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Monday, November 13, 2006

Parents know best?

For those of you who don't know, inclusion is a movement in the education world and the philosophy behind it is to include students with various disabilities into a "regular" classroom with the help of varying levels of accommodations and modifications supplied by people like me. The point is that if we provide them with the right amount of support, they can do what everyone else is doing. You wouldn't make a legless person run in a race (you sick bastard), but give him a wheelchair and he's raring to go.
The problem is... Who can be included and who is so far out in left field that you'd end up designing an entirely independent mini-class in the corner so that "inclusion" is not happening in the least bit. That's when parents dive in and give you an answer you can't turn down! Stick their child in there anyway!
Yes, it's genius like that which has led to my having a student with severe mental retardation, an inability to speak, doesn't use his signs unless prompted to many times, bites himself and others, and has only recently mastered the ability to go to the bathroom when told to - If not encouraged, he's very likely to have an incident- He can barely identify numbers, and doesn't have the ability to write.
Instead of going to the classes that are designed to advance students like him both in academics and in life skills, his mother insists that he not only be "included" not just in regular classrooms, but at the college preparatory level! FREAKING GENIUS! So while the students are preparing for their SATs and other life changing learnings and assessments, this kid can sit in the corner and drool, squeal, grope, grab, and maybe get some academics done with his one-on-one aide.
Don't get me wrong, the lady who is assigned to be at his side at all times is a wonder to behold, but there's not much she can do in a classroom that isn't designed for a student like him to learn. The mother thinks he's doing great because he's learning to function appropriately in front of "normal" peers. So the kid has no friends, but he's learning to not act TOO retarded in front of other kids. Glad to see the mother has her priorities straight.

Now I ask you, are there many instances when you feel you're more of an authority than an experienced professional? Do you barge into doctor's offices and tell them what medications they should give their patients? Do you leap onto Broadway stages and stop the choreography because they're interpretation of Fosse just plain sucks and you can do better?

I try to look at it like this... I'm an interior designer and some doofus has asked me to paint her walls hot pink and put zebra print all over the place, and even though I think she'd a f*cking idiot, I nod and say "yes ma'am" because she's the customer... Except this isn't drapes we're talking about, it's a child, and God help this young man when his parents die because he won't know what the hell to do.


Realm Of Dreams said...

I don't think your example is a very good one... take the recent Broadway show Dance Of The Vampires... although the choreographer and director were Tony Winners I would definitely have jumped on the stage and told them they didn't know their extension from my own...

TeacherLady said...

AAAHAHAHA! True. Though I think the individual in your avatar would be capable of better choreography... :)