|Our daughter Crystal, aged 11 years, has been in a special ed classroom in a public
elementary school for the past 4 years.
Previously she was in a special ed school. I
have to say I would never put her back into that situation.
Now we have the best of both worlds! She has an excellent teacher that always goes
beyond the call of duty in and out of the classroom, which is definitely the key to having
others being accepting, an appropriate curriculum, and inclusion for art, music, recess,
Crystal's classroom is a place where she can have down time when she needs it and
privacy for her special needs but also has a life outside of those four walls.
We have always been very protective of Crystal and at first didn't know if public
school was really a "safe" place for her with other children whispering, making
fun and all of those mean things that some kids do to those less fortunate.
What really helped us to feel comfortable about it was the Lincoln Intermediate Unit
and her teacher have done sensitivity training with some of the grades that would be
integrated with our kids. (I'd like to see it in all classrooms).
The results were wonderful!! It gave the kids a chance to meet our kids, ask questions
and to understand a little about everyone having some type of "special needs"
and that they have alot of the same likes and dislikes that they do.
No longer are they afraid of our kids and they know now that it's okay to say hi or to
play at recess with them. Crystal even has girlfriends now.
We all want our children to have friends and to be accepted.
The other children and the staff are constantly acknowledging our kids when they see
them. It does my heart good!
I think we do need to teach children and adults alike that we all have feelings and
although we are all very different - we are all very much the same.
I would like to emphasise what makes the difference in any situation in the way in
which our children are accepted by others, is the way in which the teacher truly cares
about the welfare of your child's feelings enough to take the time to take advantage of
the situation - i.e. introduce the children to each other. The teacher must have great
public relations skills! If the teacher does not take the time to interact when one is
staring or making fun of, then the cycle of ignorance is not being broken.
Educating others is the key.