For the love of everything holly...
I never meant to insult parents by posting Has Special Needs Inclusion Gone Too Far in late November... But I'm still getting hate email about this post, and quite frankly, it's starting to annoy me.
Yes, I agree with all the hate mail that said there are also bad teachers out there. I totally 100% agree. Dayton and I have met our fair share of them, believe me. It appears that you have only read this one and only post and not the rest of my blog, so I forgive your ignorance.
I also agree with you that your special needs child has the right to an education like everyone else's child. Absolutely. But lets get real for a moment, shall we?
Who's best interest are we serving by having a fifteen year who's cognitive skills are that of a five year old sit in a grade ten classroom? Do you honestly believe this child's rights are being met? How about his or her education? Give your head a shake people. I'm not saying this child doesn't deserve an education or that he should not be in a classroom as he won't learn anything, I'm saying that this child needs to be in a classroom he or she can UNDERSTAND so that he CAN learn!!! If the past nine years of teaching have had no educational value to this child, what makes you think he's going to improve in this atmosphere?
I'm sorry, but my son is in grade four. Dayton is turning ten this February, but cognitively he thinks like a six year old. He struggles with reading and writing and is sitting at about half way through grade one with reading. Writing is more like kindergarten stage. Oh, all right. More like preschool...
As his mom, I want my baby to be with his peers, but NOT at the risk of his education. Today's school system believes in social promotion. Yesterday's school system was very different, but you know what? It freaking worked.
I was out for coffee with a bunch of autism parents last Thursday night, and I was told by one of them that Winnipeg's drop out rate sits at 75%... 75%!!! Why do you think that is? I'll tell you why... They can't read!!! Why can't they read? Social promotion! I mean really... I didn't want to fail, it would be very embarrassing, wouldn't it? So I made sure I didn't fail and studied. Don't get me wrong, I did the bare minimum. I did my homework and by the grace of God passed, even math with which I struggled all through high school.
The first three years of elementary school you learn how to read. Beginning in grade four, you are expected to learn from what you read. How is Dayton doing here? Obviously he's NOT. Are his educational needs being met? In a way I suppose they are, but at what cost?
Let's see... can his teacher (who I swear is a saint) make up the one curriculum to teach her whole grade four classroom? Ummmmmm... NO. I guarantee you that Dayton is not the only special needs student in her classroom either, so I'm going to bet that she's making a few lesson plans for her class. Does she get paid extra for this work? Ummmmm, NO. Do you think she works past the time her "fourth graders" are dismissed? Ummmmm, YES. Is this fair? Ummmmm, NO!!! I don't work for free, do you? Why should she? And yet, as a society, we expect her to, don't we? Why? Because our special needs kids have rights.
Let's get back to our special needs kids, shall we? Do you think Dayton is having a good time in grade four? Ummmmm, NO. He likes his teacher, loved his beloved Educational Assistant, but he's not thrilled at seeing that he's 'different.' At the end of the day, we're both exhausted, but we have extra work to do because as a parent, I want my baby to learn how to read and write. Dayton wants to do what the rest of his peers are doing in the classroom... but he knows that he's not capable of it. What a blow to his little self esteem!!! Our only grace this year has been his fantastic teacher. Without her, I'm sure I'd have pulled out my hair, Dayton would be on more medication for stress, and there's no way I would be working now. We'd sit on welfare, and I would most likely pull him out of school and home school him.
So back to the five year old stuck in a grade ten classroom... Our Heavenly Father, I pray to you today that this five year old boy will not be my son. I pray to you that if it is your will that this becomes my son, that you give me the courage to do what is RIGHT for my son and not what I selfishly WANT. If this means that Dayton is not included with peers chronologically his age to see him happy with younger kids, please, open the eyes of my heart and not the eyes to my pride. Please God, show me the way to my son's happiness and rights and blind me to my own selfish pride and sense of justice.
Consider yourselves hugged,