Wednesday, December 7, 2011

1st Grade, Continued

Here is my post about our experience earlier in the school year--1st Grade.

Eli is now fully mainstreamed. I managed to make it in again after several weeks to volunteer in his class last Friday. It was really illuminating. Illuminating, meaning that some of my positive assumptions about a situation turn out to be false, leaving me feeling... um, disillusioned.

For one, I believed that Eli was at grade level in most areas, because of testing last year and his special ed teacher's excitement about how he has been doing academically this year. This has turned out not to be true, the teacher of the mainstreaming class tells me. If he was at grade level in reading, math, and writing before, he has fallen behind.

Also, although he is part of the typical 1st grade class and is usually a non disruptive addition, he does not participate in independent academic activities. He does not do solitary read. He looks at the pictures. He does not do anything productive during "centers" time, which is a student directed activity in this new class. His teacher cannot sit behind him and make sure he is on task. She has 20 other kids.

It looks like my quest continues. My challenge is to create a situation where Eli can suceed, and then help him to meet the challenge. His mainstreaming teacher and I both agree that he is better off in her class, rather than the special ed class, even if things just continue the way that they are. At the same time, my feelings are that mainstreaming has been too much change for him, too quickly, and I am faced with the fact that he is really not fully ready for it yet. At the same time, I know that going back to the old class is not an option.

I have been discussing with the teacher getting Eli an adult aide to help him during his more challenging parts of the day. I know that legally I can push for this, in fact my own mother got my brother an aide for his class when he needed it. But in this situation, what is reasonable for me to ask and what does he really need? The economy is doing crazy things to the schools, and I want so much for my son to be able to do what he needs to on his own.

We are still weighing all this and still looking into options for his future education as well.



Miss Lissa said...

Celeste, you are within your rights to push for the aide, and if you feel it would help Eli, you have every right to ask for one. You and your husband pay taxes and an aide, for part of the school day--is well within the ADA's "reasonable" accommodation. It may just be that the difference in atmospheres has really set him back, too.

I wish you the best on this. I am having similar issues but of a different nature with my son's school and teacher and it is so frustrating. Just remember as a mom, you know your son best. Follow your gut (regardless of feeling like you are unfairly using resources) and Eli will be much better for it.

Anonymous said...

Your number one priority in this situation is your responsibility to Eli. If you "fail," Eli could end up utilizing more of the resources than a simple aid. Advocate for him if this is what he needs.
You're doing great. You're an amazing mom.

Celeste Jean said...

Thank you for your supportive comments, Miss Lissa and Maria. It looks like for now we are placing him in the special ed class only for those most challenging times of the day. It is about 1.5 hrs. daily. He had a good day today, but I will be watching very carefully and if this is not what he needs, there will be changes. He has totally been set back by the difference in atmosphere from his wonderful kindergarten class and this more difficult first grade year. I will be working with him at home and monitering the school situation. We have our eyes on a certain charter school... it sure looks tempting, if we can manage to get him in. Sheesh, itc is sometimes difficult to figure out what these kids need and what will help the most.