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URGENT: My son (with ADD and some LD's) was placed in a multiage class this year. It's his 2nd year


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johnnysmom November 4, 2009


with the same teacher (1st/2nd grade class). She has suggested to me privately that she thinks she "misplaced" him, and that this class may not be working for him (as he is easily distracted by the 1st grade work). Rather than move him mid-way through the year, I'd rather see an aide come into the class for him and the other children too. (She has 24 children in this class and no help.) I'm going to a team meeting this Friday and need to be prepared. Does the school have the authority to change his classroom without my support? He does not have any behavioral problems, so I believe that a one-on-one will be out of the question. Suggestions on how to handle this? Thank you!

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MSMomm November 4, 2009


Hi johnnysmom:

Although my son doesn't have ADD (he has Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism), he had a 1-1 assigned to him during his early years in school. He's now in 8th grade and no longer needs a 1-1.

Regarding your suggestion of placing an aide in the classroom, if there are other kids in his classroom that would benefit from an aide, you can certainly suggest that. Does your son have an IEP in place? What are his other LD's?

As far as changing his classroom without your support, or authorization, I'm not sure about that. But I'd certainly tell them that, should they want to change your son's classroom, you want to be notified BEFORE they make the change. The school may recommend moving him to another classroom where an aide is already in place. Are there other 1st/2nd grade mixed classes?

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healthy11 November 4, 2009


I'm a bit confused about the situation, and wonder if I'm understanding correctly. As MSMomm asked, does your son have an IEP? What kind of remediation does he currently receive? It's hard to believe a single teacher in a multiage class of 24 first and second graders can give any student appropriate attention. Although it is a couple of months into the school year, why wouldn't you want him to move into a "conventional" 2nd grade classroom, so he really could focus more on age-appropriate work? Since you say his behaviors aren't an issue, I think it would be good to try.
No matter what, I invite you to join Greatschools Learning and Attention Difficulties Group at http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11554 for more information and support.

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johnnysmom November 4, 2009


Thank you to MSMomm and healty11 for your replies. He is on an IEP, although he down not yet have a "formal" diagnosis. He gets quite a bit of help from the sped team in language especially. His problem is that he can't retain instructions given at the beginning of each morning, so when it comes time for independent work, he's lost. Perhaps I should be more open to the classroom change, I just fear that the move might upset him emotionally... Yes, I should get over it, and do what's best for his education, right?

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healthy11 November 4, 2009


We all wrestle with trying to balance what's best for our children academically, socially, emotionally, etc. It's never easy, but from what you've said, his current setting isn't working well, so I'd definitely consider changing to a "more conventional" 2nd grade classroom.
If you don't mind my asking, how were you able to get him an IEP without a categorization? Did the school do a comprehensive educational evaluation? If you're willing to post your son's results in the Learning and Attention Difficulties Group that I mentioned earlier, several of us have enough background to be able to give you our insights. Also, how are you treating your son's ADHD? I know many parents have strong opinions about medication, but they benefitted our son greatly. He may have ADHD and dyslexia and dysgraphia, but he's now in college. As people told me, the best instructors in the world, using the best teaching methodologies, still won't be as effective if a student can't focus on what they're trying to teach.

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MSMomm November 4, 2009


Your son will probably "get over" a class change soon enough, especially if he's receiving more assistance in the classroom. He'll continue to enjoy going to school and not feel "lost" during independent work time. Please let us know what decision was made.

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woeisI November 16, 2009


Do not be timid. Your child's future is at stake. Years ago, my oldest child with no learning problems was put into a multi-grade classroom. He was used as a tutor for other children. He learned very little that year except how to finish his work quickly, chat with other kids and became chess champ of the 4th grade! This is not why I sent him to school. When I asked about how much time the teacher spent with him (class size was 17), I was told that the teacher saw him twice a week. The rest of the time he was on his own. Needless to say, I became a mother lion protecting her cub. In 5th grade, I removed him from this "progressive" environment to a more structured school where he began to thrive.

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johnnysmom November 16, 2009


Thanks all, such a great community... meeting went better than expected. Teacher believes that he has "adjusted" to the class and feels that a class change would be more damaging at this point in the year. I tend to agree, only in that J has quite a bit of anxiety, and clearly takes time getting used to a routine. I have requested that his seating be changed, so that he can sit beside a peer his own age, that has the know-how to guide him (as opposed to the struggling 1st-grade child he had been near). While I still don't like the idea of "children teaching children", it's what I'll have to deal with this year. I've been assured that he will be in the pure 3rd grade classroom next year, with lots of structure. The group feels that J is barely eligible for services (reading at grade level), but clearly has some organizational issues. Any suggestions for modification that should be implemented at the classroom level? Of course, they all feel strongly that medication would improve his performance...

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woeisI November 17, 2009


It may be a temporary solution, but watch him carefully this year. DO NOT let them convince you to medicate him. I have found that when parents are advised to put their child on drugs, it is more for the teacher's benefit than the child. Many of these so-called "experts" have no idea what they are doing. Remember, most of them have been victims of the same kind of education that they are teaching in today.

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healthy11 November 17, 2009


I would not want medication be the first approach in dealing with a child's school difficulties, but I would also not rule out the possibility of trying medication in the future, for the child's benefit. The best instructors in the world, using the best teaching methodologies, still won't be as effective if a student can't focus on what they're trying to teach.




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