For example: my daughter (15) will not be studying history or taking algebra... instead she will be taking trips into the community and learning to grocery shop and go back to the class to make smoothies for the class store to sell. where eventually, she will be getting paid and will need to understand how her paycheck works. that's just a very small part of the class, just the most different...
She won't be working toward a diploma right now, but rather on what she will be needing to do after high school regarding work and relationships.
If you know what I'm talking about, and you have been involved in these classes, can I please have your opinion.
FYI: my child is diagnosed mildly mentally retarded
I taught a class called "comprehensive life skills" both at the elementary and high school level. You are so lucky that your daughter is in a school district that offers this class. At the high school I taught at my students were working towards a diploma, just not a "regular" diploma. Yes, we were more interested in teaching students to be as independent as possible after graduation from high school (which can continue until their 22nd birthday, required by federal law).
My class consisted of students 16-21 years old. They learned job skills by working 1 on 1 with an associate of our local Wal-Mart twice a week. They learned how to figure out a paycheck, including how to figure out their federal withholding and social security contribution. They planned whole meals, shopped for the ingredients (and looking for the best buys), prepared/cooked the food, ate it together (learning proper table manners) and washed up afterwards. They worked on banking skills by preparing deposit slips of their "paychecks", paying their share of the grocery bill, paying rent, power, and telephone on their apartment they chose with a roommate. We would travel all around the city on the city buses and my students had to plan our routes using the bus schedules. I would have at least one recreation planned a month of things that I didn't think my students would otherwise be exposed to - sledding, ice skating, corn maze, miniature golf, bowling, swimming, roller skating.
Sorry, I went on forever, but I love my students and could go on forever about them. If you would like more information, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a critical question for you to ask and now is a critical time to have it answered for your child. The central question is "Is my daughter diploma-bound or non-diploma-bound?"
The answers to your other questions will be based upon this question being answered FIRST. If it is still possible and reasonable for your daughter to get a high school diploma given her "mild" disability, credits completed so far, high school exit exams completed, then DO NOT abandon an academic approach. She will need supports to be included in all required general education classes.
However, if she can not meet all the graduation requirements, why frustrate her? Instead, a community-based and life-skills oriented program may better prepare her for maximized independence in life. In this approach, academics are still important but may be taught using both traditional and functional methods.
Most students with a LD label do not follow a life skills/community based program. They can take a class in consumer economics that will teach them to do a check book and make a budget, but this is an academic class. My son is LD and he was totally in the academic track in HS. Some of his classes were co-taught by a special ed teacher but he took four years of English and math, and three of science. He went to college and just graduated this past May. I would certainly question your special ed people, and if your daughter is truly LD then she should not be in this program. If she is mentally impaired then it is probably the right place to be. Don't drop this because without academic credits she will not have a diploma which may keep her from getting certain jobs.
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