Should we fight for a one-on-one assistant for our son? The school district granted one two hours a day for his first month of kinder, but at an IEP last week, reduced those services to consultation two hours a month. My wife and I have been fighting this since February, arguing that though he “blends in nicely”, as the district claims, blending in is not one of his IEP goals.  He is autistic and his goals address his difficulty socializing with the other students. Has his needs in this area disappeared after one month of school? We don’t think so. The one-on-one herself said he had difficulty engaging during unstructured time. Can his goals be addressed by his general and special education teachers? Not with 30 kids in the class.

I have been reading a lot about inclusion, helping special ed students in the general ed class. As an LA Unified teacher, I am suspicious when the Hechinger Report pans inclusion (HR aided and abetted the LA Times in its recent outing of teachers, an evil act, IMHO). But I am equally suspicious of those who tout inclusion to as a cure-all for what ails special ed. Just because a kid with an IEP is in the general ed classroom doesn’t mean that he is getting what he needs.  And it’s not like Arne Duncan’s World o’ Education is such a great place to be anyway. Now, with his new and improved national standards, special needs kids will have to take high stakes tests with no accommodations at all!

Yes, my son is being included. But in what? An environment that is appropriate to his needs? I doubt it. With proper supports? Probably not. Should we fight for him? Have to. There’s no choice.

2 Responses to Inclusion

  1. These kids get the shaft because most parents don’t know their rights and do not fight for them. Keep going after what your son needs. It is exhausting but I believe you will wear them down.

    Also, look into alternative places. If you can show the public schools do not meet his needs, the state will have to pay for his placement elsewhere.

    Good luck.

  2. Thank you, pissedoffteacher. Unfortunately the district wore us down and we agreed to one hour/day. We are seeing the impact of the hour lost. Our autistic boy is having more difficulty socializing as the year wears on. As he gets older he is also sensing that he is different from the other kids. It is a painful time. We will fight in February at his next IEP for increased services and are currently exploring a private school for next year. But as you pointed out in your blog there is a movement gaining momentum that is trying to gut special ed. States are getting waivers to cut special ed spending and parents are being bribed with vouchers for private special ed institutions to keep their kids out of public schools. I am also very wary of the push for inclusion. I see it as an effort to water down services to save cash. Thank you for your blog and comment…

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