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Application: Special Needs from a Variety of Perspectives


Interview with a Teacher or Caregiver


For your Application Assignment this week, you have a choice of interviewing a teacher whose expertise is special education and who works with children ages 3–8, or a classroom teacher or caregiver who has a child or children in his/her setting who have been identified with special needs.


To complete this Application Assignment, do the following:


Plan: Choose a person to interview. Explain that the interview will take approximately one hour and the purpose is to help you better understand the processes involved in special education and the experiences and educational philosophies of a teacher or caregiver who works with young children who have special needs. The following is additional guidance for planning your interview:


  • Confirm the best way to conduct the interviewface to face, by phone, or by e-mail. Agree on a date and time. Be sure you have the meeting address, phone number, or e-mail address, as well as permission to do the interview.
  • Ask the age and category(ies) of special needs of the child or children the teacher or caregiver works with, to help you prepare for the interview.
  • Review the readings from this week and related readings from Week 1 on early intervention.
  • Read the section or sections in your text that cover the specific category or categories that pertain to the child or children in the teacher or caregiver’s setting. (You may need to read ahead.) Try to tune into any overgeneralizations and stereotypes that you do not want to bring to the conversation.
  • If you plan to tape-record the interview, test your recorder to be sure it works.




  • Click on the link below to download and print out the document, which provides detailed guidance for the interview:


Interview with a Teacher or Caregiver (in Microsoft Word .doc format)


  • Listen carefully to the person’s answers. You may need to ask additional questions to better understand a point. Keep in mind the following guidelines:
    • Remember that this is one person’s experience and perspective.
    • Be respectful of the person’s time and be sure to thank the person for his or her cooperation.
    • Remember that this interview experience is a chance for you to learn; not a time to criticize or offer advice or information.


Reflect: Review your notes or listen to the recording of the interview. Then submit:


  • A summary of the interview experience including insights and new thinking you gained from talking with this teacher or caregiver about children with special needs, as well as any personal stereotypes, assumptions, or misconceptions this interview helped to dispel.
  • How this experience will help with your future work as a child development professional.


Assignment length: 2 pages


Note: Use fictitious names for the teacher or caregiver as well as the children and families. You do not need to include the interview form as part of this Application.

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