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LD Class Size Too Large
Q: I am having a hard time with special education this year, as there are too many children in the class. Can you please help me find the addresses to which I can write to get the class numbers lowered? This is vital because my son is not learning too much due to his various disabilities and the teacher is unable to teach all the children. We are talking about 22 children in the same class from K-3, all learning at least two different things at once. I don't see how they can learn this way when all of them have some form of focusing disability. Please help me if you can.
A: Every town has guidelines about or limits on class size. Call the office of the superintendent in your school system to ask what these limits are. State special education laws set limits on the number and the age range of students with special needs that can be served in a single classroom with a certain number of trained adults. Contact the administrator of special education in your town, or your state's department of education to find out about these limits.
Some schools that have moved toward inclusion (loosely defined as educating children with special needs in the regular classroom) have often loaded these classes up with kids with very serious learning or behavior problems. If this is your situation, you first need to be sure that your child's IEP is written in very objective, measurable terms (ask a special education advocate or attorney). Then make the case that it's unreasonable to think that your child's goals can be met in a classroom with so many kids on IEP's or in a class with too little special help. Remember that the special education laws guarantee your child the right to an appropriate education. As a parent, you have the right to challenge the school's interpretation of appropriate. Too many kids with too many needs with too few adults is not appropriate.
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Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.