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Old 05-17-2013, 09:40 AM   #1
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Full time special ed?

Is anyone's kid in a full time special ed class/school?

I've been talking with ds's educators about placement for next year, and they recommend that he attends a special school or full time special ed. I think what they want him to go to just doesn't exist, but I am going to stay open minded until we get settled in San Diego this summer.

If your kid is in full time special ed, what's that like? Class size? Types of kids in the class? Etc? How did the process go getting your kid in to something like that? We've been adding more and more services for ds (he will be placed in 3rd next year), and he is about 50% mainstreamed this year. They think he needs 100% specialized education. I'm not sure if I should push for that, or what to expect or anything. I really fear they will want to place him in an emotionally disturbed classroom and I am concerned about the types of kids he will be exposed to in that environment. He does have an explosive temper, but 80% of the time he is really just the sweetest little guy, and very sensitive. In general, other kids and adults really like him. He's conundrum.

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Old 05-17-2013, 10:46 AM   #2
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Re: Full time special ed?

I have very limited experience with "self contained classrooms" which is what they call it here. When Kearnan was 4 he was in the PPCD program at our Early Learning Center which is the nice new building the ISD built to house the Head Start program. There were quite a few PPCD classrooms and they were all pretty similar, 5-6 kids, 1 teacher and 2 aids plus OT, and PT in and out. Some of the children would have a 1:1 aid which would mean even more adults in the classroom. Classes were based on age so there was a 3-4 and a 4-5 room (it was the same for the other rooms, ESL and "normal" pre-school classes). They tried to keep the class pretty much like a typical preschool, did circle time, lunch, nap, crafts, plus sensory activities and activities with the PT and OT. In Kearnan's class he and one other little girl were considered "high functioning" ASD, one little boy was medically fragile and rarely in class. The other kids were lower functioning which was only an issue in that Kearnan began mimicking them which was not helping his social progress. At the preschool level there wasn't a lot of concern about the children being emotionally disturbed, it was all about getting the kids developmentally prepared for school.

Getting him into the class wasn't a problem, when he aged out of ITIP he was transferred to the school system and this was their answer. Our local ISD does not want to mainstream him at all despite his functioning level. Their answer from the beginning has been a self contained classroom. Dh and I have discussed one of the specialized Autism schools but they are not really in our price range and we feel that ultimately homeschooling is the best answer for him. There is also a therapeutic school that we have discussed for our youngest but it would be a last resort. Typically children are referred there directly from the hospital.
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:48 AM   #3
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Re: Full time special ed?

Is the classroom in the same school or will they be shipping him off to another school? I really am not a fan of stand alone special education schools. Basically, the school district's attitude is these kids are too much of a distraction for regular education and our school's principle said as much in a public interview with the local newspaper.

I would fight tooth and nail if the classroom was in a standalone school, if it is just a separate classroom in the same school I would be more likely to work with the school district until you can come up with a plan that is mutually satisfying.

I'm in backwards could care less about inclusion Alabama but when I was in Florida they had an entire department at the state level dedicated towards including special needs people into school, daycare, community etc.... Can't remember the department name but workers called themselves inclusion specialists. If I were in your shoes I would contact whatever California's equivalent is because they probably can give you a more unbiased opinion and also consult with school about broadening your options.

I didn't miss your other questions, it is just my son primary disabilities are not behavioral, his problems are more medical and developmental so I doubt describing his classroom would help you.

I always felt the best fit for my son was a self contained classroom in a regular elementary school that has a special education wing. In this type of setup he still got his extra needs met and still had opportunities to interact with regular education students. I also have noticed a huge difference in regular education students attitudes toward children with disabilities in this type of setup. Kindness, cooperation and acceptance were abundant when I see regular education students in a school with mixed student but here it is more like open gawking "What is wrong with that kid?" type looking. It really makes me sad how horrible and backwards it is here.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: Full time special ed?

My middle school has 2 self-contained rooms. One room is for life-skills students. We have 15 students and 4 teachers in there. There is a spectrum in there from non-verbal to fairly high functioning Downs.

We also have a secondary room for EH kids. There are 8 kids in there and 3 teachers. These kids go out in the building for 1 elective class each day unless their EH needs are very very severe. In that case, the students either go on half days, or are placed at the EH school.

We also have self-contained classes for Language Arts and Math that usually have about 10 kids in them that are all working significantly below grade level, but then the kids are mainstreamed for science, social studies, and electives. This placement baffles me, because if the kid is very very low in reading, it would seem that the kid would also need extensive intervention in social studies (which is a TON of reading and writing).
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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Re: Full time special ed?

We're moving from Texas to California, so that's why so much talk of placements has been going on lately. His school adores him, so if we were staying here they would probably keep doing something similar to what they are doing now. We talked about retention, but ds is one of the tallest kids in his class, even though he is younger (April B-day), so we have had concerns about placing him in a grade younger. Kids can start Kinder at age 4 in CA, so some of those kids could be quite a bit younger than him. And smaller.

I'm still looking for a rental, so I don't know what district we will be in, so I can't call and just ask what they have. And I'm not sure if I even want to bring it up with the school yet in the event that we don't choose to place him in special ed. Typically, we want him to be treated like every other kid, as much as possible.


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Originally Posted by luvsviola View Post
My middle school has 2 self-contained rooms. One room is for life-skills students. We have 15 students and 4 teachers in there. There is a spectrum in there from non-verbal to fairly high functioning Downs.

We also have a secondary room for EH kids. There are 8 kids in there and 3 teachers. These kids go out in the building for 1 elective class each day unless their EH needs are very very severe. In that case, the students either go on half days, or are placed at the EH school.

We also have self-contained classes for Language Arts and Math that usually have about 10 kids in them that are all working significantly below grade level, but then the kids are mainstreamed for science, social studies, and electives. This placement baffles me, because if the kid is very very low in reading, it would seem that the kid would also need extensive intervention in social studies (which is a TON of reading and writing).
Ds is very behind in reading, but ahead in science and social studies. Much of his classwork is verbal. They read to him, and he verbally answers. So while he doesn't receive accommodations in those subjects, he still gets help with reading and writing, in all subjects. Writing is hard for him because he has motor delays, and because of Tourette's. He's kind of jerky. Reading seems to be mixed in with his speech problems. He isn't hearing and processing sounds like other people are. Like he had a book he had to write in words by letter of the alphabet, and he put crab in f. Fwab. Spider went in P, pider. Stuff like that. But he's incredibly intelligent and motivated to learn subjects. His big problem is really his explosive temper. He never tries to hurt anyone, but he will suddenly explode and things start flying. They ended up diagnosing him with a Behavior Conduct Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, because while he exhibits the same behaviors as a conduct disorder, he isn't intentionally harming anyone, KWIM? He just kind of goes nucking futs for no obvious reason.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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Re: Full time special ed?

My son is 3 and is in a full time special education program. He transitioned from Early Intervention directly to the school after an evaluation process done by the school. His class is in the local elementary school but the preschool is for special education students only. The district does not offer preschool to children who are not in the special ed program so the only other children he has any class time with are in the special education program as well. There are 9 students and 6 teachers and my son has a 2 to 1 aide in the classroom and a 1 to 1 aide on the school bus.

My son has a severe sensory processing disorder as well as medical problems that affect his blood sugar, feeding, allergies, and he has unexplained facial paralysis. So far supposedly he's had no behavior issues at school but we deal with some explosive temper/tantrum issues at home and he often hit his Early Intervention providers. We've had big issues with the current school (the school is known for their work with children with autism but they really can't handle my son's medical problems and we've had some major issues over the past 6 months since he's started since I have spoken up with my concerns to the appropriate channels and the program staff did not respond well) and have debated back and forth on moving him to a stand alone special education school. The stand alone school would be well equipped to handle his medical needs but the children there have different needs than my son, which is why we haven't rushed to make a move. It's been confusing and as time goes on, my son has become more settled in his current class and now a transition would be difficult on him. If I knew 6 months ago what I know now about his current school, I would have just had him start from day 1 at the stand alone school in a heartbeat but this has to do with this individual school and unfortunately doesn't help your decision.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: Full time special ed?

In my son's classroom before we moved, they had two special education classrooms. Kids were assigned a classroom depending on how much help they needed. They each had a name but I don't remember that name.

In one classroom they have the kids with higher needs. For example, in this school, that classroom helped a couple of girls with Downs, there was a boy with a genetic syndrome and he had a lot of difficulties talking and had a lot of health issues centered around his breathing. There was one girl who couldn't walk well and had a lot of health problems as well. I think they had six kids all together.

In the other classroom they placed the kiddos that needed a little less help. My son was one of four kids in that classroom and all had autism except for one girl. I'm not sure what her situation was. Anyway in that classroom they tried to have the kids attend some classes if at all possible. For my son that meant PE and circle time in the regular first grade classroom.

I loved that school. Each classroom had a teacher and two aids. There was a lot of love for the kids, the classes did some things together, and they were just one big team which was nice.

It's a little different at DS current school. He still spends the majority of the day in the special education classroom, but they aren't really considered part of that class. He was assigned a first grade teacher and that is considered his class and the special education is just an extra help. I'm not sure it's possible to just have a student in the special education classroom full time or not there. It doesn't seem to be.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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Re: Full time special ed?

I forgot, another thing they have suggested is doing a part time homeschooling program for him. Does anyone know if San Diego schools offer this? We could hire a special ed tutor for reading, writing, and math, and put him in school for science, social studies, maybe lunch and recess plus specials and PE, so he gets some socialization. Since he does well in science and social studies this would make him feel successful in a classroom setting, and he majorly struggles in PE, so it would give him a challenge as well.

We toured special ed placements when ds was transitioning to preschool, and the offerings were horrific. It looked like something you'd see in a developing country, kids stuffed in storage rooms watching TV all day with no bathrooms or windows or playgrounds. Literally. I ended up contacting the woman in charge of our regional center and they toured the classrooms and shut them down. they had no idea and they were horrified. I ended up putting ds in a regular preschool and he had a full time aid. I'm sure that experience has clouded my view of special ed in general, but I just feel so hesitant to expose ds to something like that. I think he will do better if he is exposed to as many regular kids as possible. But, we have to be respectful of his extra needs, as well. And of the other kids in the class, too.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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Re: Full time special ed?

I forgot, another thing they have suggested is doing a part time homeschooling program for him. Does anyone know if San Diego schools offer this? We could hire a special ed tutor for reading, writing, and math, and put him in school for science, social studies, maybe lunch and recess plus specials and PE, so he gets some socialization. Since he does well in science and social studies this would make him feel successful in a classroom setting, and he majorly struggles in PE, so it would give him a challenge as well.

We toured special ed placements when ds was transitioning to preschool, and the offerings were horrific. It looked like something you'd see in a developing country, kids stuffed in storage rooms watching TV all day with no bathrooms or windows or playgrounds. Literally. I ended up contacting the woman in charge of our regional center and they toured the classrooms and shut them down. they had no idea and they were horrified. I ended up putting ds in a regular preschool and he had a full time aid. I'm sure that experience has clouded my view of special ed in general, but I just feel so hesitant to expose ds to something like that. I think he will do better if he is exposed to as many regular kids as possible. But, we have to be respectful of his extra needs, as well. And of the other kids in the class, too.
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