Thursday, January 14, 2010

Car Wrecks

No, my car is fine. No, I did not witness something horrific on the road, a la the Bruce Springsteen song. I'm also not referring to the oft repeated idea that autism in all it's forms, is likened to a train or car wreck.

It's more about the idea of the innate desire to look at something horrible, to see what's going on, to maybe want to help out. The big one right now of course, is the absolute devastation in Haiti. Before that, for me it was the situation with Zakhqurey Price in Arkansas where he is battling for his educational life and his freedom from being institutionalized.

I know how most people affected by special needs situations feel about Zakh's situation and the general special education environment. But I often wonder how the population outside of our inner circle feels. I am always drawn to look at newspaper articles about special needs education to see how the public at large reacts to them. I hope that mainstream America is not as bad as the commentary that inevitably shows up at the end of the article. Nevertheless, I have to 'drive by' and stare at the ugliness and twisted mettle that spews from some in the world. From a recent article about fighting for prevention of restraining/isolating tactics in school systems:

Teachers and other school personnel are not here to control your child from endangering themselves, other students or the teacher. If your child is a danger to themselves or others, most importantly, other children, then your child should not be in the school, or even better, you the parent should be sitting beside you child in the classroom to insure that your child does not injury or kill another child. The job of the teacher is to teach, not to be a bodyguard for all the other children.

As so often happes, the "school perspective" has been totally overlooked. Schools historically have been established to teach something like a standard curriiculum to the children of the community. For that to happen parents MUST SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL READY TO LEARN. Making teachers responsible for children not prepared to learn the standard curriculum is irresponsible and robs the schools and their teachers of their time and ability to teach those who are ready to learn.

We wonder why school systems like Fort Smith think they can write their own rules and change IDEA, AWDA, IEPs and the hundred other acronyms designed to protect children. Just look to the rabble with the loudest voices; or look at the car wrecks that drive the school systems...

1 comment:

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder said...

The thing is, it's not just prejudices within the mainstream that affect our children. There are prejudices within the special needs community as well. An acquaintance of mine once had her sister sing a very derogatory song she and the other teachers had written about special needs kids - how the kids with ADHD were swinging from the light fixtures, etc. It really angered and hurt me that a school teacher would do this. Unfortunately, I think it's an all too common an occurance.

We've even experienced it within the local special needs community. While our children are not autistic, they have some autistic qualities (just not enough to qualify as being on the autism spectrum), and they would be considered profoundly delayed. We've gotten grief over our choice not to fight to get them out of the classrooms they're in to have them mainstreamed. Those pressuring us didn't seem to notice that there is a difference with our children and children who are more apt to flourish in a mainstream setting. Often times kids like ours will never learn to read more than a few words, can't get the concept of math, and need to have the basic concepts of life skills taught them. These children can't get that in a regular classroom, yet those who would have them mainstreamed can't see that.

I totally understand your analogy of a car wreck. What people don't understand is that miraculous things can come from a car wreck, just like miraculous things can and do happen with our children! As parents we see them regularly. The hard part is convincing others that they're worth celebrating!

I wish you all the best.