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Mainstreaming Max

The last episode, of NBC‘s of Parenthood, follows Max as a mainstream student on his first day at his new school. Here is a recap!

You can watch the full episode of ‘Hey, If You’re Not Using That Baby’ here.


Kristina and Adam make the difficult decision for Max to attend a different school as a mainstream student. They both try to prep Max on how best to make friends – look people in the eye and smile and shake hands.

Max’s teacher Miss Mikindoe is giving an assignment when Max loudly calls out his neighbor for writing in her book. When Max won’t let it go, Miss Mikindoe points out that talking out in class is also against the rules. The lesson continues, and Max continues to offend, talking out of turn and correcting other students. And why does he have to raise his hand? Max finally settles down, but sadly, the damage is done, as his classmates begin to make him feel like an outcast.

Max is trying to make friends by looking kids in the eye, introducing himself and extending his hand to shake. Unable to understand why this technique isn’t working for him, a frustrated Max sits down to eat lunch by himself.

Kristina stops by Miss Mikindoe’s classroom and literally begs for a few minutes of her time after not getting a response over email. Within seconds, Kristina’s in tears, describing her worry and the spying incident. Miss Mikindoe reassures her that everything’s going to be okay – but Kristina is going to have to get comfortable with having a little less control.

Kristina visits Max’s teacher for reassurance on the decision to mainstream Max. Click here to view the clip.

Many parents struggle with the decision to mainstream their child. What has your experience been? Can you relate to this?

Have you or your child had difficulty making friends? How do you cope? 

Simon Wallace answers, “My child has joined a ‘mainstream’ classroom but is struggling. What can help?” Click here for his response.


Valuable Resources
In this week’s ‘Experts Speak,’ Roy Q. Sanders, M.D. expresses, “I want teachers and other school personnel to know that parents know their children better than anyone else. The parents are the experts on their child. And I want parents to remember that – even though you may feel intimidated – as parents you have the most knowledge about your child. You are really running the show. You are the expert. Don’t ever allow anyone to take that power away from you.” Visit here for more.

School Community Tool Kit: A tool kit to assist members of the school community in understanding and supporting students with autism.

Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit

Individualized Education Program (IEP): Guide

  1. Jo
    September 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    My daughter is only five, so most of the kids in her first grade class don’t really seem to notice there is a difference between them and her just yet. I’m hoping this stays the same as she grows but I doubt it. Kids can be cruel. Parents don’t always know how to teach their children how to be friends with kids that are different. My daughter has no trouble “making friends”. I use quotes because she gets along with everyone regardless of how they feel about her. She doesn’t seem to notice the kids who make comments, or stare, or roll their eyes at her. I’m glad that she doesn’t, but some day she will and I think that it will be very important that we are there for her. We are giving her a great sense of self-esteem and self-worth, something I never had, and would have made the difference growing up with Aspergers.

  2. Del Rae Williams
    September 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Early 7th grade, Sam, my son with Aspergers, and I began “friend lessons” each day. We started with a discussion of how important a persons name is to them, and his lesson was to learn a name (including how one might learn one). Then we progressed to learning something about them (that he would report back to me). We’d talk about how he could do a conversation based on that, etc. Later, it was learning other kids in his classes name (how would I find that out? We’d talk about the teacher calling on them, etc. and learning from that). Anyway, I think you bet the picture. I’d have to remind myself that it wasn’t obvious to Sam. By the end of the year, he was part of a group of boys… and at 16, they still hang, and grow their ‘group”. Sam is the only one with an autism spectrum, but they have their common interests and it works.

  3. Monique B
    September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    My 8 year old son was in an autistic support classroom that spent some time mainstreaming the kids. Our experience was so horrific that it gave him (literally) an anxiety disorder. He was virtually uneducated for the 2 years he was there. They were constantly asking me to come and get him from school and were really unwilling to work with me, despite the fact that they knew I was an advocate Mommy and most of them were a little intimidated by me. We wanted Kameron to fall in love with school again, so after a seriously inappropriate incident, we pulled him and placed in cyber schooling. That did the trick. Now 600 miles away from the place that was so evil when he thought we were sending him back he said “do you think if I go back to my old school I’ll get a headache?” (yeah….for a kid with a language delay, it was pretty impressive) we’re looking for a new school to try the social thing again. I totally get Kristina’s fear…that’s why I love love LOVE this show!

  4. Jennifer Bednarz Lohr
    September 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Parenthood was so real in showing not only how the kids are but us parents! My son has always been in mainstream school and received no help. He is extremely intelligent but socially is awkward. Seeing Max sitting alone at lunch was something I experienced before. Just breaks your heart as a parent. What I found was my child could have cared less! He was happy doing his own thing. Now we have moved and he is in a new Christian private school. It is small enough that everyone knows everyone and no one is ever left out. I’ve seen a huge improvement in his social skills as a result of that. He still has his awkward moments but since everyone accepts him for who he is, he is confident to step out a bit more. Parenthood hit a home run last night!!! Hope others that watch it can begin to understand what kids with Asperger’s go thru as well as their parents.

  5. Amy
    September 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    My son is 5 and we mainstreamed him and he is special ed with other kids that have other problems. You get a few parents, kids, and teachers who don’t know how to deal with him. I think it was the best thing for him. My son started in a normal class, and a lot of the kids liked him, but then a again they are young. I think Max’s parents need do what the teacher said about trying to controll everything. I think they smoother the poor child..like the epsiode last Halloween..I know there are parents out there just like his..maybe that’s what they are doing wrong. I know not one child that has autism is alike, and what works for one may not work for another.

  6. concerned parent
    September 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    mainsteaming a child with a disorder is impossible without the right supports..they forced inclusion on the district of our school and now my child will not get what he needs unless I go through the scholarship program..why can’t educators get a clue as to what we the parents face and instead of blaming us for them putting us in the position to fight for our children..they should work with us and give our children what they need..less frustration for everyone ..my son is very bright yet , he is placed in the more restrictive enviorment because the district will not provide a para..it breaks my heart as a parent because teachers are afraid of losing their jobs if they speak up to defend our child..they tell me it is out of our hands if you want a certain service for your child then go to the board..knowing full well what they will say..frustrating indeed..

  7. Ileana Morales
    September 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Post A Comment


    I can truly relate to the coping with surrender episode; when I saw Kristina all emotional…I saw myself and I cried.you see my 18 year old son David has Autism,high functioning;some of his classess are mainstream;He is very outgoing but he lacks social skills, He tries to fit in,but he just doesn’t know how, many peers are nice to him, but for many he is just the weird kid.-I spied on him and saw him with his classmates for about an hour and nobody talked to him…That broke my heart.

  8. Signtalker
    September 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    My son has had a positive experience mainstreaming. One thing I do at the beginning of the school year is write a letter to all of help my son’s teachers about Aspergers Syndrome and how it affects my son. I then explain what things have worked to help my son in the classroom ie: give warning when changing from one task to another or writing the homework assignment in the same place each time. This has really been beneficial . All of his teachers have told me that the letter was very helpful especially when I have given examples of when my son is becoming stressed and how to work with him when this happens. I send this letter via e-mail to the teachers and then have a meeting with them about 3 weeks into the school year. He is a junior in high-school so soon will be dealing with college. Hope this helps.

  9. J. R.
    September 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    My son has been mainstreamed since preschool, including elementary school. He is now in the 4th grade. Kindergarten was a hard decision to make, and you never really know how things will work out. But, and this is very different from what I saw on Parenthood, our son has had tremendous amounts of support in the class room (he is in public school). We started with one on one support in either a para-educator or a special ed resource teacher for the full 6 hours of the school day. Right now, he is more independent and we have less one on one support, but he still has a lot.

    At the start of each year, I meet with his new teacher and spec educator (we are lucky to have had the same great provider three years in a row now) to discuss my son’s needs and behaviors and how best to interreact with him. Since, for this year, we cut down a bit on his support in the hopes of fostering indenpendence, I had a review written into his IEP, which is coming up. Truthfully, I always make sure his IEP has a reiview included for the first 6 weeks of school

    As much as I loved the show and could relate to the parents’ fears, it seemed strange to me that Max went from a special ed school to a gen ed school with no support. I think manageing a child’s IEP, support, the struggles parents go through to get this support, etc., would be a good, realistic story line for the program. Many parents struggle to get the support their child needs.

    I should say I knew exactly how the mom felt when she saw Max alone at lunch. Her portrayal is always dead on for me, and I can really relate to it. My son also often related better to younger boys, so that was very interesting to me.

    Have a great weekend all.

  10. Mary Ellen
    September 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Does anyone know the name of the actress who played Miss Mikindoe?

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