One of the greatest aspects of BYU's Special Education program is the depth of practical experience offered to students. The Special Education program provides two semesters of practicum, which is an opportunity to both observe and teach in a real classroom, while applying learning from your other program courses. You may wonder what this experience is like for a student with an emphasis in Severe disabilities. We interviewed a student currently in practicum to give you more insight into practicum!
Severe student, Alexa Allen:
What does a typical day at practicum look like for you?
For me, my practicum partner and I are going to a transition school (helping students prepare to move from school to adult life) in the Provo School District called East Bay Post High. This is for students who are ages 18-22 and did not receive your typical high school diploma. At East Bay, we go to worksites with them and work on typical work skills. We also work on social skills and independent living skills such as personal hygiene, using public transportation, how to properly budget, cooking, etc. Every day we go to a different worksite and it is great for generalizing their different skills that they have learned and we also use the UTA busses every day, which is always really fun.
What is your favorite part of the practicum experience?
My favorite part about being in a transition setting is helping the students to realize how much they can do all by themselves and that they do not need to rely on parents or friends for everything. They are so capable of doing anything but they just need a boost of confidence to know that they can do it.
What advice do you have for students preparing to be Special Education majors?
My advice for students preparing to be SPED majors is to get in classrooms now! Become familiar with individuals with disabilities and be confident in knowing if you want to do Mild/Moderate or Severe. They both have their perks but we need people who are passionate about teaching the students. These kids need you and they need someone who will love them for who they are. It is such a great and fun major and I know that it will be worth it for anyone that decides to go into it! Once you get into practicum, do not be afraid to ask questions! I have had great mentor teachers who will work and be flexible with you, but let them know what you are thinking and if you aren't quite sure why they are doing something a certain way, then ask!