SOE master’s students creating transition services for disabled students
Every student is eager to find opportunities to learn from professionals in their field. When School of Education counselor education student Shiori Meadows was able to work with special education counselors to create programs for students with needs, she made sure to take full of advantage of the learning opportunity.
Meadows is in her final year of the M.Ed. in Counselor Education program with a concentration in school counseling. As part of the program, she participated in a collaborative training for school counseling that focuses on preparing future school counselors to work with students with disabilities.
The grant, titled “A Collaborative Model of Preparing School Counseling Students as Related Service Providers to Students with Disabilities,” was provided by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs.
It was granted to two faculty members in the Counselor Education program, Dr. LaRon Scott and Dr. Donna Gibson, who have used the funding to train a group of counseling students as related service providers.
“These encounters have encouraged me to think and make decisions more introspectively, proactively and deliberately.”
The goal of the collaborative is to help equip SOE students with tools that will enhance their ability to give children with diverse abilities the best education possible.
“The grant has provided us with wonderful opportunities to learn directly from those in the field about best practices in supporting students’ unique developmental needs,” said Meadows.
Through the grant, Meadows and other students have gotten the chance to work with professionals who design and facilitate transition services and other related programs for disabled students. This gave them valuable insight into local resources and supportive networks located in their communities.
“I think that learning these lessons from experts and leaders in the field helps us to solidify our understanding of the scope of our own roles as helping professionals to students of all ability levels,” she said.
When reflecting on her experience with the project, Meadows said the relationships she built were most valuable.
“The most rewarding part of the experience for me were the interpersonal relationships we were able to cultivate through our experiential learning opportunities,” she said.
In her practicum, Meadows learned that developing positive counseling relationships with special needs students over time benefits her and her students in the long run. Working closely with students allows her to learn first hand about the individual strengths and challenges that relate to their education, helping her to provide more personalized counseling.
“From this vantage point, I'm better able to examine the systemic barriers these students may face on their road to educational success. These encounters have encouraged me to think and make decisions more introspectively, proactively and deliberately as I work to advocate for what these students need to thrive in – and beyond – school,” she said.
After graduation, Meadows hopes to blend her previous experience teaching English as a foreign language with her current training, by working as a school counselor with students who have exceptional needs and English language learners.