School Assignment - FamilyEducation
School Assignment
06/17/2007 at 22:26 PM


    My name is Haley and I am an elementary education major at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  I am currently in a special education class.  Our assignment is to find a parent and ask them a few questions if they do not mind.  What are the effects of having a child with a disability on the family?  How cooperative have teachers been with you and your child?  I would appreciate greatly any information anyone has to offer.  I am learning so much and I feel your responses could help me learn much more.

Thank you,


I have 2 children enrolled in a school system in Iroquois county. Both have "disabilities."  The oldest has speech issues, receptive and expressive, orgainzational issues and possible learning disability. She has problems with Wh questions and you often have to rephrase until she knows exactly what you want. The testing should be completed before summer's end.  She is a very intelligent girl, but it can be hard to recognize it if you expect her to perform in exactly the same way as everyone.  She knows lots of things and has a wide range of interests, but sometimes has problems with application, i.e. knows alphabet and what sound each letter makes, but has a hard time with blended sounds and decoding new words.  This includes transfer words, but I have found new tools I want to try with her and wish I had found sooner. (Note: There is a book called "Wow, I Am Reading! Fun Activities to Make Reading Happen by Jill Frankel Hauser has some good activies)

She also has problems with writing, but that is also part of the expressive.  It can be frustrating, because it is affecting her self esteem, ex on the big first grade spelling test she got an 80.  I was tickled pink because I did not know if she was even going to pass (was not sure what words the teacher would use, if it was both word wall and transfer words, so we studied them all).  Over 90% of her class got an A and she was upset because she did not get an A.  Which carries to the next issue of the timeline of her going to school is a double edge sword--when I was her age, about 30 years ago there were less academic expectations, but the tool available to help her were fewer and she would probably have been labled retarded. Now she is mainstreamed, but the academic expectations are greater. 

She is a visual learner and learns well with movement or phyical action like clapping or jumping.  She also learns well on the computer, Leap Pad, Leapster and so forth.  I think because they never get mad or frustated or judge they just keep saying try again, try again. She likes games and puzzles and likes to win.

As she has not been declared LD, she does not yet work with an LD specialist to provide additional help, but I do work with her at home. Which is part of how does it affect family. I spend time and sometimes money researching, printing and even creating resources to help her, which benefits her teachers as I share what I find. I also spend time with her reading and doing worksheets, playing games, doing art projects, craft projects and over all trying to keep her close to where her class is.   Although it seems she is often one step behind, she still shows growth and progress.  Just to note, I did take several ed classes in college.

Sometimes I have to make up games to help her understand, such as the ABC order, the words are going to lunch.  A is the line leader and Z is the caboose and before they can eat, they have to be in the right order.  The line leader and caboose are how they line up at school and she understands this. Another order game I play with my younger child is the "numbers are insane"! I use funny voices and miscount when she puts the numbers in the wrong place. She thinks it is a hoot, but she can put them in order.

The biggest part of how it affects the family is that since she has started school she is "easier" to deal with and my patience level with her is greater. Several reasons--her maturity level is greater, her speech is clearer, but most of all I have gained a greater understanding of my child. Such as rephrase WH questions. Limiting the number of commands.  Constant review until she has it learned.  When she was smaller there were times because I wanted to tear her hair out, because she although I knew she was smart you would tell her something and it was like she did not hear you.  Also she was difficult to understand verbally.  Further affects of her issues are my dining room looks like a mini school room with reference and reading books, word wall, transfer words, counting, Alphabet and other references posted on the wall.

My younger child has had an advantage of being the younger child. She is also has speech issues and organizational issues.  She will also recieve OT services in the fall. Both of my children have the "problem" of not thinking from A to B they think A go around the block, stop for popcorn, look at the bird, oh look there is B. This does not mean they are stupid, it just means that their teachers and I have to be more creative.

My youngest child has issues with one to one realtion, i.e. counting squares on a board game, but she has the potential of being a gifted.  The psychologist said this when she was tested at age 4.  This another benefit she has of being the younger child, she recieved services that her sister did not but was eligible. We did not know they existed, until the elder went to school.  Any way, my youngest just finished kindergarten but she knows most of the words on the word wall, and can read pretty well. When tested, she met kindergarten standards and did not exceed them because of this one to one relation in reading--I think because when she reads with me I point to the words, but I think she was expected to do this herself when tested.  Once she overcomes her hurdles, she is going to be a force to reckon with.

They attend a small school (only about 100 kids per grade) with limited resources in a rural community. I have not met with any opposition on any fronts in with in the school system in getting my kids any services they may need. Everyone has been exremely helpful and supportive. From the principal to the teachers to the additonal teachers. I have heard horror stories about parents fighting with the schools to get help. I have been very lucky with that.

Now that there is understanding, we are taking a more proactive approach by speaking with the teachers prior to school starting.  So that there are no surprises. Additionally, we were fortunate enough that my youngest child's kindergarten teacher, although a mainstream teacher,  is a child advocate and has worked with several special needs children. The only oppostion I have met was getting the perscription from our doctor to get OT services, only because there was incompetency somewhere in his office--how hard is it to fax something-seriously.  In the end we had to drive an hour (one way) to pick it up a month or so later. We would call and they would say they were going to send it, but didn't.  Meanwhile, my daughter could have recieved services before school let out, but did not.