Interview with Chris Jay
How would you describe your role as intervener in the classroom and part of the educational team?
My role as intervener in the classroom and part of the educational team is one of a skilled professional. I play a vital role in the education of my student who is deaf-blind. I have a bond of trust and understanding of my student that adds to the team, like no other person can. I integrate the methods and strategies throughout the day of his service providers and share information with his team members so everyone can work in an effective way with him. I attend all of his team meetings, IEP meetings and I participate fully in those meetings. I read the student’s IEP and know my student’s goals and objectives. I participate in program planning with the teacher and his team. I have the support of the teacher to make adaptations and modifications to his lessons. When giving instruction, I provide my student with the necessary information for direct learning experiences that are functional and meaningful. I am a vital person in the education of my student.
What is the most significant piece that you feel you have learned from the intervener training and working with the student that has changed your practice?
The most significant piece I have learned from the intervener training and working with my student that has changed my practice is that of behavior. I have learned that what appears to be “negative behavior” is in fact, a type of communication. I have learned to step back, think about the behavior, and listen to my student. When the behavior occurs he is trying to tell me something is not right in his world. I facilitate on-going communicative interactions between us to develop opportunities for conversations. This encourages him to communicate which lessens his frustration and behavior.
What are the on-going challenges you face as an intervener?
There are many on-going challenges I face as an intervener, although one in particular stands out the most: when a team member or co-worker does not respect my role as an intervener. It is very difficult when I have to step in, for the sake of the student, and then be treated as a “non-professional”. Most of the people I work with are extremely supportive of my role, although there are always a few! Another challenge I face is when my student is exhibiting behaviors outside of the classroom. I try hard to take control of the situation but there are times when the situation takes control of me. I have to go through my repertoire of ideas to see what works. This, for example, poses a problem in the hallways when there are many children trying to travel between classes. The situation is always remedied but when we are in the moment it can be a trying time. Another challenge I face is not having enough time to make materials or prepare experience books. There is not enough time in the day to get everything done.
What types of support do you think that an intervener needs to be successful?
I feel a critical piece that supports an intervener is to be in a team that works together for the sake of the student. Two key players are the Special Education Teacher and the intervener. There is much success when the teacher is leading, supporting and collaborating with the intervener. The student with deaf-blindness will be more successful when the teacher, intervener and all the members of the team work well together. Another key support is that of the parents and family. As an intervener, I work very closely with their child on a daily basis. I respect their individual differences and they respect mine. With the support of your team and family you can guide, teach and dignify the student who is deaf-blind.