At what point did your son use an aide in the classroom?

Hi, Everyone! My little guy is in a half day kindergarten which has an aide (not just for him) along with his classroom teacher. Our private school is unable to provide an aide after kindergarten (no state funding.) We're not sure how all of this will work as our son gets older - we'll be the first wheelchair student in the school's history. I'm wondering when your sons started using their own aide or parapro in the classroom. We're going to have to be creative, so I'm trying to guess at what point this will be a necessity. Thanks!

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My son Justin is 12.7yrs old and stopped walking at 9.6yrs old. He is in the 7th grade. he still does not have or need a full time aide. We have desks in every classroom for him. The books stay on his desk and we bring a set home, the teacher or designated helper gets anything he needs from his backpack. There is always an aide in the lunchroom who helps him. There is also a designated aide he goes to to help him in the restroom. Its what Justin wanted so he can still have as much independance as possible. he hated the idea of having an adult with him all day long.

--Samantha
My son just started with an aide this year (he's 8, in 2nd grade) but it's mostly for transition times, physical activities, lunch and recess. Oh and for (the bane of my existence) FIELD TRIPS! He has times of the day every day with extra help, but not for most of the day. Then again, his site is very accessible and he's on steroids now, so he's getting around more than he was before.
Other things that have helped him: planning with his teacher so he wouldn't have to carry books home. And I meet him at the end of the day at the class room door, which seems to help him feel safe in the halls from jostling. Also, his teacher packs a light bag of board games to play at recess so he can sit with other kids and not be left out. What a great idea that was. He's never without friends at recess. She also has him traveling through the school with double buddies when an aide is unavailable (that way she knows at least one kid will keep their head if something happens and one can stay with him while someone gets a grown-up)
Another important issue: a detailed and practiced evacuation plan (evacuation chair and strong people to carry him!)
For all the wrangling with school, getting creative is the only way . . . (that and being a friendly squeeky wheel who sends thank you notes). Hope these ideas help.
Rebecca in California
Brandon has had and aide since he was in the 5th grade. In or around 4th grade the teachers assistant helped him with many things, but he was still able to do for himself mostly. He quit walking near the end of that school year. By 5th he required assistance with going to restroom, carrying books, and carrying his lunch tray among other things. He was able to push himself in his chair, but in an emergency, he would have been trampled and forgotten without help!

Good luck! When Brandon was in kindergarten, he was such a handful I think the teachers would have paid out of their own pocket for an aide! ;-)
Hi
I will put my 2 bits in. Erik is a junior in HS (16 years old) and has never had an aide. He has one set of books at home and some stashed books in the classroom, the exception in math because they don't have enough books. The math book goes back and forth in a backpack. They work in groups of 4 in his math class so one of his classmates gets his book out. He does have an elevator key and a staff bathroom key. Each year we practice evacuation drills in the 3 story building. There are 6 male teachers and counselors that meet at his classroom on the upper floors to get him out in case of emergency.

In elementary school he walked slowly but rarely fell. When he got to the upper grades and was on the second floor he stopped going out to recess because by the time he got out there it was time to go back in. That was when we got the scooter. He would park it outside the classroom and ride it between classes, the cafeteria and outside. We were able to leave it in the office over night to charge the battery. Each year we would talk about what he needed to be successful and he didn't want an aide. So far so good. Our school district has been very accomodating, but I think it will be a battle when he needs one.
My advise...follow the needs of your child and things will fall into place.

Best wishes,

Karen
Karen,
How did you get the school to agree to the evacuation procedure? i work at a large 2 story H/S and the policy for non-ambulatory students on our second floor is to get them to a stairwell and well, leave them until emergency personnel gets there! TOTALLY unacceptable. We have gotten all of our non-ambulatory self contained kids down stairs, but we still have about 5 that are in regular classes and roaming the building with an elevator key. So far any option I give them is shot down for one reason or another.
I would love to know how you made this happen at your school or would love to see their plan to offer as an example of something we could do.
Thanks! Lori
Karen said:
Hi
I will put my 2 bits in. Erik is a junior in HS (16 years old) and has never had an aide. He has one set of books at home and some stashed books in the classroom, the exception in math because they don't have enough books. The math book goes back and forth in a backpack. They work in groups of 4 in his math class so one of his classmates gets his book out. He does have an elevator key and a staff bathroom key. Each year we practice evacuation drills in the 3 story building. There are 6 male teachers and counselors that meet at his classroom on the upper floors to get him out in case of emergency.

In elementary school he walked slowly but rarely fell. When he got to the upper grades and was on the second floor he stopped going out to recess because by the time he got out there it was time to go back in. That was when we got the scooter. He would park it outside the classroom and ride it between classes, the cafeteria and outside. We were able to leave it in the office over night to charge the battery. Each year we would talk about what he needed to be successful and he didn't want an aide. So far so good. Our school district has been very accomodating, but I think it will be a battle when he needs one.
My advise...follow the needs of your child and things will fall into place.

Best wishes,

Karen
Hi, Danielle,

Your little guy is so cute! My son started middle school this year and has a classroom aide for the first time. I didn't ask for an aide, as I wanted my son to be as independent as possible and interact with his peers instead of an adult, but the school district assigned him one. My son likes having the aide, but since she is also the mom of one of his friends, I think that helps. My concern would be if having an aide interferes with social interaction. I have found that teachers and peers are very willing to help.
It depend on each child in my opinion. My oldest son had one all through out school, but Joshua, my 15 year old one just got his first full time aid for school.
His brother Justin, just has helpers but no aide and he is in 5th grade and 11 years old. I think he will need one starting in the middle school years. In my experience anyway.
Hi Lori

We live in a small town with a predominately volunteer fire dept. Erik is one of 2 kids in wheelchairs that have classes in the 3 story building. I didn't twist any arms. I asked for an emergency evac plan to be put in place and this is what the school came up with. My plan B would have been to go to the fire dept. I have seen some school plans that have a fire walled place in a building where the fire dept. goes immediately to evacuate. That would make me nervous, but if you don't have the people power to get them out, what choice do you have? I suppose you could look into having classes on the first floor. Erik's elementary school was 2 stories and when he started using a powerchair, the school introduced the evacuation chair that was kept in the teacher's room closet to the stairs.
Best wishes to you.
Karen

Lori Ware said:
Karen,
How did you get the school to agree to the evacuation procedure? i work at a large 2 story H/S and the policy for non-ambulatory students on our second floor is to get them to a stairwell and well, leave them until emergency personnel gets there! TOTALLY unacceptable. We have gotten all of our non-ambulatory self contained kids down stairs, but we still have about 5 that are in regular classes and roaming the building with an elevator key. So far any option I give them is shot down for one reason or another.
I would love to know how you made this happen at your school or would love to see their plan to offer as an example of something we could do.
Thanks! Lori
Karen said:
Hi
I will put my 2 bits in. Erik is a junior in HS (16 years old) and has never had an aide. He has one set of books at home and some stashed books in the classroom, the exception in math because they don't have enough books. The math book goes back and forth in a backpack. They work in groups of 4 in his math class so one of his classmates gets his book out. He does have an elevator key and a staff bathroom key. Each year we practice evacuation drills in the 3 story building. There are 6 male teachers and counselors that meet at his classroom on the upper floors to get him out in case of emergency.

In elementary school he walked slowly but rarely fell. When he got to the upper grades and was on the second floor he stopped going out to recess because by the time he got out there it was time to go back in. That was when we got the scooter. He would park it outside the classroom and ride it between classes, the cafeteria and outside. We were able to leave it in the office over night to charge the battery. Each year we would talk about what he needed to be successful and he didn't want an aide. So far so good. Our school district has been very accomodating, but I think it will be a battle when he needs one.
My advise...follow the needs of your child and things will fall into place.

Best wishes,

Karen
Thanks, everyone! I'm relieved that this is something that I don't have to have figured out right away.
We have an evacuation plan in place also. Justins school is three floors. The first and second have outside access, but the third floor doesnt. This past May, we had a tornado come through town and its the first time(other than drills) it was put into place for an emergency. There are 4 different teachers(male coaches) who have Justins schedule and if he is on the third floor, they all go to Justin and adjoining teachers take their class. I was wary of it actually working, and as soon as the bad weather passed, i was at the school checking it out. The main coach met Justin, scooped him out of his chair and ran down the stairs with him. He told us he was afraid he didnt use a correct lift with Justin, and we told him we didnt care as long as he protects Justin! My husband is a fireman and we all met this summer to work out routes and a plan for every possible situation that could come up.

--Samantha
I would say as far as evacuation plans go, our school is planning to the nth degree. Not only have they put an evac chair in his class but now they want to install them on all floors in case he's doing something fun like performing in the auditorium, or art class on a different floor. That tickles me pink. But it also brings up a question for me. How have you all tempered the urge for adults to smother your son? I guess what I mean is: how do you keep a healthy balance of your child experiencing the same kinds of freedoms any other grade school kid would have and the precautions that need to be in place?
I'm finding that the time my son is with an aide, there are more rules for him than other kids just because he's the one saddled with an adult. For instance, in the cafeteria there is a salad bar. My son doesn't usually like or eat the plate of school lunch, and but can piece together a pretty healthy lunch from the salad bar. His aide tells him he has to eat the plated lunch first, while all the other second graders hit the salad bar. So now my son just thinks she's annoying and unfair, while she thinks she's giving good guidance. Meanwhile, I just want the string bean to eat something!
How have you dealt with these kinds of issues? Seems like there's a "special kid" epidemic at his school and he kinda hates it.
Rebecca in California
Hi,
My son Francis is10 and is in the 5th grade. He is not in a chair yet, but has a personal aide everyday. He has a personal aide due to the fact that he is in special education and has ASD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder in addition to Duchenne. The aide has been very helpful in all aspects of his school life. She also trys to help only where needed to give Francis as much independence as possable. Francis is a very independent person to begin with. Hope I have helped and wish you lots of luck with your sons future school days. One suggestion though I think you should speak with an advocate group just to see what your son may be eligiable for in his own school district that you may not be aware of. You will always be your sons strongest advocate. All I'm saying is to educate yourself so you can advocate strongly for him.
God Bless,
Suzanne

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