Laura Burgess Martin, Special needs parent; work in non-profit sector
This is a great question and is one that we are beginning to explore with our son who is starting Kindergarten next week. We have had two IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings regarding my son and his placements in school. We had one meeting at the end of last school year after he graduated from private school preschool (he attended a school for children who are deaf). We have since had another meeting (this happened last week before school started) to make a couple of changes to his IEP since a few areas of his development had changed over the summer months.
His team consists of a deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) teacher, occupational therapist, speech therapist, special education facilitator, regular education classroom kindergarten teacher, nurse, and vision teacher in addition to my husband and myself. Because my son is starting a new school and has quite a few special needs, we made the decision for my son to be in a D/HH classroom with three students for all areas of the day. He will mainstream with a one on one paraprofessional for music, art, and physical education.
As the year progresses and if we feel that he is doing very well in his D/HH class, we will reconvene as a team to determine if he could possibly begin mainstreaming for a classroom subject (we would only agree to this if he is fully ready and continues to have a one on one parapro). At the beginning of the school year, our number one goal is for him to feel comfortable with school, his new schedule, and his new environment. We felt that him mainstreaming with a regular education class for music, art, and PE will be a great start for him in adjusting to a mainstream setting.
Best wishes in your decision. Please let me know if there is anyway I can help!