Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School Vocab - LRE

School Vocab LRE
To continue our vocabulary lesson, “LRE” is Least Restrictive Environment. This is the biggest stickler and fighting point you’ll read or hear about from other SPED parents. The concept is to place your child in a situation that is the least restrictive for their learning = where they can blossom the most. Each child’s abilities will determine their own LRE. Here are a few different scenarios:

*In most cases, LRE means spending most of the school day in the regular education classroom, like everyone else, with some accommodations. That is called “mainstreaming” or “inclusive”. The accommodations could be as simple as having an aid to help with motor skills or a certain seat.

*The LRE could mean being pulled out of their normal classroom for some special classes in another room (usually the SPED room or a “resource” room) a few times a day or week, working on specific skills. For example: a child with Aspergers may be pulled out to work on social skills with a small group.

*For some, the LRE is being in the SPED room with 2-4 other children for all day specialized instruction. This is a “self-contained class”.

*Finally, there are some children who need an alternative school. You need to check your fears in place here – you heard “alternative school” and your anxiety raised – don’t think I don’t know. It’s not the fault of you or the child, but their actions may not make it best for your child to be in a regular school. The alternative schools can provide even more attention as they do not have to educate the masses of kids in the district.

If you Google, or read enough parent chat forums, you’ll probably find someone complaining about LRE. Like all topics, there are some horror stories that get a lot of attention, but they aren’t the norm. Schools aren’t perfect, people aren’t perfect, nobody owes anyone anything. We are a community making sure all of the people in the community are raised up in honor. If you don’t agree with the school’s recommendation for LRE, get another opinion. (Another school district’s procedure, an outside advocate, etc…) Sometimes the district needs some fresh ideas on LRE that an outsider can bring and sometimes they need a gentle nudge to know you are serious. I won’t lie, squeaky wheels get serviced. But similar to you dealing with your kids, use your trump cards wisely with the school.

Next week will be the last segment of school tips until August. I just want you to have all the info you can while the schools are in decision-making mode. Procrastination is not your friend here! Ask now for what you want in summer school and for the next school year. Be the first to ask and your request is more likely to be thought of when money is being allocated…just like your home budget.


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