Scene 1

Eric was beginning his 5th grade year at Benton Elementary with eager enthusiasm. He spent his entire elementary career with the same students in the same school, in the same neighborhood. His classmates understood him and the difficulty he had with reading and writing. No one seemed to mind that he wasn't an A student. He had friends in his neighborhood, on his soccer, baseball and baseball teams, and at the Karate class he attended every Wednesday.

Even though he had a well-adjusted life at school, Eric's mother Sue Whitted worried greatly about his future. He began his school career at the early childhood center after she and her husband adopted him from Brazil. When they visited him in the orphanage, it was very apparent he would need all the love and care they could give him. Due to the large number of children needing attention from the staff, Eric was a slight two-year-old lying quietly in a small baby crib. He had yet to talk or walk independently. His muscles were weak and undeveloped. The food he got each day was enough to fill his stomach, but not enough to help him develop normally. Despite these dire circumstances, Eric had developed a wondrous grin he presented to all the adults as they walked by. If you stopped long enough to talk to him, he would giggle and jerk his legs and arms as much as possible.

As soon as he got home with the Whitteds, they began contacting doctors and professionals that could help their little gentleman. Over the years, Eric did begin to walk and talk. He began attending the early childhood center when he was three. This offered him a wealth of services. By qualifying for this program, he was able to receive speech and language services, occupational therapy, and physical therapy within the context of his academic day. This seemed to spring him forward in the areas where he was lacking.

When Eric began kindergarten, it was decided that he still required special education services to progress in the school environment. This news was comforting and disappointing to his mother and father. Sue wanted so badly for him to be just like all other children, but she was happy that he could start out on the right foot with help from the beginning of the school year. During kindergarten, he struggled greatly to remember the names of numbers and letters, aside from their actual meaning or sounds. One day he would have the information, the next day forget it.

The first several years were frustrating to say the least. Eric had a hard time expressing his thoughts and would often start over several times before conveying his intended meaning. When he was in third grade, his writing was a group of letters that did not necessarily look like words. Consistently in reading, Eric would guess at words just by looking at the beginning sound. When he was evaluated, the school staff found that he had a 98 I.Q., but he didn't learn as fast as that I.Q. would allow. Throughout school he struggled repeatedly with reading, writing, math, problem solving, and spelling. Sue sometimes felt the teachers were coddling him too much and not pushing him to achieve at his level. After all the spelling words he was bringing home were nothing but a bunch of baby words! How could he ever gain skills closer to grade level, if the teachers were giving him easy work?

Reflections:

  1. Based on the limited information you have here, under which category do you think Eric has been found eligible for special education services? Why? What other information would you like to have before making this very important decision?
  2. Evaluate Mrs. Whitted's opinion of her son's education to this point. What type of parent do you believe she will be as Eric begins 5th grade?
  3. As Eric's teacher, how would you make sure he and his parents were not frustrated by his slow progress?

 

 


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