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Old 01-03-2013, 08:40 PM   #1
katie111
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If someone said your child "could not be mainstreamed?"

W recently got into a heated argument with a family member. His child who is one year older than our son (they are 6 and 5), went totally overboard in a fight and knocked over our son. Their son is probably 30 pounds heavier than our child. Our child is in an integrated kindergarten program. He was a preemie and has some developmental issues. He has been delayed with all his milestones but has reached almost all of them. He has feeding issues and has a feeding tube which we no longer use and will soon be removed. He has a speech delay and some learning delays but nothing overly significant. According to his teachers, he is about 6 months behind academically which is about the delay he has had with all of his milestones.

Anyways, in this argument, our relative blurts out that "our child cannot be mainstreamed". We were totally taken aback by this and completely offended. After the fact, he came back and claimed that he only meant that our child is "small and frail" and therefore needs more supervision than other kids. Once again, we were totally offended. Why would our child need more supervision when your child was the aggressor? And why would you ever use the word "mainstream" in that context? To me (and to every one I've spoken to), this is an educational word used to describe someone that should not be in with regular kids. It doesn't seem like a word that would just randomly pop into your head in the middle of an argument. His wife is a nurse and we think that's where it probably came from.

Just wanted to get some opinions of people who deal with disabilities every day to see if we are missing something. We don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is, but it was very hurtful to us. Also, do you think the child with minor disabilities needs more supervision or is it the child that hurts other children? (This kid attacks other kids all the time but the parents either "didn't see it" or they just blame both kids if the other child retaliates.)
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by katie111
W recently got into a heated argument with a family member. His child who is one year older than our son (they are 6 and 5), went totally overboard in a fight and knocked over our son. Their son is probably 30 pounds heavier than our child. Our child is in an integrated kindergarten program. He was a preemie and has some developmental issues. He has been delayed with all his milestones but has reached almost all of them. He has feeding issues and has a feeding tube which we no longer use and will soon be removed. He has a speech delay and some learning delays but nothing overly significant. According to his teachers, he is about 6 months behind academically which is about the delay he has had with all of his milestones.

Anyways, in this argument, our relative blurts out that "our child cannot be mainstreamed". We were totally taken aback by this and completely offended. After the fact, he came back and claimed that he only meant that our child is "small and frail" and therefore needs more supervision than other kids. Once again, we were totally offended. Why would our child need more supervision when your child was the aggressor? And why would you ever use the word "mainstream" in that context? To me (and to every one I've spoken to), this is an educational word used to describe someone that should not be in with regular kids. It doesn't seem like a word that would just randomly pop into your head in the middle of an argument. His wife is a nurse and we think that's where it probably came from.

Just wanted to get some opinions of people who deal with disabilities every day to see if we are missing something. We don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is, but it was very hurtful to us. Also, do you think the child with minor disabilities needs more supervision or is it the child that hurts other children? (This kid attacks other kids all the time but the parents either "didn't see it" or they just blame both kids if the other child retaliates.)
Well as an unbiased third party, I think that term is reserved for children who really "don't" belong in the traditional classroom or to put it another way...special needs kids who are not really suited for "inclusion programs". But also let me say that there is nothing wrong with the kids that aren't suited for inclusion! My friend's son was not a good candidate for inclusion, he goes to a special school where they focus on teaching him life skills that he will need/use and not how to read/add because he mental capabilities are not there for those skills.
But to get back to your question...Yes, I think they back pedaled because it is generally a school term, or so I believe.
Now as far as the supervision, if it were my child...Yes, I would tend to err on the side of caution especially since you are dealing with a feeding tube. The reality is he is tiny and can get hurt easier. You don't have to go overkill, but I would definitely be more mindful. I am also going to say too that these other parents need to be more watchful as well!!! If their child is having repeated altercations with other kids, they need to pay better attention as well! Isn't it funny how the commonality in those altercations is THEIR son? LOL! Sounds like maybe the kids and the grownups need a break from each other for awhile! Good Luck!!


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Old 01-04-2013, 04:52 AM   #3
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With a properly trained Paraprofessional there are very few children tha can not be with typical peers. The big issue is that most schools are unwilling or lack the knowlege and infrastucture to meet their needs in traditional schools
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katie111 View Post
W recently got into a heated argument with a family member. His child who is one year older than our son (they are 6 and 5), went totally overboard in a fight and knocked over our son. Their son is probably 30 pounds heavier than our child. Our child is in an integrated kindergarten program. He was a preemie and has some developmental issues. He has been delayed with all his milestones but has reached almost all of them. He has feeding issues and has a feeding tube which we no longer use and will soon be removed. He has a speech delay and some learning delays but nothing overly significant. According to his teachers, he is about 6 months behind academically which is about the delay he has had with all of his milestones.

Anyways, in this argument, our relative blurts out that "our child cannot be mainstreamed". We were totally taken aback by this and completely offended. After the fact, he came back and claimed that he only meant that our child is "small and frail" and therefore needs more supervision than other kids. Once again, we were totally offended. Why would our child need more supervision when your child was the aggressor? And why would you ever use the word "mainstream" in that context? To me (and to every one I've spoken to), this is an educational word used to describe someone that should not be in with regular kids. It doesn't seem like a word that would just randomly pop into your head in the middle of an argument. His wife is a nurse and we think that's where it probably came from.

Just wanted to get some opinions of people who deal with disabilities every day to see if we are missing something. We don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is, but it was very hurtful to us. Also, do you think the child with minor disabilities needs more supervision or is it the child that hurts other children? (This kid attacks other kids all the time but the parents either "didn't see it" or they just blame both kids if the other child retaliates.)
Unfortunately, those of us with "special needs" children - whether physical, cognitive, delays of any sort - find that we need to grow a "thick skin" at times. I know it can be tough, and I don't want you to feel that I'm minimizing your concern or hurt. There are times to let that upset drive you to react, and times that it's best to let it go. It's especially rough when "family" doesn't seem to understand.

To answer your specifc questions...you may be correct that "mainstream" is more of an education term, though I don't believe it means "should not be with regular kids" as you put it but rather they need a different environment more conducive to developing their own strengths and where they can work on their weaknesses without interference by others not at the same developmental stage. We also cannot expect people (adults) who aren't familiar with the special education system to see things the same way we do or understand terms in the same manner we do. They just have a different perspective and possibly misunderstanding. From your post, I don't see that your relative was necessarily intending to mean an education setting - I'd interpret his statement to mean that he sees your child as different than a neurotypical child of similar age. Disability or not, there will always be kids who are bigger/stronger/faster/strong-willed/dominating and those who are smaller/weaker/slower/passive/followers (select any or all descriptors).

As to which child needs more supervision - how much supervision a child needs is more determined by their personality and attitudes towards others rather than whether he/she has a disability. A child who acts safely needs less supervision than a child who behaves rashly and is rough towards others and their own toys. It does appear your relative is setting a poor example for his son, which will only be a detriment to the child as he grows up; children need to have limits set and consequences enforced - this is regardless of disability status.

In short...while I know it's very hard, try not to let your relative's comments sink in too deeply and fester. You now know - if you didn't already - that this relative is not understanding of disabilities or even simple differences and prefers to see his kid as perfect and superior. Nothing you say is likely to change that. Limit your time with this family if you can; when you can't, you will need to take the initiative to supervise the children. Unfortunately, it's only going to add fuel to the fire if you attempt to discipline the other child so find a gentle way to extricate your child if the other is not behaving - bring a special toy he gets to play with or activity he gets to do on his own. Tell the other child that your child will be back to play when everyone is ready to play nicely.

Good luck! Hugs to you as I know this is a rough road to travel but we do it with the support of others who understand.

Last edited by lanejudy; 01-04-2013 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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Well, ya can't fix stupid. My own sister referred ro my mentally handicapped son riding the "retard bus" and being in the "retard class". I can't even express how offended I was! And when I pointed it out to her she.just shrugged her shoulders and said," facts are facts." Seriously? Christian IS in a severe/profound class and cannot be.mainstreamed but that's no reason to insult him.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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I have a 4 year old in a pretty similar situation - about a year behind, tiny, catching up, lots of medical issues. His two best friends are also 4, but each one is easily 15 - 20 lbs heavier, slightly aggressive (normal for 4 year old boys) and both now have put him in the emergency room (one gave him a possible concussion that resulted in a 3 day admission and then breakthrough seizures).

My husband and I had a discussion about whether or not we would allow our tiny son to keep hanging out with his friends in a normal, 4 year old way, or whether we would try to limit their time together or supervise them more strictly. And in both cases we decided that no, we wouldn't.

Because having friends and getting hard knocks and being a boy are part of his childhood, and if we start sheltering him or taking him away from his friends then we're not letting our son live his life.

We know that him playing soccer with bigger (not older) kids, or getting pushed, or rough-housing with other kids might land him in the hospital again, or cause him to need another surgery, but that's the price of admission to a normal life that we're willing to pay.

I think your BIL's comment about mainstreaming during your argument was probably inappropriate, but I also have to wonder what your argument was about.

Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #7
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Listen to the professionals. If they say your son can be mainstreamed, believe them until your son proves differently.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #8
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I think this is classic transferrence....the family member is transferring their guilt on to you.
They are thinking "Well if your kid wasn't so small, my kid could fight with him and I wouldn't have to worry about it.." and that translated into "Your kid will be small compared to others in his class too" which turned into "He shouldn't be in class with others" -> "He shouldn't be mainstreamed."

Avoid doing anything alone with this family member and if possible avoid them all together. If not, keep your kid away from theirs.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minkydog
Well, ya can't fix stupid. My own sister referred ro my mentally handicapped son riding the "retard bus" and being in the "retard class". I can't even express how offended I was! And when I pointed it out to her she.just shrugged her shoulders and said," facts are facts." Seriously? Christian IS in a severe/profound class and cannot be.mainstreamed but that's no reason to insult him.
Oh no she didn't....sorry. Image ZERO tolerance for that word. My son has Downs. And unfortunately I have my own stupid relatives.....a cousin seems to thinks that my son is contagious to her kids.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:41 PM   #10
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I think it's a big waste of your time to be upset about this. Who cares what this family member thinks? Work on developing a thicker skin; you are going to need it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by minkydog View Post
Well, ya can't fix stupid. My own sister referred ro my mentally handicapped son riding the "retard bus" and being in the "retard class". I can't even express how offended I was! And when I pointed it out to her she.just shrugged her shoulders and said," facts are facts." Seriously? Christian IS in a severe/profound class and cannot be.mainstreamed but that's no reason to insult him.


"Ya' can't fix stupid" and "Crazy is as crazy does" have become my mantra in the past few months. Every time I start ruminating on something someone has done or overanalyzing the crazy, I just say one of those, shrug it off and let it go.

And I can't believe your own sister just. . .well. OMGoodness.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:21 PM   #12
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I also just have to say that since when did being or not being mainstreamed mean an insult? Wahuh?

One of my BFFs son was mainstreamed from K to 7th grade. He is just now transferring to a non-mainstreamed progam for kids with disorders that involve social deficits. He's horribly miserable in a regular middle school with support classes. Putting him a class with like peers where the teachers and staff understand him and getting him out of the pecking order of middle school is a GOOD thing. It doesn't make him any less of a great, funny kid. And it certainly wouldn't justify him being attacked by another kid!
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:03 PM   #13
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I think you are dealing with two completely different issues. The first is how to allow your child to interact, or not interact with an aggressive relative , and the other an appropriate setting for his education. I can't image why your family member would think the two were related at all. In our district, there is a definite trend toward inclusion for all but the most profoundly affected children. The reality is that parents of these special needs children are more upset that their children are in a typical classroom where they know the setting is not in the best interest of their child. Parents of typical children also become upset when their children are hit, kicked or hurt by a child that simply can not function in a typical classroom setting. I guess my point is that in most areas, your child would be expected to function in a typical classroom and it seems he is doing just fine in that setting. It is up to the staff to meet his needs, including keeping him safe with in that setting. I would just let it roll off my back.
FWI- My 21 year son was born a 24 weeker at just over a pound and a half. If took him a little while to "play catch up" but he did and is now a college kid, on an scholarship and makes the dean list every semester.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bookwormde
With a properly trained Paraprofessional there are very few children tha can not be with typical peers. The big issue is that most schools are unwilling or lack the knowlege and infrastucture to meet their needs in traditional schools
^this.

I've taught inclusion at the high school level and I'm a firm believer in it--when it's done right, which is the school's responsibility. When outsiders complain about American education, I'm the first to point out that in America we educate everyone and that's what makes us great! Kids come in all shapes and sizes, and just because the OP's child's limitations are visible should not limit his inclusion into the school environment. Unfortunately, your family is giving you a taste of what you're going to run up against for the next few years. Use them to practice advocating for your child! But as for the comments about getting a thicker skin, sometimes I think we have to own the thinness. Sometimes I think we can show our children that our feelings are hurt, too, but we are resilient. That's just my opinion.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:33 PM   #15
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I have a 4 year old in a pretty similar situation - about a year behind, tiny, catching up, lots of medical issues. His two best friends are also 4, but each one is easily 15 - 20 lbs heavier, slightly aggressive (normal for 4 year old boys) and both now have put him in the emergency room (one gave him a possible concussion that resulted in a 3 day admission and then breakthrough seizures).

My husband and I had a discussion about whether or not we would allow our tiny son to keep hanging out with his friends in a normal, 4 year old way, or whether we would try to limit their time together or supervise them more strictly. And in both cases we decided that no, we wouldn't.

Because having friends and getting hard knocks and being a boy are part of his childhood, and if we start sheltering him or taking him away from his friends then we're not letting our son live his life.

We know that him playing soccer with bigger (not older) kids, or getting pushed, or rough-housing with other kids might land him in the hospital again, or cause him to need another surgery, but that's the price of admission to a normal life that we're willing to pay.

I think your BIL's comment about mainstreaming during your argument was probably inappropriate, but I also have to wonder what your argument was about.

Good luck.
Kudos to you!!!!

OP, none of us were there. I'm guessing the relative may have meant that kids are rough at PE and recess, and your son will probably get his share of knocks. He may well have been trying to transfer his guilt, as a previous poster pointed out.
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