Mainstreaming vs. Substantially Seperate Classroom

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by jcox, Aug 29, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jcox

    jcox New Member

    My son is 7 y.o with the diagnoses of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, BiPolar (BP), ADHD, sensory processing disorder (SPD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and NLD. He is currently in a substantially seperate classroom. His 1:1 aid and the SPED director are pushing me to mainsteam him again. At the beginning of kindergarten last year he lasted two months. By that time he was suspended 5 times. They placed him in his current setting with is a small SPED Emotionally Disturbed class with 5 other boys. He has since been placed on a new medication regimine and his BiPolar (BP) is mostly stable. He still has high anxiety and is easily overstimulated.

    Recently I got him IEE testing in the areas of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, neuropsychologist, and educational evaluations. All three recomend that he: would do "well in a classroom that is oriented toward the education of children with significant behavioral and emotional problems. A small, highly structured classroom with both emotional and beh avioral supports (e.g. a program of behavior modification with specific goals) will be helpful. Also, a classroom that minimizes the stimulation level E receives will be helpful. My recommendation is that E continues a specialized program. Given E's neuropsychological and emotional status, he is not likely to thrive in a mainstream setting at this time".... and similar recomendations.

    I am confused and don't know what to do. He is not really with any children his own age in his current setting which is at the 3-4th grade school, not the K-2 one. It is the only substantially seperate school in our district.

    I am wondering if anyone has sucessfully mainstreamed their child who has an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) once they were placed in a SPED class? Did you do it gradually or all together? How did the child react? Also wanting to hear stories of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who were mainstreamed and your experiences. Do you think I should listen to the evaluators in this case or try mainstreaming him to see what happens?
  2. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    my difficult child has never been placed in a self contained classroom however as an Occupational Therapist (OT) who works for school systems I've worked with many many kids in self contained classrooms - both for EBD problems as well as due to anxiety, sensory issues, etc.

    I would have to say that successful mainstreaming after being in a self contained classroom really depends on the student, the support he has and the attitude of the staff. It sounds as though the SPED director and 1:1 aide feel that less than a year of success is enough to justify changing the program.

    My main question reading your post is "Is your son successful over 80% of the time in the current classroom setting?" Typically developing students are successful about 80% of the time and only about 20% of the time are really challenged. Our kids tend to experience the reverse in general education settings. If your son is not experiencing a high level of success yet (over 80%) I'd say fight to keep him where he is. Too often SPED staff focus on the lease restrictive environment without realizing that for some students, a moderately restrictive environment IS the least restrictive environment for their learning (did that make sense?). And when students just begin to demonstrate success then they want to pull the rug out and move them forward too quickly in my opinion.

    It sounds as though you've got some good evaluation information that is recommending continuing the status quo. And you mentioned that he still struggles with anxiety and is easily overstimulated. All good reasons to fight to keep him where he currently is.

    Is there anyway for the district to provide him opportunities to engage socially with other students his grade level? Can he spend one afternoon at the other school during PE/Music/Art/Lunch/recess times? It's not optimal but it would be a start without drastically changing the whole program. Do you have him involved in situations in the community to give him these opportunities outside of school that can help make up the loss of time with same age peers?
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    My son was 95% successful in his self-contained classroom last year and mainstreamed for gym/fine arts/recess. We added 45 minutes a day in the mainstream room for science with a 1:1 aide. Not only did that go poorly, but it destroyed the progress he made in his self-contained room. His complaints were (1) there were too many kids (2) it was too loud. He felt like a failure and it ruined his year.

    This year he is in a class with just one other child plus mainstreamed for gym/fine arts/recess. He has the option to eat his lunch in the main lunch room but so far has not chosen to do so due to how loud it is. Our plan is to very slowly work him into the Learning Disability (LD) classroom with their 8-10 kids with the long term goal of him being able to be in the Learning Disability (LD) room full-time as a 7th grader.

    Mainstreaming can be wonderful for some children and horrible for others. I would have no problem with my son staying in self-contained rooms for academics through high school -- you can be working at grade level in a self-contained room.

    If your mommy-gut says it is too soon, then refuse to change his placement (since his placement is the self-contained room, they must get your consent or win a due process hearing to move him).
  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    difficult child is older than 7, BUT he should have been in a self-contained class looong before the last couple of months of the fifth grade when the decision was finally made to move him. He's now been in one for a little over two years. He is functioning at grade level and I have no intention of ever completely mainstreaming him. It would never work. Right now he is out of the class for band, PE, lunch and just started "TV and Radio Broadcasting" (he's in 8th grade) out of his contained room. I'm a little worried, but we'll see how it goes. If your difficult child is doing well sometimes it's just best to let it be.
  5. I work in a self contained ED program. We are pushed by central to return them to their homeschools. We know that they are not ready and will be unsuccessful but must do so due to CT's PJ law which mandates that all SPED children must spend 80% (i think) of their day with non-disabled peers. Although the ruling is for Learning Disability (LD) and ID kids, my school district has included all SPED kids.

    What must happen for them to be successful is 1) an enviromental study (to include noise, physical enviroment, support, etc) 2) attempt to recreate the environment in in self contained class ( withdraw support over time, increase noise and distraction levels, increase wait time for assistance) 3) when child can maintain success at 80% in recreated environment, then return to mainstream. This is a long process that requires creativity and additional work so it probably won't happen, sad to say. I think that the damage to self-esteem and negative educational experience of returning to home-school without being ready is an extremely valid concern. I can't tell you how many children this has happened to and in the end they ended up in out of district placements.

    Don't let them push it until they can offer assurances that he will be successful.
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think the above quote from "someone in the know" should hold a lot of weight. Your son's IEE recommended that he remain in self contained. I also agree that mainstreaming would be the optimal goal. However, each child is different. Perhaps an elective class like art or music would be a good start. Kinda a no anxiety, low stress thing. I would caution a very slow, well thought out approach.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.