In my first of two sessions here, I am taking “Children with Special Needs.” As an aspiring therapist, I believe it is imperative for me to be able to understand and connect with anyone who walks into my office, so I’m taking this class to increase my diversity as a resource for children and families. “Special needs” means just about anything – physical impairments, chronic illnesses, abusive family backgrounds, intellectual disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, social and communication problems – and we are learning how to help these children live as “normal” a life as possible while connecting them to the resources they need.
Trine (on the left) is such a cool instructor. She changes around her mode of presentation frequently to keep class engagement high! We watch videos, have group discussions, listen to her present, talk about what she does as a consultant for people who work with children with special needs, welcome guest speakers (3 so far!), and have optional after-class trips.
In addition to the theory we learn in class, we get to practice what we’re learning (a la Scandinavian educational style) at practicum. Each Monday, instead of having class, we go to schools around Copenhagen and work with children of all ages. Some speak English, but most don’t – an exciting challenge! One of my classmates and I are at an after-school program for children ages 6-10 and it’s basically a 4-hour long recess where the kids get to use their imaginations and learn how to be part of a group. It’s SO much fun! I wish I could take pictures there – the kids and pedagogues are wonderful.
My 28 classmates are future educators, speech pathologists, therapists, consultants, and so many more who have lots to contribute to class discussions. We meet in the lively center of Copenhagen near a pedestrian shopping street, a large and bustling square of activity, and all sorts of beautiful buildings and delicious restaurants. “Europe as your classroom” is such a true statement at DIS!