Thursday, June 17, 2010

IEP Worlds: Thank You Rachel

This post should be basic reading for all educators, all congressmen, anyone who has anything to say or think or do with special needs kids, with the education system, with IEPs:

I'm Sorry, Your Child Is Stupid

The assumptions of schools and school personnel that it is acceptable to allow kids to underperform, to pigeon-hole them into programs, that they "can't make a program for just one child!" and other such nonsense must end.


Start with the assumption that given appropriate services, all children can excel. If the child is not thriving and progressing as any non-disabled peer would do, start thinking about whether you are providing appropriate services. Does the child have access to communication skills (not just speech skills- communication skills)? Does the child have an appropriate sensory environment? Are the methods being used to teach the child appropriate?

Only when all that is exhausted should modification to education be even dreamed of. And it should take years to get there. Just as it now often takes years to get appropriate services in place, if they ever are actually put into place and practiced.

With a proactive, positive attitude, creative solutions can be easier to find and implement. Assuming competence means you are more likely to push a child to competence. It works with non-disabled people, I assure you- if you expect them to do A, B, and C, I find the vast majority of them do. This should be no surprise to formally trained educators.

So why is it? Why is discrimination against people, simply because they have challenges, considered acceptable in our society? Are we really that stupid?

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