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Readers Respond: What Special-Education Placement Works Best for Your Child?

Responses: 33


A child classified for special education these days may learn in an out-of-district specialized school, a self-contained classroom, a resource room, an inclusion class, or some combination. Describe the experience your child has had with these placements -- the successes and the failures -- and let's create a resource to help other parents figure out where works for what.

Please Note: This feature is for telling stories and sharing experiences, but it's not very good for asking questions -- the way the entries display on the page makes it hard to follow responses. If you need advice or assistance, PLEASE post your plea on the forum instead. Thanks!

Explain Your Experience

Fleeing from a bad situation

We moved from the catchment area of the school my son had been attending, to be away from an environment which wasn't working for him. It was the only way we could get him a better situation. Things did improve, but not enough, and I'm feeling the burden of trying to teach him whatever it is he needs on my own. At least he can laugh again, genuinely, and is starting to express interest in things outside his specific interests.
—Guest sylrayj

Self contained not available

I have two sons with ASD and the oldest has ADHD also. Last iep I suggested a self contained classroom due to constant emails and phone calls I was receiving concerning his behavior. The admin told me that did not have that as an option. The schools behavior therapist suggested more one on one instruction. Admin said he was not at his max minutes but the way the school was structured there was no way to fit more in. Don't move to brevard co Florida if you want a good education .
—Guest Cheryl

to stay or not to stay

Hi! My Son has been in a special day class since kindergarten and now he is in 2nd grade at a new school. He has blossomed a lot and I am beginning to wonder if he needs to be in a mainstream classroom where he can still be taken out for ot. We should be having his annual next month, but what are the signs if your child should be put into mainstream, and only taken out for specific needs? Should I trust my gut or listen to what the school has to say first? His original disability was speech and ot!


Has ADHD constantly harrassed by teacher with pens thrown at him caused him to strike teacher,they expelled him and put him in a community school. Other than that get good grades and never been suspended. A good kid. changing districts and putting him in a better school
—Guest Cecilia Broussard

2 years + still very lost

My 9 yr old has had an IEP for 2+ years now, however still bringing home straight F's. School says they are doing all they can. I have not found any other options where we live in Florida for kids with special needs, even the School Admin office was of no help.
—Guest Amy

Response to "At A Loss"

I have been in the same situation as you are facing now. It is detrimental to the whole family when childrens IEP's are not followed as it creates frustration and chaos for everyone. May I suggest a few things to you. Find an advocate in your area to help you with implementation for IEP. Check out Wrightslaw and sign up for their newletter; they are attorneys that have a wealth of information for you to use. Continue to be persistent in having your child's IEP implemented even if you have to consult with an attorney. No one wants to do the latter, but maybe this may help others to realize they are not following the guidelines. It is best to ask for a meeting with those who hold the power to make changes. Voice your concerns in a letter and make sure you state how the para or lack thereof is affecting your child's progress/success. Be kind but assertive to your request (s). Be sure to follow up with a letter of the meeting so that everyone is on the same page. Good Luck in your endeavor
—Guest lele

We Have The Power To Decide

As parents of special needs children; we must all remember that we hold the power to the decisions about our children's education. There is no perfect classroom or fix and each child will differ according to their disabilities. Research and more research helps parents to decide what to try and what not to try. Give each decision a chance before throwing it out the window completely. It is a struggle to find what works, but when you do, success begins to take its shape and form. Stand up for what you believe in, but also remember to be open to try new things/situations. If applicable, talk to your child and discuss the positives more so than the negatives. I have found the more I complain, the more my child refuses to try anything new. We all have our fears for our children, but if we truly love them and want the best for them, we will fight but remain open to new ideas, transistions, and options. We are the experts, negotiators, and voices of reason for our children; we hold the power.
—Guest lele

Daughter 14 says school is too hard

My 14-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has an IEP with accomodations. This is only the third day of her 9th grade year (just starting high school) and this will be the fourth day she has missed. She refuses to go to school because she says that school is just too hard for her.
—Guest Alicia


Never in a million years would I sent my kids to a classroom for 7 hours a day!! One has mild autism the other does not. Public education is bad for everyone, worse for special needs kids. Explore homeschooling / unschooling and have fun today!

Uggghhh... High School

I have a 15 yr old son, diagnosed as bipolar with Psychosis, Autism Spectrum disorder and Mild MR. Now he is entering High School and the psychologist thinks he should suddenly be able to function in inclusion classes, which he can't. He just was released from a 7 day stay in a mental ward to adjust his meds. He was having auditory and visual hallucinations. School starts on Monday. I have a meeting wtih the school on Friday and they are upset because I refuse to take him to the meeting. He does not need the stress of being in a meeting where we will be talking about him right now. He is not fully stable and he cannot tolerate inclusion classes. Its frustrating. I went through a year and a half fight with the school and school board to get him in a self contained classroom, now they think he will be ok being placed out of it? He will not be ok with it. So I am doing reasearch and preparing to fight again. Which I should not have to do. Right now, him and I are both exhausted. Uggghhh..
—Guest Becky Jordan

Never Give Up!

It must be hard for the school staff to have to choose between lying or keeping their job. I wouldn't want to be put in this position but they are and I feel if the teachers won't stand up for what is right and what is wrong then what chance do the parents have? We have been fighting for over five years and will never give up. There is help out there - you just have to search for it.
—Guest sugarmomo

SNP and inclusion pre-k

i called an iEP meeting after my son's annual meeting to get him in both Preschool SNP and inclusion pre-k for my 5 year old son who has down syndrome. The team refused to mix the schools because of the amount of objectives he had to master by the end of next year. One thing though the SNP preschool he has been for the last two years he hasn't progressed both socially and verbally. It is also been only four students the last two years for him to have peers learning. Even though I know he needs to stay in preschool for the next year but I don't feel he will benefit a whole a lot. I think he needs typical kids modeling for him. I feel my gut feeling is right. I don't feel to keep in the same place he has been the last two years.
—Guest mahal


My son diagnosed in 5th grade with PDD NOS and Anxiety is now 14 years old in his first year of HIgh School and began taking anxiety meds to maintain a sense of calm in the crazy "high School" world. Highly intelligent, well versed in politics, the arts and religion - he fights to socially survive everyday. So he is sitting in his inclusion class and kids are smacking their gum knowing that it bothers my son because he already had an altercation with one student about it. They are doing it 3 inches away from his face. YUP teacher and SPECIAL ED teacher in the room. Nothing being done - and with that said my son says "If you don't stop I am going to stab you with this pencil." Needless to say he got suspended from school, and then it was further suggested that since it is the last week of school how about putting into the home school program and he can get tutors for one on one instruction. I did it and next yr. he is going to BOCES to get the proper attention and education he needs.
—Guest Deborah

At a Loss

I have a child with brain damaged suffered at birth. She was not expected to walk,talk, sit up, roll over, speak, etc. She does all that and more. She began receiving ECI at 8 weeks old until she aged out, then began attending a specialized preschool until starting kindergarten. She is now in first grade in a different school. Her IEP mandates an 1:1 health para. Her previous school followed the IEP, openly communicated with me, considered my knowledge and understanding of my child, considered my advice as I did theirs and extraordinary improvements were made in ALL areas. This year new school her IEP has not been followed and she as well as our entire family has suffered greatly. We were told from day one that a para had been assigned to her. She did not have a para assigned to her until January. In February the para was changed. Her teacher has been out sick more often than she has been in class. Her para is out for weeks at a time. They do not implement management needs.

Out of District placements are NOT more

Out of District placements are NOT more costly. The tuition for ODP include ALL costs while public schools fail to mention the additional costs to taxpayers such as teacher pensions and teacher health insurance. See: http://www.asah.org/pdf/asah_cost_analysis_final.pdf

Explain Your Experience

What Special-Education Placement Works Best for Your Child?

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