Photograph via snooOG

This is a professional subreddit for people interested in special education, particularly: special education teachers, general education teachers, therapists, advocates and parents.

We are here to share professional advice, bounce ideas off each other, share concerns, and advocate for our students.

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The Reddit Education Network:

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  • /r/AdultEducation: A place for adult educators to discuss tips and tricks to engaging an adult audience.

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  • /r/CSEducation: A place for computer science educators and education researchers.

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  • /r/HigherEducation: A place to discuss and share articles related to higher education.

  • /r/ScienceTeachers: A place for science educators to collaborate on and contribute tips, ideas, labs, and curricula.

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Recommended subreddits and websites:

Welcome to /r/SpecialEd!


13,482 Subscribers


Law School

Has anyone here moved on from teaching to practicing law? Specifically special education or disability law?

22:03 UTC


Special ed class with multiple grades?

I held my son back a year in preschool so he could start kindergarten a year later. He’s autistic and has a lot of delays. He’s also extremely tiny and has low muscle tone, and he’s very sensitive (will cry if someone yells in his vicinity). He doesn’t have any behavior problems.

The public school is now telling me he’s too old for their kindergarten special ed partial inclusion program. Gen ed kids can be held back before K, but I guess special ed kids can’t? They want to put him in a sped class that has 1st and 2nd graders and he will do his kindergarten curriculum in there. Some of the kids may push out to gen ed or a resource class for parts of the day, he will start out in there full day until they decide he can push out. There will be at least 8-10 kids in the class with one teacher and one assistant.

My concerns are 1) the other kids being a lot bigger than him and possibly having behavior issues that could affect him 2) the teacher would be juggling 3 different levels of curriculum if at least one kid from each grade can’t push out?? 3) We imagined a normal kindergarten class for him that’s heavily about play and fun. 1st and 2nd graders are learning more difficult academics and the environment of their class is totally different. He will miss out on a fun kindergarten experience. 4) if this teacher isn’t the best fit for him and they say he’s not ready to push out, he’ll spend THREE YEARS with her. He does well with high energy very expressive teachers and therapists and this teacher doesn’t seem to be that way.

Does anyone have experience with a program like this and have any thoughts? Thanks!

22:02 UTC


What is a "normal" caseload for high school resource and inclusion?

I currently have 25, plus I still plan resource classes (up to 20 in a class) and I co teach a high school inclusion math. We do not have separate case managers.

I was told next year we would have 33-35 students on our caseload (increase in numbers plus we lost a position) and I was told 35 was "normal" some years it's 50 or 55.

I don't think this is normal at all. I'm swamped at 25.

Our state has no union and I can't move schools within the district for another 2 years.

I wanted to see if this was "normal" or if we were being gaslighted into compliance. I'm new so I really think this is absurd.

14:48 UTC


I'm not teaching the class I wanted next year, and I'm really upset

I teach a SDC preschool class with a mix of students with ASD and students who are medically fragile. This was my first year in this district, and my first year working with students who are medically fragile.

I realized that I LOVE teaching students who are medically fragile. There was a rumor in the district that they were going to open a med. fragile class since the population was increasing. If I taught the class, I would continue with my current students next year.

I expressed my interest in teaching that class multiple times to my director. Her reply was "we have a meeting coming up. We can talk more then. :) Thanks for letting me know!". Another teacher came to me and said "I heard your teaching med. Fragile next year. Our director told me."

I was so excited. So today we had said meeting, and it was announced another teacher is going to teach the class. I'm fucking so upset. A veteran teacher took the position, so I get that they have seniority, but I'm still upset.

I understand it's just how it works. I'm just really upset... I wanted to stay with my kids and I realized my passion for that population. Thanks for reading.

01:47 UTC


7th/8th grade reading class novel studies?

I’m teaching a mixed grade basic reading class- my students are 500 Lexiles and lower. I’m teaching Tale of Despereaux this year- I have modified a unit study with vocabulary, comprehension and writing for my students to use, and it’s been a hit! Even my 9th graders are enjoying it.

But because it’s a mixed grade class means I can’t rinse and repeat until I get a 3 year curriculum cycle.

I need suggestions for novels which are simple enough in reading level that it won’t be unreachable for them, but mature enough for middle schoolers.


00:29 UTC


Anxiety/dread reaching out to team -Parent

Do any other parents dread or get terrible anxiety when they have to reach out to their child's sped team ::face palm::

I feel, mostly warranted because it always happens, that there's going to be some push back and some kind of rebuttle or disagreement to everything and anything I say or request.

Im sorry and really just trying to do what's best for my son. I'm polite, I recognize time frames, I'm flexible...yet none of it seems to matter

Maybe I'm just tired of advocating, when it feels like they like I'm fighting...

Any tips on how to be brave? Or anything?

I've procrastinated writing an email to the team all day...

20:55 UTC


My tip of the day - canva

My school has a Canva education subscription. You can find a ton of premade worksheets and then customize them. I have a student who is obsessed with “how to train your dragons.” I switch out the pictures (and sometimes words) and bam! Worksheet!

19:27 UTC


Should I keep pushing for accurate SLP evaluation for IEP?

I have a daughter who just turned 3 and was recently evaluated by the school district. Although she had previously qualified for Early Intervention, she did not qualify for an IEP at this time. We still have concerns that align closely with some of the diagnostic criteria for Autism, however she has made tremendous progress. I agree with their recommendation that special education is not needed at this moment. She is set to be evaluated by UC Davis MIND institute in the next month for Autism and if they make any recommendations, I can bring those to the school.

What is bothering me and why I haven’t signed off on the IEP paperwork from our meeting is that the SLP assessment noted her using all “I” statements. I know this to be inaccurate. My daughter only speaks in third person spontaneously, except a handful of phrases that we have modeled continuously such has “Hold ME please”. I brought up the inaccuracy at the meeting, which the SLP was not able to attend and was told she would get back to me. Now the SLP is saying her notes say “I” for all of her statements and she wouldn’t write that if it wasn’t true. The school psychologist offered to add a parent addendum to show I disagree. I pushed back on it, sent clinic notes from her Early Intervention SLP where it notes (even after the school district’s assessment) that she continues to speak in third person. I offered to bring her back in. Talking in 3rd person is a symptom of Autism and I feel I would like it reflected as a symptom in this snapshot of her now. We’re at a bit of a standstill with the district right now.

My hesitation is that she is a very borderline case and I think of the IEP report as a legal document that might be referred back to when they are making a case for or against providing assistance to her in the future. If that’s the case, I believe the district would put more weight into the SLP report than what a parent had said at the time. I also don’t want to start off my relationship with the district on a negative foot. Should I keep pushing?

18:49 UTC


can we go home yet?

Today has been a Day™️. Don’t need advice or anything, just manifesting time to speed up

17:47 UTC


Please Help Me If You Can, IEP Meeting

Thank you so much in advance.

My son is in 9th grade. He was followed outside during lunch by his bully who started a fight with him. My son also participated in fighting with his bully, but he did not start the fight. There was a large group of students who came outside with the bully and watched and made videos.

My son has hit people two other times before. It was determined that the school was not following the IEP by placing my son in a PE classroom with 60 other teenagers and a frequently absent teacher (one teacher).

This PE class was right after an English class with a teacher who agitated my son. My son goes to therapy to learn coping skills to deal with stressors. Based on this teachers comments I felt like she is a source of agitation. She said he would often walk away and not respond to her, which is exactly what his therapist taught him to do when faced with a situation that would lead to violence.

He was not supposed to be in either of those classes. He was put in general education classes without any of the supports that he had in middle school. It was not until he had hit a student twice in one week that they realized they needed this IEP. His classes were subsequently changed and supports put in place.

Last week, he was followed outside and the fight happened. Today, I have a meeting with the school and they are suggesting my son go to an alternative school for the rest of the year, and he can come back next year.

My question is, do I really need to send him to an alternative school? Can I request that he remain at the school? Is there anything I can do?

We are in Alaska, if that makes any difference. I do know that I have the right to press charges against the bully, but I would really just like to have my son remain at the school he wants to go to and everything to go back to normal.

Update: I went to the meeting, they said my son started the fight and he has patterns and he needs to go to this outreach school, which is basically a prison. I asked them if his placement has been predetermined, they immediately said no.

I asked them if there was any proof that my son instigated the fight, they told me they were not able to show me footage even though I didn't ask to see footage, I asked for proof. The principal said "These are the facts! but we can't prove it to you *Shoulder shrug* "

I asked if there were any other options, because they talked about having options, and the principal started with too much talk "because of this because of that blah blah blah.." I have ADHD too, I don't understand if that means yes or no. I had to ask three times before I got an answer that I could understand. There was a therapist and a psychiatrist at the meeting and they finally recognized that I'm having trouble, I probably should have said something. They explained it to me in a way I could understand. He can come back after completing steps at a prison school.

Because he has three fights and three suspensions he has to get sent away. I then asked them since the other two fights were because they failed to follow the IEP why are they counting against him? Now we have to reconvene on Friday. I hope I get an advocate soon, my ship is sinking.

16:47 UTC


Great admin make for a great job: a moment of positive reflection

I am a first year mild-moderate SPED teacher, teaching reading, English, and co-teaching English in a junior high. My admin are amazing. They give us a day a month as a work day, where we get a sub and can use the whole day to take care of SPED stuff.

Today, we are bucketing snow and had a late start, but I live 40 minutes from my school and the ploughs haven’t even touched my area yet. I had a scheduled work day, and I asked my admin if I could work from home, and he immediately said “yes, enjoy your day!”

So, I’m getting to work on planning and IEPs from the safety and comfort of my home, still get my work done, and feel no stress because my boss is kind and straightforward. I never have to wonder where I stand- if things aren’t right, he’ll tell you, and if you need help, both admin have got your back, whether it’s tough parents, tough kids, or flexibility when life happens.

If my admin didn’t get renewed at my school, I’d go wherever he went, honestly. I’ve worked for difficult, unkind and uptight people most of my professional life (this is a second career for me), so I know when the grass is greener where I’m at. I feel pretty darn blessed, and I don’t take it for granted!

15:43 UTC


can an 18 year old request their parent not be there for their upcoming IEP meeting in California?

I'm 18 and not going to school anymore but since I've been in special ed for emotional disturbance since 3rd grade (because my emotional growth was stunted due to abuse so I didn't start behaving like my age until I was 12 so before then they used to mistakenly think I had disruptive mood dysregulation disorder) and as such my school district still continues to be involved with my case as I haven't graduated high school and I believe it doesn't end until you either graduate high school or turn 22, whichever comes first. It's just me and my dad now. I'm still living with him. But I do NOT want him in my next IEP, and if he has to be there, I myself will not attend. Actually, I don't want him involved in any future sped services I might recieve at all, but I know most of them I can refuse or revoke consent to most of his involvement since I'm 18. I don't know about the IEP though? Or about what would happen if I myself refuse to attend the IEP if I can't keep him out of it? The reason I don't want him involved is because me and him are on bad terms once again (as has been on/off since 2017) and a big, incredibly hurtful to me thing he does during times like this is he goes to the mental health educated professionals in my life (which is ALWAYS a school psychologist, school staff involved in my IEP, or a sped school provided therapist, or maybe 2 or 3 of those) and he manipulates the hell out of them so that no one listens to me. He provides them somewhat twisted details of whatever arguements/issues me and him have been having and he of course leaves out the very messed up things he said or did to me. He lies to them, manipulates them and the story, he twists the words I really said, puts words in my mouth, he twists parts of what actually happened. He paints the picture as if I'm purely just some problem child (or... problem adult now?) and he's just oh trying so hard just to help me because he just wants the best for me but I refuse it all and throw it all back in his face and nothing seems to work with me and so he's at a huge loss here. And he does it so well that every single time they've always 100% believed him and took his side, then whenever I was given the chance to try to tell the truth of what really happened, they either don't listen to me or don't believe me. And whenever I bring up something messed up my dad said or did to me he denies it and they believe him seemingly automatically. It honestly has felt to me like this whole time my sped services have been served to benefit him or the district instead of me, as I've remained unseen, unheard, disbelived, dismissed, or minimized throughout just about everything. And I can tell my current school psychologist wouldn't be any different as she has already dismissed me about myself as if I don't know myself and been like "I heard the words you said as to why you feel that wouldn't help you, but it helped me, so it'll help you." So, I do NOT want him in my IEP meeting as I do not want to go through that all over again. I'm sick and tired of it. In California, can I request him be out of it or am I gonna have to refuse it?

07:41 UTC


Interview Questions to Ask

I’m job hunting again. I want to try to make sure my next school is supportive of my AuDHD and the fact that I’m a slower growing teacher, albeit a good one. And that they don’t just keep piling more work onto us and deem us ineffective based on state testing results. What questions should I ask during interviews?

I’ll put what’s currently on my list in the comments.

00:21 UTC


Need advice on tutoring 3rd grader

I (16F) started tutoring this kid (10M) maybe 5-6 months ago because I needed some extra money and my schedule with school and extracurriculars is packed. His dad is in the army and is away in Asia somewhere, and his girlfriend, the kids step mom, just had a baby, so they hired me to do 3 hours a week to make sure he doesn’t fall behind with less attention at home. He has a really, really hard time with spelling and pronouncing words. It’s been an ongoing struggle to try to teach him, especially because I am literally 16 and don’t know how to teach formative skills like that. Yesterday I had a session with him and his the mom gave me the papers from her parent teacher conference with his teacher. I looked through the ones with all of the personal info and everything, and there’s a box checked that says special ed. I’m also thinking he was held back at least once seeing how he’s 10, born in October, and in 3rd grade. I don’t know if I should proceed with tutoring him. I feel like I shouldn’t be tutoring him and that they should put their money towards someone who is qualified. They hired me knowing he has something that classifies him as special ed, and didn’t tell me about it, so maybe they don’t care? I don’t know where to go from here. Help!

23:51 UTC


This is fine

22:18 UTC


Teacher considering going back to paraprofessional work

Maybe I'm crazy but I am so tired of the stress and workload. I miss feeling like I could actually support the students. Teaching sped is so much prep, paperwork, bureacracy, and management. I have been considering returning to parapro work after the summer....

Any former sped teachers on here who have made this transition?

18:19 UTC


End of day meeting for HS-sped classroom.

I am a high school sped teacher, and I’m trying to add an end of day meeting to my class to fill some time. I feel this would provide a great opportunity to reflect on the day and reinforce those good behaviors. As well as address concerns/behaviors we need to work on. Then discuss what to expect for the following day to help the transition. I wanted to ask this community if they had any fun PowerPoints or slideshows that I could have to adjust for my classroom. Or they could share with the rest of the community so we can all improve as a whole(: Also ideas are welcome! Thank you all for everything you do!

16:39 UTC


Fire Marshall is taking the safety lock off my ECSE classroom door.

They are taking the very simple push & turn lock off my classroom door because of, and I quote, "safety concerns" & "because of what happened in Uvalde." I told them that many of my 3 and 4 year old students have eloped from our classroom and then the building when anyone leaves that lock undone. By taking away the lock, they'll be taking away my biggest tool for keeping them safe.

16:32 UTC


TA wanting to organise support (nurture group/ARP type scenario) for SEN children in my class - how do I go about this?

I’m a teaching assistant in a reception class at the moment. We have 4 children who are either on the pathway to diagnosis or have a diagnosis of neurodivergent. We also have other children who could do with a lot of support for SEMH and toileting. I am a qualified secondary teacher but I’ve been working as a TA for a couple of years.

I have lots of ideas of how to help these kids cope with being in school (they currently don’t cope very well) but I feel so constrained by my position as a TA. I have explained to our EYFS manager that I’d be happy and interested in running some sort of group (sort of like a nurture group scenario) for our kids but these things never seem to happen.

What could I do going forward to help implement some support for these kids? TIA

TL;DR how can I initiate a nurture group type thing as a TA?

14:23 UTC


SLP working with middle and high school MD/ED

I am an SLP and recently accepted a position at a learning center that is specifically grades 7-12 with students served under the categories of ED and MD. This is going to be a HUGE jump from my current preschool job. I’d love any tips/tricks, activities, or materials that could be useful.

00:20 UTC


Retiring special education teacher confessions...No, I am not sorry.

  1. I have helped parents file complaints with the state against my district when they are not complying with the law. The parents won every case.
  2. I have also helped parents file discrimination complaints against teachers that would not follow the IEP or tried to get their student removed from the classroom because they did not want to follow the IEP. I call them the r/teachers teachers, the ones that think any student with an IEP should be in a special building somewhere.

Someone had to do it.

23:29 UTC


Getting hired as a Paraprofessional as a college student?

I need to get a part time job to qualify for residency before I apply for grad school, and I really want to work as a paraprofessional. I'm finishing my bachelors of science and majoring in psychology. There was a recent job posting at a nearby school and I want to apply but I'm afraid my current college schedule will get in the way of being accepted.

When I was in high-school some of the paraprofessionals were also taking college classes. One would even leave before lunch for a class. I don't know if it's unreasonable to apply and try to get a similar accommodation. This would be my first time applying to something that isn't customer service-- so it's really uncharted waters for me. I'm familiar with the work and environment, but not how administration works.

I'm taking two classes and they're remote, meaning I could just pop in and out as long as I have a laptop. Monday & Wednesday 12-1:50, and 11-12 Tuesday & Thursday. Is it possible to get a job as an aid with my current college schedule or will I have to wait and plan my next semester accordingly?

22:45 UTC


What are some decent colleges/universities for Masters programs in special ed?

I started applying for moderate/severe teaching positions for next school year. I’m worried about the worst case scenario that I don’t get hired and I’d have to wait another year or if I get lucky, maybe something would open up in the middle of the year. Therefore, I’m thinking about getting my Masters in special ed as a backup plan.

Ideally, I’d like to go back to CSULB because that’s where I got my Bachelors and my mod/severe credential. Another option is Cal State Fullerton because my husband and I live down the street from there now. The problem is I checked the Masters programs at both schools and they seem to require that I have my own classroom aka I would need to have access to students. If I don’t get hired full time for next school year and I continue subbing, I’m not sure if that would count because I wouldn’t see the same students every day (unless I’m in a long term assignment).

If I don’t meet the requirements for the Masters in special ed at CSULB or CSUF, then I would be looking for a program that offers just the degree because I already have my credential. I’m also looking for a Masters program that is designed for students who don’t have to be full time teachers. I live in Southern California, but I’m also open to getting a Masters online as long as it’s not too expensive.

I know that another option is I could keep waiting until I get a full time position and then work on my Masters, but I know a couple of people who got it before they started teaching. They did a program that included both the credential and the Masters though. Perhaps if I have a M.A. or M.S. that would make me more competitive?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions that you may have.

16:18 UTC


Web-based dyslexia program = FAPE?

My 10yo daughter’s school does not offer a evidence-based, structured literacy reading program. After she did not meet goals in fluency, decoding, or comprehension last year and the school’s screener showed progress from the 2nd to 3rd percentile fall to winter this year, I am pushing for a dyslexia-specific program delivered with fidelity, and the school has come back with a web-based program called MaxScholar.

I feel this is not appropriate because she has not responded to web-based programs such as Nessy in the past and also has not progressed with Zoom tutoring. She has been very treatment resistant despite being incredibly bright and hardworking.

Would this offer of FAPE be defensible, in your opinion?

05:13 UTC


I passed the admin exams!

In my state two separate tests are required after you finish an admin program. These are really tough but I took and just found out I passed them both! 13 years in this gig and I can become a principal if I want! Holy shit I can’t believe this.

I think our profession needs more sped people in charge and not just ruling over small groups like sped teachers and I hope to do well.

Shit…now I gotta apply at schools.

03:19 UTC


How do you respond when administration asks if you're happy after being injured and having no workspace all school year?

I work as a speech-language pathologist in an all special ed district. This is my 3rd school year in my district (2nd year in my current program). I have had a crazier year than most of my coworkers because I have ended up changing caseloads several times this school year, including working with medically fragile students (which I had no prior experience doing, and was a nightmare). I'm currently providing makeup sessions to students for various therapists until a coworker goes on maternity leave. I have no private office except a corner of a classroom office, which is too noisy for me to provide therapy in for unfamiliar/unknown students, so it is essentially like a locker where I put more bag, and leave it there until I go home. I end up having to borrow coworkers' offices (which is also tough during IEP meeting season now), or push-in to noisy/unfamiliar classrooms.

Today, I was attempting to provide services in a noisy classroom when a student I was seeing for a makeup session (with no prior rapport) kicked me near my ankle, due to being overstimulated by the noise and chaos, and then had to be escorted out of the classroom. I completed an incident report to cover myself (I have full mobility of my ankle, no swelling, just soreness), and went to see my AP for further discussion. My AP (who is retiring in June anyway) asked if I was "happy" with the program, to which I replied I wasn't very happy with the incident report I needed to file. My principal walked in (I assume she and the AP had scheduled time to speak), but when she saw we were talking, she said she would come back "in a few minutes". "A few minutes" essentially turned into 1 minute later, and my principal abruptly decided she would stay in the room until we finished our conversation, and did not say anything to me.

Space is a challenge in my program and district overall, and we are significantly short staffed, so we have had many staff out/quitting due to injuries throughout this school year. My administration is still changing classes for this current school year, and re-arranged a bunch of classrooms mid-year, so there are many people frustrated, in general. One teacher even said administration "apologized" for accepting a new student into the program last month that clearly isn't placed in the appropriate school setting.

My administration and union are aware of the space challenges I have had throughout this entire school year, but have done nothing to improve the situations. I have worked as an SLP for 5 years now, and understand that working with students with moderate-severe disabilities brings about these challenges, but am frustrated that the lack of space is now leading to increased injury/risk also. My administration is very hands off, and in the year and a half I have worked in this program, I have spoken to my principal maybe 2-3x. I'm up for tenure in a year and a half also, so I feel like I can't complain that much, despite essentially feeling like a nomad at work. I also find it very unusual also that my principal would stay in the room and remain silent, while I spoke with my AP about all of this.

We are 3 months away from the end of the school year, but it seems so far away, and I am so done with this school year.

Anyone else struggling to survive the rest of this school year too, and beyond frustrated with their administration...

01:14 UTC


Modified Lock down with SPED kids at dismissal

Led to some very confused children. We had to dismiss in small groups and were later then normal (my kids dismiss about 15 minutes early, lockdown was until the end of the school day). Went well, no meltdowns, but weird for everyone involved. (Adults and students).

20:52 UTC


i am a senior and need an iep but they say i dont have enough time

every year i always take hours to do my state tests and they only give me 40 minutes and i am so stressed!! i am diagnosed with adhd and i am suspected for autism and i am a senior behind inmany classes, i have like 8 state tests because i never finished them the previous years because i didnt have enough time! i dont know what to do i have to take them in april and they said theres not enough time pls help im so stressed! i study for them so much too and think im doing good but then ill be halfway through and they will be like OH TIMES ALMOST UP and then i panic and have to rush the rest, i stay on one question for like soo long just staring at it trying to process it and get it into my brain but my brain wont read it right, and its always been like this my whole life and theyve done nothing

-state tests are required for graduation (ohio)

17:27 UTC


tCDS therapy?

I have a student who is receiving tCDS therapy outside the school day. It’s not something I’ve heard of. Is this a therapy that any if you have experience with? What effects have you seen in school?

I’m nervous it may be bunk science or might make him feel sick outside the treatment. His diagnosis is autism.

I can research what it is, I just wanted to hear about personal experience. Thanks!

1 Comment
13:59 UTC


Need advice about BIP

My son (ASD/almost 14yo) recently had an FBA/BIP assessment. The BIP they want to implement is a token system - earn bucks for some as yet unnamed prize. They also want to take away bucks if he doesn’t meet their expectations (big 3 issues - work avoidance, making odd noises during class, talking back to teachers when frustrated).

Our advocate asked that the staff get de-escalation training after a big blow up last Dec and that has helped in a big way (not surprising). His untrained para didn’t know how to handle his mounting frustration. Our school system is the pits atm.

My concern is that I don’t think PBIS works great in general, doesn’t work great for my kid who isn’t typically persuaded or enticed by prizes, that it is ultimately punishing him for not being able to regulate himself.

I subscribe to the Ross Greene school of thought that kids do well when they can. I know that puberty throws a bit of a monkey wrench in the mix and can make kids more surly and disagreeable. I would say that’s true for my son, though previously he’s been very pleasant and upbeat and has always gotten along well with teachers.

Re work avoidance - SLD was just added to his IEP because he struggles a lot with schoolwork - the amount, the pace. If I had any doubts about that, during covid, when things were a bit slowed down, he excelled. Now we’re back to the relentless flow of material. He doesn’t feel confident in his abilities - it makes sense, to me, that he would avoid work that makes him feel bad. It seems like working on making the material more accessible would be a better idea than taking away bucks when he avoids work.

Obviously, this whole thing rubs me the wrong way. Any advice? He’s in gen Ed with a 1:1.

13:10 UTC

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