“The Illusion of Inclusion”

A favorite read in my library, is The Illusion of Inclusion, edited by Kauffman and Hallahan.  Contributing writers expound on the misguided mandate of Full Inclusion (FI) classrooms.  In their preface remarks, the editors state that Full Inclusion” is “the merger of special and general education into a seamless and supple system that will support all students adequately in general schools and general education classrooms, regardless of any student’s characteristics.” The editors contend that some students with disabilities can function in the Full Inclusion environment, but not all students with disabilities.  Kauffman and Hallahan believe that the idea of adequate support for those identified with exceptional education needs within FI environments is illusionary.  I agree.

I am not against including children with leaning disabilities in general classrooms.  That’s the goal of “mainstreaming” (placing handicapped children in the “least restrictive educational environment”.)  However, mainstreaming is a goal, not a first line of provision.

For children with severe learning disabilities, the most appropriate setting is a self contained classroom, where individualized instruction is a daily and constant given, as mandated by the individualized education program (IEP) issued for children with an LD diagnosis.  The self contained classroom offers the advantage of one-on-one instruction from a teacher specialized in special education; the small teacher-student ratio (usually no more than ten students, vs. up to 30 in a general classroom).

So, parents, if your child has been diagnosed with a severe learning disability, advocate for their placement into special education classes…they deserve individualized instruction…to truly learn today and thrive in tomorrow’s society.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…  ~Proverbs 31: 8

Myrna Easom

What Should Grades Teach the Teacher?

What Should Grades Teach the Teacher?

The new school year is now well on its way, and most children have received their first grading period report card.  As a parent, how did you view your child’s “progress”? You were probably happy if your child made the Honor Roll (all A’s and B’s) or the Principal’s Honor Roll (straight A’ s) Were you disappointed if your child made only C’s (average?)  But, are grades the most important thing?

What ever happened to “learning for learning sake?” And what should a child’s grades teach the teacher?  If a child’s progress did not match the parent’s or teacher’s expectation, shouldn’t the teacher grade themselves?  Like, “How can I better teach, so that each child learns to their potential?”

Granted, there is the aspect of the student being diligent with school work. And you don’t want to baby your child, by not requiring hard work.  But for some children, like those with learning disabilities (LD) or ADHD, problems with attention, staying on task, short-term memory, auditory or visual processing deficits, dyslexia, etc. often runs interference with true learning.  And this is not just occasionally; it is most every day.  These problems have to be addressed for true learning to take place.

So, before the teacher hands out the grade cards, it would be beneficial to examine themselves.  “Did I do my best to ensure that each child with LD or ADHD was given necessary support to enhance their potential for learning the task at hand?”

Children with LD and ADHD are intellectually capable to learn, but they sometimes have to learn differently.  It behooves the teacher to find out how each child learns best…and then compliment them on their progress of genuine learning, not just their report card grades.

The title to this post may appear to address just teachers.  But not really.  Parents, the teachers, and the school are all partners together in educating the child.  Each one hold the keys to successful learning.  Today’s post is to highlight the teacher’s role in checking grades and asking, “What can I do in my teaching to match grades with individualized instruction?”

The most important part of the word, teach, is each”!!!


Welcome to my “home”!

This is the inaugural post for my new website.  Starting something like this reminds me of building a house.  My husband, Jack built our house 41 years ago.  Our house welcomed our first child, only two days after moving in.  It was not even finished.  No kitchen cabinets, no flooring, very little furniture.  But we were eager to move in before the birth of our baby.  We all started together in our new home.

And now, I welcome you, my first guests, to my online “home”.  My coauthor, Pat Ritsema is starting her online “home’ today also.  Our forthcoming book, What Am I to Do? Navigating the LD/ADHD Leaning Journey, will be a parent resource we will be promoting, along with many other websites, and resources pertaining to LD and ADHD. 

Throughout our years of educating children with LD and ADHD we were haunted by the question, “What about the parents of children with LD or ADHD who never found the help which they longed for their special needs child?”  Where are they today? With these and thousands of parents still searching for the right help, we feel that we are coming alongside, to offer resources and answers to questions.  Thanks to the Internet, we can reach so many, with the click of a computer key. 

My website “home” is your “home”. To all of you parents, Welcome Home…come right in!

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. ” ~ Psalm 127:1

Thanks for coming!