When I was growing up and going to school I was in Special Education. There were good times and bad times but after this post, you will really understand the importance of Special Education in public schools.
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What Is Special Education
Special Education is basically a small group of students in a small to medium size classroom with teachers and one-to-one helpers. In my opinion, I feel like sometimes people misunderstand what Special Education really is.
We still read the same books everyone else had to read for school. We had different science and math. Looking back on the science part of the class it was quite fun. I think I did more experiments in 7th and 8th grade than I did in high school.
We learned practical math while everyone was doing algebra and other types of math. But when it came to reading I had a higher reading level than some of my classmates. The big difference is that our teacher taught us at our different levels and broke stuff up into smaller chunks.
The Positive And Negatives Effects Of Inclusion
There are pros and cons to Special Education in schools. In my opinion, it was a pro and a con at the same time. But we will get to that later.
The Pros Of Special Education
More support from the teacher
Helps break up the work into smaller chunks of information
Your kid might qualify for a one on one helper
More time to process the information
Smaller class size can help build friendships better
No one will look at you differently
Teachers have procedures in case of meltdowns
Parents also get access case managers for IEPS (Individual Education Plan)
Some teachers who are specialized in Special Education can teach at everyone’s level of learning
The Cons Of Special Education
Some other Special Education teachers don’t really care to teach at everyone’s level of learning
Your kid might think there is something wrong with them because they are in a smaller classroom
Your kids might not make a lot of friends depending on the class size
The work might not be challenging enough
The school may have a very bad Special Education program
You may also like to read how teacher training hinders special needs students
Some Other Negative Effects Of Inclusion
Some parents might not want to deal with getting their kids extra help that they need
If something doesn’t work well in and IEP everyone has to attend a meeting to work out the kinks to improve it which takes time
Why Inclusion Does Not Work?
This might sound very brutally honest but it’s the truth. The reason why Special Education does not work well is that some parents tend to get in the way because they think they know what’s best.
Let’s say a kid in Special Education had a meltdown and interrupted the class for 30 minutes. The teacher thinks it’s a good idea to remove that kid from class, but then the parents find out. The parents tell the teacher they shouldn’t have done that and it’s not their kid’s responsibility for having a meltdown
Perhaps that kid didn’t mean to have a meltdown, but they still interrupted class. So technically that kid is still responsible. Parents in order for inclusion to work you need to admit that your kid needs support and you will try to help them behave better.
What Special Education Problems We Are Not Solving
There are two major Special Education problems that need to be solved. The first problem is that we need more teachers who can teach at everyone’s different levels of learning. I had a 12th-grade teacher who thought she could teach everyone at the same level.
It was her way or the highway. She was also one of the rudest teachers that I have ever had. My 12th-grade teacher thought she was always right and she also had to have the last word. Remember that Two and a Half Men episode where Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) rang his mother’s doorbell and refer to her house as the “gates of hell?
Well, that’s how I referred to my 12th-grade teacher’s classroom every time it was time for class. Welcome to the “gates of hell.”
The second problem is that school districts like to shove all of us who have learning differences all in one classroom without thinking we have different styles of learning. According to my mom, “they like to fit a square peg into a round hole.” Instead of doing that, how about they have different classes throughout the day at different times for those at different levels of learning?
Okay so maybe there is a 3rd problem that we are not solving. Special Education teachers should have more opportunities to be creative. However, they don’t get the chance because they are too busy teaching kids to do well on school tests to make the school look good.
Those tests are how the school gets extra funding and whatnot. But the tests also kill creativity. I listened to this Ted Talk video where this college professor says that schools kills creativity. He is right!
Why Should We No Longer Use The Word Disabilities And Special Needs As A Society?
As a society, we are all at fault for using the word disability when discussing people who learn differently. It needs to stop because it’s offensive. In my opinion, when people use the word disability when referring to learning differences I feel like you are saying we are all disabled.
Even if someone was disabled in a wheelchair it’s not nice to call attention to it. This word should no longer be used.
I heard a great quote the other day and I wish I could remember who said it. But it went like this: “I don’t have a disability, I have a different ability.” Another quote that I like is “you laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you for all being the same.”
Another word that we all should stop using is “Special Education.” The reason this word should stop being used is that we still learn similar subjects to those who are not in Special Education. Maybe we should refer to it as accommodations instead? It sounds better don’t you think?
The Accommodations In Colleges Need To Be Fixed
I don't know if it’s just my college or if it’s all of the colleges in the world. But they refer to the place where students with learning differences the disability center. They need to fix that name perhaps the accommodation center would be a better name?
Plus as a student in college, I have to request my accommodations every single semester. It’s not like my learning style changes so why do I need to request them every semester? I feel like there should be two forms for people with accommodations.
One form would be people who just need them temporarily. The other form would be for someone like me who learning differences don’t change. As long I am enrolled in their college I shouldn’t have to request them every semester, it’s a waste of time writing a short email.
Why Colleges Should Accept IEPS?
The last thing I want to discuss before I wrap up this post is why colleges should use IEPS? For starters, I think more people who have learning differences would consider going to college. Another reason is that everyone has a unique style of learning and having an IEP would allow the college accommodation center to see that.
It would also make more money for the colleges because more people with learning differences are attending. So I would say it's a win-win all around.
Education is really important and I strongly agree, even if it’s Special Education. Being in those classes made me who I am today. However, I would like to see some changes by changing the name from Special Education to accommodations.
Additionally, I want to see colleges change the disability center to accommodations as well. Finally, colleges should start accepting IEPS because it’s more income for them while it would make our lives a little easier for those who have learning differences.