At School, Are your Children (m)

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
At School, Are your Children (m)
Thu, 08-07-2003 - 11:04am Special Ed? I may be totally in left field here, but Ellie (SM) has been in Special Ed since K and she will most hopefully be entering 1st at our local School here soon. I question Special Ed thou. One of the Principals I spoke to yesterday told me that because of her Mutism, it is going to be real hard to assess her in 1st because of her lack of communication, lack of verbal. Well, this is a behavior problem. She is not deaf or impaired where she can not talk. I know AS is different but to all of you who can relate to Selective Mutism to some degree, were your child(ren) in a Special Program for their needs. I don't want Ellie singled out because she doesn't talk nor do I want her in a Special Program with people like herself because it may condition her even more. Sometimes, I just want to grab her and tell her she needs to talk, tell her she is no different than anyone else and her behavior or lack of talking needs to stop. I mean, it is so night and day at home. She talks here, she talks with friends once she warms up, she just choses where she is going to talk and where she is not going to talk. Special Ed during K was so egg shell-like. i.e. when attendance was called and her name was called, she wouldn't raise her hand. They allowed that instead of requiring her or telling her what is expected of her. I don't know, I may be rambling. SM is kind of different than AS but to all of you, is Special Ed working or is your child in main stream school??!!....................

TIA Jeanne



Avatar for suitemadameblue
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 08-07-2003 - 3:28pm
We don't experience SM with Tristan, but along with his PDD dx, he is also partially deaf (inner ear nerve damage). At school, where he will be starting into 2nd grade next month, he is mainstreamed, but pulled out of classes thru-out the day for speech therapy and also therapy with a teacher of the hearing impaired. The school doesn't see him as needing a sole-Special Ed. class, feeling that most kids benefit better from being around students of all types, and instead they just offer those services to him. Also, they are always sure to place him with a teacher that has experience with extra-need kids. His kindy teacher had been a Special Ed teacher in the past, so she was outstanding at working with him - and we hadn't even had the PDD dx at that point, only the deafness!! It worked that way with 1st as well - his teacher would subtly remind him when he was getting too loud, needed to pay a little closer attention, focus harder on a test, etc. (One reason I really loved this woman was because, (she asked for my permission before saying this), she would occassionally tell Tristan "Now, I know that you have trouble hearing, but you are wearing your hearing device, so I know you can hear me, so please play more attention." -- at school, Tristan wears an FM device; the teacher wears a wireless microphone pack and Tristan wears the receiving ear piece, so he can hear very clearly what she is saying without the fear of outside noise being louder) Word has it his upcoming 2nd grade teacher is also that way - prepared for his needs.

We also deal with the IEP and all those meetings, and I feel very blessed to have the team that we do. They are the absolute greatest!!!! (I know I'm gonna cry when we have to move next summer - these are the only team members we've ever dealt with, so starting over is gonna be tough on ALL of us!) In fact, it was Tristan's dx that really brought the entire ASD topic front-and-center with our school, and in turn a few of them (a couple teachers, therapists, and even the school psych.) atteneded a couple meetings that talked about what all is involved with ASD - what it is, how to handle it, different techniques, etc.

So, is Special Ed. working on for us? While it may not have been exactly what you were looking for (how it's handled at our school, I mean), I would have to say MOST DEFINITELY. His speech therapy is phenomenal, his teacher of the hearing impaired is fantastic, and his teachers all around have been great. I don't think Tristan could have learned half of the patience and focusing abilities that he has without them.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Thu, 08-07-2003 - 5:48pm
Well, we didn't have a good expirience with schools all together. But that was just our kids. I work with several kids who are in mainstream schools with SE and they do just fine. IDEA 97 specifically states that services will be provided in the least restrctive enviroment possible. By that they mean the child should be put into a normal, mainstream class at first and recieve their extras outside of the class. Of course, that sometimes means being taken out of the class for an hour or so to get the services (like SP). They only put the child in full time special day classes if it becomes appearent that the child cannot function properly in a mainstream environment.

Of course, there are also exceptions to that rule. A child with Kanner's Autism (severe autism) would not be placed in a mainstream class. Most of the time they aren't even placed in mainstream schools. They have very special needs that require special teacher training that goes way beyond the normal relm of SE, and for them the 'least restrictive environment' is NOT a mainstream class.

However, with SM, AS, NLD, etc. a 'normal classroom' is usually where they are placed. But remember this too, for a school the term 'functional' means learnability. If the IEP team believes that the child would learn better in a SE class then that's where they will want to put her. But they normally don't make it the 'homeroom' class, it's just a class they go to for an hour or so either everyday or even just a few times a week. In some cases the child goes to SE once or twice a week for more of a 'review' than anything else. The SE teacher works with the child for a few minutes each meeting to make sure they are on track with their studies and that no unexpected learning roadblocks come up. At our local public school the SE teacher actually acts as the school councilor for kids with IEPs. She is more in tune with them and is more able to recognise when any given problem is behavioral, neurological, or otherwise. Where a mainstream teacher might view SM as a neurological problem and ignor the student because they think they can't do anything about it an SE teacher will see it for what it is and begin appropriate behavioral therapies to get the child to open up.

Did any of that make any sense? LOL, I hope so.