Pat Barber Interview
“No children were really served in a community setting, in a public school especially children with moderate to severe disabilities,” explains Pat Barber. Pat received her special education degree in the early ‘70s from Indiana University. She started her teaching career at Stone Belt Center in Bloomington, Indiana. There were eight to nine classrooms from infants to school age. Teachers were contracted by the public schools. The program ran year-round.
Somewhere in the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s, children started moving into public schools. Pat gives credit to families for pushing to have their children included in regular public schools. There were families and many teachers concerned if public schools were ready to provide the needed supports. Pat says, “I definitely feel that kids flourished. And one of the fears or worries that a lot of us had is that, can anybody do it as well as we can? They-- you know, people out there, they don't know kids with disabilities…I have to say in all my years of experience that they are. I mean, good teachers, good principals, good administrators are good for all kids. “
After teaching preschool for 20 years, Pat became the coordinator of the school corporation’s preschool program. One of her roles was to support five-year-olds entering kindergarten. The transition process would start a year before kindergarten. Pat explains, “We had the most success when we lined out a very specific transition plan at least 12 months before that transition happened. And it included lots of visits. It included parents going to the classroom because they are so critical to help us develop a transition plan.”
Pat also discusses changes to the IEP process, experiences with home visits, assessment tools used in the classroom, and changes in attitudes. She says, “I don't know that I could say that there was one specific event or one specific law that changed. I think attitude started to change with the rules, with parents, and with people showing that kind of respect.” Pat was interviewed in 2017.
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter