Defining a Problem in Education Essay

Submitted By mmingus
Words: 1271
Pages: 6

In 2007 I adopted a beautiful little girl, Alyssa. Alyssa is a unique little girl with her own learning style. The education problem for us is that Alyssa is considered an “additional needs” student. How do you explain to other people that you have observed your child for years and in your mind you know what teaching style would help them to learn? In most cases, you will not be given the opportunity to share. It is my experience that quality education suffers when there is a lack of recognition of different learning styles. When Alyssa was five years old, her therapist told us not to enroll her in Kindergarten due to health issues. I waited to enroll her, just as I was told. The problem with this decision is Alyssa was placed in the same class with other children. They made this decision based solely on her age. There was no testing prior to her placement. My daughter suffered through an entire term with the stigma that her star was not on the same level as the rest of the class. (The star was on a bulletin board announcing and tracking each student’s specific classroom achievements.) I called the school and asked for a return call from the teacher. When I explained my concern, her response to me was, “I just don’t have the time to show Alyssa individual directions.” I immediately went into action. I took all documentation of Alyssa’s case to the school. I demanded testing. I refused to wait another term. During our first parent-teacher conference, the teacher handed one sheet of paper after another exclaiming her concern for Alyssa’s progress. My husband put his hand on my shoulder because he knew I was about to rise out of my chair and throw it at the teacher. He reminded the teacher of my phone call. We then went on to discuss the testing process. I pointed out to her that by law, when I requested testing, the school was obligated to provide it. At the end of the term, Alyssa still did not have an IEP. We moved to another district over Christmas break. In the new district, not only did Alyssa receive immediate testing but she also was given instant relief from the “standard” set in the other school. There were no bulletin boards announcing and tracking each student’s classroom achievements. Rewards were given for every achievement, however small. The school started an intervention team on Alyssa’s behalf. There were many team members; Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist; Physical Therapist; School Counselor; Additional Needs Lead Teacher; School Principal and Alyssa’s homeroom Teacher. I was invited to every meeting. It was not strictly an Individual Education Plan. It was a plan to teach Alyssa. Each member addressed the issues that they were working on. They each set goals based on the team as a whole. By the end of the school year, Alyssa was caught up in most academic areas for her cognitive skill age. She was still behind for her physical age, but that was expected. She was showing great strides. We praised every dotted “i” and every crossed “t” as a blessing.
We finished the school year at that district. But at Christmas break of the following school term, we moved. We moved to a different city, in a different state and a new school district. The new school was classified the poorest school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not just academically, but financially as well. There were no applications for benefits. Whether the need was for medical, dental, food or clothes, every student received benefits. The problem with this approach was that the additional needs that Alyssa’s academic special needs were overlooked. When I turned in the documentation from the last school’s intervention team, I was laughed at. Alyssa was left in a standard classroom with the same expectation as every other student. It took months to schedule testing, have it interpreted and then to have it applied. We were in the school district for three months before Alyssa saw the Speech Pathologist. Then the question to me was, “Why…