Question: My son is currently mainstreamed in a regular classroom. Next year, the school plans to put him in a self-contained classroom. I really like his being able to mix with children who are not in the special-education program this year. Can you please explain the advantages and disadvantages of putting him in a self-contained classroom? - Mom
Answer: A self-contained classroom is the instructional setting for special-education students who have substantial disabilities and for whom placement in a less-restrictive setting (the regular classroom) has not been appropriate. Some of the advantages for your son of being in a self-contained classroom next year are:
- The classroom will be structured to minimize distraction and increase individual attention.
- Your son will get to know one teacher and will not have to relate to other teachers and move to several different classrooms.
- His academic skills might improve because he will be in small groups or even be offered the opportunity for individual instruction.
The disadvantages of self-contained classrooms are:
- When a child is returned to a self-contained classroom, it is likely to be a permanent move.
- Other students in the classroom might set inappropriate examples for your son to follow.
- Your son will be segregated from the general-education students.
Since the move is not going to happen until next year, you should visit the self-contained classroom now to see how well your son will fit into the program. Then, you should address any concerns that you have with his teachers.