Ron Sandison interviews Dr. Paula Kluth, consultant, author, advocate and independent consultant
What inspired you to study special education in college?
My high school started welcoming students with more complex needs when I was a senior. I approached the teacher to volunteer and work in her classroom and I made my first friends with disabilities. These friends and that teacher really encouraged me to pursue teaching as a profession.
How did you begin working with students who have autism and other disabilities?
Well, my degree was in special education in significant disabilities, but I started working in an inclusive school right away so I taught students with and without disabilities from my first days as a teacher. The child who really taught me the most that year was a little six-year-old named Jay. He had very few reliable ways to communicate, but he was very smart, energetic, and curious. He really got me “hooked” on learning more about autism (which I knew very little about at the time).
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