Behavioral vs.other types of spec. ed classrooms


New Member

Well yesterday we dodged the speeding bullet so to speak since my son decided not to go for the nuclear option of being totally disruptive.

We had a talk with our family therapist yesterday. She really urged me to do everything possible before bringing my son home; she said that once these separation anxiety kids come home it is virtually impossible for them to go back to school.

She even urged us to consider the behavioral intervention center if it comes to that. It is a 45 day placement for kids with behavior issues in the classroom.

I have been opposed to this (as well as my son's therapist) on the grounds that he doesn't have a behavior issue. With bipolar, ex functioning plus some Learning Disability (LD), he doesn't belong in a behavior program. If anything he needs to be in a small classroom with other high functioning kids with LDs.

Our school district is pitiful. Because of its size and space constraints, they have a resource room where they do life skills, deal with the one or two severly autistic children, have pullout small classes for the kids who are several grades behind, etc. The high functioning kids have classroom aides, which is what my son has. Even with the aides however he shuts down on a regular basis.

The middle school I imagine is much the same.

So I am thinking that if he needs to go anywhere, it is to the therapeutic day school, not the behavioral intervention center.

Any thoughts on all this?

thanks chris



You took the thought right out of my mind.

I am getting wary of recommending anything these days because there are too many "behavior" and "alternative" placements, either that do 45 day evaluations or as "permanent" placements. I think that most anxious, mood disordered, depressed, etc. kids do well in true therapeutic environments and not well at all if placement contains big-time acters out and punitive behavioral controls.

It is for this reason that my ex-difficult child went directly from regular class to egbs. He was Special Education qualified but always in regular classes. If things had not deteriorated so quickly (because he was 14 and in h.s.), I certainly would have wanted to try a THERAPEUTIC day school. In the end, that is what he got in egbs and then, greatly improved, returned again to regular classes--OK not that regular--it was a conservatory h.s. but it wasn't a Special Education placement.

Middle school is in my opinion often a problem for PCs even. It's the age and the way middle schools are organized. If you have the opportunity to visit any local therapeutic schools, I would do it. It's good to know what is out there--in case the need arises.

I don't want to offend any homeschoolers but I think starting it is a problem with anxious kids--they never go back as opposed to other homeschooled kids who may want to go back to school (or enter school) as they get older. I also had a kid who wanted to stay home and be home schooled. I resisted the impulse to "save" him from the misery of school. I remain ambivalent about the decision in regard to what was best for him. However, I still think that had I let him stay home, he never would have gone back--shoot--by the end of 8th grade, it took two hours to get him there and we WEREN'T homeschooling--it just felt like it.

In the end, parents usually know what is right for their kids. It is another matter whether or not they can get the services they believe are "right." Personally, I have never encountered a sd that used aides for high functioning kids and classes for low. Around here, it is the opposite: small pull-out classes (plus inclusion) for high functioning kids and 1:1 aides for kids with severe problems. An IEP, not the location, is supposed to determine Special Education services but in terms of socialization and peer relationships, it does matter how a sd organizes things.

I hope you can find something suitable.



New Member

Thanks again! so much for responding. I can't tell you how much posts help me.

I am resisting the homeschooling pull, at least for now, tough as it is. We made a slight medication change (added Risperdal in the morning which seems to help a bit with anxiety and mood) and saw some improvement last week in school.

So for the moment, I think I am going to fight very hard next for a no homework accomodation, figuring that the goal for my son should be to see if we can actually get him through the school day in good shape.

He doesn't like having an aide-- the stigma issue-- but he is not so motivated by peer pressure either. Don't know how that will work out next year.

So for the momemnt the plan is to keep close watch on him.

Unfortunately, the only therapeutic school in the area goes through 6th grade. Given all the anxiety that going there would entail for a year and then back to middle school, I am not sure its worth a major fight at this point.

Anyway I will keep you posted. And I appreciate the support more than you know.




I am pretty sure you know this but I will post it for others: we had quite good success with homework restriction for a child who probably shares many characteristics with your son. I don't think my ex-difficult child would have stayed in public school for 7th and 8th grades if he had to do homework outside of school hours. He had a "study hall" plus lunch and if the assignments weren't done then, they didn't come home. This worked because my ex-difficult child was afraid that if a report ever came home that he was "wasting time," I would say, "send it home" for that day. I wouldn't have, but he didn't know that for sure :wink:

Just FYI for those of you who may not know that homework restriction/elimination is "fair game" for IEP meetings.