Sunday, July 01, 2007

Without Compare

Allan's family came by yesterday. We took them out to Wakefield, and the berry farm, and had a lovely afternoon of it. Best of all, there were no other little kids around to compare Joey to. This means that everybody just saw a happy, loving, sweet little guy, rather than the focus being on Joey's weaknesses. He was charming, cute, and adorable, as was his brother, and fun was had by all.

They seemed pretty shocked when they asked about school, and discovered he would be in a self-contained classroom. Most folks are shocked to learn this, but it seemed especially odd to them, seeing how delightful life can be with my guys. Joey was having a "good" day on top of it, so we didn't have a lot of tracking or screaming or anything that would showcase Joey's problems. Why put a happy, darling little sweetheart in a self-contained classroom?

Remember, these people are not special ed folks. They have the same ignorance of special ed, how it works, and what it is about as most people seem to have. To them, a self-contained classroom is a place where kids who are very severely disabled go. Joey is not "very severely disabled." And yes, if he had an aide, he's probably be OK in a regular classroom- but our school would rather be sued than hire a 1:1 aide. The teacher is good. So there you go.

WE went with the teacher angle. Its the easiest to explain to folks who have no clue. People tend to understand "low student" teacher ratio with excellent teacher."


Club 166 said...

I work with a man who told me that his niece was diagnosed with Asperger's, after I had told him that my son was diagnosed with autism.

He quickly added, "But I don't think she really does. She's just a bit of geek, that's all."

While I've never met his niece, his brother is an engineering professor, and my co-worker has a Ph.D. in addition to an M.D. I guess he fails to see any difference in what is perceived as a variation of normal in his family.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I have had exactly this same experience. People are amazed to hear that my son is in special ed because he seems so "normal." And he has a good teacher, likes his classmates and spends half the day in a mainstream classroom, so it doesn't seem worth suing the school district (which is what it would take to get him an aide). I am already almost at the point of suing over help in just one smaller area.