not to - the girl had a rough go of it and seems to be sweet - but I’m not like that. I don’t have a habit of babying students with learning disabilities and I’m not going to start because someone’s in a wheelchair. I’m also responsible for her grades, so I already know she won’t be given special attention on standards.
</shrug> I’m pretty comfortable around all students, but I could tell the girl seemed overwhelmed the first day and she has a lot of work to do to graduate this year. I just want her to be comfortable. I also know she’s a female who’s growing up and, like, most teens, values her independence.
*When I say especially nice, I mean “talk in a sort of sweet and super calm way” nice. It’s the same voice I use with 7th graders when they’re ready to throw their math book. It just sounds strange…and…demeaning because it was obvious.