I think this forum topic is a wonderful idea. In my 23 years of teaching, I spent 3 years teaching DH (developmentally handicapped) students. I taught students from 3rd grade to 8th grade. I had to be careful that I didn't have more than a 5-year age span difference between any 2 students who were in the room together. I had no planning time -- there was no time during the day that students weren't in my room, except for lunch. It was hard. I wasn't educationally prepared, nor did I have any personal experience with students with special needs. I felt like a failure all the time. There was no professional support, except for the principal telling me what a great job I was doing -- I think he just wanted to keep me in there.
When I did get a "regular" classroom, I realized that in the 30+ students in any particular class, there were DH students sitting right there day after day -- they just weren't "labeled" as such. Being able to meet their needs along with the needs of the other students was almost overwhelming. With "inclusion" being the buzz word right now in relation to special education, it's becoming more and more challenging to develop lesson plans that are broad enough to meet all the student's academic needs. Are there suggestions out there that any of you feel do a good job at this? I'm curious to hear what you may have done that worked successfully. I taught language arts and social studies up until this year -- now I'm the computer teacher. But I'd still like to hear your suggestions. I'm mentoring the new teacher who took my place -- I'd love to share with her any suggestions you might have.