Dr Drew tonight

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Is covering a story about "scream rooms" (aka- safe rooms) in an elementary school in CT. He has several guests on, all representing points of view, including:

    1) Why are kids with these needs in mainstream schools because this is disruptive to other kids (sd's side represented by a local reporter)
    2) A parent who wants to know why the sd isn't accommodating her Special Education student better than that
    3) A parent saying these aren't spec needs kids, they are bad kids, so why aren't they being expelled
    4) A psychiatric who says if these are spec needs kids this isn't the way to discipline them and isn't teaching them anything constructive; on the other hand, if they aren't spec needs kids, it's no better than a parent locking a kid up in a closet when he/she misbehaves

    The sd is now planning to create two new rooms upstairs, away from the regular classroom so it won't disrupt the other students so much.

    Several things come to my mind- of course, I tend to agree with the psychiatric on this one. But first- I can't believe the general public has no clue that 'safe rooms' are used in many public school systems these days so this is not a rarity. Secondly- all those people saying these kids should go to a 'special school' instead of mainstream- WTH do they think they are doing in alternative or behavioral schools that teach these kids any better? OMG- most of them are worse!

    But most of all- TG this stuff is FINALLY getting out to the general public- I just can't believe it has taken so long to get stuff pertaining to our difficult child's out in the media and force the public who just want it all to go away to think deeper about this stuff.

    Many on this show are claiming the problem is that the sd is forced to mainstream some kids that they didn't used to have to. Oh geez...now we have people against an IEP??
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I didnt watch it but I actually started out being against mainstream and I dont think the school system ever did anything to change my mind. I read a series of books when I was a teen by a special education teacher and I sure wish I could remember her name. She taught some of the difficult kids. Probably what today would be considered emotionally and behaviorally handicapped but she had them in a small self contained classroom in a building on the school grounds but not even attached to the regular school building. I dont think she had more than 6 kids in her class and she had one or two aides. She met each child where they were educationally. I remember one little girl in the book that was a wild child and she had to work to earn her trust to even get her to talk to her much less do school work. I believe this teacher retired when mainstreaming came in because she knew "her" kids were going to get so lost and she was right. Most of them ended up getting pushed right out of school.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It just really depends on the child. LRE by definition says to start with mainstream but we all know kids who all of the time or for part of the time do better in a more protected, protective, and specialized environment. LRE should mean where the child is able to reach their potential the best. I do think the mainstream kids have rights. But I also think that learning that not everyone is a typically developing individual is a great lesson for all children and they can handle more than we give them credit for. They need the teachers and staff to be role models for how to be around difficult child's. My whole life was changed for the better by being a mentor to a student who was deaf and developmentally delayed. I was in turn mentored by many deaf not mentally delayed students who to this day are close friends. That started at age 12.

    Q does much worse in a not mainstream setting. And those private, isolated settings.... can be a breading ground for abuse. They are too isolated and not monitored by peers. Q's school in first grade was like that and it was billed as an amazing place. They actually said when he was 6 years old, what is the point in teaching a kid to read if they are going to be in jail anyway.? This is the school where the aids would lock him in the isolation room for long periods of time for not stopping his foot from tapping on the desk leg, etc.

    I worked in a specialized charter school ( large compared to Q's multi age school with two classes, we had a small class at each grade plus a "special needs class" for multiple challenges plus being deaf, and it went thru high school, plus Occupational Therapist (OT), two speechies (me) and asl specialists, social worker, psychology, etc... all on site) and there are high standards for conduct of the teachers etc. It can be done well but it is a very scary thing to leave your child who can really provoke anger in others in an isolated setting.

    Just all depends. Pros and cons all over the place. sigh.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes I guess it does depend on the child, the triggers, etc- the things an IEP should be addressing. I'm just glad someone is trying to start a conversation in the general public about this stuff.
  5. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I've worked in both settings. Taught a self-contained learning disorder/emotional disorder class (18 plus one aide, horrid numbers), then because I felt these kids were not being given good role models, or a chance to be with "normal" kids, I was part of a state grant where we mainstreamed back all of the kids in our bounderies. We had Downs-syndrome, severe cognitve delays, mental illnesses of all kinds etc. I was young and truelly wanted it to work. There were too few sp. ed. teachers, reg. ed. teachers who were stressed from the number of kids in their classes and lack of funds for supplies (our state is the lowest per-pupal expenditure in the U.S.), and many of the severely disabled kids did not have their needs met. One of our Downs Syndrome kids was non-verbal and should have been taught sign language. By the time I got him in 6th grade-I did the best I could with what I knew of ASL. It was educational neglect! So was the other self-contained model. These kids never get all the resources they need, they are not protected, and the teaching staff is not supported. These jobs are highly stressful-that is why I am no longer a Special Education. teacher. Regular ed. is tough enough.

    As for those "quiet rooms", we had 2 deaths in a year in our state, even a kid at my school climbed up and got into the heating ducts(took 4 hours to get him out), and they are really no more than larger timeout booths which many states have out lawed. The other kicker is, while we put them there so they don't have to be restrained or hurt other kids, there is often another kid who goes off at the same time-what do you do if you have only one room? How are kids kept safe. The police are often called. Many schools don't even have a crisis team to help. It is often one teacher asked to handle one kid who may be having a melt down. The only answer is smaller classes within a normal school with losts of support staff on hand. Flexible staffing so noone hets burned out, and yes Buddy, the decisions should be kid by kid. Kids so ill need to be in schools where they get comprehensive care-includingb a psychiatric. for medications. We use to have this-they are largely gone now.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet, could you be thinking of Torey Hayden? She wrote a serious of books about teaching special education students. The books broke my heart. Many of the children had been horribly abused and were severely emotionally disturbed.

    The story of Sheila told in the book, One Child, still haunts me.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm not going to be very popular, but I'm against mainstreaming in general.

    Yes, I know, shocking from the woman who demanded Travis tow the line with his sibs. But it's not quite the same.

    I've seen very few kids who were very successful mainstreamed, actually the complete opposite is true. Now this does depend on the child and what is going on with them too, of course. But I'm talking both physical and mental / social disabilities here.

    Travis would have done tons better in a classroom geared for his needs, odds are due to that he'd had had much more self confidence (which by the time he hit 2nd grade was in the toilet). Learning would have not been a constant battle as he'd had trained staff around who might actually understand what his IEP said, because quite frankly none of his teachers EVER got it. And in all honesty, school did squat for his social issues until he attended the tech center in his jr year where they made it a point to address the issue with ALL students every friday. Instead of real constructive learning before that, he was tortured by other students, badgered nearly non stop by teachers who didn't have a clue, told he was downright lazy and his attitude stunk. (a child who'd never acted out in class, never gotten in trouble once with the school) Tech school was the dumping ground for many students such as Travis, no joke, and they were determined these kids weren't going to be lost in the shuffle. (paid a hefty private fee for him to attend jr and sr years) Classrooms were small, staff really cared about their kids and although they might not understand dxes ect there were other staff there to sit down and explain it to them, ONLY place his IEP was NOT ignored. Travis loved it there, thrived there, they thought he was a pretty awesome kid. Other kids I met there loved it just as much.....many of those kids were teary eyed come graduation day.

    If not for the tech center willing to accept spec need kids the sd no longer wanted, Travis would have graduated (no kid with an IEP can be prevented from graduating) but he would've learned nothing. And so it goes with so many many spec need kids.

    What is the point of graduation if nothing or so little was learned that they still can't function as an adult or independently on any level?

    Mainstreaming, in my opinion, is not working. Yes, there are some kids who can handle it given that their IEPs are followed (how often does that really happen even with a warrior parent) And those kids should be allowed to do it. But there are now so many kids who simply cannot handle it who are being forced to due to a small percentage that can. I have to wonder how many of those kids are graduating with little or no skills or just dropping out when it gets so frustrating or they give up on themselves.

    I've had long conversations with other warrior moms in this area. There are some who's kids are doing ok mainstreaming, would do much better if their IEPs were actually followed the way they are written, but are coping ok. But most, at least the ones I've met, are angry that there is no longer an alternative to mainstreaming your spec needs child. We have deaf children here who are supposed to have ASL interpreter for all classes. They're lucky if they have one for 1st and 2nd grade, after that they have to do the best they can, regardless of what is written on their IEP. Most don't do very well because it's a constant struggle with teachers doing what they can to cope (not fair to them either by the way). Same with other types of disabilities. This is not just with the mental dxes, but all of them. Mainstreaming might work for more kids IF those kids got the special attention they needed say in grade school, then could be weaned later to see if they can cope, if not, returned to Special Education.

    Alex is another example. And it makes me soul sick to watch him. I don't give a d@mn if that is politically correct or not. He's sitting in a 4th grade class where he has NO business being because of mainstreaming. He's not quite up to 1st grade level academically, in many ways not because he needs so many aides to help him function at that low level. He has no clue what is going on in that classroom. Any lesson that doesn't pertain to his own level, zips right over his head. He doesn't get it because he can't get it. Add in the autism......oh yeah. I've watched my grandson cry and pound himself in the head for being "stupid" and "retarded" and unable to learn like his peers. How is this a benefit to him? Socially he's not even in the same ballpark as his peers since his behavior is also that of being several years younger. Alex wants so badly to learn, but each year his frustration is mounting, his confidence is deteriorating.....and honestly I'll be surprised at this rate if he makes it to mid HS. He's had great teachers the past 2 yrs, but they're trying to teach a classroom full of students on a totally different level, then gear it down to him. Great teacher or not, that has got to be difficult to do.

    I'm not saying every Special Education class was great either. Some were downright horrible. But it seems to me to "correct" the problem they threw all the spec needs kids into the educational ocean to sink or swim. They could've cleaned up the Special Education dept, required more training, more teacher / student ratio, and still allowed mainstreaming for students who could successfully make the transition while giving those who would drown in a normal classroom a soft place to land and a learning environment more suited for their needs.

    This is just my opinion, Mom and grandma to two very special needs kids, and years and years of watching mainstreaming fail the kids it was supposed to help.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of teachers don't like mainstreaming. It's pretty hard to teach a class when one child is so disruptive that sometimes the room has to be cleared out while the c hild is throwing a desk. I dated a teacher before I met hub and he would complain about mainstreaming with his colleagues all the time.

    While I am not a fan of screaming rooms and isolating most kids, I do think Special Education classes are good. My son was in Special Education half a day, then went with an aide to his other classes. He was able to work at his own pace and did quite a bit better with only fifteen kids (and two aides) in his class. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, his classmates were not behavior problems. He was in a class for kids with mild cognitive problems, although he has a normal IQ. It was a good fit and he just worked well for him.

    I am not sure what to do with children who can not conform to a school room without getting angry/upset. Perhaps there should be a setting w here the kids do work a lot like Montesori so that they are not square pegs in a round hole, and perhaps that could avoid some frustration yet still allow them to live up to their academic potential. There should be more charter schools to fit kids that do not do well in a traditional setting. in my opinion they also need better trained special education teachers. I'm shocked at how many of Sonic's teachers didn't really know what Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified is! We got lucky because the teacher he had from 4th-7th grade was so willing to learn and she did a great job with Sonic...then he was mainstreamed, but her classroom was a good experience for him, not a nightmare.

    I wish there was a good answer here, but in my opinion they haven't found one yet.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    What you say makes sense to me, Hound Dog - but then I have no direct experience of this. It is obviously a difficult and delicate decision whether or not to put children with special needs into mainstream education, with clear advantages and disadvantages on each side. But, from the outside, it seems to me that excluding children from the possibility of segregated special education is not wise.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    It also is super variable by state, and within a state by city. There are districts who handle the process stellar. I have to say as an insider, I think most people have NO IDEA how many kids are doing well on IEP's in the mainstream because it IS working for them and people would just never know they were on one. Kids with Learning Disability (LD)'s etc... who only need a resource room for an hour or two a day or kids who just need a note taker or nurse to be with them and their grades are great, legitimately great. it is the Q's of the world that are an issue and he has NEVER been mainstreamed for more than a class or two and those were for social reasons. He always has done BEST in those classes with very few times having to leave. In terms of behavior. The kids who bully him are in the special needs classes. The teachers have been good but the training for aides is really what kills me. And in our state they have to have a certain level of education and specific training now. Still it is not geared to the individual disability areas so you get a good one or not by hit or miss. I have never ever had student not have an ASL interpreter in mainstream setting NOW but I sure as heck did go to school back in the 70's when that happened. I remember many days interpreting for my fellow students which was clearly illegal and these days their parents would have a FIT and win.

    The system is not perfect but at least now kids are not shoved into one mold. Parents have a voice to say my kid goes here or there and the reason the whole mainstream thing came up was because for a long time kids were denied a chance and the expectations for them to be with typical kids and have typical growth was just not even an option. Special Education is fine but it is limited in the choices of classes. One Aspie who came back to the middle school recently told the kids nto to be afraid, she can't believe how fun high school is because the choice of classes included Japanese and she is one of those Japanese enthusiasts including anime and the food etc. ... three of the mid school kids have tha tas an interest too and were so excited. That would never happen in a sp. ed only class.

    It is all individual.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy...yes! I kept thinking...her name sounds like Cory but with a T...lol. Maybe that is where I got his name! I thought the book was lost child but One child make sense too. I read all of those books back when I was a late teen early adult...over and over again and actually considered becoming a teacher because of them but after learning that I couldnt become her...well...no point. That little girl that was so lost and wild that she would tear the room up was so sad. But so rewarding at the end. But then not rewarding when she lost her classroom. I need to read those books again!
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Exactly Buddy! No one room is going to solve all the problems of all difficult children! Actually, I'm not sure I agree with the solitary room for any, or at least most, difficult children- whether it's simply a behavioral issue or not.

    DJ- I have no idea who you're talking about but based on Kathy's brief description, it might be more than I could handle.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    buddy, our sd doesn't offer Special Education at ALL. It is not an option. Burns me up.
  15. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    The biggest problem with education is money.
    There is either too little, or too much (in which case it is spent in all the wrong places).
    And guaranteed, the FIRST area to feel the pinch is... special needs.

    To make matters worse, the SECOND area to feel the pinch is... staff development. And the THIRD is class size.

    Which means...
    - there isn't money for detailed testing
    - without detailed testing, the IEP either doesn't get written at all, or gets written incompletely
    - without a solid IEP, nobody knows what to do with this kid
    - with no IEP at all... the kid goes off the deep end, and its a "parenting problem" (of course) <NOT>
    - even with a solid IEP, the chances of particular staff actually having any training at all in the issues assigned to their class is... slim.
    - turnover in the teaching field is high - so, those who have learned by experience, have already left (if they were good... the poor ones stick around or go into admin...)
    - training for aides is limited, and definitely not specific to the issues of the students they deal with
    - NOBODY is allowed to specialize in anything, so everybody knows next-to-nothing about everything.

    Skip the discussion on whether or not Mainstreaming works.
    SCHOOL isn't working. Its broken. Way too many kids are coming out with less than what they need for life... but because they "graduate", nobody is noticing.

    Some parents are upset because "too many dollars go to the kids that will never accomplish anything anyway".
    Other parents are upset because "smaller needs get swept under the carpet".
    And the parents of special needs kids... are really really mad, because its easier to get the stuff that $$ can solve, than to get the simple, common-sense changes that cost nothing and make a huge difference.

    I'm all for mainstreaming... to a point.

    If the student is cognitively normal, every attempt should be made to mainstream. A quad who can't even talk but can communicate via alternate means, and who "thinks" at grade level... should be allowed to participate as fully as possible. The kid with MD who is only normal from the neck up - absolutely. Except for the exceptions (see below).

    Or, if the student is not on the same playing field, but is "inclusion-friendly", that can make sense too. One of our kids had a Downs-syndrome classmate for years. His academic work was totally different, but he could participate in science experiments, art, music (played percussion), PE, etc. Most of the kids took him under their wing.

    But... these only work with sufficient support. Cut that by too much, and... the student might as well not be in school at all.

    The exceptions? Highly disruptive kids. There are SO many hidden disabilities and disorders out there. And the policy of "inclusion" (the term for it here) means that attempting to include these extreme kids is putting other kids at an even greater disadvantage. Imagine the kid with un-diagnosed Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) who is fighting to hear at the best of times... being stuck in a classroom with an included student who needs constant interaction with an aide. The backround noise level just went through the roof. This Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) kid... can't handle the situation, nobody believes that he "can't hear", its treated as attitude and... THIS kid, who SHOULD be able to function and move forward, is sent off the deep end. Yes, it actually happens.

    There is no right answer. There is no easy fix. Special Education classrooms aren't the best answer either, because it isn't possible to customize the classroom environment for each of the special needs there... Even in a very large school division, its difficult to have specialized environments for more common needs like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Downs (some try). Especially the highly-disruptive kids... don't need to be around each other. They need to see what "normal" is.

    I don't have the answers. I don't believe we ever will. There never will be a perfect world.

    But when MY kid is pushed over the edge because of somebody else's kid's needs... I guess sometimes I'm going to come across as anti-inclusion, even though in general I'm not.

    <sorry, better get off that soapbox>