Educating Peter

The Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act was originally called the “Education
for All Handicapped Children Act which was passed in 1975 and continued to be called EHA
until 1990 when they decided to rename it IDEA.” (Vaughn, Bos, & Schumm, 2018) EHA and
IDEA both state that students are entitled to a free and appropriate public education provided by
the state. In the beginning IDEA only defined the least restrictive environment for students, and
it also required that they have an IEP. It determined that schools should be mainstreamed. In
1990 they decided they needed to make some changes to IDEA. IDEA recently was “amended in
2004 as IDEIA -Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.” (Vaughn, Bos, &
Schumm, 2018) One big change we see is “Using person-first language. In other words, do not
define a child by his or her disability. For example, say “students with learning disabilities”
rather than “learning disabled students” or “students with autism” rather than “autistic
students.”” (Vaughn, Bos, & Schumm, 2018)
We will see six main principals in IDEA they are zero reject, nondiscriminatory
identification and evaluation, free appropriate public education (FAPE), least restrictive
environment (LRE), procedural safeguards, and parent and student participation and shared
decision making. Free and appropriate public education says that the school district must
provided the student with an appropriate education to nondisabled students. The student should
be serviced in their least restrictive environment. This could mean that a student is placed in a
general education class all day, or for a short period of time. It could also mean that a student is
placed in a resource room to learn. so. The principle behind the least restrictive environment is
“that students are best served in the settings (most like those of their nondisabled peers) in which
they can learn, ideally moving to less and less restrictive settings. he school will decide the
student’s best environment by gathering a multidisciplinary team.” (Vaughn, Bos, & Schumm,
2018) This team takes us into the principal of nondiscriminatory identification and evaluation.
This principal will entitle the student to testing that will determine the best way to service the
skills of the student. The testing will allow the teacher to create an individualized education plan
(IEP) this is what the team will meet and go over. Parents are given procedural safeguards which
means that any time their student is being tested, referred for special services, or a meeting is
being held they must be notified. If a parent isn’t notified, then the committee isn’t allowing
them to have a decision in what is best for their student. The principal that covers them in
decision making is and parent and student participation and shared decision making. We as
educators can model to students how they can decide in their school needs as well. We can work
with them in coming up with goals and struggles they see and include them in the meeting. All
of this leads up to the school district not being able to refuse to educate a student. Zero Reject
principal states that “no child with disabilities can be excluded from education. This is
commonly referred to as zero reject. Mandatory legislation provides that all children with
disabilities be given a free, appropriate public education. Before IDEIA, school officials who felt
that they were not equipped to address the special needs of particular students would not accept
such students into their schools.” (Vaughn, Bos, & Schumm, 2018)
There are advantages to students being placed in an inclusive placement it “allows the
students to reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world, they learn to
appreciate diversity. Respect and understanding grow when children of differing abilities and
cultures play and learn together.” (The Benefits of Inclusive Education, 2003-2018) Students can
learn socially acceptable behaviors, nondisabled students are able to learn acceptance, and the
teacher is able to grow a classroom of respect. One big disadvantage by having a student in an
inclusive placement could be increased student behaviors. Students who have never been around
another student who is disabled my see some of that students’ behaviors and react in a negative
way. Parents can be concerned that their students are getting to learn as quickly as they would if
the teachers only focus was on the class and not the disabled student as well. They may fear that
this student could hold back the whole class.
When watching Educating Peter, we see that Peter is a third-grade student who for the
first time going to a public school. As a teacher the first thing I noticed as a teacher is how much
the classroom struggled with Peter being in the classroom, and how they didn’t understand how
to process having someone who is different in the room. My first goal on day one with Peter
would be just to take the time to introduce Peter to the classroom. I would allow them to ask any
questions they may have so that I could help them be more comfortable. I would explain that we
may see Peter making loud noises and show behaviors that are not acceptable to the classroom.
Then we would work on ways to handle this as a class just as this teacher did. I would feel
overwhelmed by all that I was doing for Peter and feel like I may be neglecting the rest of the
students. I as a teacher would praise the positive behaviors with a reward system so that we
could minimize the outburst he is having.
I also would find ways to differentiate the work that I was asking Peter to do so that he
wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. I would also encourage Peter to work closely with his classmates
who are obviously invested in seeing Peter succeed in the classroom. As a teacher I would also
be having the other teachers in the room helping with Peter and the classroom as well. We see
different teachers in the room, but never see them interacting with Peter. Having all faculty on
board with how to help him is the key. I love how the teacher picked someone to help Peter with
learning. She had expectations of what Peter could do, she provided him with a list to keep him
on track. I love that she gave him a visual of task he needed to complete. As the school year
progressed I know I would slowly start to feel less overwhelmed and know that I am doing the
best for Peter and the classroom.
My daughter is a third-grade student in Ms. Stallings classroom, and today I
learned that my child is having a student placed in her classroom that has down syndrome. He
has never been placed in a regular classroom before. I also learned that he will be sitting right
beside her in the classroom. I am concerned that he will cause her to have trouble concentrating
in class, slow her learning, and cause her to feel scared.
The first day of school and she comes home and tells me about how school has been
going. She says that Peter is different, and she doesn’t know how to react to him. I asked her to
explain herself. She told me he yells out during class, and he hits other students. As a concerned
parent I asked her if she had talked to Ms. Stallings about these things. I encouraged her to get to
know Peter and see if there was anything she could help him with or to ask Ms. Stallings if she
could help her with Peter in anyway. I figured if she could help him adjust to the classroom she
would feel better and I am sure Peter would as well. I started to notice a difference in the way
she treated people since having Peter in her classroom. I started to see that some of my doubts
about Peter were going away. He made my daughter a stronger person, he was teaching her
patience, respect, and how to help others. Having Peter in her classroom never affected her
learning and didn’t cause her to fall behind. If anything, I believe it challenged her to take
advantage of all that she had been given. It reminded me that I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a
new situation. I should be more accepting like my daughter and trust that the school has all the
student’s best interest at heart.
Works Cited
The Benefits of Inclusive Education. (2003-2018). Retrieved from PBS Parents:
Vaughn, S. R., Bos, C. S., & Schumm, J. S. (2018). Teaching Students Who are Exceptional, Diverse, and At
Risk in the General Education Classroom: Teac Stud Who are Exce Div_7 (Page 7-11). Pearson
Education. Kindle Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.
The Benefits of Inclusive Education. (2003-2018). Retrieved from PBS Parents:
Vaughn, S. R., Bos, C. S., & Schumm, J. S. (2018). Teaching Students Who are Exceptional, Diverse, and At
Risk in the General Education Classroom: Teac Stud Who are Exce Div_7 (Page 7). Pearson
Education. Kindle Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.
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