My daughter with DS is 10 and in 4th grade. This is the first year we have put her in a special ed classroom. Before this she was in regular ed and pulled out for resource room work. The special ed class is called a "community based class," meaning that they learn life skills, including going into the community each week to learn how to function independently there. I was unhappy the past two years because there wasn't really a plan for Emily academically and she didn't learn much. Although, she has always had good social skills from being around regular peers. I underestimated the value of that because this year she has minimal contact with regular kids and lots of exposure to disabilities and is imitating those around her to an extreme degree. It is really different for us. She has regressed in her behavior and skills and acts really bizarre frequently. It has happened so quickly that we are in shock! She has 3 children in her class who are severely disabled--they act out and make loud sounds, etc much of the time (the teachers call it 'stimming'). She is trying to imitate these three.
My question is--is this an expected type of placement for a Down syndrome child (moderate functioning) or should I insist that she be separated from these children? I have asked for her to be removed and put with regular ed kids as much as possible, but the teachers insist that she needs to be the special ed room with these kids for her instruction (which by the way is such a noisy room that I can't concentrate when I'm in there). I have been thinking about bringing her home to home school until they can work out something else because I am desperate to extinguish these behaviors. Also, we are moving in 2 months and I'm now so up in the air about what kind of placement to ask for in her new school. Another reason I want to get her behaviors normalized again is so that I'll have more flexiblity in getting the placement we want in the new school. Any ideas or personal experiences would be appreciated!
It sounds like they've placed Emily in a Life Skills class which is usually a rather low functioning environment. If you don't feel this is an appropriate placement, call a meeting immediately and dispute the placement. You don't have to agree with what they decide. It seems that your daughter might function better in the Resource Room for some things and what we call an AIM (Academic and Independent Mastery) class for others. It's a class that has more help than the Resource Room but not as low functioning as the Life Skills. I'm sure your school district has something similar. Don't let them bully you. You know what's best for your daughter. Unfortunately, schools sometimes want to lump all the children together with certain disabilites and automatically assume if she has DS, that she's very low functioning. Fight for her rights and let me know what happens. Good luck!
Years back we were actually in the same boat your in, My son was put in a specail calss room with kids that were more on a severe level of there disability. Your daughter will not learn much, she needs to get out of that class room, is there another school she can attend?? If so, they may have a high fuctioning class room she can be put in, she needs more of a chalenge, Demand a meeting with your childs social worker and get the ball rolling, your child deserves better.