Does anyone ever leave Special Ed?

Eileen3GApril 2, 2003

Several children visit me regularly. Oddly, the sharpest by far is in Special Ed. Yes, he is a very poor reader. And now that he has been in Spec Ed for two years -- but only two -- his math skills are lagging too.

But he is SO bright. And SO bored. He aces every assignment, no sweat.

He is off to G7 next year and wants the middle-tier track. Of course, they have put him in the lowest track and given no hope, no direction for moving up.

I believe that this kid could succeed -- IF he masters reading, catches up on math skills, true, true.

I am not his mom. His mom speaks little English and so far has been to shy to approach the school. She has asked me to talk with them instead ... and so here we stand. The answer was "no."

I have three A students of my own and thus don't really know the world of spec ed and IEPs, etc. Is there a way out? Is there hope?

Thanks for any leads.

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As long as he is far behind in his reading, he should receive special help, which is some kind of special ed. If he is so bright, he could be mainstreamed, but the reading will affect almost every course he takes if his skills are so inadequate.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 3:30AM
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Yes. Students leave special ed all the time.

There are some basic things you need to know as an advocate for the mother (and that is what you are at this time).

There are some basic FEDERAL laws and some state laws that govern Special Education. PL 94-194, IDEA, etc. IF you start researching this on the internet, you should find lots and lots of information.

The mother has the right to call for an IEP anytime. She can have an IEP every week if she so desires. The mother is in charge of her child and the child's education. The teachers and everyone can disagree with what is happening and the decisions, but usually the mother gets the final say. So, if you were not happy with the last IEP, call another one! Call the schools and say you want it on x date at x time with principal, teachers, etc there.

There is something called Least Restrictive Environment - This means that whenever possible the student should be with his peers. To this end, he might be in special ed for science to work on reading and math to work on math, but should be in regular PE, music, etc. Sometimes schools lose sight of the fact that it's often times better for a child to get a c or sometimes a d in a regular ed class when he's truly working than it is to get an a in a sped class.

There is also something called modifications- that is what can be done, reasonably, to help the child in a regular ed. class- Some examples- maybe he can do ok if he can take his written tests to the sped room for reading help or for extra time to work on the test. Maybe he'd do ok in reg ed classes if he could do only half the spelling words.

The above can be very controversial because a. it's not like this in the real world- your boss doesn't say- sure do only half the work and Jone's will cover for you. and b. because it is a bit more work for other teachers (both sped and reg ed) and I can go on and on- I've heard all the arguments.

There is also something called meeting the needs of the child. The school must meet the needs of these sped children. If he is not in summer school right now, based on what you are telling us in your post above, I'd call the sped office (the main office of sped services in your district) and talk to the director. I'd try to get an IEP and get him tutoring or help on reading and math over the summer. I would also see if I couldn't get him extra reading class in sped just to concentrate on the weaknesses.

This is what I did for a living. I did the IEPs and I tried to teach parents how to be advocates for their children. Many teachers are not as concerned about these students as I was. Please feel free to email me directly. I might be able to direct you to some sources or through some of this IEP/SPED maze.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 2:20AM
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This is purely my opinion...

Reading is now taught as a "subject". So is ARITHMETIC (different from Math). But in MY mind they are requisite SKILLS. Failure to master the basics indicates danger when advancement to the next grade is considered...

Teach SKILLS and don't be afraid to keep kids "back"! Also, what happened to phonics? why is it that parents are exhorted to purchase expensive "programs" to supplement what USED TO BE TAUGHT AS THE STANDARD CURRICULUM? Demand more from your schools; and don't accept that more taxes are required to deliver it... (rather; suggest they cut the "administrative" and "assistant" positions... (more opinion).

    Bookmark   October 16, 2003 at 6:25PM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I am late coming in on this thread, so what I say may not be relevant. I love Ginger's post. If the mother does not speak English well, does the child have trouble with reading or reading English? I teach Spanish and am also a part of the IEP's. I welcome these kids into my class. They can hear the language and respond well, but often do poorly on the tests. I just make an adjustment and we all go on. I write in the IEP that the student can make a "C" if he/she maintains a good attitude and tries. The special Ed teachers and parents understand upfront what we are doing and everyone is happy. By the time these kids go to college, they will have to pass a test to get credit and they will not be able to pass the test, so they will have to start over. The parents know the score so everyone is happy. The kids go with their friends to Spanish speaking countries and have a ball. They know quite a bit a Spanish and are thrilled. In some cases it is obvious that the kids come from Special Ed, in other cases the kids are totally mainstreamed, but have modifications. In my opinion it's a real thrill to learn Spanish even if you cannot keep up with everyone else.
Parents always need to remember that if too many kids move out of this program, the teachers risk a job loss. The teachers often don't mind holding a child in the program. Most of these teachers are very loving and good, but often they take what they have, put them in groups and move on without challenging each and every child.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2003 at 11:07AM
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sometimes... depends on the school. depends on the kid. depends on the parents, depends on the program...

they never did figure out whether to make me SpEd...outread my teachers, but could fail a class with the best of them- would even provide crituques of WHY.

part of the problem is that even the loving and good teachers tend to look at us as flawed things, and rarely do we manage to accentuate our strengths and learn to work through our flaws.

and trust me- once you're in the system, it's like trying to climb out of the tar pits- it's actually easier to get out of the system if you really DO need it, it seems- they 'mainstream' the kid who can't count change for lunch before they 'release' a kid who might grow up to be Einstein- who couldn't write a shopping list, or color-match his socks.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2004 at 2:09PM
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I am new to this forum but here is my two cents. The parents of the child need to go in yell, scream, and demand their son be taken out of special ed. Why would a child who is only having trouble in reading be in special ed in the first place? Where my kids go to school they have chapter 1 reading for those who need help. It does not help. We sent one son to Sylvan and it was like a miracle from God. He was a year behind in reading and in 8 months he was all caught up. His teacher this year did not look back at his records to see how he did. She say's she just gives them all the opportunity to show her what they got. She could not believe they wanted to label my son with a learning disability. I told her this at a conference) She said he is bright and knows things she does not even know. (He loves discovery channel) A child who cannot read needs to learn to read, not be put into special ed to get behind in his other classes. Maybe a friend could go with the mother who speaks english well. I know there were times when I was at meetings for my son I could have used a friend and I am outspoken and speak english. Ann p.s. I know I rambled on but when I hear of kids having school problems that they do not need to be going through I get really angry at the school.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 7:14PM
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Ann, technically, remedial help with reading is categorized under special education.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 2:38AM
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sheilajoyce, Yes, I know technically remedial help is categorized under special education. It should not be though. The entire system needs to be changed. I am working on it in my school disctrict. Unfortunately I have been for years. Ann

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 9:48AM
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