Archive for November, 2011

School District Tactics Related to Behavior and Discipline in Special Education

Are you the parent of a child with autism that has behavioral difficulty at school? Does your school continually discipline your child for the behavior, rather than trying positive behavioral supports and plans? Would you like to learn about a few tactics that some special education personnel use in relation to behavior? This article will give you a few tactics to watch out for in advocating for your child.

The Tactics that I have seen are:

1. Suspending children over and over, for more than 10 days at a time, and refusing to consider positive behavioral supports. Special education personnel are not supposed to rely on punishment in the long term to change behavior; though it does not work anyway.

2. Special education personnel often state that the child’s behavior is not part of their disability, so that they may give them long term suspensions and expulsions. This review is to determine if the behavior is part of the child’s disability. If not, then the child can be punished as if they did not have a disability. Parents must take the MDR process very seriously and advocate for their child to prevent this.

3. Putting children in an Interim Alternative Educational Placement (IAES) for behavior that does not fall, under the three special circumstances category. IDEA allows for placement for 45 days in an IAES for 3 reasons: drugs, dangerous weapon, and causing serious bodily harm on school property. I have seen many children placed in IAES’s for behavior that does not fall under the three categories, which can be detrimental to their education.

4. More and more school districts are resorting to calling the police for behavior of children with disabilities. Children with autism are especially at risk.!

Jan. 14, 2008 An ABC news report stated that an 8 year old Idaho girl with Aspergers was arrested after a scuffle with her teacher. She was taken out of the school in handcuffs and arrested for battery. Her mother was horrified at her daughter’s treatment, at the hands of special education personnel that were supposed to work with her. The prosecutor Mr. Towry refused to press charges! Dr. Pauline Filipek of Irvine California stated that the schools reaction to the behavior was inappropriate. The parents are considering a law suit against the school district.

5. More and more school districts are using restraint and seclusion on children with disabilities, for behavioral difficulties. Prone restraint (child is face down) has been linked to quite a few deaths and serious injuries. Seclusion can cause children receiving special education services to develop emotional disturbances. Insist that your child’s IEP have a statement that Restraint or Seclusion will not be used for your child.

By understanding these tactics you will be ready in case any of these happen to your child. Continue to advocate for the use of positive behavioral supports which will help your child be educationally successful Good Luck!

Educating Special Needs Children in Mainstream Schools

These days finding a special needs child in a mainstream school would be like finding an “Enter” key on a keyboard.

The concept of institutionalised care and education is almost a thing of the past. Though some circles still feel special needs kids and adults do not have a place in mainstream society, thankfully these groups are diminishing as the decades roll on.

The placement of Special needs kids in mainstream school has many benefits to the special needs child but also the school community as a whole. Mainstream school kids get to know the disabled child for the person inside the body, not the outward disability. This goes a long way to improving social acceptance of the special needs kids both now as a child in school and later as an adult in the community.

As a parent of a disabled child I often liken the use of Special School facilities to taking a bath without any water or taking a flight in a plane without wings.

Just like we need water to take a bath we also need a “normal” social setting to educate special needs kids about society and interacting in it. The use of Special Education facilities is like taking a mainstream school student to the desert to teach them to swim.

I should pause to explain that this article is written out of frustration due to a long run battle for our child to be accepted at a mainstream school on a permanent basis. The closest we have ever been able to get was 4 days at a mainstream school and 1 day at special education – with this likely to expand each year until she was a permanent pupil at the special education school.

As parents we are in no way against the Specialised Education our daughter requires. We do however, feel this Extra support could and should be made available to her at a mainstream school. She should have the ability to have lunch with her siblings, participate in Lunchtime activities with mainstream kids, Attend sporting events – whether participating or cheering – and generally socialise with her age group peers.

The concept of splitting Education between 2 facilities due to a disability is like splitting a child’s world in half. Its saying “Its ok to be called ‘normal’ a couple of days a week and ‘disabled’ for the rest of the week”.

The teachers call it “getting the best of both worlds”. Unfortunately we don’t live in 2 worlds. We live in one world and we should all be accepted as equal within it regardless of race, colour, ability, disability or orientation.

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