What it’s like working with kids with disabilities

Kraus+helps+a+student+get+a+board+so+that+they+can+build+a+coat+rack+to+use+for+their+classroom%2C+and+can+hang+up+coats+on+the+wall.+He+is+helping+his+students+gain+new+knowledge+in+building+and+construction.%0A

Kraus helps a student get a board so that they can build a coat rack to use for their classroom, and can hang up coats on the wall. He is helping his students gain new knowledge in building and construction.

Brody Dickson, Ranger Review Reporter

Grant Kraus, who is a special education teacher, works with various kids with disabilities who have been in all grade levels. He has been teaching for 3 years, and this is Kraus’ first year at LP.

“I teach kids with moderate to severe disabilities. I enjoy the rewarding feeling at first, of just feeling good about helping,” Grant Kraus said. “It’s naturally in most people’s instincts to feel good about helping people helping one another. And we learned through life that not everybody’s going to be that way.”

“I’ve done elementary, I’ve done middle, and now I’ve done high school. I do prefer high school right now, just because there’s more opportunities as a teacher. Being only in my third year of teaching, it was not super long ago that I was in high school. So naturally, coming back into high school, I kind of understand the lingo and how it works,” Kraus said.

When referring to teachers that work with kids with disabilities, or when talking about a kid with a disability many people may not know the correct terms.

“Always use person first language. It might be that somebody has [a] disability, but it’s a person with a disability, a student with a disability, an adult with a disability. You have to put the person first,” Kraus said.

Kraus has a lot of ways that he helps keep himself motivated for the day and continue to help students.

“So what really drives me to not miss a day to work hard, to not give up on any students, and just to be happy and make other people smile and feel like they can help others,” Kraus said.

Kraus has taught kids from many ages that have had many different needs, which has helped him gain experience in only a couple of years. This year he changed up from his usual. 

“This is my third year, for two years I was in more of a severe type of caseload with kiddos with disabilities. Working along the lines of students in wheelchairs, working with students that are nonverbal, and this has been more of the moderate abilities and disabilities,” Kraus said.

A lot of people have made assumptions about kids with disabilities, and they can often be untruthful and hurtful. This is often the result of a misunderstanding.

“It’s not that scary to talk to kids with disabilities. You just need to understand and learn who people are, the same way that if you’re in a different city or country,” Kraus said. “They may look different but you just need to get to know them because they’re people. Then when you are able to do that you share a connection, and you can teach.”