Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favorite Comments of '12: Anonymous & Anonymous

Anonymous said...
Agreed, Katherine. One reason for inclusion, too, is that schools are being expected to do the things that communities (churches, social events, extended families, neighborhood kids playing together) used to do -- socialize the children appropriately. Parents don't see much opportunity for their children with disabilities to mix with non-disabled children, so they seek that experience in the classroom. Despite all the talk about valuing people with disabilities for who they are, many parents actually want their children to learn typical behaviors to the greatest extent possible, and think this can happen by osmosis (as indeed it can, in some instances). Classrooms may not be the best place for such learning to take place, but it's seen as the only one available.
Anonymous said...
I attended school in a small suburban district north of Milwaukee. Our district coordinated with neighboring communities to provide for kids with special needs. Each suburb specialized in one special need. The newest school, built with ramps and elevators, took kids with physical handicaps, one district took autistic kids, one took blind kids, one took kids with dyslexia, etc. Our district specialized in providing for the hearing impaired. There were special ed teachers trained to deal with each specific special needs population. In our school, there were separate classes for the hearing impaired who could not be mainstreamed and teachers who would provide support for the hearing impaired who were attending mainstream classes. There was instruction for the normally hearing kids as well, to help hearing impaired kids in regular classes, and many of us learned sign language.

Then the courts got involved. The rules now require that each district care for the special needs of all the children within each local school… no more shared responsibility between schools. The result is that each school has had to spend millions retrofitting old buildings, and one special ed teacher has to provide for diverse needs. It also means that kids with special needs are isolated from other kids like themselves and have lost their social support networks. Well intended rules with unintended consequences that have been devastating for special needs kids.

Katharine Beals said...
Excellent points!--and appalling stories about top-down action in defiance of what works best for different populations. The Deaf community, in particular, strongly prefers separate, ASL-oriented instruction for deaf children (though this preference is complicated by the rise in cochlear implantation).

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