Welcome, one and all to the first post of Exceptional Paradise! I'm going to start this blog by explaining the title of this blog. Phil Vasar has a song called Just Another Day in Paradise which describes the home life of a fairly typical couple--nothing's perfect but they make do with what they have and enjoy it. I like to think of my teaching and classroom in that manner. While teaching students with significant disabilities I have found that nothing will ever be perfect but you can have a lot of fun and everyone can learn a lot. I also considered my room a haven, far away from standardized, multiple choice testing that drives so much of our instruction these days.
Let me also start this blog by giving a bit of background about myself. I have wanted to work with kids with significant cognitive disabilities since I was in 4th grade. I had 4 kids mainstreamed into my class and I thought they were awesome! I worked with the life skills classes in high school my junior and senior years in high school as a peer tutor and have found that I still draw upon those experiences, many years later. I went to Vanderbilt University (Go Dores!) and majored in Special Education, concentrating on Deaf Education and Severe and Multiple Disabilities. I then moved to the DC Metro area and currently work for Fairfax County Public Schools. I have spent 3 years in an elementary school teaching children with developmental disabilities as well as 1 year in a high school teaching children with mild to moderate mental retardation and autism. Currently, I am a member of our assistive technology services. I am also getting my Masters degree in Assistive Technology from George Mason.
So, that's the down low on me, tell me who you are!