The Canvas Grey

Inspiration, Perspective, Insight

Helping Inclusion Work FOR You

Posted by thecanvasgrey on July 16, 2008

I read quite a few blogs.  I am trying to listen and speak  when God leads and to this post on the Autism Blog I felt I must write this:

I’ve found that it isn’t the school district but the individual school that determines a successful outcome.  My son was in his fourth elementary school by the time he was in the last part of kindergarten (he started at age three). 

I’ve always tried to work with teachers who seemed willing but the truth always came out when they were unhappy about inclusion.  All the moving around did hurt us a bit financially but I KNOW it has served my son well.  He is now included and accepted by the staff (teachers WANT him in their class), the kids and the community.  **a tear of joy**  It also benefits by being involved with the school through activities, PTA and community/neighborhood functions. 

I feel I must speak to the confrontational method of pursuit.  Especially for those who are in smaller communities, this just IS NOT going to work and your child will suffer for it (even more than you think they already are).  So be kind, treat people as you want to be treated, try their plan first (if compromising doesn’t work) and if it doesn’t work for your child, be kind when you make strong suggestions (possibly backed by the doctor) as to what you’ve found that works for your child and ask for changes. Be involved with showing how something isn’t or is working but give issues time to resolve on their own unless immediately detrimental.  

Confrontational tactics should ALWAYS be the very last resort.  I say this because I come across so very many well meaning parents who’ve pushed and shoved (those are the kids I’ve seen suffer the most). 

By being kind, I’m always asked to be on committees, attend functions to represent special needs, etc.  You know, flies and honey…THAT is where the REAL differences are made…having input from the get go.

Early on I had one principal come out and tell me at an IEP meeting that I needed to put my son in a different school.  I thanked her, and I did, it was more than clear my son wasn’t going to get the support he needed there. I was thankful for her honesty, it was the best thing that ever happened to my son.

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7 Responses to “Helping Inclusion Work FOR You”

  1. Mary said

    Deb,

    You are so right. Unfortunately the school that Brandon goes to isn’t the right one for him. There is basically no longer any support for him there. Yet being in grade 8 this coming fall, he doesn’t want to leave the school because all of his friends are there. His reasoning, “It’s only one more year.”

    Brandon has certainly fell through the cracks in this school. Neither the principal of the vice principal have been supportive when problems have come up. I agree with you wholeheartedly about this issue, though the school board is not supportive either. Brandon is not the only child falling through the cracks in this school district and I’m not sure what can be done about it. Neither honey or confrontation has changed things. It saddens me that this can happen to kids in the 21st century. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

    Blessings,
    Mary

  2. Mercedes said

    Good tips~I just can’t believe a principal would tell you that…unless she knew she couldn’t provide for him. A few of us teachers (kindergarten and pre-school) fight for the students and special-Ed isn’t too fond of us…but an IEP is the law!!! Why say we are going to do it when we know we won’t…we will but they don’t! We have a new principal this year and I so hope she fights for us and pushes to get the services required for these students!

  3. Mere, you are an exceptional teacher and person. I know what you mean exactly.

  4. Mary I’m so sorry to hear that Brandon hasn’t had the support he needs. I am happy to hear he has friends, enough that he wants to say in that school for “one more year” what an accomplishment! I hope and pray that my son will have friends at that age. It certainly gives me hope! Thanks for sharing! Prayers for you and yours!

  5. I should add that the principal that told me that was looking out (I believe) for her staff AND my son. I know that her statement made all the difference in what happened next and the actions that brought us to the elementary school of our dreams. Three years ago I couldn’t have imagined that my son could be truly wanted and valued for the things he brings as opposed to the things he doesn’t. We are so very thankful for it even though it was difficult for a time. All things worked together for good.

  6. lisa rudy said

    Thanks so much for your post on the autism.about.com site. It sounds like you’ve been through much the same process as we have – though our solution (so far) has been to make a move which, in part, has allowed us to homeschool our son with autism.

    We finally decided that the educational system overall just isn’t set up to allow our son to thrive. IEPs focus entirely on challenges, problems and accommodations – never on strengths and abilities. Standardized testing keeps even creative teachers from doing their best for our children. Budget constraints place parents at odds with the entire administration!

    Congrats on making it work for your son – what we found was that honey was great in creating non-confrontational conversations with teachers and administration. But when it came to seeing results, they seemed to assume that the IEP was just a set of suggestions – not a legal document!

    Worse, for us, was the lack of vision for our kids overall. When the administrator asked us why we were concerned about preparing our son for high school, I knew we had a problem!

    Best,

    Lisa (About.com Guide to Autism)

  7. Goldie said

    I cannot believe that there are still so many struggles in the school system, but the law vs reality are often 2 very different things. I am so happy for you that you found a good school for your son. i was just pondering yesterday how i would prefer inclusion for my sons if they continue to need services and wondering about the challenges of that… it was after I had to leave storytime at the library b/c they were SUCH a disruption to everyone else. Inclusion can be tricky, or it can be wonderful, as in your case. you give me hope.

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