Do typical kids have rights in a classroom that's being disrupted by special needs kids?
I am a special education assistant in a 1st. grade classroom. I have 4 special needs children assigned to me. We have 21 children in our classroom. I have a child that is Autistic. He becomes very agitated and yells out and makes very diruptive noises. He will not do what the other children are doing without trowing a fit. The other regular education children are holding their ears and one girl crys. The family of the special needs child insist that thier child not be removed from the classroom. The principal and other support staff support the special needs child and his parents. What about the other children and the teacher? Do the regular education children not have the right to a quality education? Help!!!! I need to know if regular education children have rights and if so what is thier due process?
If you have a disruptive child with any special need in class, I suggest as teachers, aides, and the principal all approach the family about the situation. My suggestion is to direct the family to their pediatrician or developmental pediatrician for re evaluation of behavior and in-class observation. Although as physicians we are hesitant to medicate any child for behavior, some children in the autistic spectrum benefit from certain medications to control behavior such as ADD medications. Many of these children have sleep issues and come to school tired and that is treatable also.
As far as the rights of the regular education student, the federal government in the 1970's passed legislation to protect the rights of the special needs with the goal of main stream education. The burden of proof as to why a student should not be with others is up to the school, not the family.
Speak to your director of special education for guidance.
Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics