The following is a PDF article that Julie Causton and Christi Kasi wrote which was produced with funds from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council (PA DDC) Educational Rights Grant.
ONE FAMILY’S EXPERIENCE
“The family’s vision was clear. Nate would go to school in his neighborhood with the same friends with whom he ran through the sprinklers. Nate’s family wanted him to learn to read, make friends, and love school. The IEP team supported this vision until Nate entered high school. During his transition meeting from middle to high school, the principal informed Nate’s parents that he would now be attending the “life skills program.” This information shocked the family; why should Nate’s placement be changed when he had done so well in the general education classroom? The principal responded, “This is where students with Down syndrome are most successful. We focus on navigating the community and learning functional skills…” Dissatisfied with these reasons, Nate’s parents began learning how they could work with the IEP team to continue to support Nate’s successful participation in the inclusive classroom. Over a series of IEP meetings, the family carefully laid out their vision for Nate’s high school education, his desire to attend college, and the successful modifications from his middle school years. The team was reluctant, but after several hours of discussion about the importance of Nate receiving his education in the general education classroom, they agreed to support his inclusion. Nate is now a junior taking biology, creative writing, home economics, and world history alongside his peers.”