Who gets to pick the special education placement of a down syndrome student?

When a special education student is placed in a specific class, who makes that decision? Is it the school, the parent, the teacher or is it a group decision. Like everything, it depends. Recently, the parents of a down syndrome student met with teachers, case manager and guidance counselor because the teachers believed that the student wasn’t benefiting from the regular education inclusion class. The teachers believed that they couldn’t make enough modification in their classrooms to make this placement work.

The parents heard that the teachers wouldn’t make the necessary modifications. They believe that the benefits of being in the same classroom with regular education students far out weigh the concerns that the student wasn’t able to complete the majority of the work. They also believed that the “learning disabled” class would have behavior problems and didn’t want their child in that environment.

I did get a chance to follow-up with the teachers and they weren’t trying to get the student out of the class, but strongly believed that the “learning disabled” class would provide more benefits. The class was much smaller and the range of abilities were closer to the student’s levels. The student would probably still have the lowest skill levels in the new class, but the pace and ability to provide more specific assistance and modifications would more specifically address her needs. They also indicated that the behavior of the other students would not be an issue and the student would benefit socially as well as educationally.

Any thoughts? I am still working out the “bugs”, but please try to leave a comment. If that doesn’t work, leave me an e-mail fhentz@hotmail.com.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

One thought on “Who gets to pick the special education placement of a down syndrome student?”

  1. What about the other students in the class that work independently, but have to wait for instruction because of the amount of time that the special needs children require? Is that fair to them?


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