Since we're non-plussed with Joey's self-contained class, we met with Joey's inclusion teacher today. We had a really nice short chat with Joey's autism resource teacher, then headed over to the inclusion room for another lovely chat.
In case you are keeping count, Joey has three classrooms, plus "specials." He starts off in the autism resource room with Mrs. Huff and Ms. Macy. Mrs. Huff is his "official" teacher (case manager). Then he spends time in the self-contained room with Mrs. A, doing things like math and Fast Forward and computer skills and some language arts and other standards-of-learning kinds of stuff. Then he spends time in an inclusion setting with Mrs. R for social studies and science. It was Mrs. R we met today. He also has library, art, music, and PE.
Mrs. R is also his reading teacher, and they started reading groups this week. She's a bit concerned that he is basically the top reader in the class. She doesn't have a lot of experience with autistic kids, and the special needs kids she had before were not her top-tier readers, but she was really ready to listen to us and discuss Joey's strengths and weaknesses and strategies to support him. She's going to some training in December with Mrs. Huff about inclusion and methods for supporting special needs kids in inclusion settings, and she seems very excited about it. Her concern with Joey being the top reader is that she is afraid he won't progress more in reading, that he needs more challenge than she can offer because there is only one other kid who is reading at his level, and she can separate them into their own little reading group. The next set of kids are substantially lower on the reading scale. No, this didn't bother us that much because we are basically using his strength (reading) to get him familiar and comfortable and help him work on weakness (social interaction in a small group). But she's a reading teacher, so she worries about the reading piece. I think there is going to be some discussion between her and Mrs. Huff about "what to do." I'll keep you posted.
We really couldn't ask for anyone with a better attitude. She's perfectly willing to dive in and rise to the challenge of being an inclusion room, and supporting her students. She noticed Joey liked to draw, so she sent home a book about drawing with us, partly to help us get him to focus on books better- maybe catch his interest.
So this lady seems like a solid link in the chain.
I have a meeting with the weak link on Wednesday. Stay tuned.