Class Placement

Updated on April 30, 2013
M.M. asks from Amherst, OH
8 answers

I have a 6 year higher-functioning child with (pdd-ons). He was always mainstreamed from K to grade 1 with one on one aide(wth resource & speech)....Last year the district was desperate to take his aide away and put him in special day class (sdc) .They lied to me on things like (a student from mainstream cannot go to sdc part time) to me for which now I have completely lost faith in the school.When I refused to sign the IEP for 8 months they finally agreed on my request of putting him part time in special day class(50%) and mainstream wth aide(50%).
It did help him and they increased the time in sdc(70%) and mainstream(30%). Now they want him to go full time sdc next year & keep the same aide for 3 months after which they will revaluate him to see if he needs the aide inside sdc.

My son is very verbal and does NOT have any behavioral issues but does have attention, memory ,auditory processing issues which isn’t allowing him to be at par for the mainstream curriculum. He can decode words but has difficulty when it comes to blending,(his district quality performance was at 76%) , he can do addition but cannot get the concept of time, comprehension is very poor......
Overall in some areas he's at grade level while some he's not for which now they are recommending full time sdc support(mild to moderate) class since they feel the pace of the classroom is too fast for him.

With my past experience with the district I have lost trust and wonder if the placement is for my son's best interest or save $$$.

I am so confused and keep wondering which placement can help a kid with autism with no behavioral issues but struggling in academics .

Please advice and let me know what would have you done if you were in my shoes.

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answers from Washington DC on

You want his social skills maintained. Even downs kids spend part of the day in the regular classroom. I'd stick with 70/30 or 60/40, but I'd not stick him in the special class all day.

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answers from Miami on

As a special education administrator for many years and a school psychologist for many years prior...

1:1 aides are the MOST restrictive placement for your child. Unless you child is physically handicapped, has high-risk behaviors, medical needs or is intellectually disabled, there is no need for a 1:1 aide. Children become overly dependent upon them and aides tend to enable children long after they should be independent.

As your son gets older, academic work will become increasingly abstract and multidisciplinary. Most children with HFA/ PDD-NOS do very well in the primary years... then 3rd grade hits and everything falls apart. You are describing a child who can "do", but who struggles to understand "why" he is doing it. By third grade, they've moved on to primarily "why" learning.

My recommendation to you would be to work with the school and district to have a hybrid program. You want him academically supported (b/c school doesn't get easier), but you want him to have access to his typically developing peers as often as is appropriate. They may look different each year depending on many factors.

A 70/30 split is likely appropriate right now, but a lot of things can change over a summer which is why they are recommending a program review after the first marking period.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

If you feel or know they have lied to you, is there a way to request someone else that you trust be on the IEP team? Someone with education background and/or personal knowledge of this school's or anther school within this district's options? or even an outside source?

I disagree with the post that suggested homeschool (unless you are a qualified teacher and then maybe consider it). The reason is that by homeschooling you further isolate your child (less socialization) which can make things harder for him in the long run. Also, it then doesn't give you the break you need to be the best mom you can be when he is home. If you are not qualified, he may fall further behind. It is doable but you need to be sure it is what is best before you try it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Keeping my daughter in full time special Ed class was the best decision I ever made, Sjust flourished. Not sure why he has an aide. Aides are usually used for physically handicapped children, severe behavioral issues or medically fragile children.
So I am for special Ed class full time and then re-evaluate at the end of year. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I live in CT too, and have pretty much the model that Mindy T. stated for my daughter (who is 10). Right now she's the only one in the class with ASD and a one-on-one paraprofessional.

It's in her IEP that she must be in a room that has a para... not she has a one-on-one because the school doesn't feel she requires a one-on-one, but that she at least shares one. It just happened that this school year she has her own dedicated para. It's worked out wonderfully.

It's also in her IEP that if a teacher has a degree as a special education teacher when teaching a mainstream class that THAT is the teacher she gets for her class that year. If that can't happen, then she is to get a teacher that has experience with special needs (particularly autistic) children.

At 10 years old, she can tell time on the clock but she still has very little concept of time. We have to use timers and visual aids and verbal reminders and audible reminders. This is likely something she'll always have problems with. It's very common for people that have Autism Spectrum Disorder, so I'm not really worried about. For what it's worth, while she knows what a calendar is and can figure things out with help, she has no real concept of calendar time or days either unless it's within a week or less.

One thing I'd like to suggest is not to expect him to be caught up with his peers. You have to let him learn at his own pace in his own way. That's what the IEP is for. They should be teaching him at his level the way he learns best and helping him with basic concepts. It should also be in his IEP that he attends summer session. If it's in his IEP to attend summer school then you will NOT have to pay a single penny. It will help him caotch up with what he missed during the past school year and get a jump on the upcoming school year.

Not only that, but during the summer the average/typical child loses 3 months of the previous school year. That's why schools spend a month or two reviewing at the beginning of each new school year. With children like ours, they lose double the amount of the previous school year. So summer school is VERY important to include in the IEP.

Get yourself familiar with I.D.E.A. and F.A,P.E. Also, with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son was language impaired when he first started school. He was very smart but had trouble reading and writing. The school's first idea was to hold him back in 1st grade. I declined. After an evaluation they put together a plan for additional assistance in school and I spent 2nd grade teaching him to read at home since they didn't seem to be doing a good job at school.

Every year when we evaluated his plan the school wanted to do something different than what I wanted to do. It seemed like they were only interested in keeping their test scores high by excusing my son from taking any testing. We butted heads all the way through 5th grade.

What you need to remember is that the school is looking out for what suits them and their needs in meeting requirements in your child's education. But you are his mom and you know what would work the best for him. They will throw their master's degrees at you because they are 'experts and you are just a mom'. Figure out what you want and advocate for him. What you push for now won't matter to these educators 10 yrs from now but they could make a HUGE difference in your son's opportunities and quality of life.

Be his advocate. You can do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Does your district have classes with the consultant teacher model? Either CT or ICT? In CT, it's a regular ed class but with a certain percentage of IEP students in the class (it's a full time, all day class) and there is a special ed teacher who consults and who spends part of the day working with the IEP students. In ICT, it's a classroom where up to 50% of the students can have IEP's, and there's a regular ed teacher, a special ed teacher and a special ed teaching assistant in the room all day. That might be a good placement.
I work as a teaching assistant in an elementary school, this year in a self contained special ed room. Not all of our students have behavioral issues! Maybe 1/4 of them have significant behavioral issues but our class primarily is made up of student who are significantly below grade level in their academic skills (it's a combined first and second grade class).
I don't know how things work where you live, but here, you can request a trained parent advocate to attend CSE/IEP meetings with you.

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answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is graduating from high school this year! She is also diagnosed with PDD-NOS and has academic difficulties but no behavior issues like what you have described of your son. She was not very verbal when she was young though.

She has a 1:1 aide in mainstream classrooms all through school. I have asked myself whether we should have let her be on her own so she could have developed some coping skills earlier in life. The answer is 50/50. We need both mainstream classes as well as Resource help.

From K to 2, the classrooms are very nurturing and it is very important to see good model behavior. I would stay in mainstream classes since he has no behavior issues. In the beginning of the school year, we always go to talk to the class about my daughter's disability. The teacher appreciated it and everyone was accommodating for the rest of the year. Some kids even became mother hens. But that was 12 years ago, things may have improved in the SDC to cater to ASD kids.

From 3 to 5, academic and social issues may arise, esp. reading-based subjects- most of our kids can decode very well but lack comprehension. Also, there will be less and less 'friends' esp. when social behavior and verbal skills are not at par with the typical kids.
If your school district has a very decent Resource Room or SDC program, check it out and see if there are any academic and social resources your son can benefit from, e.g. reading based classes that will improve his reading comprehension, any friendship that could be cultivated into life-long rapport.

From 6 to 8, academic and social difficulties are prevalent; bullies appear at lunch time. The aides facilitate working out social issues with the kids as well as academic ones with the teachers, with the help of the resource specialists (some are better than others). Learning good study skills are VERY important at this period. I would stay in mainstream with an aide here if he is academically competent, maybe resource help in reading-based classes or use outside help. It is tricky, you also do not want too much anxiety developed on the kid if it becomes too hard.

From 9 to 12, it is time to become independent, have a social life and develop coping skills. My daughter has 40/60 mainstream classes in Maths, Electives, and resource room classes in English, Social studies, P.E. and Sciences. In the Resource room, she makes friends and has some social life. We still have the 1:1 aide but has been fading out this year except in Math class. Some higher functioning kids may have an instructional aide only in the classes that they need help with.

In our experience, if my daughter has not been in mainstream, she would not have developed the study skills that she needed to take mainstream classes and to graduate high school with a Diploma which opens up more opportunity, including college Transition To Work program, for her after high school. But as I said before, things may improve in the future for our Sp. need kids.

Also, we have had a very LAME Resource Room (kids don't learn any skills) in middle school that the Sp. Need parents have been complaining about for years. Finally, the Sp. Ed. director was ousted out this year and hopefully better leadership will be in tow!

So each school district is different, so do check out what fits your child and advocate! Talk as much as you could with parents who are already in the program. Organize a parent group... that's how we can get different kind of information which we need to make informed judgements! Good luck and best wishes to you!

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