Monday, March 26, 2012

No Shame on You

As the dad of a 13 year old autistic boy, this is advice I would give to a younger me.
You feel some shame for your sons condition. Don't. There is no shame in being disabled. This should be obvious but it is not.
I had an interesting discussion about shame with a friend. They talked of feeling shame. They suffered through an illness and now there are things they can no longer do physically. They are now disabled and were ashamed to admit it.
Society has conditioned us to feel shame if we deviate at all from the status quo we see in the media. If you don't look like Megan Fox or George Clooney, you should be a little embarrassed. But if you, God forbid, become disabled through an accident or illness, you should feel shame. Not sadness over loss, but out and out shame.
You're disabled? You should hide.
You should tell no one.
Don't open up to others about what you are going through.
Life is always grand, we never go through any difficult times.
Fake it till you make it.
That is my least favorite one. I understand where it comes from. But if you fake it and then never make it, you're just a faker. Nice advice. Just lie to everyone and most importantly to yourself, forever. Great.
When I look around and see people with giant Cheshire cat grins on their faces, I always wonder: Real or replica, blissful or bitter?
People feel shame in disability when they should not. You should not feel shame for being something you did not chose. It is what it is.
Why do we suffer in pain, silently? Alone. Quieted by the shame. Why do we feel shame at all for suffering from a disability we did not chose?
We don't (and shouldn't) feel shame about your height, bone structure, skin color, or race, things we didn't decide. No one chooses disability.
In that way my son is lucky. He does not have societies baggage to deal with, shame is not something he struggles with. We have no shame in being who we are.
He could run through a Walmart, butt naked screaming and feel no shame. (Being Walmart, no one would even give him a second look, come on people, its Walmart).
Oh to be like my son and be yourself 100% of the time and feel no shame.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inclusion in Mainstream Schools for Children With Learning Disabilities

In this article I am going to tell you how inclusion works in mainstream schools for children with disabilities. The reason I am going to tell you this is because inclusion can work very well for most special needs children.
In this article I am going to teach you
  • The advantages and disadvantages of inclusion for children with learning disabilities
  • The factors to consider before your child joins the same classroom as other "regular" students
  • How to assess a successful inclusion program for your child with learning disabilities
There is a legal need to give an education system to children with disabilities in the "least restrictive environment".
As a means of interpreting these requirements, mainstream schools try to accommodate students with special needs or disabilities and integrate them into the classrooms along with their "normal" peers as much as practically possible.
To do this, they first need to consider the level of disability and effects of the disability on the child, and consequently the potential impact on fellow students and teaching requirements.
Inclusion can bring about a win-win situation for all students where special needs children can learn social skills from their peers. They will also receive the same or a similar education as them, and the typical mainstream students will get to appreciate diversity, learn empathy and build mutually rewarding friendships with other special needs children.
However, inclusion may not always work well. For example a student may be disruptive, need more help than other students, and the teacher may have to spend more time with that student while the rest of the class receive less attention and teaching time.
The class may also be distracted by the special needs student and the teacher may struggle with limited ability in dealing with special needs children.
Before your child is included in a mainstream classroom setting, it is important to decide in advance how your child would respond to a greater number of children in the classroom, a faster pace of teaching, and how they would interact with their regular peers who have always been in mainstream education.
For successful inclusion of your special needs child, the school needs to have a number of educational components in place. These include having a curriculum that is language based and a form of teaching that progresses throughout the day and achieves measurable goals.
The curriculum for children with learning disabilities must also address multiple skill development and record pertinent data, with frequent review and change where necessary.
By considering the above factors, you will be able to make an informed decision about what would be the best educational option for your child. I wish you the very best of luck with educating your child no matter what option you chose.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Making The Most Of The Special Education Process For Educating Special Needs Children

In this article I am going to tell you how to make the most of the special education process when it comes to educating your special needs child.
The reason I am going to tell you this is because it is so easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to matters concerning the education of your child and finding your way around the special education process.
In this article I am going to teach you
  • The main mistakes that parents of special needs children make in the Special Education Process
  • How to make sure that you get the most out of the Special Education Process
Firstly, the main mistakes parents make in the special education process are mainly around poor record keeping and not understanding what they are signing or agreeing to. Withholding information, misinterpreting information and making ill-informed decisions are other mistakes that parents tend to make.
As a parent, not only do you know your child better than anyone else, but there will be some information that can only be gathered by specialists. This information will be very necessary for special educational people to access to decide the best education plan for your child.
If you are unsure of anything, you need to ask for clarification and be very sure of the understanding of anything you are asked to sign as it is very hard to get some things overturned or amended when you formally agreed in writing.
Do not feel under too much pressure to sign something you have not had a chance to read in full or if you feel you are not quite sure if you have understood correctly what the implications are if you do sign for something concerning educating special needs children.
Poor communication with the school or difficult relationships with educational personnel resulting in decisions being made for your child whether wrong or right also cause great distress for parents who are trying to find their way around the special needs process.
To make sure you get the most of the special education process, it is vital you keep correct and up to date records about your child and agree to have your special needs child take part in relevant and important educational and developmental assessments.
Having your child assessed is never easy but it is so important if they are to get the most from the educational system they are either part of or will form part of.
It is also vital to keep up a professional relationship with all relevant special education staff and not to withhold information which may be pertinent to your Child's educational welfare.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Should You Home School Your Special Needs Child?

In this article I am going to tell you what you need to consider when it comes to home schooling your special needs child. The reason I am going to tell you this is because people generally tend to have very definite opinions on home schooling and as a parent of a special needs child, this may be an option you wish to consider.
In this article I am going to teach you
  • What a home school is all about
  • What are the advantages for your special needs child?
  • What are the disadvantages for your special needs child?
  • How to decide if this is a viable option for your special needs child
Home schooling allows parents or carers the legal option of having their children tutored at home and not in a formal school setting. This is carried out for a variety of reasons, many of which simply boil down to the matter of personal choice. This is also a choice that applies for special needs children.
For those who prefer to have their children taught at home, they cite a number of reasons for preferring the home school option over attendance at a formal school. These include medical reasons where a child may be too ill to attend school or prone to infections he or she may catch from others in a school setting.
A child may have behavioural or emotional problems which would cause distress to them in a school with many others. The child may be a slow learner and not be able to "keep up" with other students in a classroom setting.
Parents may also lack confidence that the school will be able to meet their special needs child educational needs or may not approve of the way the curriculum is taught.
Other reasons for educating at home include religious beliefs, distance to the school, anti social behaviour in the school and potential effects of peer pressure on their impressionable child.
The main reasons cited for those who disprove of the home schooling route include not being qualified to teach, wanting their kids to have lots of friends and learn socialization skills and having their kids integrated into system that will give them the same advantages and access to resources as everyone else.
Only you as parent or principal caregiver to a special needs child can decide if providing a home school environment for your child is a viable option.
You may have strong beliefs either way but just try to detach yourself from these beliefs and think about and ask advice from reputable people who are pro and anti home schooling before making an informed decision.