Re: DSM: Developmental Disabilities: "Can the student take responsibility..."

Bruce Smith (
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 21:34:46 -0600


Bruce Smith, staff at Alpine Valley School.

>I'd like to hear more thoughts on determining if the student meets the
>second one-- can the sudent take responsibility for him/herself in the

What I'd ask is, can the student function without an adult constantly over
his/her shoulder, pointing out what to do and what not to do? Our schools
require tremendous levels of self-reliance and initiative, as well as
responsibility. Students must be capable of figuring out what to do and
getting things done on their own, and asking for any assistance they need
in doing so.

>Also, whether children have developmental disabilities or not, how do SV
>schools go about determining whether prospective students are
>"appropriate" for the school?

Rather than "appropriate," I'd focus on whether a prospective student can
handle freedom and responsibility; whether s/he is ready for membership in
a democratic community. The enrollment interview and visiting week
(especially the latter) give us a glimpse of whether this might be the
case. At AVS, the School Meeting also discusses and vote on whether to
admit prospective students. In more difficult cases (difficult to decide,
that is), we can offer additional visiting weeks and/or convene meetings of
the Admissions Committee.

The bottom line is, you often can't know for sure until several weeks or
months (or years?) into a student's enrollment.

Hope this helps,


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