Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Special Ed?

So, it was the end of the year for 4th grade and all of the sudden we found out the principal who had been so wonderful and accommodating with MJ was going to be transferred to another school. This had us extremely nervous.

How would we know what the new principal would be like next year? How did we know she would allow MJ's 504 Plan to continue or accept it?

We were very worried, so we decided to set up a meeting with the current Principal and the school psychologist BEFORE school ended to update the 504 Plan, plus maybe talk about how it had not worked very well over the past year because the teachers were not following it consistently.

It took us much calling and emailing to set up the appointment, but when we did we were actually surprised what was suggested.

Now, as you have read in previous posts, MJ had several things listed in his plan which were supposed to help him throughout the day. The problems we were having was mostly that the teachers were forgetting to follow through with these helps.

One of our biggest problems still was how MJ would get home and not have the work he needed to do. Or he would be getting in trouble for not remembering things or finishing assignments. According to the 504 Plan, the teacher was supposed to be helping to cue MJ and to be checking off his day planner at the end of the day to make sure he had all the assignments going home placed in his backpack. This was not happening.

Now, good grief I know the teachers have a lot to deal with already, and I'm not blaming anyone. And really, what good was it doing having the teacher always having to cue MJ or remind him or whatever. Yes, it would help, but was it going to help him in the long run? No. We really needed something so that he could learn on his own and something that could help him in the future so he didn't have to depend on other people.

I've been trying to get MJ to be more independent. I've been teaching him how to cook, do laundry, dishes, and jobs on his own. Why not keep going? So anyway, we thought maybe we could discuss allowing him to use his own personal PDA that would cue him when he needed to be somewhere, do something, or most of all---what work he needed to bring home and get done.

There were some other things we wanted to discuss too. He was meeting once a week with the psychologist to talk and play games with 2 other boys. I'm not sure what the purpose of this was. I think the other boys had some sort of anger management thing and maybe he was assigned this time because of the whole biting incident.

I was disappointed though. I figured maybe this could be a chance for him to learn more social skills as far as being taught or going through social stories to learn more how to appropriately respond and act amongst "normal" people.

At the meeting we touched on the idea of a PDA, and then when I began talking about my hopes toward social teaching, the psychologist suggested a different possibility. She suggested Special Ed.

OK, so I don't have anything against special education classes. If fact I think they are most wonderful for the right students, but I did not think it was the right place for MJ.

MJ had his issues, but he didn't really need a special ed class to get him through school. He was extremely gifted. At the beginning of the year they had done a series of tests and told us that he was extremely intelligent and in the "superior range". Now, not to say that anyone in special ed can't have a high IQ, but I just didn't see what purpose it would be to place him in a special ed class.

Just because he needed some social teaching and guidance, he isn't allowed that unless he is put in Special Ed?

I guess I didn't understand. Really we were meeting for yet another reason, which we will explain in our next post.