Thursday, January 20, 2005

Classification confusion

Sometimes I wonder if state special education departments have someone specifically in charge of acronyms. There must be some Senior Acronym Manager somewhere who decides, without apparent provocation, to change everyone's classification every year or two, just to keep us parents off balance. My daughter's learning and language problems have not changed since she was in kindergarten and classified as LLD -- Learning and Language Disabled -- but the alphabet letters designating her classification have changed so many times that I've lost track. Most recently, I've seen MC for "Multiple Classifications" on her IEP, with a parenthetical note indicating that this is different from MD, "Multiply Disabled," which incidentally is my son's classification. His acronym hasn't changed for years, but now it turns out that the acronym for his class is changing. Instead of being in an "MD" class, he will now be in an "LLD Severe" class, as distinguished from the "LLD Mild" class, previously just the "LLD" class, with kids who are classified LLD or whatever they're calling that now. I am assured that my son's class will be the same old thing with a new name, and his classification won't change, and it's all just some new whim of the Senior Acronym Manager. But I don't know. Could calling the MD class an LLD class be a first step to moving MD kids with more behavioral than learning problems into ED classes? Is it really just a cosmetic change? Maybe so. But I have to wonder, what's going undone in all the time it must take to keep deciding on these new designations? Couldn't we just replace the Senior Acronym Manager with, say, a Vice President in Charge of Figuring Out How the Heck to Do Inclusion, or a Director of Parent Satisfaction? We need them more than we need a new alphabet shuffle.

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