7 years experience teaching in an Autism program in a suburban highschool in middle America. I work with the full spectrum of Autism from severe/non-verbal kids to teens with extremely high intelligence diagnosed with Aspergers and mainstreamed all day. While in college I was also a 1:1 assistant for Aspie students in mainstream settings.
As a special educator, I do respect and believe in the IEP process and the philosophies of individualized education. That being said, on a more general scale I believe that if a student enjoys the learning process they will retain what they've learned.
Special Ed doesn't really have anything. I am certified in elementary ed and Autism as well and got a cool certificate for teaching 5 years straight!
I attended the University of Central Oklahoma where I was granted a B.S. in Special Education for Severe/profound. One of the few schools that offers such a degree.
When I was 18, I needed a job. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but didn't know what I wanted to teach. At that time, the district I grew up in was offering substitute jobs to 18-year-olds. I remember, distinctly, saying "I'll do anything as long as it's not with those weirdo special ed kids". I got the first call at 5am from the nice automated "subfinder" system for a job at my former middle-school for my former band-director. I arrived early to find that the system had messed up and double-filled the position. The vice-principal came to me and said "we don't need you in band today, but they are really short in the M.R. room. Would you mind working there?" "Sure," I said, pretending to know what M.R. stood for. When I walked in to that room and saw those kids for the first time I had to hide my shock. I was sure it was going to be the most miserable and uncomfortable experience in my life. When the first thing the teacher asked me to do was spoon feed a girl with CP, I wanted to run and hide. In one day, my whole view of humanity changed. These kids were not weird and freaky, these kids were the smartest people I had ever met. Not because they had academic potential, but because they were more unique, personable, and inspiring than anybody I've ever met. Long story short, by the end of that day I had made up my mind and immediately changed my major to special education. And the rest, is history!