Her priceless summation of the situation:
It's so lucky for Joy's class that they get to know her and have her in school with them!
Those words are haunting me just now, as we're thinking ahead to next year with IEP-ing and with filling out questionnaires that will inform how next year's classes get assembled.
You see, although students with disabilities at Rose & Joy's elementary school are educated in classrooms with typically-developing classmates, it's not spread out evenly across the school. The school practices "clustering," whereby the kids with IEPs all get assigned into just one or two classrooms per grade, so that the special-ed staff can focus there and collaborate with just one or two regular-ed teachers. (A similar thing happens with students for whom English is a second language).
What ends up happening is that the ratio of disability to non-disability in the cluster-classes gets pretty far out of whack in comparison to the real world. Any behavior issues associated with the disabilites end up concentrated too -- and multiplying upon one another. And it can leave some folks thinking that students with and without disabilities really shouldn't mix, because look at all the problems that arise!!
It also means that Rose is not so lucky as all that.
Like her mother 40 years before... Rose has never been in a homeroom class with a student who has a significant developmental disability.
Just now, that feels incredibly unlucky to me.