Just a quick update from my team meeting at the school this morning. It was confirmed that the focus of Ben's class is life skills, independence and communication skills. This, apparently, is so that my son can be a "productive, working member of society." However, I don't think my son wants what they have in mind for future work -- packaging or sorting or assembling or whatever "piecemeal" work is.
They don't do academic skills. They "incorporate literacy" into things like teaching the students to read a recipe.
"Why does Ben need to read a recipe?" I asked. They stressed how critical this was to him making something to eat in the future. "He has the rest of his life to learn how to read a recipe," I said. "I'd like him to be expanding his world by being able to read something he's interested in." Like a Star Wars book.
Three years ago Ben was reading at a Grade 2 or 3 level and it makes more sense to me that they be teaching him reading skills to bring his reading level up. He loves books, but the only reading they do is 20 minutes of silent reading each day.
He has two periods in the morning -- gym and art appreciation (the latter doesn't make any sense because he has poor fine motor skills and it's not adapted). In the afternoon he has social skills (where they do cooking and food preparation) and math (where they work sorting things in boxes).
They kept coming back to him being "DD" (developmental disability) and a psychological report that was based on 40 minutes with Ben. "I place no limits on my son," I said.
Even the students with mild intellectual disability in the school don't typically get high school diplomas.
I've asked for the IPRC (placement review committee) to be reconvened so we can look at whether there's an alternate placement in the same school or elsewhere. But that probably won't happen until Feb. or March and we were told before that there were no options.
I met with a psychologist who saw Ben a few years ago and she told me he can still learn and there's no reason he can't be learning academic skills at his own level.
If they were to use his interests (e.g. unusual Star Wars characters and the computer) they could be building his reading, numeracy and keyboarding skills with something he's naturally interested in.
I don't know if this is the same in all life-skills schools, but there is never any homework. I look at how much practice my other son needs to master certain skills -- through homework and Kumon -- and it seems that students who are already at such a great disadvantage don't have the benefit of homework (yes, I'm surprised I'm saying that).
Filmmaker Dan Habib posted an interesting response about an alternate system of testing being developing in New Hampshire for students with disabilities who can't do standardized tests. It seems that the goal is that all students work on the high school curriculum, adapted to their needs. See the last comment under Dark clouds clearing.