I have worked with children with disabilities including cerebal palsey, autism, selective mutism, erbs palsey, dyspraxia and down syndrome being the main ones. These children were mainstreamed into my classes over the years and I found they gave me some of my most rewarding experiences as a teacher.
I can't say I have inhibitions about working with them, as an early childhood teacher we are supposed to model inclusion of all people, including those with disabilities.
One of the children who was autistic, came to me at 3 yrs old and couldn't speak, wouldn't make any eye or physical contact and wasn't toilet trained. With dedication, hard work and support from an autistic agency I watched that little boy develop into somebody who was able to speak to convey what he wanted, would come into the classroom and climb onto my lap for cuddles, and become completely toilet trained. So for me, three years of hard work definitely paid off with this child, and made every moment worth it. You just can't beat that feeling.
It does put a strain on staff, having children with disabilities in your classroom, but with extra support whenever possible through agencies, and training for staff it makes it much easier on all involved. I also found the children to be very accepting of these children, always wanting to help and spend time with them, which I believe comes from children being children, and also from great role modelling from staff I have worked with over the years.
Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education. Working in schools, kindergartens and child care centres for 12 years.