Straight up rant about teachers and LD's - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-09-2010, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. I haven't posted in a long time. I thought that after ds' initial diagnosis in pre-K, I would settle in, but things have gotten worse, and I just need some place to rant so that I don't keep it all bottled in. It's okay if you don't read this, but if you do, any thoughts would be great.

My son was originally dx'd with spd and speech. He scored a high average on his iq test. Maybe not brilliant, but certainly smart enough. But last year in first grade, it really came out that he has some severe learning disabilities. He'll be unable to read an easy word like 'yet' or read it four different ways four different times in one sitting. He has excessive difficulty with writings. He reverses, leaves out all vowels, writes messy, doesn't know what to write. He is disorganized. My dx is dysgraphia, dyslexia, and executive function disorder.

Last year, he was placed in an integrated teaching classroom. I thought I was lucky, until we were invited into the classroom for parent morning. I should have known that it was not going to work because the teachers kept repeating, "And we treat everyone exactly the same." As though that was a badge of honor. They treated everyone like a neuro-typical kid and got upset if they didn't conform. But ds is not the same!!! At parent teacher conferences, they would tell me that ds has trouble sitting and reading. Duh! They told a parent of an autistic child that he has trouble making eye contact. And they look at you as though you should be ashamed of yourself. WTF? At the time, I complained, but not knowing his dx or our rights enough, I just let that go. I honestly thought that we had no right to expect to get that specific an instruction.

Part of the reason I didn't pursue it aggressively is because I had to deal with some bullying that was going on in the classroom and elsewhere. In the beginning of the year, I wrote several notes to his teachers to let them know a little about Kyle. They didn't respond to a single one. After a while I gave up. Then, the bullying stuff happened, like kids holding him down and taking his shoes away. He was so upset. I wrote them a note telling them about his complaints. The only note I get back from them was "We have no bullies in the classroom." I flipped. They and I never were okay after that. At one point, one of the teachers would deliberately turn her back to me when I came to pick up ds or roll up her eyes and refused to greet me. And ultimately, the principal stuck up for them.

His current teachers more responsive, but are using the same teaching methods. I've been picking up ds to complaints from his teachers about his behavior lately. His behavior was fine for two months because he's that GOOD, not bad. But the fact is, if you keep telling a kid with dyslexia to just sit quietly and read, then eventually something is going to happen. It did. Nothing really bad, just getting up and moving around. I asked them if they were trained in executive function disorder, and they said that the only thing they knew about it was an article I printed for them from a website. Later, the assistant principal basically admitted that none of the special ed teachers get trained in special ed issues. Is this completely insane or what??? Isn't this against some federal law or something? I can't see how teachers can accomodate ds' special needs if they no nothing about them.

I finally had it. I wrote a long letter explaining to his teachers that I am not a special education expert. That they and the school need to get it together and actually help ds instead of asking me if I'm rewarding and punishing him enough for his behaviors. I was really nice about it, but still very pointed. I brought up the laws against discrimination, the whole thing. The teachers told the assistant principal, and now I'm going through a whole thing. I met with the principal, assistant principal, social worker, and psychologist. I feel like I'm a pretty confident person, but I realize that being ganged up on like that intimidates me on many levels. I sometimes find that I don't pursue everything I can. But this time I was a little better.

I'm trying to schedule a neuro-psych. I've been trying to figure out a way to get it for free, but I just have to find a way and go the private route. But even the one recommended to me has a waiting list of several months, and it'll cost like $3000-$4000.

I don't feel that anyone really understands me. My family doesn't know what it feels like. I don't know other moms going through the same thing. Some moms think I'm going overboard. It feels so awful to be constantly fighting with my ds' school and teachers. We're not outright fighting, but we see things so differently. I have no respect for their teaching methods. I'm looking into other schools, but I can't really make a case until I can get the eval done which is months away.

Ds looks relatively happy though. He knows little of this. He was actually starting to get anxious when I picked him up because his teachers are complaining about him to me! But I convinced him that we'd stop that, and now he's okay again. He has his issues, but he has a best friend and he's ultimately willing to cooperate. His teachers said he read well today. I just hope we stop relying on his good will and give him some strategies he can use to function.
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#2 of 14 Old 11-16-2010, 07:11 PM
 
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I couldn't read and not reply :(  It just sounds like you and your son have been through sooo much :(  Just a hug of support to both of you and I hope you all are able to get the school on board.  How absolutely frustrating, dealing with their completely ineffective teaching style for your son.  I hope someone with some competence from the school gets on your side and some real progress can be made.  Best of luck to you :)

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#3 of 14 Old 11-16-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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In my area there are advocates you can hire, that help you negotiate with the school for your rights. It seems the school knows them well enough that they pay attention and make things happen when the advocate is doing the talking. Perhaps you could hire someone like that?

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#4 of 14 Old 11-17-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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I don't know what state you're in, but google "Parent rights special education" and your state to find the state handbook on what your rights are, how to access them, the method (usually writing) and timelines that you and they have to work within.

 

What's going on is NOT okay.  And it's usually not that bad, but it's often not good.  :(

 

And yes, get an advocate.  If your state doesn't have an advocate network (NJ had one but they NEVER responded to my multiple requests) then it would be worth your while to hire a SpEd attorney that you can confirm has some experience in the matter.  I honestly don't recall where I found mine, but I believe it was probably the SpEd director of the school district I worked in at the time (which was not the district I lived in).

 

Is the neuro-psych eval not covered on your insurance?

 

SpEd teachers are given an overview of MANY learning disabilities and in the classes, yes--they are discussed in detail.  But it is a lot of things.  They are meant to accommodate them ALL and a lot of the focus on the courses are about different methods of handling different types of learning problems vs. dealing with the specific dx.  I'm not sure if that makes sense.  But in other words: kids with multiple different dx's may have problems taking in visual information--so you learn how to alter your plans to accommodate that issues vs. accommodating a specific dx.

 

The IEPs are supposed to lay the actual accommodations out for the teachers because there's no way to know exactly what a child's needs are based on a dx.  Honestly, even kids in the autism spectrum vary so greatly that there's no real "template" to dealing with them.  I don't know any districts that instruct teachers on specific learning disabilities; but they may have access to them for continuing education requirements (at their option).  That being said, I learned way more about ADHD in one of my SpEd graduate courses than I did in the continuing ed course (which I thought would've been the other way around).

 

And aides are not really any better because in most states, they just have to have a high school diploma and often are not trained in the specifics of that child's disorder either.  Some districts DO, but many do not.  And then again, some aides take on learning about it themselves, but I've never found this to be the norm.  So don't think an aide is automatically going to be the answer.

 

You need help.  You need to follow the legal path to getting it.


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#5 of 14 Old 11-19-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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Hugs to you mamma! Unfortunatly, I know a lot about dealing with school districts.  Get the Wrightslaw books. There are 3. You can also go to their website for tons of info.  Their books were very valuable for us. They helped us learn the federal laws and about how to work with schools staff, etc.  You also need to learn about your states laws and your state ombudsman.  That will help you know what you can ask for, where to go for help, when to find a layer, etc.


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#6 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much. I didn't get much of a response initially, so I have kind of neglected this thread, but much appreciate the response. It's very good timing because today I picked up my son, depressed lying on the ground, and his teachers were way far away from him because they have no idea what t do with him. I spent the better part of today beating myself up because I want to know all the things I did wrong and how I can repent and make his life better. You might say that I'm being hard on myself, but it's so hard to keep perspective when "the team" has pegged you for the problem. Yet, ds is resilient. He continues to be defiant, which both horrifies me and makes me happy. He's not down. But "the team" takes it as a sign of defiance and proof of bad parenting. Ds calls himself stupid everyday and hits his face once in a while just as a reminder. He asked me to hit him today. I keep giving him "consequences" because whatever happens, I want to make sure he knows it's not okay to  diss the teachers. He said just to hit him. gloomy.gif  I feel like the worst parent in the world. I had the thought today that maybe ds would be better off if he had a mother who knew what the hell she was doing. I have my faults, and I'm exaggerating them in my mind as a causal explanation. I've been unable to focus on anything besides this. I think I need to be able to transcend some of this. I've completely forgotten myself. I don't want to eat, sleep, work...

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#7 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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Where are you?  (What state?)

 

First, in addition to or as an alternative to the Wrightslaw resources mentioned by a PP, get "Nolo's IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities," ideally the most recent edition (2009 I think).  It's a fantastic resource, all between two covers.

 

The basic scheme is that federal law (IDEA) governs, and states can implement it differently but not inconsistently with IDEA, and they cannot go below the floor of IDEA.  That means a lot of stuff is pretty much the same state to state.

 

I would suggest that you formally ask your school district, in writing, to evaluate your son.  I take it he does not yet have an IEP?  (If he does, then you probably should ask for a re-evaluation.)  Then, you may be able to contest the adequacy of that evaluation and get your own paid for as an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).  The process is laid out succinctly in the Nolo guide or in the Wrightslaw materials.

 

Your instincts are totally right -- if you don't intervene effectively with kids with learning disabilities in reading & writing, the standard classroom expectations, and incorrect analyses like "you just need to concentrate more/try harder" are eventually going to produce some really negative reactions.  Either behavior that is problematic for others, or internalized self-blame.  You are not wrong and you are not bad.  Find some allies (google parents groups working on issues of dyslexia & reading in your state).  Connect with others through the International Dyslexia Association.

 

Hang in there -- you aren't a bad mom for not having singlehandedly overcome the chronic neglect of children with learning disabilities that is rampant (no doubt mostly due to lack of resources) in the public schools!  Find allies, find out what they've already learned, reading the guidebooks, and start fighting smart.

 

Good luck.


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#8 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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Like the above poster said, I couldn't read and not respond. I teach HS, but I at least know SOMETHING about what teachers have to do for SPED kids and your son IS NOT getting that. What does his IEP state? What accommodations should he be receiving? And make sure he's getting those. If he's not, document - document - document. Then bring DATA, not opinion or gut instinct, to the meeting.

 

Don't feel ganged up on - this is their job. You have a reasonable expectation for accommodation and modification of curriculum; this is nothing out of the ordinary. I have a 12th grade student with a 2nd grade reading level. It's MY job to meet her needs, and to make changes to the curriculum to make it accessible to her. And I have no problem doing that - nor should I! It's my job!

 

This is a legal issue; both you and your son are protected by the IDEA legislation and if you are not receiving accommodation, the school is in violation. And believe me, no school wants to be in violation of IDEA. What a nightmare for them. Honestly, they probably sense that you don't know what to do, and it might be easier on their end to "blame the parent," rather than go to the extra trouble of getting training, etc, to understand your son and meet his needs. Although, honestly, I don't know your location, but those are pretty typical LDs for elementary. shrug.gif

 

Your son's desire to externalize his internal frustrations through pain denotes a lack of coping skills (I have this myself, so I know it well). I say this only because you sound so hopeless in the thread and you want some CONCRETE things you can do to help your son in the short run. Honestly, his LD will be with him his whole life... You would do well by him to explicitly teach positive coping skills to deal with frustration (with himself and others [read: teachers eyesroll.gif]) ... to basically give him tools to deal with the way that he's feeling. Like when he feels "stupid," he needs to counter that by doing something he's good at. To develop healthy self esteem, etc. Get it written into his IEP. Pressure them. YOU are the parent.

 

Also, on the dyslexia/dysgraphia note, and the reading instruction (or lack thereof) at school, you can always get books on cd/tape/download to ipod. I know this is a strategy for older students, but it's a great way for your DS to be *alone* "reading" and experiencing the book, comprehending the book, without hand-holding (to feel he can do it himself, you know?). There's got to be age/reading level appropriate option for your DS if you check out online retailers.

 

Don't give up. You sound so defeated, but you are the best mom for your son, and he will be great... this is just one hurdle in his education. You can jump over it! hug2.gif


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#9 of 14 Old 11-23-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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Yes, as the PP said, audio books are a great way to allow your son to develop his vocabulary and analytical skills as he would be doing through reading if he did not have learning disabilities.  With a diagnosis he will be able to get free audio books!  Here is the source.  You just have to buy a player.

 

Also as the PP said, the group meeting is the mechanism specified by IDEA to determine whether a student should be referred to special ed and to develop or adjust an IEP.  The idea is to have everyone there who would be needed to intervene with or assist your son.  In practice, in can feel lopsided when you are the only one there on  your "side."  Bear in mind that the school people may not all be on the same page.  You want to give your allies, if any, on the team ammunition to work with, so be reasonable, patient, and politely persistent.  Again, if he does not yet have an IEP and has not yet been evaluated by the district, which I can't tell for sure from your posts, the magic words over and over should be: I would like the district to evaluate my son to determine if he has disabilities which require individualized special instruction.  If they ultimately will not evaluate him, proceed with your private evaluation, and if it finds that your son has disabilities & probably should qualify for special ed, you can request a due process hearing (instructions should be on district website and your state's superintendent of public instruction website or equivalent) and not only ask that special ed be ordered, but that the district have to reimburse you for the cost of the independent evaluation.

 

Good luck!


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#10 of 14 Old 11-23-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommay View Post

Thank you all so much. I didn't get much of a response initially, so I have kind of neglected this thread, but much appreciate the response. It's very good timing because today I picked up my son, depressed lying on the ground, and his teachers were way far away from him because they have no idea what t do with him. I spent the better part of today beating myself up because I want to know all the things I did wrong and how I can repent and make his life better. You might say that I'm being hard on myself, but it's so hard to keep perspective when "the team" has pegged you for the problem. Yet, ds is resilient. He continues to be defiant, which both horrifies me and makes me happy. He's not down. But "the team" takes it as a sign of defiance and proof of bad parenting. Ds calls himself stupid everyday and hits his face once in a while just as a reminder. He asked me to hit him today. I keep giving him "consequences" because whatever happens, I want to make sure he knows it's not okay to  diss the teachers. He said just to hit him. gloomy.gif  I feel like the worst parent in the world. I had the thought today that maybe ds would be better off if he had a mother who knew what the hell she was doing. I have my faults, and I'm exaggerating them in my mind as a causal explanation. I've been unable to focus on anything besides this. I think I need to be able to transcend some of this. I've completely forgotten myself. I don't want to eat, sleep, work...


It sounds like this may invoking a bit of depression in you, too?  I hope you are (in your words) able to transcend some of this.

 

We ALL do what we think is the best for our kids given our level of knowledge at the time.  I don't think there's a parent on this ENTIRE BOARD who has not felt like "Dammit!  If I had only known, I could've prevented some level of my child's suffering!"  We have all been there.

 

He's not getting another parent.  He's got you.  And you're doing what you can.  And that is MORE THAN SOME PARENTS DO!  I know that is so hard to wrap your head around, but it's the God's-honest truth.  Between teaching and being a foster parent, I'm telling you--even well-meaning parents are sometimes just not aware enough about their kids to even realize that something must be done.  They don't know that they can challenge what they've been told.  They trust that doctors and teachers are "the experts" and therefore they should just do what they're advised for their kids (or themselves for that matter).

 

AND THAT. IS. NOT. YOU!

 

Give yourself a break.  Not just figuratively, but literally.  Find 20 minutes somewhere to get out and refresh yourself.  You're really no good to anyone in your current state.  Go get a pedicure or (if you can afford it and have it nearby) a massage.  Something to just get your head out of where it is and into a more productive and positive space.  And then get your game face on and go from there.

 

Hugs, mama.  It will be okay--because you are so driven for it to GET okay.  Thankfully your son has a little break coming for the holiday.


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#11 of 14 Old 11-23-2010, 06:37 PM
 
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I am late to reply, but I did want to suggest a book, if you haven't already which is "The Gift of Dyslexia."

 

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Dyslexia-Smartest-People-Read/dp/039952293X

 

There are many people that consider dyslexia a learning difference, not a disability.  Many consider it a great asset.   It's true that many schools do not know how to support this difference, but it doesn't necessarily make it a "disability."  

 

There's also another website if you are up for reading that I think is good:

http://www.dyslexicadvantage.com/

 

HTH!

 


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#12 of 14 Old 11-23-2010, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much. I'm definitely going to look for support groups because the support I find in these posts are doing me so much good. I admit that I can grapple with low self esteem. It's hard for me to be on the other side of the principal and teachers. I'm also paranoid about the staff and other parents having a low opinion of me and what I'm doing. But nonetheless, I haven't backed down and I'm not stopping until I'm satisfied. Thank you Movnmom for your perspective. It's helping me a lot to get a teacher's perspective. Ds' teachers are young and without kids, and they sometimes look at me like I'm an alien. I have to remind myself that they lack experience and that my demands are not weird. I also appreciate you saying that the school doesn't want to violate IDEA. I do think that they're very nervous. I still don't know how you have special ed classes without special ed teachers.

 

I will definitely check out Wrightslaw and Nolo's IEP Guide. Thanks Lucysmom and cdahlgrd.

 

I was so distraught today because when I dropped him off at school, I laid down the law. I said no boardgames if he acted defiantly. He LOVES boardgames. I saw him kick the door and look really angry as he went up to class. I was like oh s**t. It's going to be a messed up day. Sure enough, ds' afterschool care called me to tell me he was a WILD MAN. The head caretaker said that it was like Mr. Hyde that she never saw before. I picked him up early and he was walking on the cafeteria tables, running away from everyone, crazy. But I was actually thrilled to hear that ds behaved in class. He was acting like a nut at afterschool because he cut loose after behaving all day in class. That tells me that whatever's going on can be displaced, but for some reason, he has to get the nervous energy and excess whatever out one way or another. I think he's in a workable disposition even though he keeps saying he hates school. I really wonder whether it's possible he'll ever like school. Can anyone say that their learning disabled child actually likes school?

 

I feel like I caved in by giving him consequences, but at the same time, he was telling his teachers that "he didn't have to sit if he didn't want to" and would get up at random. I just had put a quash to that right away. Maybe I'm wrong, but I cannot accept that he's disrespecting his teachers and he is literally unresponsive to reason. It might be that he's diffiicult for a good reason, but I didn't think I could wait until he came around. I wanted to address the disrespect quickly and effectively. Anyway, the gambit worked out because it motivated him to exert self-control.

 

We're in NYC. DS does have an IEP, but I don't think I am familiar enough about them. I'm going to have to do my research. No, I turned down the school's reevaluation because one can't repeat tests, and I'm having a full neuro psych done on him. I've heard that if I can prove it, I might be able to place ds in a private spec ed school. That would be my dream. In the meantime, I have to make his second grade not a total waste of time and at the worst, a very bad scarring experience.

 

Thank also for telling me that I should take it easier on myself. I'm feeling so isolated and alone. I feel like I'm the only parent dealing with this stuff, and that it reflects so badly on me. This is so helpful to be able to express all the realities and have people reassure me that I'm not crazy for my expectations and that what ds is doing is not my fault. He and I actually have a really good relationship. He tells me I'm the best all the time, and asks me why I'm so nice to him. : )  He isn't seeing all my angst, I don't think. And I've gotten the teachers to stop talking smack about him in front of his face every time I pick him up.

 

DS got a 29/30 on his math assessment test yesterday. Woohoo! They were questioning his intelligence level. This was a slam dunk!

 

Heatherdeg, thank you for saying that what the school is doing is not okay. I needed to hear that because when I'm the only one crying foul, I feel like I'm the unreasonable one. I'm feeling better about my parenting today. I do go to a therapist, so if I get too depressed, I do have an outlet. My therapist is really good.

 

Thanks again everyone. I'm going to read and re-read these messages when I start to feel insecure again. My son is entitled to an appropriate education, period!

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#13 of 14 Old 11-24-2010, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all again. I got the Nolo's guide and I've order Wrightslaw and have checked out their website. I thought that the school was fudging on their responsibilities. I didn't realize that they are outright contradicting the IDEA regulations. But now that I know, I can breathe so much easier. The world is making sense again.

 

This forum is a gift. I'll be sure to express my gratitude on Thanksgiving!

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#14 of 14 Old 11-25-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommay View Post

Thank you all so much. I'm definitely going to look for support groups because the support I find in these posts are doing me so much good. I admit that I can grapple with low self esteem. It's hard for me to be on the other side of the principal and teachers. I'm also paranoid about the staff and other parents having a low opinion of me and what I'm doing. But nonetheless, I haven't backed down and I'm not stopping until I'm satisfied. Thank you Movnmom for your perspective. It's helping me a lot to get a teacher's perspective. Ds' teachers are young and without kids, and they sometimes look at me like I'm an alien. I have to remind myself that they lack experience and that my demands are not weird. I also appreciate you saying that the school doesn't want to violate IDEA. I do think that they're very nervous. I still don't know how you have special ed classes without special ed teachers.

 

[big snip]

 

Thanks again everyone. I'm going to read and re-read these messages when I start to feel insecure again. My son is entitled to an appropriate education, period!

 

Oh, Mommay, you are so welcome. Your son is absolutely entitled to an appropriate education. Not all teachers are great teachers, but most teachers are good *people,* so you can rest assured that, while your son's teachers don't have children and they might struggle with your son, they most likely DO want him to learn and do well in the class. They may lack tools, and they need more, but maintaining an open relationship and giving behavioral advice should be welcome. OTH, you should bear in mind the INSANITY that is keeping students 1) in control and 2) actually productive and LEARNING something in a 20x20 room with 30 6 year olds. I mean, I teach high school, which is *very* hard, but Elem. teachers take the cake. I don't know how they do it. And yet, your son deserves the highest quality education. And he's entitled to it. So don't be phased! Just stay open.
 

I wanted to share about the bolded portion, just because you asked, and the answer baffles me. You said, "I still don't know how you have special ed classes without special ed teachers."

 

Here's the deal. There are "pull-out" programs in Elem. schools where students have individualized instruction in their area of need according to the IEP, but there are no longer SPED classes. In fact, in this pull-out model, students are typically pulled from classes like Art and Music, as those are seen as "expendable" (whole 'nother story, and DON'T get me started! Cuss.gif ).

 

In the high school level, where I teach, there also are not SPED instructional classes (anymore), but only SPED "support" or "study skills" classes. There are several reasons for this, and I share this info because 1. some explanation of the general school system might be helpful and 2. your son's unique qualities will always be with him, even if his IEP is dumped later on (say, jr. or sr. high), he'll continue to be eligible for SPED services for some time yet. I thought you might like to know the system's philosophy (however flawed).

  • LRE (least restrictive environment): all students, per IDEA, have a right to the least restrictive environment. This translates, most often, to the "mainstream" (read: "normal") classroom. This addresses issues of isolation that has been shown to result in kids being ostracized as they get older, and into adult hood, from being, essentially, on the metaphorical "short bus" all their lives. OTH, it also results in less differentiation in both instruction and assessment, simply because students need to be modified for individually, rather than being in a "SPED" classroom. And if the teacher has no SPED co-teacher or SPED educational aide in the room... even tougher to modify curriculum and assessment. Law states that it will happen, but from a teacher's perspective, it's just plain difficult. All teachers struggle, and good teachers feel guilt if they are not meeting a student's individual needs. Plus the IEP is a mandate and must be followed. So duh there!
  • ESEA (AKA "No Child Left Behind) mandated that all teachers must be "Highly Qualified" in their subject area. In Elem. this is simple - teachers have a degree in Elem. Ed. SPED teachers have a SPED degree and license, and PS. SPED teaching licenses are K-12. Versus, say, my license in Language Arts, which is for 7-12 only, because I'm a content area teacher. ANYWAY, what's happened is that, because teachers need to be "highly qualified" at the HS level, well, a SPED teacher is a generalist and a K12 license. SOOOOO... they can't teach SPED math, SPED Language Arts, and SPED physical science, and SPED social studies to classes of LD students, as they did in the past. They cannot do this BECAUSE they are mandated to maintain "highly qualified status" in all content areas that they teach. And they are not "highly qualified" to teach Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Physical Science. They are licensed to teach SPED. This results in many long-term and successful SPED teachers becoming "co-teachers" with general ed. classes. SPED teachers don't often have their own classroom, and don't teach their own classes, at the secondary level. From my understanding, it was like a nation-wide "demotion." shake.gif

 

It's actually been making me quite sad. Like, how I mentioned I have a student with a 2nd grade reading level, but she's 17 and, technically, in 12th grade. So she has to take Language Arts in the LRE, and I modify ALL the curriculum specifically for her. The ridiculous part is that her reading level is SECOND GRADE. But high school has no classes for her because SPED teachers must be "highly qualified" to teach Language Arts. This makes no sense, as her reading level is below the highly qualified requirement anyway. Her being in a regular ed. class for socialization, I understand and endorse. But this girl needs to be learning SPED curriculum, like a "life skills" class where she's learning to read a lease, not Beowulf. What the hell good is 12th grade Brit Lit to her, even in modified form? But the legislation ties the school's hands.

 

Obviously this has become a rant. soapbox.gif I apologize. I guess the most important point I can think of is that, parents are going to advocate parent resources that detail the laws and the system and how a school must be compliant for your particular student and all of this is GOOD, and you should know it.

 

OTH, the legislation quite frequently ties teachers' hands, and isn't always in the best interest of the student, and teachers aren't always able to deliver the best education to your child because of this. Which is unfair and inappropriate, but that's typically what happens with the law gets involved. This is why I advocate for you to develop an open, but firm, relationship with the teachers, because I (hopefully all other parties) are operating under the assumption that we all want what's best for your son. They law merely demands compliance, and nothing more or less.

 

ETA: In larger schools, broader SPED programs are in place, with differences from what I've described above. For example, a larger school might have an "intensive needs" program, etc. and I teach in a smaller school in a more rural area. All I've said about laws is the same, it's the application that differs based on population. For example, the more students you have, the more broad the idea of LRE becomes, because more students of various abilities are in various classes, etc.

 

And, I must say, you will get MUCH better at navigating the system and IEP meetings, etc. The parents I meet with now are all old hat at this, of course, but El. Ed. staff may not know how much they need to get you oriented to the SPED system. And you deserve, like, an orientation or something. Maybe that's what I'm trying to give you. 

 

I'm sorry this is so long, I and I hope, despite it's ranti-ness, it helps in some way. upsidedown.gif


K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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