From therapeutic Day school to mainstream...opinions please????

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tessaturtle, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    HI everyone :)
    So, difficult child has been attending an out of district therapeutic day school for 2 years (maybe 2 1/2 yrs all blurs together!). Our school district (which we moved to 6 months into the placement...) wanted to discuss educating difficult child in his own district (they have their own "alternative education program") now that we have lived within this district for awhile.

    We did not want difficult child attending their alternative program becuase we have heard many bad things about it, didn't like what we saw and experienced during our tours/meetings there, difficult child didn't like his tour there, and I know several of the kids there and the majority are court involved for delinquency and crime. difficult child has been incredibly stable since spring of '08, has been able to bring all of his grades up to A's and B's, and, most importantly had brought his "grades" for his behavior/respect/social up to mostly 1's and 2' (from 3's and 4', which were bad). His team at his therapeutic school shared our concerns about the home district's special program. THey wanted to check out that program but also the regular middle school in our district, as they felt difficult child was doing so well, that given the proper supports, he could make it in mainstream middle school. After they toured (along with difficult child) they felt the middle school would be an appropriate placement.

    We (the team) had an IEP meeting, and it was agreed that the transition could start (with that tour...this was prior to them seeing the middle school) and then difficult child could start the middle school in the fall. Since that meeting, difficult child decompensated (severely oppositional, lying, started hitting/pinching his sister, kicking bus seats, tantrums). His current school and his therapist wanted to put the breaks on the transition plan and keep him at their school. After a month or so of phone tag, the sending (home) school district has now set a meeting date for next week to make a new plan.

    After many theories (most thought it was his reaction to the plan for him to start a new school in the fall), his precriber increased his ABilify....boom, back to the stable, polite, doing great in school kid! Now his team at the therapeutic school is thinking that it may all have been medication related and maybe he really should transition to middle school in the fall. His therapist feels that if he is going to transition, it should be at the start of the school year, so he does not come in the middle and feel left out....

    We (myself, his father, not sure what biomom thinks) are worried about something...he is stable, he has proved himself, he has learned coping skills and can apply them now, etc., so on one hand we feel he deserves the chance at the middle school. But on the other, it is a given with difficult child (and probably most difficult child's) that due to his mental illness, he will have times where he decompensates and it may be medication related, so what happens then? DOes the school district jsut throw him into their "alternative program" (which is full of delinquents)? WHat if he is someone, because he has these patterns, that needs to be in a specialized school and not mainstreamed...I guess we are trying to figure out what is in his best interest...

    Thanks for reading this far..I know it was long...but if anyone has "been there done that" I would love to hear from you. Even if you have been there done that, I would love to hear some outside opinions!

    PS we did his 3 yr evaluation early to take advantage of his stable self...he is definitely EH primary and a proven Learning disability secondary.
  2. dadside

    dadside New Member

    One of the aims of "special" education is to get the student back to "regular", and a clear wish is to have the student in the mainstream wherever possible. I think those are good, and as your son seems "ready" for it, it sure seems worth doing. The professionals at the therapeutic school felt he could succeed in the mainstream school "given the proper supports". If you can spell out those supports - or get the therapeutic staff to do so, and get those incorporated in his IEP in a way that would "protect" his placement, even if occassional issues - possibly medication related - arise, all might gain from proceeding.

    I can't think of a good reson why the "proper supports" would be an issue. Though there may be an argument that they've not done that before, there can be a first time.

    From what you wrote, I'd vote for the mainstream placement with supports ... starting at the start of the school year.
  3. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    Thanks for your reply dadside. Its interesting how this whole thing came about anyway. The sending district (our home district), we think, didn't want to pay for an out of district placement anymore since they have their own off site program. They wanted to bring difficult child back in district to their own program. Mainstreaming at the middle school didn't come up until we made it known that we did not like their alternative program and did not feel it was appropriate for him. THe therapeutic school agreed with us and asked if their was another option. Thats when the middle school was brought up - which the staff at the therapeutic school felt he was ready for (they have known him for 2+ yrs now). THe sending school (who have NEVER educated difficult child before since he was already placed when we moved there) seemed to not believe it (I guess they thought they knew him better than his teachers for 2+yrs?)...but have so far come around after strong recommendations from his current program. THe plan was made then to have him start the transition for the we have the meting next THurs because of the last couple of months bx by difficult child which put into question wether he was truly ready to leave his school yet...but that bx has now been stabilized by medication increase (which occurred a few weeks ago)...
  4. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member other opinions, thoughts, concerns? experience?