/ Modified sep 27, 2013 11:17 a.m.

Role of Early Education in Identifying Children's Special Needs

Joline Riddle, kindergarten teacher, highlights importance of preschool, effects it has in kids' future school experiences.


Many young children are not exposed to a classroom setting until they are of age to start kindergarten. This, sometimes, may cause an issue, as special needs and disabilities, which should be treated at a very early age, can go unnoticed.

Joline Riddle, kindergarten teacher at Sewell Elementary, said that, many kids who don't get to go to preschool, stay at home with a family member or guardian who can't tell whether there is something wrong with the child.

When children are in a preschool program, teachers can identify issues that may arise later or that may have started already, such as speech impairments and other developmental problems that parents were not aware of, said Riddle, who has a degree in early childhood education.

"In preschool, we can identify them early, and the child can get services that will help them prior to coming to kindergarten, and (this) makes their kindergarten experience, and future education a lot more enjoyable," she explained.

Riddle's classroom is an "inclusion classroom," which means she brings students from the primary autism class, as well as children with special needs, such as visual and hearing impairments, to interact with the rest of the children.

She said her favorite part of teaching at the kindergarten level is to watch them learn how to read and write.

"It is amazing to watch them realize that they just read something," Riddle said. "When they start to identify all of their letters and their words...put them together...create sentences, and write their mom a (birthday card)."

American Graduate segments were produced in corporation with Tucson Values Teachers.

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