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Old 10-11-2007, 06:42 AM   #1
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mainstream v special schools

my autistic son is six he has been in mainstream for two years with a carer all day . over the last few months we as a family have come to reiliese that we have made a mistake dont get me wrong he is making progress but that is down to all the help i have fought for to help him and all my family and school but as he gets older the school are not looking at the whole picture they are chnging his routine constantly and swaping carers this is causing real problems when he comes home he takes everything out on us i have tried to speak to them but at the end of the day they do not understand they dont live autism day in day out and they arnt specialists but inclusion inclusion is the best the govenment cry best for who not allways our kids now i have a major fight on my hands to get my son out of mainstream into special for the good of his and our long term future i have to face an inclusion pannel and present agood case . any thoughts would be appreciated caza

 
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Old 10-11-2007, 07:17 PM   #2
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Re: mainstream v special schools

caza,
i wish you the best in your plight to get the school system to agree to a special school for your son. in my area, you have to practically commit your child to an institution in order to get out of the school district and into a private school. the tuition for private autism schools (in my area) start at 40,000 and go upwards of 100,000 per year. school districts are obviously not so willing to foot the cost for this. also, the laws for special ed are great for us but they do push mainstream (least restrictive environment) as the best option for special needs kids. one of the first things i learned when doing my "homework" was that the schools are under no obligation to provide the "best" placement for your child. they are to provide an "appropriate" placement.

does the school have a program for special needs within the district. also, please be careful what you wish for. I learned the hard way that placing your child with other special needs kids isn't always the best choice. my son was miserable when in a self contained class. he is doing much better in mainstream-learning from typical peers.

my son is also 6 and in the middle of being re-evaluated. although he is considered special needs, his eval team of specialists do not believe he is on the spectrum. we are just waiting to hear the final evaluation in nov.

good luck.

Last edited by MOM23ANGELS; 10-12-2007 at 05:30 AM.

 
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:23 AM   #3
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Re: mainstream v special schools

hi thanx for your reply i hear what you say and believe me all what you said has bin going through my mind for weeks truth is i dont no what is best but i need to try all optians . the school i am looking at is new and only five minuets away its not private and its for autistic children only he needs to be were he is understood and were they no what to expect as he grows because i dont no what to expect all i no is as he gows his autism is becoming more apparent he cant join in conversations and the normal kids are geting bored with him i hope im doing the right thing for him caza

 
Old 10-12-2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Caza,

I just wanted to say I wish you all the best. I know it is hard to know what the best decision will be. My only answer would be is to try it and see how it goes. Your son is still young so there is time to go back to mainstreaming if this is not working out or he progresses more than you expected. You got to go with your gut, believe in yourself and know you are doing the best you know. It is hard as parent to not feel guilty all the time. Every year I think to myself, my son is in 10th grade mainstreamed, is this the right place. Is he getting all he can get from this. I truly believe you got to go with your gut.

Big hugs and best of luck.


 
Old 10-12-2007, 02:21 PM   #5
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Re: mainstream v special schools

hi lucky star its soul destroying isnt it do you think you have done the right thing for your son im really interested in your oppinion as you are alot further down the line than me thanks caza

 
Old 10-17-2007, 12:39 PM   #6
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Hi Caza,

I can only say it has been great for us. My son does not seem depressed or sad. If you ask him he has a ton of friends. He doesnt not make the inititive ( i can NOT spell ) to contact them to hang out but seems happy and social at school. I truly think it has helped him progress socially.

I dont know where you live. An IEP is a must. The school must legally follow the guidelines on the IEP. Do you have an IEP? ( individual education plan) You as a parent can put anything in there you feel is necessary in helping your child. If you do have an IEP call a new meeting to have it revised or have a meeting to have an IEP started. It has been awhile since I had to start all of this process. Figure out how to make it happen if there is not one in place. Where I live there is an IU. At the IU ( specializes in creating and delivering educational programs for, career-minded students, students with disabilities) who can help make a diagnoses and get an IEP in place.

If you have an IEP have someone from the IU come to the planning meeting of your IEP always. They are the experts and will help to get these teachers and staff on the right page At our IU there is a specific dept just for Autism.
I used to have stuff like the Aid must be present and gym and lunch..since they are the most chaotic times. Also my son must sit in the front, or the room of so in so is too busy..too many posters what can be done to clear the room some...etc..

This way every one will know what modifications need to be made for your child. DO NOT be afraid to ask for what you want. A full time Aide...etc...
This will HOPEFULLY make things smoother for your child if you choose to stay mainstreamed. Tell all the teachers that you are available by phone and email always...get all of thier email address to keep on top of things.

I hope this is making sense. I think faster then i type.

I do worry every year. Will my son be picked on. To tell you the truth ALL kids get picked on, it is a sad fact. If that is your worry for your son being mainstreamed. It is a sad reality. My NT son who is now a senior always got picked on for his size. Kids are so RUDE.

My son has had a girlfriend, is in drama club for the 2nd year. He is doing great. It is a long road. It is tiring and tough. There are always going to be teachers or lunch staff, or principals that just dont get it. That should not discourgage you. These people just need more education on the subject.
I have come to the point where I choose the teachers. I choose this and that. What I know works best for my son. You will get to that point. It takes time to feel like your in control and these teachers and schools will do what i say.

After all this...i reread your posts. Only you can decide what is best. It has been a major learning experience for us, but i wouldnt change my decision. Once in 9-12 grade, kids usually gravitate into " clicks" so my son is in the Art oriented quirky click..oh well.

I would not keep him mainstreamed if he was so miserable and cried all the time. He is happy. I guess that is what you have to decide. Is my son happy. Am i more worried about him being treated different then he is...

I really really hope this helps....

Amy

 
Old 10-25-2007, 12:08 PM   #7
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Re: mainstream v special schools

wow amy you really have given me alot to think about you hit a few raw nerves to im guna get my husband and daughter to read your post then sit down and try and sort my sons life out thank you very much you have been agreat help my head has been in bits caza

 
Old 10-30-2007, 12:27 AM   #8
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Re: mainstream v special schools

I have one ? My school is just starting out kind of say in a way working with kids with autistic behaviors now they have two. my son is autistic, bi-polar, and ADHD and he can get really OCD at times. But he is higher funtioning. I had to hold him back into first grade he was not mature enouph and didn't even know his abc or sounds yes he was still in pre-k level. Yes kids don't always want to play with him but he is a happy child. The risperdal really helped we have had to stuggle with some of the ADHD meds but he is doing good on Medadate right now dosen't seem to make him flip out and he too likes art. I am not the greatest speller sorry. But I would like to know more about things I could put on His IEP. He has an Aid and asaptive PE. He gets Extra help in all his subjects. I would like to know some of the things you put on. I liked the lunch room stuff, but I think she does that already. Can I ask here to make him brush his teeth after luch the medician is effecting his teeth? Or what else? He has a great teacher this Year at a different school which is much better on the E. side of Freeport, IL. They have been great. Are there more suport groups and learning places and places that I can learn about things I can do with him to help him achieve better in the long run???

 
Old 11-01-2007, 06:22 AM   #9
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by pookie247 View Post
I have one ? My school is just starting out kind of say in a way working with kids with autistic behaviors now they have two. my son is autistic, bi-polar, and ADHD and he can get really OCD at times. But he is higher funtioning. I had to hold him back into first grade he was not mature enouph and didn't even know his abc or sounds yes he was still in pre-k level. Yes kids don't always want to play with him but he is a happy child. The risperdal really helped we have had to stuggle with some of the ADHD meds but he is doing good on Medadate right now dosen't seem to make him flip out and he too likes art. I am not the greatest speller sorry. But I would like to know more about things I could put on His IEP. He has an Aid and asaptive PE. He gets Extra help in all his subjects. I would like to know some of the things you put on. I liked the lunch room stuff, but I think she does that already. Can I ask here to make him brush his teeth after luch the medician is effecting his teeth? Or what else? He has a great teacher this Year at a different school which is much better on the E. side of Freeport, IL. They have been great. Are there more suport groups and learning places and places that I can learn about things I can do with him to help him achieve better in the long run???


Hello,

I believe you can put anything on there. Let me just tell you I still fight and babysit the school and the staff and teacher to this day to follow the IEP. Even though they legally have to. By the time the kids get to my sons age teachers really dont want to " babysit". My son is in 10th grade. I thankfully have had amazing Learning Support teachers and aides. Same aide since 6th grade. I have to be honest, it has been so long since I did an IEP for Elementary school. But go into the meeting with a list of things you want on there. It is YOUR child. Be realistic though. This year I wanted every teacher to email me every homework assignment. I was told NO by the one principal. He attends the meetings. I said OK well Devon's mind goes a mile a min so if I do not get the emails DO NOT expect him to turn in all his assignments. So you win and you loose some battles. Thankfully his aide is great and our school has a home access page where the teachers post homework, attendence, grades etc.

Do you have an Intermediate Unit where you live. They specialize in learning disabilities??? We do so I always have the same woman thank god, I always have the woman from the Autism division come to my IEP meetings and help me with what needs to be added. OR do you have ARC, I hear they are great advocates.

There are books are IEP planning. That might help you. To make a long story short YES put in there about brushing his teeth

I have an IEP first two weeks into the year. I have all teachers, even gym, music whatever there. Then I have one at end of first marking period, second, third and end of year to plan for next year.

About helping your son. I would get advice on things to do at home from the learning support teacher, or speech or OT therapist. They can help come up with a plan for you to do at home.

I have my son in this group that meets once a week for social skills only. Not to be rude but i always knew acedemically he would be OK, it was the social skills I always wanted to talk about in every meeting. I would be like oh great great he got an 80 on his test...so how is he with the kids in the class, does he have friends

HOPE THIS HELP...i go a mile a min too and I CAN NOT SPELL EITHER

Last edited by luckystar; 11-01-2007 at 06:25 AM.

 
Old 11-01-2007, 04:25 PM   #10
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Hi there. I'm just looking through - I'm currently not working as a speech therapist because of back surgery. I've been in public schools for 9 years, though. I just wanted to say that I'm sure it's really hard as parents. I've been in homes, spent hours on the phone and in meeting with moms and dads, so I have a clue. I just want to remind you that the staff at school are there because we want to help your kids, not hinder them. You make it sound like we're against you. We have to work within the confines of the state and federal mandates, which frustrate us, as well. But, please to not demonize us as individuals or our intentions. Also, please realize that we work with many families (my caseloads were 65 students and higher), so we can't give each of you 10 hours of therapy, phone time, and reports a week - even though you deserve it!

Please continue advocating for your kids and voting to support school programs, too. It really helps if you try to collaborate with schools, while still meeting your child's needs, rather than treating us like your enemy from the start. I wish you all the very best as you continue on your journeys with your children. I know it can be bumpy, but your children are unique and the adventure is like no other! That's why we choose to do what we do.

Best,
Margaret

 
Old 11-01-2007, 05:53 PM   #11
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterboxsd View Post
Hi there. I'm just looking through - I'm currently not working as a speech therapist because of back surgery. I've been in public schools for 9 years, though. I just wanted to say that I'm sure it's really hard as parents. I've been in homes, spent hours on the phone and in meeting with moms and dads, so I have a clue. I just want to remind you that the staff at school are there because we want to help your kids, not hinder them. You make it sound like we're against you. We have to work within the confines of the state and federal mandates, which frustrate us, as well. But, please to not demonize us as individuals or our intentions. Also, please realize that we work with many families (my caseloads were 65 students and higher), so we can't give each of you 10 hours of therapy, phone time, and reports a week - even though you deserve it!

Please continue advocating for your kids and voting to support school programs, too. It really helps if you try to collaborate with schools, while still meeting your child's needs, rather than treating us like your enemy from the start. I wish you all the very best as you continue on your journeys with your children. I know it can be bumpy, but your children are unique and the adventure is like no other! That's why we choose to do what we do.

Best,
Margaret

While this is true. It is not always the case in public/mainstreamed schools. Parents should be aware of what they can ask for and get. I have come along way as well. My son has been in school since he was three. I have been thru 5 schools, countless teachers, countless IEP meetings. Trust me I know there are teachers out there that care and want to learn and grow with your child on this matter. There are also teachers still that have no clue what Autism and Asperger is. I blame this on the schools, the districts for lack of education on the matter. My district just started with in the last 3years having an inservice to teach teachers about AS/Autism. Of course the OT and speech therapist care. That is why they are there. I am not trying to make it like everyone is the enemy. I have said a million times knowledge is power, so the more you know, the better your childs experience will be. You have to have the mentality sadly to fight for your child, it is instinct. If you aren't doing it who will??

 
Old 11-01-2007, 10:04 PM   #12
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Re: mainstream v special schools

I totally agree - It's much easier and more productive working with an informed and educated team, especially when parents are up on the nature of their child's abilities, preferences, learning styles and such. I couldn't agree more. I think I was responding more to the tone, rather than the education part of it. Yes, yes, yes! You are so right to encourage parents to know all they can about opportunities out there. Thanks.

 
Old 11-04-2007, 05:19 AM   #13
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Re: mainstream v special schools

Some thoughts on mainstream versus specialist unit:

These last few posts are pointing towards the fact that maybe a specialist autistic unit would be best for an autistic child... as we all realise that mainstream teachers have not been taught to be autistic specialists, they will probably not have come across an autistic child like ours before (remember how huge the spectrum is), if one at all in the classroom.

However, if your child is lucky enough to be further up the spectrum and be generally able to cope with being in a mainstream class, then that is where they should be. Listen to your child and your gut instinct.

Don't blame the teacher beacuse they haven't been trained as a specialist teacher in autism, work with them to help them get to know your child.

Always get advice from outside agencies etc BEFORE running in to school and making a scene. Making a scene might make you feel better...but is it going to help your child?

I'm speaking as a mother who had schooling troubles with my child aged 5, and also as a teacher who is trying to cope with autism in the mainstream classroom.

My child is settled happily in a unit...but....but... that's the worry, isn't it - is it the right place? If he were in mainstream he'd be copying other mainstream kids, wouldn't he? would he? But he's happy...

I think you have to be realistic - my little fellow can't learn not to be autistic, but he has specialist teachers who know what he needs , and they help me too... Accept autism...do the best for the child..it's a toughie...

 
Old 11-04-2007, 11:03 AM   #14
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Re: mainstream v special schools

hi all unfortunatly i am dealing with teachers at my sons mainstream school who keep telling me how they so understand him and autism when in actual fact they have not got a clue it has come to the point were they are doing more harm than good its scary to be honest .slt and ot are wonderfull but they only see what school wants them to my fight begins again tomorow to get my son out of mainstream and into a unit inclusion is only inclusion if us as perants are kept informed and consulted we have not been but ey as long as it looks gud on papper and targets are being met thats ok isnt it caza

 
Old 11-05-2007, 05:37 AM   #15
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Thumbs up Re: mainstream v special schools

Targets! our children are more than targets!
Their needs are vital, we need them to access the best they can NOW.
As parents/ carers of an autistic child we are looking, not at getting painlessly through the next 12 months, but at getting our children through the rest of their lives.
It's sad that your teachers are arrogant enough to think they know best, and it sounds that you are right in thinking of transfering to a unit. It makes me mad that you are going to have to convince a panel that this would be best. Are they looking at your child...or at their budgets? We are talking about trying to help a child achieve the best they can be, so that they can cope as well as they can in the real world, not at an "oops slight over spend there, sorry can't do it".

It's scary - what is best? mainstream or unit?
Every child is different, but so are the schools that they are exposed to...supportive schools, un-supportive - only you know what you are dealing with and I'm sure you are making the right choice for your child. You wouldn't be in such a worried state of mind if everything were ok at the moment.
Good luck!

 
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