Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 | I have a special needs child and my experience with special education varies with the district. We are in East County and I have noted that the Cajon Valley Union School District does not handle special education students well at all. My adopted stepson has some specific learning disabilities, mild mental retardation and fetal alcohol syndrome. The issues created by the latter two disabilities have never been addressed. In the seven years that he was in the Cajon Valley district, he was shifted to three different elementary schools because the district continued to consolidate and cut back special education.

One of the schools modified his Individual Education Plan (IEP) without notice or approval from either me or my husband. That is not an acceptable move on the part of the school. In the elementary years, he learned little. In the junior high years, he was in a special day class that the teacher spent the day dealing with the emotionally disturbed kids. These kids should not have been in this special day class. Yet, they were. He was also mainstreamed in a class that he was not able to function in and we were not made aware of the mainstreaming. More time wasted. It was not until my stepson moved on to the Grossmont Union High School District, did any progress towards any learning in a realistic setting take place.

As a parent, I realize that I want the best for my child, but at the same time, one must be realistic in what can be done to keep their child in the least restrictive environment possible. That should be the goal, but not at the expense of the non-disabled kids and their teachers. If there is insufficient staff, the effect can be detrimental to the other students. I know what my kid can do and what goals I can reasonably expect him to accomplish. I do not want his presence in a mainstream to class hinder anyone else.

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