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#1 scottiebie

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:21 PM

I have 20+ years of community college teaching experience. zero experience as a professional therapist.  Does anyone have suggestions/recommendations to teach beginning wheel throwing to a person who lacks cognitive skills.



#2 GiselleNo5

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 02:22 PM

I worked with special needs kids for a few years. They had various disabilities, many were also cognitively impaired. I never did any kind of pottery with them but I can say that based on the different needs and limitations each one was very different. My best suggestion is to observe each child and what they CAN do. If there is something that is difficult, think about a way to make it easier. 

 

I don't know if wheel throwing is the best thing to start with someone who has cognitive impairment. It can be really frustrating when you struggle to center and the kids I worked with were easily frustrated anyway, so something with a low success rate to begin with would have become impossible for them. I'm not saying not to let them try it but perhaps introducing coil work, pinch pots, letting them texture slabs and then cut shapes out with cookie cutters ... those activities are instantly gratifying and immediately possible for even very small children. Often kids with developmental disabilities are at a much lower age level so try to think what you would have a child at their age level do while still recognizing that they are also older, perhaps a teenager, and don't want to be treated like a baby! It's a delicate balance but I can tell you that when you make that connection with a kid, when you figure out which window is open after trying door after locked door ... it's amazing. :) Extremely rewarding. 

 

I follow this business's Instagram account, they work with autistic children. http://www.dynamixce...amix.org/┬áTheirbusiness was started after years of looking for something for their autistic daughter to do. They do wheel throwing with autistic kids, they post great videos on Instagram. My guess is that they may be willing to talk to you and give suggestions, answer questions etc. I have always found them to be extremely kind and friendly in my small dealings with them. 


I create order from chaos. And also, chaos from order.

 

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#3 scottiebie

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 06:32 PM

I worked with special needs kids for a few years. They had various disabilities, many were also cognitively impaired. I never did any kind of pottery with them but I can say that based on the different needs and limitations each one was very different. My best suggestion is to observe each child and what they CAN do. If there is something that is difficult, think about a way to make it easier. 

 

I don't know if wheel throwing is the best thing to start with someone who has cognitive impairment. It can be really frustrating when you struggle to center and the kids I worked with were easily frustrated anyway, so something with a low success rate to begin with would have become impossible for them. I'm not saying not to let them try it but perhaps introducing coil work, pinch pots, letting them texture slabs and then cut shapes out with cookie cutters ... those activities are instantly gratifying and immediately possible for even very small children. Often kids with developmental disabilities are at a much lower age level so try to think what you would have a child at their age level do while still recognizing that they are also older, perhaps a teenager, and don't want to be treated like a baby! It's a delicate balance but I can tell you that when you make that connection with a kid, when you figure out which window is open after trying door after locked door ... it's amazing. :) Extremely rewarding. 

 

I follow this business's Instagram account, they work with autistic children. http://www.dynamixce...amix.org/┬áTheirbusiness was started after years of looking for something for their autistic daughter to do. They do wheel throwing with autistic kids, they post great videos on Instagram. My guess is that they may be willing to talk to you and give suggestions, answer questions etc. I have always found them to be extremely kind and friendly in my small dealings with them. 

Thank you for your response.

This person was a older adult student enrolled in a public community college intro to ceramics course where a student would learn both basic hand building and wheel throwing.   A student enrolled at the college can choose to not disclose a disability as part of their personal right to privacy.  The student did okay with hand building skills but when it came to learning how to throw, the student would constantly ask for help right after I would present a throwing demo.  I remember repeating various steps 3 to 4 times, showing body, hands and finger positions, feeling guilty about spending more time with this student while taking time away to help my other 20 students.  I knew something was different with this student, but without knowing the student's background, I had to figure out how to approach the challenge.  The student eventually disclosed the disability, but it was disclosed after several weeks into the semester.  I tried to spend time before and after class time to help.  Again, I am not a professional therapist, I tried my best to be patient, but apparently the student did not think I was patient enough.  This student wrote a complaint against me to the art chairperson and dean.  This was my first experience with a student like this.



#4 LeeU

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 07:20 PM

In NH we have the Govenor's Office on DIsabilty. Look for a similar agency in your state. As a state oversight agency, the staff should be extremely well-versed in resources and rights, and can point you in a direction to learn more about the factors involved with individuals with such needs in an educational environment.

 

Unfortunately, complaints in the area of disability law/rights can become serious and may involve entities other than the school. If you might have other such students in the future, now is a good time to learn more about how to deal with the mix of challenges (sugg. document your efforts/contacts). 


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#5 JBaymore

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 09:40 PM

In NH we have the Govenor's Office on DIsabilty. Look for a similar agency in your state. As a state oversight agency, the staff should be extremely well-versed in resources and rights, and can point you in a direction to learn more about the factors involved with individuals with such needs in an educational environment.

 

Unfortunately, complaints in the area of disability law/rights can become serious and may involve entities other than the school. If you might have other such students in the future, now is a good time to learn more about how to deal with the mix of challenges (sugg. document your efforts/contacts). 

 

SOLID advice from a pro.

 

best,

 

.................john


John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council
 

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

http://www.nhia.edu/...ty/john-baymore


#6 Denice

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:08 AM

Since the first step is learning how to center you might make up a chart that has a drawing of each step.  Make sure the charts are laminated with clear plastic.  The first one could be a ball on the wheel head the next one a cone.  Then a flattened cone,  the next step my instructor called the semi tractor, you keep making cards they can follow until they finish throwing.  It depends on what type of cognitive problems they are having,  I have MS and have some cognitive problems,  math and spelling are going downhill  and some memory issues.  I make a lot more lists than I use to.    Denice



#7 GiselleNo5

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:52 AM

Ahhh I see, not a child. :( 

I'm sorry that you find yourself in a situation like this. 

My friend is blind and took pottery classes at a community college but she had an aide with her. I'm going to end up having her over here to my studio and help her with throwing because she missed out on a ton that was all visual. The aide didn't know pottery at all so wasn't able to fill in any gaps. And my friend is very very quiet so she wouldn't ask for extra help. 


I create order from chaos. And also, chaos from order.

 

https://www.giselleno5ceramics.com/

GiselleNo5.etsy.com

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#8 GiselleNo5

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:56 AM

 

 

 

I'm sorry that I misunderstood. I thought perhaps you were going to be teaching a special class and I missed the part about the community college.

It sounds like you helped in every way possible. If you are working with a large group like that it's very challenging to meet one person's specific needs as well as taking care of everyone else at the same time. I was fortunate enough to work one-on-one or one-on-two with the kids. I can't imagine seeing to twenty others at the same time! Let us know how it turns out! :( 


I create order from chaos. And also, chaos from order.

 

https://www.giselleno5ceramics.com/

GiselleNo5.etsy.com

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#9 neilestrick

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:36 AM

I had a student once, a woman in her 40's, who joined my throwing class with her mother. Neither disclosed that the daughter had early onset Alzheimer's but it became obvious that there was something going on the firs day of class. She was unable to follow more than one direction at a time, and needed a lot of one-on-one time to get her through the process, like the entire time. Luckily I only had a couple of other beginning students in that class, as would have been impossible to help more than that because of the amount of time needed to work with her. Fortunately for me, she wasn't really enjoying working on the wheel, so we switched over to hand building, where she was able to do very well with repetitive projects like building with coils. I have no idea what I would have done had she wanted to continue to work on the wheel, because I don't know what the laws are regarding assistance for people with special needs when it comes to private businesses. In a public school setting, however, there are laws about the school providing help- at least there are at kids' schools. I assume the same laws would apply to community colleges. Like Lee said, you need to talk with the school to figure this out before it happens again. You'll also need to find out the rules concerning how to deal with it, like if you're even allowed to ask the student about her needs if she doesn't bring it up herself. Legally, it can be a very touchy area.


Neil Estrick
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#10 bciskepottery

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:23 AM

Students with a disability (or their minor parents/guardians or school counselor) must inform the instructor if the student needs/expects accommodations.  And he/she should have that discussion with you at the start of the class term. 

 

For your next class, on the first day specifically ask that any students with a disability that needs accommodations speak to you separately and from there you and the student can jointly work out a plan.  But if they don't tell you, and you are not a trained diagnostician, then it can't be your fault later on. 

 

Students fail to inform their instructors of their need for accommodation; too many times, my wife (a retired college instructor) found this out when explaining to the student why he/she was failing the course and then student telling her for the first time, "But I am supposed to get an accommodation for longer test periods because of __________." 



#11 GEP

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:56 AM

Students with a disability (or their minor parents/guardians or school counselor) must inform the instructor if the student needs/expects accommodations.  And he/she should have that discussion with you at the start of the class term. 


Having been through a similar situation as scottiebie, I agree with this wholeheartedly. But I think there are laws that allow people to keep their medical conditions private. Correct me if I'm wrong, this was the impression I got in my case. Anyways, a teacher should be trusted to keep the information private if that's what the student wants. And this allows the teacher to prepare for the extra work and considerations that are going to be required, and to enlist a helper (trained or experienced in therapy) if that will be needed. A student who chooses to keep their condition from the teacher should not be surprised when the class doesn't meet their needs. I'm saying this in an "it would be nice" sense. Not sure if there are enough resources or expertise to do things this way.
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#12 JBaymore

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 01:04 PM

Can't speak to public schools and K-12 and their IEPs.

 

For college, a student does not HAVE to disclose or ask for academic accommodations.  And yes, student records are protected by FERPA  (like HIPPA for medical stuff).  If they don't initiate this process, you need to figure out how to deal with the situation as you would with ANY individual in your classroom.  It can be tough.  (That's why we make the "big bucks". ;) )

 

As a professor, we are barred from suggesting that a specific person should do so even if we suspect some disability.  We give a blanket statement in the course syllabus that it is available, and that students should go to the Student Affairs office to get the necessary forms.  What the professor gets back from that office is not a diagnosis or discussion of the actual situation (cognitive or physical assessment or diagnosis).... but what we are allowed (and must) do as far as accomodations stand.  We and the student both have to sign off on that we received it and understand it.  It might say something like "extra time on tests and assignments".  Or "verbal tests administered/proctored in the Student Affairs office".  Or "Provide copies of professor's class presentation notes".  Stuff like that.

 

We can't do anything to change the academic standards for the course that is NOT specifically listed there.

 

The Deans and the Administration are your friends in dealing with this stuff.  Someone in the school has formal training on Students with Disabilities that is there to help you figure it all out.  I'm pretty sure that position is there in all colleges by law.

 

best,

 

...............john


John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council
 

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

http://www.nhia.edu/...ty/john-baymore


#13 scottiebie

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 01:06 PM

Students with a disability (or their minor parents/guardians or school counselor) must inform the instructor if the student needs/expects accommodations.  And he/she should have that discussion with you at the start of the class term. 

 

For your next class, on the first day specifically ask that any students with a disability that needs accommodations speak to you separately and from there you and the student can jointly work out a plan.  But if they don't tell you, and you are not a trained diagnostician, then it can't be your fault later on. 

 

Students fail to inform their instructors of their need for accommodation; too many times, my wife (a retired college instructor) found this out when explaining to the student why he/she was failing the course and then student telling her for the first time, "But I am supposed to get an accommodation for longer test periods because of __________." 

On the first day of instruction, I hand out a course syllabus.  In the syllabus I have a statement that addresses students with disabilities.  I verbally review my syllabus and point out this statement out, stating that if a student with disability may contact the college's disabled student services office which offers help and provides accommodations. I include the contact phone number. At the college where I instruct, a student with a disability can choose not to disclose their disability to their instructor. This is to protect a student's right to privacy.  I found out after the fact after spending about a third of the semester, that this student was a member of the college service. So if I am not a professional therapist, I can not diagnose and guess what a student has deficiencies in, if the student chooses not to share disability with me.



#14 Denice

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 01:54 PM

I have a friend whose son has cognitive problems, he tried taking a pottery class but was unable to handle it.  He did like cleaning the studio, organizing, helping to make clay and glazes.  He doesn't enroll in the class anymore but he goes in early in the morning and starts cleaning and then helps the instructors with any jobs that need to be done.  The community college and his parents agreed to let him do this, he doesn't get paid but it gives him a purpose in life.  He is no longer depressed and looks forward to working at the school everyday.     Denice



#15 D.M.Ernst

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 02:44 PM

Twenty six years ago I started teaching pottery classes in a retirement community.  I was greeted at the door to the art room by a "little old gray-haired lady."  She said, Are you D?  I said yes,  She said, "I"m J and I cannot see and I cannot hear, and I'm going to be your student."  I nearly fainted!

 

She had macular degeneration which causes all kinds of vision problems.  She taught me much about how to deal with such vision issues and with seniors in general.  She did learn to throw on the potter's wheel, a kick wheel at that,  and we both learned ways to get important instructions to her in a way she could use.  J had her limitations, but she taught me so much about life, living, and teaching just because we were both willing to "take a chance".  

 

Because she told me right away what her limitations were, I was able to adapt my lessons to fit her needs.

 

Today I am still using the lessons taught to me by my first (retirement home) student.






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