Class within a class harmful to IEP students?

There is debate about the benefit ( or lack ) of an IEP student with learning difficulties participating in a class-within-a-class (CWC) setting versus participating in a resource class.  Parents need to be aware of the dynamic of CWC.

Some argue that some students with learning difficulties, especially deficits in functional memory and/or processing speed, are expected to benefit from being in a CWC setting.  Perhaps they can, but to what extent does the benefit actually “benefit” the student?  What are the benefits?

Perhaps some benefits for the student  are:

  1. he gets to sit with non-disabled
  2. he has some expose to grade-level curricula
  3. on occasion gets support from the second teacher in the class

perhaps some benefits for the public school district are:

  1. Less costly because fewer staff/man hours for that student
  2. paperwork indicates student is in “least restrictive environment” (keeps up number for state reporting)
  3. student expected to learn content to prepare student for state standardized test

Perhaps some disadvantages for the student are:

  1. Student frustration since content moves quickly; seemingly more so for students with learning struggles
  2. stress of homework demands above/beyond those of non-disabled student
  3. unable to process all the information in class, thus increasing homework burden and lessens family/free time
  4. stresses on family to assist with homework, costs for tutor
  5. Stressors build to point of wanting to avoid school resulting in need for professional counseling
  6. Misses opportunity for skill building that he would have acquired in a self-contained setting
  7. Stigma of not fitting in either setting
  8. School might indicate they will drop the paraprofessional the student had prior to CWC

Perhaps some disadvantages for the public school are:

  1. Allowing students to fail in CWC then having to have an IEP meeting to explain to the parent that the student needs to be moved
  2. Teacher frustration since teachers see when students are struggling unnecessarily
  3. Students who become so frustrated that they cause behavior problems in the class thus disrupting other students
  4. Political wranglings among staff triggering a “regular-ed versus Special-ed” culture

Parents need to carefully consider if CWC is the setting that is appropriate for their child.  High schools are known to do this since the expectations for the student are lowered when the student will “graduate” soon.

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Only one IEP meeting this year?

A parent told me in her school district there would be only one IEP meeting per year.  Since it was held in the fall she was concerned about planning for the next school year and felt she needed an IEP review meeting now (spring).

School districts may lead parents to believe that only one IEP meeting will be held each year; it is the school’s duty to conduct at least one a year.  Parents can request an “IEP Review” meeting any time during the school year.  After all, circumstances change, kids grow and change.  Kids have health issues that affect schooling and performance.

“Administrative convenience” is what was happening in a district that allowed a parent to continue to believe only one IEP meeting was allowed.  What other misleadings are taking place?  These lean toward civil rights’ issues.

Contact a professional advocate who is a certified teacher:

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Spring IEP meetings parents dread in Missouri

Sweaty palms are common among parents who are approaching that annual IEP meeting.  One of these meetings is called the “review of existing data” (RED) meeting.

In the RED meeting, the school personnel determine if more information is needed in order to make decisions regarding pursuit of a new or different label for a child, or, if more information is NOT needed about the child.

Many times school personnel will suggest that more information is NOT needed since the student is “doing fine”, “everything’s okay”, etc.   The parent is then asked to sign that testing is not needed (a waiver).  Parent beware!  Waiving testing at this point may result in unknown needs of the student going unaddressed!  We parents get busy and fail to recognize the need, or, perhaps the changes the child is experiencing as he ages through the years.  And, since schools are busy places, they don’t always want to take the time to test our kids.

If a parent decides that “more information is needed” a parent can request so and indicate which tests need to be done.  Parents can carefully consider repeating some of the same tests done previously; so that a parent can then be consistent in tracking a students progress (or lack of progress).  A parent can ask the school person in the meeting (who is the designated person who is knowledge about educational evaluations) specifics about possible tests for inappropriate classroom behaviors, neuropsych evaluations, behavior analysis, adaptive behaviors, social skills, etc.

These meetings can be intimidating for a parent.   Advocates at the iep center help parents prepare for these meetings over the phone and skype consults. What a parent doesn’t do now impacts a child’s education for years. Contact an advocate below:

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Teacher offended when parent asks questions

In a recent IEP meeting, a teacher indicated she was offended by the questions the parent was asking about procedures and practices in the classroom for his son. The questions were focused on how the staff was managing the student’s lack of interest in the instruction as well as curriculum.

The student’s needs in this area had gone unaddressed by the school staff for years and now the teacher was “offended”.  It was bewildering to see a professional perceive a parent’s questions as personal attacks.  It was bewildering to see a “professional” not recognize systemic problems in the school system that allowed the student’s predicament o to continue as long as it did.

The parent’s questioning enlightened those present that the “system” was failing the student, not just one teacher.

Additionally, this IEP team was planning the student’s next school year where he would be attending in another building with different staff.  Due to the lack of adequacy in the current scenario, the outlook for the following year had a bias; that is, a bias that the expectations were too low for this student.  No staff from next year’s school was present to contribute.

Advocates at  provide telephone consults to parents to help them prepare for these meetings.  Had these parents known earlier what the buzzwords are to “work the system”, perhaps the student would have struggled less.

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