Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going Mainstream : Transitioning to Mainstream Classrooms From Special Needs

The girls IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) for the next school year are tomorrow morning. My stomach is already in knots. IEP meetings can be an amazing time to hash out what works for your kid and how you can get them the help they need. Or they can be battleground with shouting and crying.

For once, I am going into an IEP totally prepared and knowledgeable about what is going to happen. And (mostly) okay with it. But still the hollow feeling in my stomach is there. Too many IEPs and decisions weigh on my mind. And then there's my nervousness at taking this step.

The plan is to transition both the of the girls to mainstream classrooms. Calamity Jane will take a community spot at one of the local college's preschools. She will go all day (from 8:30 to 3:30) which will be good for her and for our family dynamic. She needs somewhere to channel her energy and intensity and the regularity of the schedule should help regulate her moods. This has been the plan for a while and I feel very confident about it.

But I am not so sure about Desmonda Drama. She's supposed to transition into Title 1 but we're not guaranteed a place in it. We do have a co-op spot for her three mornings a week but without that one on one attention every day I am worried she will sink instead of swim. I know she needs the social push but she also needs the therapy.

At the heart of it is the fear of seeing my girls leave the protected nest of the special needs world. There they are superstars, social butterflies, and the successes of their teachers. I love that they have their moments in the spotlight, on the A list, of being large and in charge.

My challenge for next year is how to preserve that feeling for them. How do I find the places that they can shine if it doesn't happen for them in the classroom?


  1. In the future, you may want to push for a 504 plan. Sometimes schools will "push" kids out of an IEP so that they can lighten their load. A 504 plan can insure that your kids get the accommodations they need in order to level the playing field. Often, the strategies in a 504 plan are things a good teacher would do anyway, but this way it's in writing and it holds them accountable.

  2. Right now I feel like that will never be a possibility for us. We'll ALWAYS have and IEP and in some wasy that is scary. I think back to when I was in elementary school and now I get why some kids were held back grades and some kids had time outside of the classroom and I am stopped in my tracks because *that will be my kids*! Maybe it's because this is all new, but I feel like everyone has been on the same page so far. I hope that doesn't change. I am worried I won't recognize when I need to push and when I need to be happy with what is going on.