View Full Version : Special Education

snail mail
04-01-13, 03:59 AM
I am new but I have so much to say. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD however I dispute that because he does not have hyperactivity he has the attention deficits, forgetfulness, etc but he can sit still for about as long as any other 7 year old although I am sure his mind is not still. I have ADD as well so I know how he feels. I am the only one making decisions for him since I am a single dad so I feel a lot of pressure to make the right choices for him. It involves a lot of coping skills because for example I am not naturally an organized and neat person but I have to try to be because I want him to be better at organization than I am.

The big issue right now is special education. The administrators at my son's school have suggested assessing my son for special education for next year. I am not sure what effect this will have on his self esteem. I have considered private school as well as starting him on medication as opposed to putting him in special education classes. The administrators told me that there are kids in honors classes that have IEP's especially in junior high and high school. I am not ready to jump in and put my son in special education. One night he was crying because he overheard me talking about it. At 7 he understands the implications of special education and he was swearing to do better, etc. I will put him in it if it is the best thing for him but quite frankly I'd rather avoid special education especially at his school.

I myself made it through school without special education but I look back onit and while I never had a formal IEP there were some accommodations made. If I hadn't been in general education accommodations notwithstanding would it have negatively impacted my image of myself and my abilities? would I have taken on college and graduate school? I really just want to know if any other parent has had this issue concerning the pros and cons of special education. My son cried at the idea and he is only 7 so obviously there is some negative connotation in his mind about special education and I promise you that I didn't put it there. Special Education could be a good thing for my son but only if it does not negatively impact his self image. I was thinking about introducing him to some special education kids who are in advanced classes to perhaps change his view of what special education is.

I'd like to hear from any parent that faced the issue of special education. What was your decision and why? How did your child react? Did he or she have any preconceived notions about special education? Did you make the right decision?

04-01-13, 06:49 AM
First of all, if you dispute the ADHD diagnosis there will be no chance at special education. ADHD has three subtypes- PI (priimarily inattentive, Combind (C) and primarily hypractive (H)) You son can have adhd without the hyperactivity and somtimes it dosent have to be physical hyperactivity, it can be mental hyperactivity. I see no harm in letting the school evaluate him. They will do alot of tests that measure inteligence and other cognitive functions. You still have the right as a parent to refuse special education placement. Special education has a stigma for sure, but less of one in the elementry school grades. It is often misunderstood, and some people think of it as the "retard class" when its not. The school has no motivation to classify him. It costs them more money to offer specialized classes. The classroom sizes are smaller and often have 2 teachers or an aide and a teacher so the kids can get som small group or 1 on 1 instruction. 2 of my kids were in special ed. My son was in special ed until 5th grade. He tested off the charts intelligence wise, but his ADHD was so hard to control that he was missing the fundamentals that would allow him to succeed in his education. He is 17 now. He is in honors classes and taking 1 college course(into to psyche). Why wouldnt you want to set your son up for the best possible chance for success? If you explained what special ed is instead of allowing him to view it as some sort of punishment so that he will "do better" or try harder isb allowing him to view other kids in special ed with the same sort of misconception. Stigma at young age is better than the long term damage from not providing the accomodations needed for success.

04-01-13, 06:57 AM
I'm not sure how it is in the US, but in the UK I went to a special boarding school for my ADHD ( I was also diagnosed at 7) and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The school taught me so much, and how to control my ADHD. If he goes in to special education, personally I think it would be the best option. You can see about my time in school with my blog,

Good luck :)

Ms. Mango
04-01-13, 11:53 AM
You have some serious misconceptions about what special ed is and isn't and your son is upset because he's picking up on your feelings about it. One of the best places in the web to educate yourself about special education services and the law (IDEA) is wrightslaw. Do a google search to find the site.

In some respects, you're fortunate. Many schools do their utmost to deny kids services.

My son has an IEP. He does not have cognitive issues (he has the abilty, if not the desire, to work 3-4 grade levels above where he is). He does have severe ADHD--heavy on the "H"-- and fine motor skills issues that make writing tedious.

He spends most of his time in the general education classroom. IDEA specifies that children have to be placed in the least restrictive environment, and for most of the day for DS that's in the general classroom. He does have an aide to scribe longer handwriting assignments and tests--but the school is providing him with an iPad (just got it) so he will start taking notes on his own. His IEP gives him an accommodation for test taking for state achievement exams, for the composition portion, and allows him to move to another room if he needs to for test taking.

Until recently he received OT outside the classroom for handwriting. His new IEP does not have this service.

The IEP formalizes the accommodations DS receives. It's in writing and has to be followed. Here is the problem you face without it--a friend of mine has a child who is struggling in the classroom. She hasn't been diagnosed with ADHD (although testing done through the school puts her "at risk" for ADHD-PI), but she is very inattentive. My friend wanted to see if should would qualify for an IEP or 504 (classroom accommodations). Without the diagnosis her daughter does not qualify for either. My friend asked for accommodations (preferential seating, more time to complete class work) and the school psychologist, based on testing and interviews with the DD, agreed with her. But without that piece of paper the teacher has made it clear she will do nothing. NOTHING!

Worse than nothing, the teacher punishes my friend's daughter by keeping her in for recess when she has difficulty completing her class work. Even after testing showed the child has a problem in this area. This child does not need to be taken out of the general ed classroom, she just needs a little help--and she can't get it. Not from that teacher.

Initially, my friend asked me if she even needed to request testing, or a formal IEP or 504. In prior years her daughter's teachers just naturally made some informal accommodations. She knew for the past two years that her daughter had problems getting her work done in the classroom because the teachers told her--but both made allowances on their own. Now my friend sees that, without the formal accommodations of a 504 or IEP, she may need to fight for her daughter every year. Her daughter's current teacher even told her, when she asked if her daughter could sit up front so the teacher could keep her on track, "I don't have to put her up there, I have other kids I have to put up at the front of the class by law".

I've been very pleased with the services DS is receiving. Our school has been proactive about services and I feel pretty confident that he would not be doing as well as he is in school otherwise. We're fortunate that the school is nearly as invested as we are in getting a great education for him.

snail mail
04-04-13, 05:06 AM
Thanks for the replies. It could be true that my son has picked up some negative vibe from me concerning special education even if I never intended that. In his school my son actually helps with more severe special ed kids and I can tell you that he actually thought he'd be in the same class with the kids who are non-verbal, etc. I was also told by another parent that I was lucky for the administrators to suggest special education services, so this forum is not the only place I have heard that. At the moment it will either be public school special education or a small private school that I know of and think highly of. If I choose special education I will be sure to change my son's view of what it means. Ideally, I'd be homeschooling him but at the moment my schedule does not permit that.

04-16-13, 09:59 PM
I'm not sure how it is in the US, but in the UK I went to a special boarding school for my ADHD ( I was also diagnosed at 7) and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The school taught me so much, and how to control my ADHD. If he goes in to special education, personally I think it would be the best option. You can see about my time in school with my blog,

Good luck :)

Nice blog!