Reply To: Son is being excluded from field trip

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I agree with lots the other posters have said including the fact if your child’s IEP/504 states they will be included in the general education curriculum the school must make accommodations to support him inside and out of the classroom during school hours. As someone who is a parent of two kids with ADHD as well as a K-8 school social worker, I will also say, while ideally no child should be excluded solely because of a disability, it sounds like the school is trying to be realistic about their resources while weighing the education and safety needs of staff and other neurotypical students along with those of your son, and if you are available, feel it would make everyone’s experience better and easier (emphasis on easier), including your son’s, if you can go. This does not mean it is the best long term solution.

I’m curious to know more about what behavior the school is seeing as well as your son’s age? With ADHD this behavior might range from frequent reminders to stay with group, attend to docent/guide, keep hands to self, keep self and others safe. I’ve been asked to go on field trips as a social worker to support students who have behavioral challenges and needed to keep 100% of my attention on the child at all times to insure they did not endanger self and others because of weak impulse control. On one elementary trip to the Highline in NYC it took most of my time to make sure the child (2nd grade) was safely on the path rather than climbing on the elevated train track railing and falling to the street below or ripping out and destroying the flowers and plants – both of which were attempted multiple times. It’s hard to imagine a parent keeping track of a group of kids plus one child with such challenges and I am a social worker and knew the child. It would have been a lot to ask a parent who was not familiar with his needs to keep him safe.

So all of this said, if your child needs extra accommodations for field trips, bring this up either at the next scheduled meeting with school support staff or ask for a meeting. You can document times when you are asked to attend events or field trips and ask the school keep track of any needs your son has that would enable him to attend field trips without you and when it is time to revisit his IEP/504 plan write these additional supports into the plan for the following year. Bottom line, I would inquire more about why the school feels this way, what kind of support your son needs and work with them. From a school staff perspective, it makes all the difference when a particularly challenging child who we all want to see succeed, has a family who supports them at home and at school – whether this is validating what the school experiences and asking for more accommodations or in the mean time, going along on field trips or being “on-call” at the school during state testing – every little bit goes a long way.

All the best to you!