Children with learning disabilities often form negative opinions of school and education. This isn’t their fault. The need for more special education classes offered to these children is a necessary addition to the school system. All children have the possibility of a bright future ahead of them. All children should have an enjoyment of learning not a fear of it. It is the responsibility of the generations before theirs, the adults in this world, to see that that happens.A special education class comes in many different forms. Basically though it is a class geared toward specific learning disabilities displayed in children and adults. These classes work with an individual in a way that best fits their learning process. Not everyone see the world in the same way, not everyone is going to pick up on things as quickly or understand them like others do. That doesn’t mean it is impossible for a child or even an adult to learn new things. The possibility of being able to live an active and fulfilling life is a possibility for everyone no matter the disability they are born with. Most special education classes are focused on the major groups of disabilities such as Aspergers Autism, Dyslexia and many other learning disorders.However, there are smaller syndromes such as ADHD that cause learning disabilities and yet these children are expected to fit in to a normal school structure and keep up with their peers. In some cases this is impossible for the child and can actually be detrimental to their education, not to mention their self-confidence and self-image. Because disabilities such as ADHD are hard to diagnose and an article of controversy amongst the medical professions, these children are often left by the way side and are the worse for it.It doesn’t take much to make an effort in helping a child with a learning disability. Patience and understanding are the key points. This of course can be difficult in public schools with large classroom sizes. Every child deserves some one on one time with the teacher. But a child with a learning disability needs a little extra of that time. This is why special education programs are so important to the health of our children’s educational future. We need more teachers and more programs dedicated to the education of all children. The argument is right in that our future depends on it.Learning should be a fun activity. Life and the world around us is always changing, always adapting and always growing. We should take an active part in it and receive enjoyment from learning from it. Having a learning disability should not keep us from doing so. Having a learning disability should not be a stigma placed on our children. It does not make them less of a person. It only means they see something differently than the rest of us. In fact, if we try looking at the world from their point of view we may even learn something. Developing a broader special education system should be a priority of the education system.
Are you the parent of a child with autism or emotional disturbance that receives special education services? Are you concerned about the use of restraint and seclusion for your child’s negative school behavior? Would you like to learn 9 things about what to include in a No consent letter? This article will discuss restraint and seclusion and things that should be included in a letter making it clear to special education personnel that they do not have your consent to this on your child.Children with disabilities have the right to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that school districts need to consider the use of positive behavioral supports and plans if a child’s behavior interferes with their education or the education of others; but most do not do it.Prone restraints, which means that the child is face down has been responsible for several deaths in the US, because it restricts the child’s breathing. Seclusion can be very scary for a child causing emotional distress. Children can be left alone for long periods of time in a room and not be able to escape.A No Consent Letter will make it clear that your school district does not have your consent, to use these techniques on your child. Below are 9 things to be included in the No Consent Letter:Item 1: School District Name and number (if you know the number) and address. Name of the person you are sending the letter to.Item 2: Date that the letter is sent.Item 3: Give child’s name, birthdate, age, and school that the child is attending.Item 4: Give the child’s disability and also state your concern about your child’s behavior, and schools response. For example: My child Alex has autism and has had many behavioral challenges over the years. Because of these challenges I am concerned that District ___ will use aversive interventions on my child. These interventions could be: restraint, seclusion, physical management, seclusionary time outs, forcible holding, dragging, use of ties and straps, slaps, deliberate humiliation, or deprivation of nutrition or exercise.Item 5: Make it clear that you are not giving permission for any of these strategies to be used on your child. For example: This letter is to make it clear that I have not authorized or given consent to any of the above strategies being used on my child. Also add to your letter: If an emergency should arise and school staff feel unequiped to respond in a safe and non threatening way, please contact family members listed below rather than escalating the situation through the use of Restraint, Seclusion or by calling the police.Name/relationship to child Phone NumberItem 6: Add to the letter that IDEA is clear that the appropriate way to handle behavior is by getting a functional analysis of behavior (FBA) and having a positive behavioral plan developed by a trained person. Add that you would also like to be part of the team that does the FBA and develops the positive behavioral plan.In addition add any things that have helped your child calm down when they become upset or agitated. For Example: In the past Alex has been allowed to separate himself on a chair in the back of the classroom to calm himself down. This has been very successful in preventing outbursts.Item 7: Add to the letter that if my child’s behavior worsens I am asking that an IEP meeting be held to discuss research based ways to handle negative behavior.Item 8: Give the number of a person that would be able to go to the school to help in any emergency situation.Item 9: Thank them for their attention to this matter and I would also let them know that you will be holding them accountable if they use restraint and seclusion on your child, without your permission.You must be proactive in the matter of restraint and seclusion and your child. To hide your head in the sand could cause your child to be injured or in the worst situation killed! Your child is depending on you to protect them so that school is a safe place to learn and grow!
I can’t give you data, but I can give you some interpretations. I was a special education teacher for over 35 years; I did 5 years of volunteer work (up to 20 hours/week) in the California Youth Authority and 2 years of part-time teaching in a detention center in the 1980s. The reason was that I wanted to know how to prevent my special education students from going to jail. I worked for a gang diversion project in East LA during for a year. I studied juvenile delinquency for a masters program and sociology in my doctorate. There is a lot of information about delinquency/criminality in socioeconomic data: poverty has high population densities, high aggression/physical abuse rates, etc. Sociologists know that “quiet” space is necessary for mental health and does not exist in households of poverty.You’ll have to be very careful about making assumptions when reading about school statistics, because there are many factors and special conditions that go into those statistics. Drop-out rates may include those who are on the 5+ year plan but do not include those attending alternative schools, etc. Minors may be incarcerated or detention, but after a certain number of absence days they are dropped from their home school enrollment. Some students the transfer for enrollment (accountability) purposes. Schools may also include those on minimum day or special arrangements (i.e., 1-2 hrs/day) to avoid a drop-out figure (this fact figures into school accountability for current methods of evaluating schools after NCLB). A way around laws for attending public schools is to sign up for home schooling (sometimes no schooling happens there). You’ll also have to consider the quality of education in both enrollment and drop-out rates; often classes are “dumbed down” so people can stay in school, because it they didn’t “dumb it down” the students would quit. Another factor for public school data is who is receiving SSI money for staying in school (i.e., I had a 21 year old 9th grader enrolled, but he enrolled every year and stopped coming once the verification of enrollment letter was sent to Social Security – all he wanted was his benefits check). These are just some reasons to use caution when interpreting statistics – it is NOT a direct correlation that can be made.Special ed students and high school drop-outs have a higher probability of going to jail (most adult inmates do read below 4th grade reading level). While working in the jails, I learned that the prison industry predicts the number of beds they will need in any given year; what they use for that prediction is the number of people reading below literacy (in this country, 6th grade) on state assessment tests. This is a fairly accurate measure, because if someone can’t read, they can’t get/keep a job. Unemployed folks have nothing to do and no way to make money, so substances become the “paycheck” as well as leisure activity.Special ed students usually have poor academic skills and related behaviors, social/communications skills, inappropriate non-verbal language skills (see work by Duke and Nowicki who state that anyone with poor non-verbal communications skills at age 10 will start getting into trouble) and mis-read others frequently. They are angry and frustrated by school and social relationships, so they act out often and in ways that tend to focus attention on them. They engage in risky behavior because they are either followers and looking for peer acceptance or for something they can do successfully. Behavior disordered special education students (this category is often used for oppositional-defiant) are often actually delinquents. There is a high rate of substance abuse among special education students, because they are “self-medicating” their failures in school (special education students especially); for delinquents (different in my mind from special ed), they like the “highs” of substances (see Criminal Personality, volume 3, by Yochelson and Samenow).