The "Quilt" of Rural Education: Sewing Seams in Rural Special Education
In rural and isolated communities, Learning Assistance / Resource Teachers (LARTs) are the front-line advocates for students with exceptionalities and their families. Thus, it is imperative that LARTs are provided with the necessary training and access to resources needed to meet the needs of the various students on their case files. In this thesis, I set out to explore what the specific needs of LARTs in rural or isolated areas are and how they can best be supported. By using action research and autoethnography, I place my personal experiences as an LART under the lens. I use the processes involved in quilting to illustrate what may happen when appropriate supports are not in place. The old adage "many hands make light work" holds true -- through access to time, specialized training, mentorship, access to resources, and time to collaborate, rural LARTs have the power to make a positive impact on the life of a child. My hope is that what I have learned will then become a “pattern” to be used and refined by other LARTs as a future catalyst for change in the area of rural/isolated Special Education.
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