Posts Tagged ‘special education’


Allyson Schwartzman at her graduation from Hofstra University School of Education.

By Allyson Schwartzman

When I was graduating from elementary school, someone on the yearbook committee asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I will never forget thinking for a moment and then stating “an autism teacher”. In my yearbook, there is a picture of me and under it says “an autism teacher”. You might be thinking this is a very interesting answer for a young child to give, but I had a good reason behind this answer. My twin brother, Robert, has autism and over our lives, I saw the progress he made with many thanks to his incredible teachers. I thought to myself, I would love to be just like them so I can help other children with autism. As I matured and got older, I realized this autism teacher job I wanted really meant that I wanted to be a special education teacher.


Allyson Schwartzman’s elementary school yearbook photo.

When I started college at Hofstra University, I was accepted into the School of Education. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Childhood Education and eventually got a job as a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Teacher in a public school district on Long Island. I had this job for two years while in graduate school for my Master in Early Childhood Special Education and Intervention program, also at Hofstra University. I always knew I wanted to be a special education teacher, however, I had to decide on the age range of students I would work with. I decided to go down this route for my master’s because I fell in love with working with young children. There are so many developmental milestones that a teacher can help young children with disabilities reach. I love teaching and helping children grow their physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development through different fun and engaging activities. By being an early childhood special educator, I am able to accomplish these goals with a variety of different students.

After many endless nights of working and studying, I was able to accept my first position this year as an early childhood special education teacher in an integrated preschool. I finally accepted my dream job! I took a job in an integrated preschool setting specifically because I believe in the importance of integration and having students with disabilities learn with and from their peers. All children with disabilities need to be placed in the proper learning environment that works for them, and I am excited to work in this environment.


Collage of photos with Allyson Schwartzman and her twin brother, Robert.

I am so thankful that my brother Robert has influenced me to go down the path of special education. I am so proud of him and the progress he has made. He drives my dedication to this career choice everyday. It was definitely not an easy road getting here, but I cannot wait to make a difference in the lives of all the students I work with! I can now smile every time I look in my elementary school yearbook because I followed my dream. Now, I am living it.

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(From AutismArtist.org) 

AutismArtist.org, a not-for profit organization founded in December, 2009, announced today that it had begun accepting artwork from children with autism. One child’s artwork will be featured each day at www.autismartist.org. T-shirts, sweatshirts, bags and hats featuring the artwork will be auctioned online to raise funds for educational and other programs for children with autism spectrum disorders. 

“When I began working with children on the autism spectrum and developed a close relationship with many students, I realized there was a void in the resources that were available to them.  I became determined to find a way to enhance their education, and make a difference in their lives,” said Florence Arking, president of AutismArtist.org and former field worker and teachers assistant at the Douglas Developmental Disabilities Center in New Brunswick, NJ.

At the end of the year, the original pieces of artwork will be matted, framed and auctioned off at a black tie gala with 100% of the proceeds distributed to schools and other programs that support children with autism.

How to Submit Artwork:

Each piece of artwork should be created on paper or canvas that is no smaller than 8 x 10 and no larger than 20 x 24 inches.  Children can use any type of art supplies including crayons, markers, paint etc. and can use any colors.  On the back of each piece of art write the child’s name, date of birth, contact phone number and email address.

For more information visit www.autismartist.org

Contact Info:

Florence Arking
331 West 25th St
New York, NY 10001

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