I have a question from a parent's point of view...

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by MMRbella, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Hello everyone!

    I am a 1st grade general ed teacher, and was asked a question the other day that I was not sure how to answer.

    My aunt moved from a diverse urban district to a wealthier suburban district. Her son (my cousin), is 13 years old, in the 8th grade, and classified as LD and ADHD. My aunt was up front about his IEP at the new school, and the school immediately put him into the resource room class, with him leaving only for specials.

    Well, he hates it. Back in the urban district, the resouce class had children with all kinds of disabilities, and varying levels. In the new district, the children in resource have more severe disabilties (mental retardation, autism, etc). He doesn't identify with his new classmates at all, and is slowly starting to dislike learning.

    My aunt is near tears because her son is with children that are so much lower than him. I am a new teacher, and do not know enough to advise her properly.

    She wants him out of the special class. My thinking is that she should ask her child study team to look into revising his IEP so that he can be fully included, with an in class support. Is this realistic? Please help, I really do not know what to tell her?
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Sep 22, 2007

    What does your cousin's IEP state? If it does not state that he should be in a self-contained classroom, it is illegal to place him there (unless they did an IEP review stating that this should be his placement and your aunt signed it). I would get her to research the special ed. departments in this district, phone the special ed. department and they won't help her, tell her to get an advocate to go with her to talk to the school. She can probably find out about advocates from parent support groups in her area or from other non-profit spec. ed. agencies in her area.
     
  4. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Sep 22, 2007

    In my school we do not have resource rooms. We have ed. assts. assigned to certain classes that assist those students with special needs. I see almost 600 students and with the exception of a few, they do well on the inclusive environment. I think a student needs to be comfortable so he will do well. (In my school many parents switched their child's classroom before school started so their child would be more comfortable). I would definitely have her call the school or the contact person in the special ed. dept and let her know her concerns. It sounds like he should at least have the opportunity to try out a different classroom.
     
  5. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2007

    What is his functional level? Is he a year behind, two years behind, etc?

    We have a similar "room" in my school, and I am actually the one who teaches in it. To be honest, if his functioning level is not close to that of his peers (significantly lower) then the Resource Room might be the best placement for him.

    Typically - schools are not "out to get" kids. They probably placed him in this room because it is the best for his educational needs. Every parent worries about socialization, etc. But in the end, if this is the best place for him to get the educational help he needs, it might be a good fit.

    On the other hand, if it is just a "dumping ground" and he was placed in this room (it's happened to me! Kids not belonging in my room getting placed in my room...) without your Aunt's permission/knowledge, then something needs to be done. But, keep in mind - "Mainstreaming" is not ALWAYS what's best. My room provides a small, calm, structured environment with a student to teacher ratio of 2:1. My kids jumped one year in reading and one year in math last year. They would not have been able to do this in a regular ed classroom.

    Do they all have perfect behavior? No. Do some of the kids learn poor behavior or social skills from the other kids? Yes. But, they are in the very best possible environment for them to be in. They are exposed to all grade level objectives, yet they are taught to them in a modified manner - meeting them at their ability level.

    I would maybe have your Aunt look at the IEP - see if self contained was something she agreed to. If it wasn't, I still wouldn't jump the gun on getting him out of there. It might not be the best for him, socially - but if his academics are that which need a LOT of support and modification, the resource room might be where he can get that support.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Here, the parent has the ultimate say on the student's placement--if they don't want the child withdrawn from the regular class, we don't do so and must offer in-class support and modifications at whatever level we are able to. Last year we had an extreme case and the mother had her child "demitted" (essentially she removed his identification as having a Learning Disability) because she had such strong negative feelings about support. Your aunt should request a meeting with the school administration and the Special Ed team to discuss her concerns and the options for her son's placement. Obviously, an angry, embarassed 13 year old is not going to have a positive school year.
     
  7. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Yes, I understand what you are saying. I guess my Aunt is getting upset because my cousin tested just 20 points below the "average" score. I messed up on his age before-- he's 14 years old, in the 8th grade (she kept him back in the 3rd grade). Middle school is a rough period for many children... he's already started referring to one of his classmates in resource as "Forrest Gump". I'm afraid that the situation may not be the best for him, or his classmates. :(

    Thank you to everyone who posted on this thread-- your opinions and input are fantastic, and I am going to print all of this out and show it to my Aunt tomorrow.

    Thanks again! :)
     
  8. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2007

    Well again, it depends on his functional level. If he is that close to being "normal" - then it might not be the appropriate placement. I just like to make sure that everyone knows it's not always the WORST thing to be in what seems to be a more restrictive environment. (Might be the least restrictive for that particular child).

    The other thing is, your cousin should be learning about acceptance. Calling other students Forrest Gump is not very kind. Nor is it appropriate for someone to be saying who has disabilities of their own.

    But, I do wish the best for you and hope that your cousin may find happiness in school, as well as academic success.

    Good luck!
     
  9. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

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    Sep 22, 2007

    I agree with you 100%. It makes me so sad to hear my own cousin saying such hurtful things about another child in a similar situation.
    :( I cannot stand it when children are cruel to one another, it really is heart breaking. I let him know just how I felt about the things he said, and I'm working on helping him to see WHY it's so wrong.
     

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