Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When To Pull The Plug

This week we have Katie's 3 year re-eval meeting. Technically, her next comprehensive eval shouldn't be until January when she is nine, but we scrapped and redid her whole IEP two Octobers ago. The school didn't love the idea of doing testing right out the gate come September, so we all agreed to get it done now.

Next year is third grade. A game changer, of sorts. State testing begins, and a lot more is expected academically. Frankly, I am not sure how we have made it through second grade. The year started out rough, got a bit better, then nose-dived these past couple months. We are also starting to see more issues with reading and writing (although, thankfully, math remains a strong suit).

Katie has been mainstreamed since Kindergarten. Mainstreaming is the ideal, these days, although we have asked repeatedly for at least half days in the PDD class. That, we were told, is the "last resort". For their part, the school has attempted to pile on the supports, especially this year, but it still isn't enough. I know schools love to boast high mainstreaming numbers, and I know some parents love to say their kid is mainstreamed, but we are not those parents.

My child is full of anxiety all the time. Her behaviors are worse at school, and carry over to home. Sometimes I feel like we are living in a war zone. Things have gotten so bad, we were offered home ABA services. For the school to offer anything is quite telling, in my opinion.

Katie just can't handle a class with 28 (yes, TWENTY-EIGHT) kids, all talking and making noise. She isn't as engaged as she should be. She has no friends, and soon the other kids will grow impatient with her differences. She needs more direct help than they can provide. Mainstreaming might sound good, but not when a child doesn't have the basic skills to make it work.

So, here we are again, faced with the decision of fighting to pull K from the mainstream, or keeping her in, hoping for the best. Things aren't going to get easier from here, and it's definitely not going to get easier to teach her how to cope the older she gets. There is part of me that thinks I am somehow betraying my daughter by not wanting her in the general ed class; but, there is another part of me that thinks we are failing her by trying to keep her mainstreamed just to say she's mainstreamed.

It might just be time to pull that plug.

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Jen is the mom of two great kids, Katie, who is 8, and has Autism, and Ben, who is 5, and has boy. She blogs at Still Looking Up, and you can follow her on Twitter @JenTroester


  1. Mainstream does not always work. The problem with the education system is that they insist on a 'one size fits all' approach. It doesn't matter how many supports are in place, it can never handle the 28 kids with the noise levels and pressures.

    I know you'll make the best decision for Katie.

  2. I pulled GB out of mainstream in the beginning of second grade. Best choice I ever made. She, too can't handle the large class with all the noise and movement. Now finishing her second year in a self-contained class, she has jumped 3years in both reading and math, and until recently has loved school. I think right now, she just has the end of the year Blahs.

  3. We are facing a similiar decision with our daughter for 5th grade. She has been doing well socially in a mainstream class, but her evaluation scores show she is not learning much. It's such a fine line, and I am not sure where she fits in anymore.

  4. If she isn't doing well mainstreamed that is NOT the Least Restrictive Environment. Remember, it's the least restrictive environment for your child to succeed. If she's not succeeding? Might be better to look at a placement where she'll be better nurtured and have better chances at success. Believe me, I know how hard this is.

  5. We got her 3yr evals today and it looks like we might be dealing with dyslexia, on top of the autism. Yeah, clearly she needs more support. Sigh...always something. Hoping maybe we can get into the language based class, maybe. Could help with both dx's...


  6. It seems I'm on the right track, I hope I can do well. The result was something I did and was doing to implement it.