Teaching Adaptations - Disabled Student on Crew

Hi All:

I have a new student on my Stage Crew, and I need to make some adaptations to some things to make him more comfortable. Looking for some advice and suggestions. Some background which may be long winded ... but understanding context is important here.

We do our work in "gymnatorium" environments, with portable stage. We also support the touring of the school's Fiddle Bands, and work at various other Division events. So, we do work both at home and on the road. I work with students from K to 12. I am teaching 0.5 FTE in two schools, one of my schools is N to 12, and the other is N to 10. The N to 10 is "new to me" this year, and I will continue to work at it next year. It is a 108 KM round-trip commute every other day--lots of travel, but I have grown to love working in both places. The Music Teacher also commutes between the two. The Area Superintendent, who I spoke to in person at a gig a few months ago, tells me she wants to see more co-operation between the two schools on a variety of levels--not just sharing staff. I feel this is a good thing, and so I've started sharing Crew between schools even though it means mountains of paperwork. And, I do mean mountains of paperwork. (Our Field Trip Package is about 15 pages long, most of it duplicate information on each page. Gotta love Lawyers!)

I "put" this particular student on my crew starting last week, because I want him on there. I put him on there for his self-esteem--and for no other reason other than to involve him in the school. He goes to Music class but can't participate well, he doesn't involve himself in sports. He is one of my Grade 8 Science students at my "new" school, and he came to speak with me a few weeks ago about a bullying issue he is having. I'm the first person in the school he spoke with about it, and when he talked to me, he told me he is being bullied and threatened to the point where he is afraid to come to school. This, he told me, had been going on since December or January, and he told me in late April--it is happening at the bus stop twice a day, and being done by two kids who should attend, but do not attend, school. I can't stand bullying, and I am determined I will be the first and last person he has to tell. I've dealt with the bullying as best I can, through various channels in the school and community. I told him that if we have to go all the way up the ladder to the RCMP, I will do that. I went to see his parents at their home, along with his homeroom teacher who I told about the issue. Home visits are very old fashioned, but are sometimes the best way to get hold of people in the community where I teach as not everybody has a telephone. He had not shared the severity of the issue with his parents--they now know about it. I continue to check in with him about it. We've also shared with bus drivers (his Grandfather is one of them) and other staff. I have also committed to him that, if he is afraid to take the bus, I will make sure he gets home or to school safely. His homeroom teacher told him the same. His family doesn't have a vehicle.

His attendance is terrible, but he comes from one of the most stable families in the community--quite unusual for their kids not to attend school, I'm told (I'm new to this school, so I'm still learning who is who). He's got "INCOMPLETE" in most of his classes because of his attendance. He doesn't get up in the morning to attend--because he's a teenager who doesn't like mornings, but also because he is afraid to get on the bus. My belief is that sometimes we have to work with the "kid," before we work with the "academics and attendance," and so that is the philosophy I am using here. I think the Principal shares this belief, although we have policies in place that people who have less than 80% attendance or are flunking courses _cannot_ participate in extra-curricular. I let the Principal in on what I'm up to, and I currently feel supported by Administration--sometimes policies have exceptions.

I'm trying my best to help him get back on-track, starting by dealing with the bullying problem. The second thing I want to do is get him more involved in things at school, so he starts wanting to come to school, and to improve his self-esteem. This will help him when he gets into Grade 9 next year--the more "involved" a kid feels in the school, the more likely they are to attend and be successful.

He has a very mild form of Cerebral Palsy, and has somewhat limited use of his left side. He also stutters. The CP is so mild, you would _almost_ not notice--in fact, I did not really notice the motor issues until the Resource Teacher clued me in to it. A cousin of mine has CP, and hers is quite obvious--so I am familiar with it. I have had some input on his latest IEP.

He is very self-conscious, and hides the motor issue fairly well unless he is asked to do something that requires two hands. The stuttering is a different matter--I introduced him to the Principal and VP in the "other school," and he couldn't get his name out, turned quite red, and vacated the office area totally embarrassed. They knew what the problem was--and after I spoke to him in the hallway and explained that he was amongst friends, the Principal and VP knew right away what the problem was and were OK with it, and nobody would make fun of him, he felt more comfortable.

I need to adapt my practices to help him out a bit, since he can't use his left hand like the rest of us. He is enjoying the Crew so far--worked two gigs, his first two gigs, last week. We had back-to-back gigs in both schools where I work. I was scrambling for crew, older students being away at Leadership Camp, and had to use crew from one school to work a gig at the other school--I was so stuck for people this week, I actually had to call in the Adult Education Teacher, who is an older lady, to help haul stage sections around in the middle of the night. At one of these gigs he took me aside and told me he was feeling, "rather useless." He certainly was trying to help with the work--and was far from useless, which is certainly not the case--lots of it has to do with being on a steep learning curve all of a sudden, and starting to work with us late in the year. I explained that, but was a bit concerned about this situation turning him off the work. Getting out of the truck at his house after Friday's gig, he turns and says, "So ... wh wh when's the ne ne next show?!" So. Now it is my obligation to help him feel more a part of Stage Crew. I'm quite excited about it! My Crew is made up of a weird and eclectic group of kids, who often don't "fit" anywhere else. They are dedicated to a fault, fun to work with, and I think once this young man gets working with them, he will be accepted and feel like part of the Stage Crew "family." This will be a good thing.

He's quite smart. He plays chess for fun. He understands Science and does well in my class. He'll get the learning part of it. The other issue, though, is his motor skills. For example, I assigned him to tape some cables and cable covers (mats) to the floor--I mistakenly thought that might be an easy job for him to do. I discovered that he doesn't get along well with gaff tape--he holds the roll in his right hand, and tries to rip the tape off with his left hand. We tried it the other way around, too. Either way, he winds up with a snarled mess of tape, and we had a good laugh together over him getting stuck! Everybody has that problem every so often, anyways. He handed me the roll, and said, "Here. You do this." Teaching him how to subdue gaff tape might be a problem that we'll have to deal with by assigning the job to somebody else.

What I am looking for is a different method of coiling cables which might work for this young man. I currently coil "over-under" with two hands. One holds the coil, the other holds the cable. Most of this is 12/3 extension cord--"gymnatorium," with no convenient outlets--and the rest is audio cable like XLR-3, 1/4" patch, etc.

I'm no good at coiling "over-under" on the floor, but that's what I want him to do. I tried to demonstrate this method, but failed miserably.


1) Anybody got a video of how to do "over-under" on the floor, preferably using one hand.

2) Any other suggestions for coiling cables that might help me work with this young man? Need not be "over-under," but that is preferable as it is current practice.


1) Anybody got a video of how to do "over-under" on the floor, preferably using one hand.

I had never over-under wrapped a cable on the ground before and I couldn't find a video, so I learned, and I made one.

Here Ya Go!
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From what you have said, he sounds like he would make a fine lights or sound board op. He seems like the motivated, driven type that would be more than thrilled to spend time outside of school researching and watching videos on the consoles. I have know lots of kids who found there calling behind the board.

Sent from Taptalk for Android, this was.
From what you have said, he sounds like he would make a fine lights or sound board op. He seems like the motivated, driven type that would be more than thrilled to spend time outside of school researching and watching videos on the consoles. I have know lots of kids who found there calling behind the board.

Sent from Taptalk for Android, this was.

I agree. I am going to work towards getting him mixing next year, and also familiar with the lighting board. Even my board ops have to coil cable, though.

Thanks for all the replies, and the video! That's a good start towards getting him going on stuff.

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