Update on Special Education class

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Kathy813, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Some of you asked that I keep you updated on the team taught Algebra 1 class that I am teaching. As you may recall, I have 11 Special Education students (one of which is an Asperger's student), 16 regular ed students, a team teacher, a one on one aide for the Asperger's student, and a Special Education student teacher.

    Things are going well. We have noticed that the students that are having the most difficulty are generally the Special Education students so we are trying various accomodations to help them such as extra help during lunch, extra attention in class, retakes on tests and extra time on tests as well as alternative locations for assessments.

    But I do have a question for all of you. One of the students has help with note taking as an accomodation in his IEP. Luckily, the Asperger's parapro is already taking detailed notes for the Asperger's student so we make a copy of those notes at the end of each class and give them to the Special Education student.

    Well, the mother is not happy with that because the student is not bringing them home. So she wants us to get her a copy directly. The problem is that we do not have an electronic copy of the notes (in math, the notes are generally practice problems that the parapro copies as I explain how to do the problems) so we can not send them as an attachment by email. We also don't have a scanner that we can use.

    So the mom got mad when the Special Education teacher told her that the mom would have to come to the school each day to pick them up or that we could mail them but that they would arrive several days after the fact.

    I don't understand the problem. Shouldn't a high school student bear some responsibility in this? We hand him the notes in class and then he has a study skills class later in the day in which the teacher in that class checks that he has his assignments written down and has the notes. At that point, I believe it should be his responsibility to take them home if his mother wants to see them.

    Am I completely off target here from your perspective?

    Fran, this is me writing checks for my easy child at college! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/9-07check_writer How timely!

  2. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am not sure if this is quite the same or not, but my son usually did not manage to get what he needed to get home into his backpack to bring it home. He did used to have an IEP accomodation for a 3rd person to help him gather what he needed to bring home. (sadly, usually it still did not happen)

    It frustrated me (that things did not make it home) for a few reasons....quite often it was the lunch menu, order form for school pictures, field trips and the school newsletter and calender --things like that that did not come home.
    OR they came home MONTHS later.
    2nd, I COULD get my son to do his work at home- when I had his work for us to work on. I felt that the learning the material was a seperate part of his learning organizational skills.....becuz according to our docs, for my son part of it was my son simply could not sort things out under pressure of end of class or end of day when so much was going on around him. So- from my side as a parent of a child like this, I wanted him to still be able to have the chance and oppoortunity to learn the coursework....I did not want the coursework to suffer becuz of my son having zero organizational skills. - becuz I thought they were 2 seperate issues to work on. (I sure wish my sons school would use note takers...they won't)
  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    I'm glad things are going so well in your class.

    To answer your question: it entirely depends upon the student's needs. IF he is a special education student who has some sort of mild learning problem, then it is reasonable (to say nothing of realistic) to expect him to get the notes home after they have been given to him.

    On the other hand, if he has massive executive functioning problems or memory problems, then it may not be reasonable.

    I have a question for someone to ask the mother: Are the math notes the only thing that are not making it home? If that is the case, and other things make it home, then the problem is motivational rather than EF or general inability to remember what he needs to take home.

    I would ask the study skills teacher to MAKE SURE he has the math notes in his backpack for several days, meaning he left school with them, and then have the study skills teacher find out from the mother if the notes made it home. Perhaps he does not want his math notes at home because of what his mother is going to do--or make him do--with them.

    I have seen versions of this problem with my own son who does not have EF deficits in the general sense. However, he used to do a pretty good imitation when he was angry or unmotivated.

    My "best" (and favorite) example from grade school: he never lost a piece of music (hasn't to this day) but in one semester, he "lost" 5 pairs of gym shoes. The gym shoes were kept in cubbies in the gym and were never supposed to leave. Losing them must have taken a lot of thought and effort :wink:

  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm not sure we should compare your son with a high school student. I do think more responsibility should be expected with maturity.


    Thanks for your helpful suggestions. I will ask the study skills teacher to double check that he has the notes with him when he leaves her class. As far as the notes for the other subjects, I think those subjects have notes that are made on a word processor and can be sent home electronically.

    My real question is how does the mother expect us to get the daily notes home to her if her son doesn't bring them home. If she won't come pick them up and mailing them is not immediate enough for her, does she expect us to drive them over to her house every night?

  5. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    well, unless we get a routine and habit in place and the organizational skills ingrained, I foresee this to be a continuing problem for my son, as well. If it is a developmental issue, then age really is not going to have a lot to do with it. My son is not an Aspie. But if the aspie student is developmentally delayed and organization is a problem, it could be the student really can't manage this on his own?

    Our school has been telling me for years--- "at your sons age he should" well, yes if my son did not have handicaps and disabilities that affected his abilities, then it might be true that at his age he should whatever.....

    My point is it would make a difference if this were something this student COULD do already on their own or not. Chronological age has lttle to do with things sometimes.

    But I do not understand why sacrifice the learning of the material due to this problem?
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I am not talking about the Aspie student. It is another Special Education student.

    I don't think we can compare this student with your son or your problems with your school district.

  7. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I am not speaking of a problem with my district here.
    i am addressing that some kids have different levels of skills irregardless of their chronological age or grade in school.
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    dreamer ~ You keep bringing up your son and his problems and what your school does or does not do. My school district is very proactive in helping it's special education students so we cannot compare it to yours.

    But I do not think being in Special Education absolves students of all responsibility in their own education. As Martie pointed out, it really depends on the individual student. We should be doing everything we can to make them self-sufficient and holding them responsible for their own actions when possible.

    I am looking for practical suggestions for resolving this situation. This student is ADHD but I believe is capable of bringing prepared notes home. He is on the school football team and has a learner's permit so he is high functioning when he wants to be. I at least want to give it a try before deciding that he can not do it. Sometimes I worry that by labeling a child as "Special Education" both teachers and parents fall into the trap of expecting less of them then they are capable of which is just as crippling as expecting too much in the long run.

    I'll get off my soapbox now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the notes made it home today.

  9. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I agree, it depends on the individual, which is what I have been trying to say......i am addressing that some kids have different levels of skills irregardless of their chronological age or grade in school.

    Before you can decide what is reasonable, you need to determine the kids difficulty. I am not saying to absolve him of all responsibility.

    you said "I don't understand the problem. Shouldn't a high school student bear some responsibility in this? We hand him the..."

    I said "i am addressing that some kids have different levels of skills irregardless of their chronological age or grade in school."

    Martie said "On the other hand, if he has massive executive functioning problems or memory problems, then it may not be reasonable"

    A practical suggestion? Copy the notes, tuck them in with anything else that is going home. Remind kid to take them home. Check to see if they made it home. (consider rewarding their arrival home) Is anything else not making it home?
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good suggestion, dreamer. However, that is exactly what the study skills teacher is supposedly already doing (I am going to double check on that tomorrow). Although I think that at 15 years of age, it is the student that should be tucking them in his bookbag, not the teacher. Why they are in the bookbag when he leaves the class but not in the bookbag when he arrives home is the real mystery here.

    As far as rewarding the student if they make it home, I think that needs to be dealt with on the home front. If he is deliberately removing them from his bookbag, that is an issue for the parent to deal with. This will only work if we work as a team.

    by the way, it was the Special Education teacher that told the parent that the student needs to take responsibility for getting the notes home.

  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Good to hear things are going so well in your classroom.

    I agree that actual age/grade has little to do with what we can realistically expect of some of our kids.

    Intentionally throwing away notes is certainly a no-no and begs an answer as to "why is he doing this?" Assuming throwing it away is intentional, more investigation may be in order to determine what is causing this behavior. What I mean is that if this behavior is out of character for this student, it could be that this class is just so difficult that additional accommodations, treatment or a different placement may need to be considered by his IEP Committee. (lower grade level needed, tutoring, 1:1 coach, re-evaluate for a math Learning Disability (LD), perhaps math classes cause a lot anxiety or is too overwhelming, etc.?)

    I've learned not to assume answers to these type problems are "just because he wants to."

    One place to start might also be to find out whether other documents of this type from other classes are making it home?

    Presently it sounds like there is no other means available for getting the notes to mom, so she'll just have to pick one of the options available until the root problems can be determined.
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Part of the mystery was solved. When we asked the student today if he brought the notes home, he answered, "they were in my binder." So then we asked if he had showed them to his mom and he replied, "I don't need anyone taking notes for me. I can do it myself."

    We explained that his mom has asked for the notes and that it is in his IEP so he needs to take home the copies of the notes that we give him.

    We'll see what happens from here. The mom did not answer yesterday's email about needing to pick up the notes herself.

  13. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    [ QUOTE ]
    "I don't need anyone taking notes for me. I can do it myself."

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Self-esteem. He wants to try it by himself. I want to think this is a good thing.

    Does he have the ability?
  14. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Two questions, Kathy:
    #1 How is he progressing in the course work despite the noted fiasco?
    #2 Does he use an organizational checklist throughout the day & before leaving to ensure that all the little details are met?
  15. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    How is the class doing? How are you doing?