“Reflective Analysis Paper” – An Example Paper

Clinical placements and other practical learning environments often provide unexpected insights into phenomena within the nursing field. These insights usually change how an individual views the particular group in question, or their understanding of the problems affecting such special populations. My current nursing community practicum at the Birchmount Park Collegiate has been one such experience, as it has completely changed how I view special needs children. In particular, my view of the special educational needs such children have, and how these needs fit into the wider social picture of acceptance and social integration, as well as how current approaches may fail to address such needs, has completely changed.

Looking Back and Elaboration
Before arriving at Birchmount, I was of the opinion that disabled children with special needs required persistent care and were delicate. Furthermore, I held the belief that such children belonged in special facilities where their special needs could be catered for. The first interaction I had with one of the children named Tom, changed this perception. He was surprisingly enthusiastic about life, and his self-esteem level was also quite high. For a blind person, Tom seemed quite happy and optimistic about his prospects in life. In addition, he was quite willing to broach a subject I thought would hurt his feelings: his inability to see. He had somehow found a way of overcoming his lack of sight, with society’s view of him being the only hindrance to his progress. Similarly, most people perceive and interact with disabled individuals on the basis of their disability, and are quick to offer special treatment even in cases where the child in question detests such attention. My stay at Birchmount was littered with many such instances in which I unnecessarily allowed the disability of the children in question to influence how I treated them. With time, I learned to get along with these children and treat them as I would treat any other child their age.

Analysis and Revision
These interactions highlighted the folly of special treatment, especially the creation of specialized schools to cater for the educational needs of the disabled. While well intended, such schools serve a self defeating purpose, as not only do they focus on the child’s disability, but also deny such children the one thing they crave for: to be perceived as normal. The desire to be treated normally was quite evident in my interactions with such children, who felt that their disability discouraged honest interaction. This negatively impacted their social lives and relationships. Because of this new discovery, I have changed my approach to the children. I now treat them as I would treat any other normal child.

New Perspective
One of the greatest challenges faced by disabled children is the lack of true social integration. Regardless of their achievements, society usually views them as disabled and in need of special attention first. Most children I spoke to, felt special treatment led to their exclusion from society. This perspective has led to a changed attitude and fuelled a desire to advocate for the complete inclusion of such children within regular classrooms despite their special needs. Unlike in the past where I felt this was unfair considering their learning disabilities, I now believe it represents a unique opportunity for children with disabilities to grow both socially and emotionally. For instance when providing health education, I no longer feel the need to create a separate lesson for the disabled students, I now prefer to group them together and encourage peer learning, which I find to be quite effective. I have also had to redesign my curriculum in such a way that the special learning needs of the disabled students are met within the inclusive environment.