View Full Version : Status of learning disabilities special edcation programs

Mrs. Parker
06-08-2012, 02:21 PM
I am a firm believer in special education for learning disabled students so they can be mainstreamed as soon as possible. I have been retired for some time now. I am curious what the current stance is on learning disabilities special education in the Chicago public schools these days.

09-22-2012, 12:38 PM
I've had an extremely positive experience within CPS. My 14 yr son has had an IEP since he was 2.5. For preschool he was benefited immensely from a team teaching inclusion classroom at Farnsworth, where he was only pulled for speech and OT. By kindergarten he was ready to return to our neighborhood school, Ebinger, where during his primary years he was pulled for speech, OT and a significant amount of resource hours. At that point it was crucial he learn essential ways to "cope" with his disability in order to learn to read so the pull out time was definitely a necessity. By the end of third grade it was clear his special teachers had laid a firm foundation. He was reading a few words when third grade began but by the end of the year he was almost at grade level. He spent about the same amount of time in fourth grade being pulled out.

By fifth grade we decided we needed to start to preparing him for the real world and I emphasize start. It was a process that we felt by seventh grade should be almost fully rolled out. By that time we basically had a very intelligent kid who had some kind of a processing disorder (we have never able to pinpoint exactly what the problem was) that manifested itself across the disciplines but was most profound in reading and writing. So in fifth grade all of teachers and I met to determine how to start having him self direct his "resource" time in order to keep him in the inclusion classroom as much as possible. We decided that because he was well above grade level for literal comprehension to only give him required minutes in writing with a few extra to help lay the base for inferential comprehension, which we knew was going to be a weakness going forward. He was instructed, however, to ask for help when needed and the doors to resource were always open. He definitely had the right personality to implement this strategy which helped the process. Of course, for tests of any kind he was sent to resource for the extra time. He thrived under this arrangement. By seventh grade he was scoring 99% in math and 97% in reading thankfully the district could't afford a writing portion that year. This was kid who on his first ISAT in third grade was under 20% in reading and around 40% in math. We definitely witnessed huge growth. By seventh and eighth grade we let him self direct all of his minutes aside from testing. He had straight A's all of seventh grade and for the first three quarters of eighth grade at which point he got hit by a car and missed a ton of school thus his grades dropped off a bit.

He sat for the Selective Enrollment test and wound up scoring 289 points on that test and was admitted to his first choice for high school Lane Tech. He's a freshman at Lane currently and thus far is absolutely thriving in full inclusion without any pull out minutes, he does have access to a SPED teacher in all of his core courses. He's also playing football and loving every second of his high school experience which admittedly is limited at this point. We are very fortunate insomuch as, he is perhaps a better advocate for himself than we as parents could be at this point in his life. I actually worry more about the brilliant 16 year daughter who doesn't have a learning disability at this point because she couldn't or perhaps wouldn't speak up for herself if the ground was caving in right under her.

I realize we have been extremely fortunate and have had an amazing group of teachers, professionals, and counselors along the way without whom we would never be where we are today. They allowed us and once I got them fully aboard encouraged us to use tactics that were completely outside the box and novel as we implemented them. There were no other students that self directed their minutes at our elementary school, at first I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy, but agreed to at least try. I honestly believe that was a crucial element to his growth, he needed to learn how to exist in a world without support whenever possible and without negative consequences to his education. Close contact with his regular ed teachers and between his reg ed and sped teachers was paramount for the technique to be successful. I can honestly say there was only one occasion between 5-8th grade where my son was not the one who was self directing the minutes. At one point in seventh grade they were learning two variable equations, he was apparently determined to "get" this concept without any extra help, his math teacher watched him struggle for about five minutes and finally told him he needed to take a step away and regroup. He grabbed his paper and pencil and walked across the hall to his SPED teacher and within ten minutes was back. Today he can solve three variable equations albeit his calculations are painfully slow yet entirely precise. Luckily we had educators who were more than willing to go the extra 1000 miles.

11-08-2013, 03:42 AM
Learning disabilities schools provide a new way learning for physical or mentally disabled children.