Friday, November 18

To mainstream or not?

Our grandson is now in second grade! He's a very bright little boy; we've known that for years. One of his gifts is that he remembers how to get places after only being there one time. He also enjoys writing and spelling. He's been practicing letters since I can remember. A couple of years ago, I kept pads of paper on hand so he could write out words. He enjoys reading and being read to.

The issue of mainstreaming him for classes came up in a recent parent-teacher conference and his dad is understandably concerned. Little T is a very bright boy but he's also a sensitive little guy. Kennan was telling us that he's come home crying on the bus because his teacher gave him a hard time about having dirty fingernails. I think the teacher handled the situation very badly. If there was a problem, she should have written a note to Kennan.

Anyway, T is diagnosed with PDD-NOS. He likes a routine and is not happy when it's disrupted. A change can cause him to shut down. That's one of Kennan's concerns. We're half way through the school year and this would be a major change for T. Kennan's thinking it might be better to just wait until the next school year.

The next concern is that T also has apraxia of speech. When he's excited, it's hard to understand him at all. I understand Kennan's worry that other kids would make fun of him for his differences. I worry about that too. Kids can be so cruel!

I remember when I was an interpreter in two school districts. Many times I was the buffer between mean kids and my Deaf students. A couple of times in the hallways, I had to reprimand these mean kids. They mostly made fun of the Deaf kids because of their speech. I wasn't there on the playground or lunch room so I wasn't able to intervene at those times. I knew the Deaf students were very isolated and it was sad. They clung to me out of loneliness. T wouldn't even have that. He'd be alone in the classroom and I don't like to think about it.

What to do though? My view is that the teacher should be providing material to challenge him. Instead, he's bored. The law says he should be educated with his peers. The law does not see what happens to disabled kids in classrooms though. There's no heart, blood and feeling in the law.

My own opinion in this is to gradually introduce T to mainstreaming. He's already mainstreamed for art and music. I think he could try part of a language class--spelling, for instance. Or reading. He could go in to be read to or write a story. I'm not sure what his math skills are. As he gains success, he can get mainstreamed more.

Kennan seems to be leaning toward waiting until next year and I think that's okay. He's willing to let Little T try science, possibly this year. Kennan's talking with us about it and exploring his feelings about mainstreaming because he's worried and wants what's best for Little T. He's a good dad!

No comments:

Grace In Small Things

Blog Archive

Bloggers 50 & Over