Special needs teacher hopes to make a difference for students

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Every week, Linda Boyd takes her fourth and fifth grade special needs students from Myrtle Beach Intermediate on a field trip to help with their socializing skills.

This week the group went to Johnny Rockets and MagicQuest. The group is small, but they have big needs. The students live with things like severe autism and down syndrome.

"The biggest thing is transitions," says Boyd. Sometimes they have emotional breakdowns; sometimes they hide under the desk and cry."

Boyd says intellectually the students are about two to three grade levels behind. But it's not about what they lack rather what they are gaining. Boyd took over as the teacher after 57-year-old Moncille Thomas was charged in September with unlawful neglect. She allegedly put dish soap in one of the student's mouths and struck the child with a dust pan.

"You have to be able to deal with that (the job) and know that you love it; I think that's why it's hard to find a special ed teacher," says Boyd.

Boyd brings 35 years of teaching under her belt to the children as well as experience with her own special needs child. In the classroom she's using a method of positive reinforcement and says she's already seen a major improvement in their learning.

The weekly field trips expose them to social situations. Boyd says the support from businesses has been great. Many of them have been providing services and food free of charge. Parents say they are glad it's a new day in the classroom.

"I think they are doing a good job trying to help him and work with him," says Ketchel Ashley.

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