Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.
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    Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Being that my wife is a school teacher in a public school, this topic has come up on more than one occasion over the years. This article popped up on someone's timeline on FB and the feelings behind this topic are pretty strong. It's a lengthy article but you don't have to read the entire thing to get the jist of it.


    https://brightthemag.com/my-son-belo...s-5eccebd8162c
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    Super Moderator NationalTitles17's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Where to even start?

    Let me just say that the system is utterly, entirely broken from top to bottom. There are many good educators trying to make a difference across the board but their hands are tied in many ways. The processes are broken and while there is a supposed "team" that makes decisions we know that unless these good educators are in charge and have the funds to do what is actually required by law (but often not done) then the parent has to spend all their time and energy fighting for what should be instead of enhancing to better results. And since we're talking about public schools the politicians have too much control and they don't have the first clue. The malpractice that happens is criminal.

    Regarding inclusion: It should be individualized. My youngest can't do most inclusion just now. His regimen is quite odd with reduced hours, most in a self-contained class - which really has nothing to do with whether he earns a diploma or not. I was once strongly for inclusion as that was the mantra. I still am, but I also realize SOME kids do better in a different environment and that importantly many teachers lack the needed skills to do the job, especially since supports that should be in place most often are not in place (going back to funding and unequal power in decision-making).

    Brother, I could write one book on my emotions and one on the pitiful state of education in regards to special needs.
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by NationalTitles17 View Post
    Where to even start?

    Let me just say that the system is utterly, entirely broken from top to bottom. There are many good educators trying to make a difference across the board but their hands are tied in many ways. The processes are broken and while there is a supposed "team" that makes decisions we know that unless these good educators are in charge and have the funds to do what is actually required by law (but often not done) then the parent has to spend all their time and energy fighting for what should be instead of enhancing to better results. And since we're talking about public schools the politicians have too much control and they don't have the first clue. The malpractice that happens is criminal.

    Regarding inclusion: It should be individualized. My youngest can't do most inclusion just now. His regimen is quite odd with reduced hours, most in a self-contained class - which really has nothing to do with whether he earns a diploma or not. I was once strongly for inclusion as that was the mantra. I still am, but I also realize SOME kids do better in a different environment and that importantly many teachers lack the needed skills to do the job, especially since supports that should be in place more often than no are not in place (going back to funding and unequal power in decision-making).

    Brother, I could write one book on my emotions and one on the pitiful state of education in regards to special needs.
    My wife believes it should be individualized as well. But she also believes (as do I) that the teacher needs to be provided the proper resources to ensure all students in the classroom are getting an opportunity to get the best education possible. A few years ago my wife was put in a very bad situation in which the parent of a child with a disability/special needs demanded her child be kept in the classroom during instruction time with the general population of students. Problem was, my wife didn't have the proper resources available to effectively teach the entire class. This lasted for one semester that ended in an overly heated meeting with the parent, my wife, principal and someone from the school board because the principal (and adviser's from the board) decided inclusion wasn't best for this situation. Of course the "protective parent" side comes out of of the mother and she feels her child is being picked on, accuses my wife, the principal and all involved of not caring about children with special needs, treating them like outcasts etc.

    But the real problem wasn't that no one cared about her child or children with special needs. My wife and school system in which she teaches simply didn't have the funding or the resources in the classroom so her child AND the other students could effectively be taught. There have been times over the years where children with disabilities/special needs have been able to stay in the general classroom and my wife was able to effectively teach. But when the school doesn't have the resources to accommodate in order that the entire class can be run effectively, the answer isn't to keep the child in the classroom. It's not a popular answer for sure, but until schools and teachers are provided proper funding and resources. The topic of inclusion regarding special needs/children with disabilities will be a constant bone of contention for those who advocate inclusion. I tell my wife all the time "You couldn't pay me enough money to have to do what you are called to do with the tools provided for you and to put up with the crap you have to put up with."
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamabuzzard View Post
    My wife believes it should be individualized as well. But she also believes (as do I) that the teacher needs to be provided the proper resources to ensure all students in the classroom are getting an opportunity to get the best education possible. A few years ago my wife was put in a very bad situation in which the parent of a child with a disability/special needs demanded her child be kept in the classroom during instruction time with the general population of students. Problem was, my wife didn't have the proper resources available to effectively teach the entire class. This lasted for one semester that ended in an overly heated meeting with the parent, my wife, principal and someone from the school board because the principal (and adviser's from the board) decided inclusion wasn't best for this situation. Of course the "protective parent" side comes out of of the mother and she feels her child is being picked on, accuses my wife, the principal and all involved of not caring about children with special needs, treating them like outcasts etc.

    But the real problem wasn't that no one cared about her child or children with special needs. My wife and school system in which she teaches simply didn't have the funding or the resources in the classroom so her child AND the other students could effectively be taught. There have been times over the years where children with disabilities/special needs have been able to stay in the general classroom and my wife was able to effectively teach. But when the school doesn't have the resources to accommodate in order that the entire class can be run effectively, the answer isn't to keep the child in the classroom. It's not a popular answer for sure, but until schools and teachers are provided proper funding and resources. The topic of inclusion regarding special needs/children with disabilities will be a constant bone of contention for those who advocate inclusion. I tell my wife all the time "You couldn't pay me enough money to have to do what you are called to do with the tools provided for you and to put up with the crap you have to put up with."
    The inescapable problem is funding. And it is criminal. I have no idea if the school board cares or doesn't care. I've worked with principals and teachers on both sides of that. I can tell you that the legislatures, in large part, don't understand and don't care and that the voters who put them there give a lot of lip service but as part of both their understandable inability to trust politicians (yet they often vote for the same miscreants over and over) and desire to keep as much of their money as possible the voters end up not putting their money where their mouth is. Plenty of blame to go around RE funding.

    I was floored when we were offered a 1:1 for my son for a while here in CA as we tried inclusion here. It was good that he had it, but that didn't work so we went to less inclusion. I do hope with the new medication regimen that this part eventually improves.

    I look at schools like I do a hospital: If you don't have the resources to do the job then why the hell are you open in the first place? You know you are going to have patients in ICU and cardiac stepdown and all the rest along with your "run of the mill" types. And if a psychiatric patient graces your doors and needs a 1:1 there is no excuse in regards to funding. You do it or you pay the price when something happens or the regulators discover it. There are no excuses like there are in education. Funny thing is that "lack of funding" is not defendable because it's not legal and so everyone knows it but the smart ones never mention it as the reason and instead contrive some other excuse most of the time.

    Did I mention it's illegal? Not that it matters. Schools are not held to the highest standards. They are held to minimal acceptable and to whatever the courts force them to do.

    My sister is a teacher. I have nothing against teachers, though I've seen a few bad apples in the bunch. As a parent, though, I am beyond sick of educational malpractice disguised as budget issues or vice versa. For me it's a matter of don't tell me it's raining when you're...well, you know the rest.

    Inclusion is a small part of that equation. It's an important part for those who can do it. It's important for parents and educators to advocate of these issues together, but it seems (by design, perhaps) that we often feel pitted against each other. This is not a result of parents or of teachers. It is the result of those who set the budgets and the curricula and the staffing levels.

    Too many schools fail to give an appropriate education as required by law. It's a wide and systemic problem. And if I am being completely frank it begins with the voters. How I wish there was some way to get most of the politics out of it. I just don't see a way to do that.
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    I could write a book about this. Funding is the go to excuse but another thing Iíve noticed is the ďaverageĒ kid slipping thru the cracks. There is more funding and lip service to special needs programs, GT programs, and honors and Pre-AP/AP programs. There is nothing, absolutely nothing for the kid who makes the low Bís and Cís who probably with some special attention could get pushed to achieve something higher. Iíve seen first hand schools getting pushed to achieve better AP scores and help those with special needs pass the state mandated tests with classes numbers in the 30ís. Who gets pushed aside to reach these targeted groups?


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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaFlum View Post
    I could write a book about this. Funding is the go to excuse but another thing I’ve noticed is the “average” kid slipping thru the cracks. There is more funding and lip service to special needs programs, GT programs, and honors and Pre-AP/AP programs. There is nothing, absolutely nothing for the kid who makes the low B’s and C’s who probably with some special attention could get pushed to achieve something higher. I’ve seen first hand schools getting pushed to achieve better AP scores and help those with special needs pass the state mandated tests with classes numbers in the 30’s. Who gets pushed aside to reach these targeted groups?


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    I agree, however, a lot if not most of the funding for those special needs programs are focused on a "containment" design. Where the special needs students are in their own classroom. It's an entirely different animal when you ask a teacher (like my wife and many others) who has zero training/schooling in teaching special needs students to effectively teach in an inclusion type format. It's like my wife said (and also somewhat plays along with what you're saying) "When resources aren't in place to effectively run an inclusion type format, every child in the classroom (the special needs child AND the "average kid) gets shortchanged. They both suffer.
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    As a former teacher for many years and current principal for 16, I have sat in on many individual education plan (IEP) meetings with parents whose child has special needs. It is heartbreaking when the school psychologist has to tell a parent that their child has autism, development delays, intellectual disabilities, multiple handicaps or other health impairments. The "team", made up of at least the school psychologist, administrator, parent, regular ed teacher and special ed teacher are tasked with doing what is best for each INDIVIDUAL student, hence, the IEP. It is FEDERAL LAW that the IEP be followed!!! If not, the parent or any member of the team has the RIGHT to contact their state department of education special education services and file a complaint. There is NO REASON for the school or teachers not to follow the plan! Schools get funding from the state and that funding can and should be withheld if federal law is not followed. (I have seen it done at 2 schools until the school got their act together) Money is not a reason to deny a free and appropriate education (FAPE) and the TEAM should not allow it to be a reason used. The administrator at any meeting is the district/school/county representative and has the legal authority to sign off on requests. (Some places have a special education coordinator) The bottom line is that you do what is best for the student!

    I would urge you to look at your state department of education web site and find the guide about the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities. As a parent, you should receive a copy of this or at least offered a copy of this booklet at every meeting. It is important to know your rights and use the booklet as an advocate for your student.

    As far as inclusion into the regular education classroom, our school district, allows every student (with the exception of severe mental disabilities) to participate in the regular education setting for the core subjects. Some of the severe mental handicapped students do take part in classes with regular education students. They eat lunch together, take part in elective classes as much as the student can do.

    True inclusion, looks at each individual case, the regular education teacher and special education teacher modify the work to meet the individual needs for the particular student and then adjust as needed. Its about relationships and working together. The student with the disability does not have to be held to the same academic standard as the regular education student but should if they can do the work. It may take them longer, they may need to have the work load reduced, they may need something read to them, etc.... When it comes to state mandated testing, most states are allowed to exclude special education students from getting a required score on the test to graduate. That's a TEAM decision made usually after the stuent's 10th grade year. Each case is different and unique and has to be dealt with that way.

    Hopefully, when everything is said and done, I want students and parents to know that I CARED ABOUT THEIR CHILD! If I fail there, I have failed badly.

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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabama mike1 View Post
    As a former teacher for many years and current principal for 16, I have sat in on many individual education plan (IEP) meetings with parents whose child has special needs. It is heartbreaking when the school psychologist has to tell a parent that their child has autism, development delays, intellectual disabilities, multiple handicaps or other health impairments. The "team", made up of at least the school psychologist, administrator, parent, regular ed teacher and special ed teacher are tasked with doing what is best for each INDIVIDUAL student, hence, the IEP. It is FEDERAL LAW that the IEP be followed!!! If not, the parent or any member of the team has the RIGHT to contact their state department of education special education services and file a complaint. There is NO REASON for the school or teachers not to follow the plan! Schools get funding from the state and that funding can and should be withheld if federal law is not followed. (I have seen it done at 2 schools until the school got their act together) Money is not a reason to deny a free and appropriate education (FAPE) and the TEAM should not allow it to be a reason used. The administrator at any meeting is the district/school/county representative and has the legal authority to sign off on requests. (Some places have a special education coordinator) The bottom line is that you do what is best for the student!

    I would urge you to look at your state department of education web site and find the guide about the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities. As a parent, you should receive a copy of this or at least offered a copy of this booklet at every meeting. It is important to know your rights and use the booklet as an advocate for your student.

    As far as inclusion into the regular education classroom, our school district, allows every student (with the exception of severe mental disabilities) to participate in the regular education setting for the core subjects. Some of the severe mental handicapped students do take part in classes with regular education students. They eat lunch together, take part in elective classes as much as the student can do.

    True inclusion, looks at each individual case, the regular education teacher and special education teacher modify the work to meet the individual needs for the particular student and then adjust as needed. Its about relationships and working together. The student with the disability does not have to be held to the same academic standard as the regular education student but should if they can do the work. It may take them longer, they may need to have the work load reduced, they may need something read to them, etc.... When it comes to state mandated testing, most states are allowed to exclude special education students from getting a required score on the test to graduate. That's a TEAM decision made usually after the stuent's 10th grade year. Each case is different and unique and has to be dealt with that way.

    Hopefully, when everything is said and done, I want students and parents to know that I CARED ABOUT THEIR CHILD! If I fail there, I have failed badly.
    It is the law, but the devil is in the details. If a teacher has classrooms of 30 kids and multipLe IEPís in each class, he or she has planning one day a week (sometimes twice a week if they have multiple preps), staffing, mandatory staff developments, ďother duties,Ē etc during his or her conference period or during lunch and plan lessons that reach multiple levels of kids, you can see why many kids donít get the attention they need and why teachers feel burned out and leave.

    Ultimately, it comes down to what is the point of public education. If itís college prep, then we are doomed to fail: not all kids need to go to a four year college (our district emphasizes college ready with only lip service to other avenues). IMHO, public education should serve to give a basic education to the populace in order to have a literate public with options after high school: trade schools, 2 year schools, 4 year colleges, military service, apprenticeships, etc.


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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    In a parallel situation where good intentions go awry, I founded and am still involved with Phoenix of Huntsville. By law, 80% of our employees must be disabled, of all 800 or so of them. Of course, the clients we serve in our division providing evaluation, and rehabilitation services are all disabled, physically or mentally. For many years, the prime source of clients, and potential employees, for us was the Alabama Division for Rehabilitation Services. A couple of years ago, the federal government halted referrals. The reason? - they didn't want clients hanging out with disabled people. In the same mainstreaming principle, they needed to be surrounded with diversity. It makes so little sense, I think it's about to be reversed but it robbed many people of our services while it was in force...
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaFlum View Post
    I could write a book about this. Funding is the go to excuse but another thing I’ve noticed is the “average” kid slipping thru the cracks. There is more funding and lip service to special needs programs, GT programs, and honors and Pre-AP/AP programs. There is nothing, absolutely nothing for the kid who makes the low B’s and C’s who probably with some special attention could get pushed to achieve something higher. I’ve seen first hand schools getting pushed to achieve better AP scores and help those with special needs pass the state mandated tests with classes numbers in the 30’s. Who gets pushed aside to reach these targeted groups?


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    It's a shame, the warehouse schooling that we have. IMHO, EVERY student should have an IEP just like every patient has a treatment plan based on their unique needs. This is what a real education system would do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamabuzzard View Post
    I agree, however, a lot if not most of the funding for those special needs programs are focused on a "containment" design. Where the special needs students are in their own classroom. It's an entirely different animal when you ask a teacher (like my wife and many others) who has zero training/schooling in teaching special needs students to effectively teach in an inclusion type format. It's like my wife said (and also somewhat plays along with what you're saying) "When resources aren't in place to effectively run an inclusion type format, every child in the classroom (the special needs child AND the "average kid) gets shortchanged. They both suffer.
    I disagree. Inclusion has been law since the 70's so if the containment design is the focus of budget allocations then the problem begins there and is systemic, as I have said. For a teacher to lack training is a shame for the college where they received their education and for the school system where she works. Systemic, the problem is.

    Quote Originally Posted by alabama mike1 View Post
    As a former teacher for many years and current principal for 16, I have sat in on many individual education plan (IEP) meetings with parents whose child has special needs. It is heartbreaking when the school psychologist has to tell a parent that their child has autism, development delays, intellectual disabilities, multiple handicaps or other health impairments. The "team", made up of at least the school psychologist, administrator, parent, regular ed teacher and special ed teacher are tasked with doing what is best for each INDIVIDUAL student, hence, the IEP. It is FEDERAL LAW that the IEP be followed!!! If not, the parent or any member of the team has the RIGHT to contact their state department of education special education services and file a complaint. There is NO REASON for the school or teachers not to follow the plan! Schools get funding from the state and that funding can and should be withheld if federal law is not followed. (I have seen it done at 2 schools until the school got their act together) Money is not a reason to deny a free and appropriate education (FAPE) and the TEAM should not allow it to be a reason used. The administrator at any meeting is the district/school/county representative and has the legal authority to sign off on requests. (Some places have a special education coordinator) The bottom line is that you do what is best for the student!

    I would urge you to look at your state department of education web site and find the guide about the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities. As a parent, you should receive a copy of this or at least offered a copy of this booklet at every meeting. It is important to know your rights and use the booklet as an advocate for your student.

    As far as inclusion into the regular education classroom, our school district, allows every student (with the exception of severe mental disabilities) to participate in the regular education setting for the core subjects. Some of the severe mental handicapped students do take part in classes with regular education students. They eat lunch together, take part in elective classes as much as the student can do.

    True inclusion, looks at each individual case, the regular education teacher and special education teacher modify the work to meet the individual needs for the particular student and then adjust as needed. Its about relationships and working together. The student with the disability does not have to be held to the same academic standard as the regular education student but should if they can do the work. It may take them longer, they may need to have the work load reduced, they may need something read to them, etc.... When it comes to state mandated testing, most states are allowed to exclude special education students from getting a required score on the test to graduate. That's a TEAM decision made usually after the stuent's 10th grade year. Each case is different and unique and has to be dealt with that way.

    Hopefully, when everything is said and done, I want students and parents to know that I CARED ABOUT THEIR CHILD! If I fail there, I have failed badly.
    I'm glad you appear to be fighting the good fight and hopefully you do everything that is good for "your" kids. That has often not been my experience at multiple schools in three states. Our kids' schools in IL were the absolute worst. Alabama was mediocre at best, but I had one principal tell me directly the issue was funding. Could I have fought it? Yes. At great expense in terms of time and energy that I didn't have. It should not be that way, but that is how the system is set up - deny the need and the service to which it is tied then force the parent to manipulate the system to get it done. I sometimes wish I had done more but I did fight for many things and got them while many other things would have required too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaFlum View Post
    It is the law, but the devil is in the details. If a teacher has classrooms of 30 kids and multipLe IEP’s in each class, he or she has planning one day a week (sometimes twice a week if they have multiple preps), staffing, mandatory staff developments, “other duties,” etc during his or her conference period or during lunch and plan lessons that reach multiple levels of kids, you can see why many kids don’t get the attention they need and why teachers feel burned out and leave.

    Ultimately, it comes down to what is the point of public education. If it’s college prep, then we are doomed to fail: not all kids need to go to a four year college (our district emphasizes college ready with only lip service to other avenues). IMHO, public education should serve to give a basic education to the populace in order to have a literate public with options after high school: trade schools, 2 year schools, 4 year colleges, military service, apprenticeships, etc.


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    How true. And the law is generally stacked against kids and parents due to the bureaucratic hurdles in place. The teachers are in a no win situation and this is why they are leaving in droves. Frankly, while some of them will be sorely missed others should have never gone there in the first place so no loss.

    Public school should offer general education and should have some versatility for trades/skills, college prep, life prep, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    In a parallel situation where good intentions go awry, I founded and am still involved with Phoenix of Huntsville. By law, 80% of our employees must be disabled, of all 800 or so of them. Of course, the clients we serve in our division providing evaluation, and rehabilitation services are all disabled, physically or mentally. For many years, the prime source of clients, and potential employees, for us was the Alabama Division for Rehabilitation Services. A couple of years ago, the federal government halted referrals. The reason? - they didn't want clients hanging out with disabled people. In the same mainstreaming principle, they needed to be surrounded with diversity. It makes so little sense, I think it's about to be reversed but it robbed many people of our services while it was in force...
    Thank you for what you do. The government seems to muck up everything they put their hands on and the bureaucrats think their way is the only way.
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by NationalTitles17 View Post
    I disagree. Inclusion has been law since the 70's so if the containment design is the focus of budget allocations then the problem begins there and is systemic, as I have said. For a teacher to lack training is a shame for the college where they received their education and for the school system where she works. Systemic, the problem is.
    I asked my wife to ensure I wasn't "speaking out of turn" that if someone with a general teaching certification in the state of Louisiana included training/education regarding students with disabilities/special needs. She said "no", that it is a specialized certification and additional educational requirement which someone must get to be qualified to teach special education in the state of Louisiana. However, and this seems to be a "hole in the floor" of the system, a teacher with a general teaching certificate is allowed to have a special needs student in her classroom. So based on your response, I assume the state you live in, the minimal requirement to get a teacher certification includes certification and education to work with special needs students?
    Last edited by Bamabuzzard; July 4th, 2019 at 02:51 PM.
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamabuzzard View Post
    I asked my wife to ensure I wasn't "speaking out of turn" that if someone with a general teaching certification in the state of Louisiana included training/education regarding students with disabilities/special needs. She said "no", that it is a specialized certification and additional educational requirement which someone must get to be qualified to teach special education in the state of Louisiana. However, and this seems to be a "hole in the floor" of the system, a teacher with a general teaching certificate is allowed to have a special needs student in her classroom. So based on your response, I assume the state you live in, the minimal requirement to get a teacher certification includes certification and education to work with special needs students?
    I'm not in education so I'm at a loss there. It would seem prudent that since inclusion means special needs students in regular classrooms that every teacher in every school would receive education and training in this regard, at least to a minimum standard.

    Would you expect a nurse or doctor to emerge from college never having learned about a ubiquitous problem like diabetes? If that were the case would you say something is terribly broken? I would. Would you expect that they or their staff would never receive training for emergencies like sudden cardiac arrest or the suicidal patient? I can tell you that such oversights constitute malpractice when someone is harmed because of them. And yet that is the way our teachers are trained - lacking the least bit of training in dealing with everyday and extraordinary problems. That is pathetic and it's no wonder the system is broken when the leaders fail to lead and those on the front line don't band together to demand a change when they see the need.

    I mean no disrespect for your wife, just like I mean none for my sister (who is trained and worked in the resource program at her school last year). She had reassured me that every teacher (perhaps at her school) receives training. I wish that were so. Maybe we could get somewhere if it were.

    Bottom line: If teachers are not being trained then how can we expect them to do the job properly?

    As an aside, this past weekend I was getting last minute CEU/CME for license renewal from the CEU part of my certifying body's website. I did a search for "autism". Do you know how many results popped up out of hundreds of CEU opportunities? Zero. I was surprised and disappointed, given just how many are diagnosed now ( 1/59 now according to the CDC). I have decided as a medium to long term project to change that because it's simply unacceptable.
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    The TideFan formerly known as NationalTitles16, NationalTitles15, NationalTitles14, NationalTitles13, and NationalTitles12.

  13. #13
    BamaNation Hall of Fame BamaFlum's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts regarding inclusion of children w/disabilities in regular classrooms.

    Iím not sure about current degrees, but 20+ years ago, general education degree did not require any special education training. So since the advent of inclusion in the 70ís, there have been many teachers in TX not received training when they got their degree. My school district does have staff development for it but it mainly stuff for curriculum and not necessarily for meeting the the needs to the whole student.


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