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SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / February 2009 / What STEPS Means to Me

What STEPS Means to Me

Vicki Bernard, Supervisor, Special Education

In most of the STEPS classrooms operated by SOESD, there are peer tutors or peer helpers. Having “typically developing” peers in our classrooms serves many purposes. The peers help model typical student language and positive behaviors for STEPS students. It helps the STEPS students learn through the eyes of another person their own age. Often STEPS students will follow directions from a peer that they would not follow from a teacher or an EA. Another positive result of having peers in the classroom is that the peer tutors/helpers learn about disabilities, learn that students with disabilities may be different than they are but are still kids that feel and learn and play, etc. The peer tutors/helpers become another advocate for the STEPS students. They are often the student on the playground or in the lunchroom that ask the STEPS students to join a game or eat with them. At times, they are a big help in a STEPS student’s transition to another level of school, such as elementary to middle school or middle to high school. And finally, one of the best results of having peer tutors/helpers in our classrooms is that they may be the future teachers and educational assistants in programs such as STEPS. Many of the STEPS current staff members began as peer tutors/helpers when they were in school.

The following are testimonials written by two peer helpers in the Griffin Creek Elementary STEPS class. Dylan and Paige give us some insight about what STEPS means to them. These testimonials have been copied word for word, with all spelling and grammar left intact for the reader to get the true meaning of the student’s words.

from Paige:

The steps are the Best thang that ever happened to me. When I walk into the door I think “wow what a blessing.” I Love to see them learn and Play because each day thay grow. I think thay learning to become a better person in life. I have a lot of feeling’s When I come to the step’s class here are a few. Happy, careing, and giving.
Love, Paige

from Dylan:

S.t.e.p.s.
What S.t.e.p.s. means to me! Steps are not just kids whith dissabilities they’re fun, funny, sweet, and glad to be around. I know each one personly & they are each special in there own way. and each like different things.

What Steps are.
Steps are certain kids whith certain dissablements. Some can’t talk walk or think like we can Some are in wheel chairs, Some are not they are each different ages to. Some are kindergarden 1 & 2 grade.

I am glad to work with steps and you should be to.
Sinceraly Dylan”




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