ESE classes crushing my son

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by happymomof2, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    When my son was diagnosed in 3rd grade with ADHD and excepted in "Special Education" it was wonderful. He learned that he wasn't stupid and that he could learn. It was all great until Jr. High - started there, he dealt o.k. with it. This year "Senior High School" and he isn't doing well at all.

    He knows what he has to do to get out but he is so sick of it, and to be honest so am I. They get point sheets everyday - different colors for different levels. If he forgets his point sheet one day - just once they bust him all the way back to red 1. Which means he has to start all over. I understand in those classes the teachers have to be strict and maintain control. But I am not perfect nor is anyone else especially a teenager.

    I took him and his girlfriend to youth tonight at church and he was in the worst mood when I picked him up. After we got back home and came inside I went back to his room and he was crying. He is 14 and rarely cries anymore. I finally got him to open up and talk to me and he said he wants to be like the other kids. They won't even let the kids talk amongst themselves while they are changing classes. My heart is breaking for him. He had a very very rocky start to school this year and was getting into a lot of trouble. Then outside school he did a typical teenage thing and got caught and arrested. I don't condone in any way shape or form what he did but again something a lot of kids do but don't get caught.

    If I go up to the school and start demanding things they are going to look at me like I am crazy due to his prior behavior.

    What can I do for my son, I love him with all my heart and want whats best. I wish they could just give him a "trail period" - like 2 weeks out - all regular classes and see how he does. This is crushing his spirit.

    Please help me help him - any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

    My heart is breaking.

  2. Calista

    Calista New Member

    We are in the same situation with my difficult child right now. We started mainstreaming him this year because he is so much better after placement. We started with one class at the beginning of the year and he did great. Back in October he told my mom that he hates his school (his special needs class) because he doesn't get to do what the other kids do. So, I called my friend and ARD facilitator and told her that it hurt my heart that he feels this way and could we add another mainstream class. BOOM, it was done. To make a long story short he has had his ups and downs. The downs have mostly been in his special needs class because he's ready to be with the other kids. They micro manage him in the special needs class and he hates it. He's mainstreamed now for lunch, lunch recess, science (double block), and math (double block). He's doing great and is very happy. We're getting ready to add another mainstream class. This plan is working well for my difficult child as he understands better what it takes to make it in regular class but, he still has his other class to fall back on when he needs it. I won't say that we have had a perfect year. We went through a medication change a 2 weeks ago and I thought he was going back to placement to get it straight. Well, it worked itself out and the SD is still behind the mainstreaming.

    Now for the technical stuff. In his ARD it is written that classes will be added throughout the year as appropriate. This keeps us from going back to ARD everytime we add a class. I think the important thing is that school needs to see that he is ready for something more "normal."

    If I were you I would call and ARD and address the idea of mainstreaming for one class at a time where he has the chance to be "normal." Let him come to the ARD and express his needs and desires, he's old enough to be part of the team now. Plus, if he is part of the decision maybe he will feel ownership and reponsibility of his choices.
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Calista is right on -- call an IEP meeting. You are a full member of the IEP team. As such you can call a meeting at any time.
  4. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    I went to the school today to give my son his jacket and medications he forgot this morning. He met me at the clinic and he was fine. Not upset, not aggravated. I told him I have an appointment with his guidance counselor tomorrow morning - he said "I wouldn't worry about it".

    I am glad he got over his meltdown from last night. I went to bed feeling like the worst mom ever having put him in those classes to start with. I woke up feeling pretty much the same and so sad for him. Glad they get over things so quickly!! Why can't I?

    I had a meltdown myself after I left school, which I needed and feel a little more refreshed having cried for a little while.

    I am still meeting with his guidance counselor in the morning. I will discuss setting up a new IEP and mainstreaming him some. I also need to ask her about one of his grades he got 1st semester. He got an F. Does this mean summer school? Can he do something to get extra credit and not have to attend summer school? See this is his first year in high school so all this is new to me. Yes I went to high school ummm..... er....... 20 something years ago!

    Hope my meeting goes well in the morning.
  5. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    Current law favors but does not require inclusion (AKA mainstreaming.) Your son has a right Occupational Therapist (OT) be educated in the LRE, Least Restrictive Environment in which he can function. The SD cannot legally keep him in an overly restrictive placement for their convenience.

    I would suggest you look some of these terms on a law website such a to get the flavor of what your SD should be doing (not what it is doing in my opinion.)

    Remember, not only are you a full member of the IEP team, you are your son's first and best advocate.

    Best to you,

  6. happymomof2

    happymomof2 New Member

    Martie, all I can say is WOW. Thank you so much for that website. I browsed through it a bit but will look at it later in greater detail.

    That is a lot of information and it sounds like those people are in our corner.

    Thanks again