Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Autistic Student --->Schools, What gives you the Right...? Updated 4/22/08 - Earth Day Project

I work with an Autistic High School Student who has very little reading skills and comprehension very low. If I gave her 10 pages of notes to copy she could it with no problem but would not understand anything that she wrote/copied. The mainstreamed teachers I work with rely on me to make the right decision for what is best for the student. I must also add there are a number of general ed students who are no better in this area of learning.

However, what is right for the student? And, what makes me think I have all the answers? Nothing makes me think that because the only answers I have are for the individual student I’m working with at the time and it takes experience and caring to begin to understand what is best for an autistic student. I have no job description, function or process by which to follow.

Sometimes I get between a mainstreamed teacher and the special education department over grades that are provided for the student. I always initial or sign every paper I provide help to the student in completing so the teacher knows the student did not think this was done independently (The Teacher knows this because that is why I am there). The teacher provides the grade based on his/her instruments for measuring. This teacher will give a passing grade if you do all the class assignments even if you fail all the tests (this student has failed them all). The Sped folks do not want a grade just a letter showing the student is doing work and will allow the student to go through the system. Sort of like going to Limbo, not heaven and not hell just OK.

Personally I just want what is best for my student, I want her to feel part of the class whenever this is possible (which is not often) and by getting a letter grade for work that is done with my help is OK with the teacher and me. The problem is some folks think that this is doing the student’s work and that the student cannot possible get a passing grade.

So far this is a story that goes on everyday in many public schools across the country. However, what makes a passing grade so bad?

The answer is Parents. You see if a parent sees a passing grade on their child’s report card they are convinced their child belongs in the general education classroom. The Sped people see this as a danger because they can no longer manipulate or move a student because they think they no best what is good for the child.

Folks, in many cases this is Bull Shit. The welfare of the student goes by the wayside and it is the almighty BUDGET DOLLARS that drive decisions.

So here is my problem. What gives anyone (teacher, administrator, aide or paraprofessional) the right to determine what is best for anyone’s child? Their job is to provide good objective documented data and information and provide it to the parents so that THEY make the decision for their child.

It’s all about scheming, manipulating, dollars and absolute power that drives many of these decisions and it sucks.

Parents please understand that the school system officials are doing what is best for the budget dollars and themselves; YOU are the only one who has the best interest of your child. Learn the law, ask questions, and challenge them. If you need help check your yellow pages for a child advocate or go to a web site that explains the laws and your rights.


Updated 4/21/08


Last week Roberta turned in her Earth Day Project that she worked on at home. No involvement from me except to keep reminding her to turn it in on Friday. The class voted on the best project and she won by a large margin. it will now be entered in the school contest with the science teachers voting.

Undoubtedly she will receive an "A" I wonder who will complain about this grade.
To read my other posts on ASD click on the ASD Label below or on the side panel.

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