Special Education Paper

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By A Yip

Child Development 150

December 15, 2010


On December 10, 2010 between 9:30am and 1pm, I visited Atwater Park Center (phone number: 323-666-1377) at 3370 Perlita Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90039. Atwater Park Center welcomes children between eighteen and thirty-six months who have autism, learning disability and mental retardation for its special education program which runs from 9:30am to 1:30pm during the week. It also serves as a day-care center which admits children with no disability. Its regular daycare program runs from 8:30am to 5:30pm during the week. During my visit, the enrollment was approximately twenty-two children in three classrooms. One-third of them were children without disability. The classes were inclusive – there were two children without disability (typical) and five children with disability (atypical). The age of the children vary from eighteen to thirty-six months. Two teachers and one assistant teacher were present at all times in the class. A speech therapist and an occupational therapist came to visit the children at the playground.


At a first glance, the classroom looked no different from other classrooms I have seen in an average infant/toddler center. However, with a closer look of this 19’x23’ room, I felt welcoming and foster encounters, communications and relationships. The room was actually quite small for ten people but it was big enough to accommodate four separate groups to gather and have conversations – thanks to its flexible and adaptable layout. Soft beanbag chairs and three-foot tall bookcases were used to create some private and intimate spaces. Warm hues and soft furnishing were used to promote a cozy and homey feeling. Rugs were wisely used to define boundaries for different activities. For example, children were gathering around the beanbag chair on a dark brown rug for group story time and they were...