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I get the feeling, after being involved in our district's school system for 9 months now, that our district pushes for mainstreaming due to budget issues more often than to allow children to be in the least restrictive environment.

How do you feel about mainstreaming? Has your SN child been mainstreamed into NT classes or grades? How has it gone? Was it your suggestion or the schools? How do you know it is working out best for the child and the class?
 

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As a general impression, it seems to depend on how supportive of the idea the teachers are. Younger students and grades tend to do better, in my experience, at integrating everyone since kids are at much more varied levels.
 

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My DS1 is mainstreamed in a regular 2nd grade class with an aide. He gets about an hour per day with the resource room teacher, too. He still struggles with academics, but socially it has been amazingly successful. I think the key to successful mainstreaming (assuming the child is developmentally ready for the step) is to make sure there are appropriate supports in place. The supports can be removed gradually as they become unnecessary. Examples of supports may include (but are not limited to) visual schedules or silent timers, a one-on-one aide or classroom aide, a behavior plan and access to a crisis team, OT/PT/ST, a "sensory diet," a parent-teacher communication book, a "peer pal," etc. You can request partial mainstreaming as an experiment to see if your child can handle that type of classroom. My DS1 spent 2 hours each morning in a mainstream 1st grade class, then spent the afternoons in special ed last year. This process was initiated by his special ed teacher, but we knew it was coming because we'd been discussing it with his teachers for months.
 

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Our little miss cotton ball button is most likely going to the private Montesorri school, regular class with our other 5 yo. come this fall. (Different school systems here.)
She does have her own assistant though, that is going to be there with her 100% of the time. (All the teachers are being educated on her medical issues as well, and what to do if this or that occurs, so her assistant can take a bathroom brake, and maybe even luch.
If the assistant is sick, I'll go with her.)
She is highly gifted though, so I'm more scared she'll be bored than anything else, but that's the reason for the Montesorri, if anyone can give her the challenges she needs, it's them.
We'll see how it goes re. her medical issues, I'm sure she'll be just fine in other ways, and the mainstreaming is not an issue.
 

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My oldest is in a special day class about to finish 1st grade. For the time being, there is no thought of moving him. He needs the small classroom setting and a lot of emotional support. He also needs a huge amount of help in academics. They did try to mainstream him in K and I was against it and am glad I fought it. Neither of his elementary teachers thought it would be a good idea.

Ds2 will be starting kindergarten this fall in a mainstream classroom. He's had no formal schooling whatsoever. We think he will do ok and might ne some supports. We just aren't sure what exact help he will need right now. He is very bright and ready academically. He is just behind socially and with fine motor skills. We also aren't sure how he will do with some of his sensory issues.

Really I think it depends on the child and the teachers. Some kids should not be mainstreamed. Sometimes I think the kids in special ed classes can get much better educations than if they weren't. Ds1's teacher is trained to know how to teach him and kids like him. Some kids however thrive with being around typical kids. It pushes them.
 

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I agree that it works best on a child by child basis. Having a supportive teacher is imperative. If that teacher doesn't want the child in the classroom, it makes it so much harder for everyone involved. If you get a teacher that understands the special needs of the child, though, it can be a really great thing. I think it can be really good for the typicals in the room too.
 
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