Friday, April 29, 2011

What's So Special About Special Ed?

7.  What is so special about Special Ed?  Most programs allow bad behaviors to continue. But real life as an adult does not.  This goes back to rule #1.  I had to explain to our school that my son would not always be a school aged child.  They were surprised by this news. :-)

I can't believe April is almost over.  I am only half way through my "list" like real life with Autism: it will continue into the next month.  :-)   Not all Special Ed classrooms are created equal.  I am a believer in matching the child to the classroom.  That is the whole point in #7.   Visit the rooms that are available in your district.  If they want to "include" your child please visit the regular Ed teacher's classroom.  Almost no one is going to offer you to visit their classroom.  It will be up to you to ask, and follow through.  I hadn't been in an Elementary classroom  in years.  As my son's sister is 10 years older than he is.   Two stories come to mind.

When my son was in 2nd grade (for the record, his worst year of school EVER) we had met several people with Autism.  His Auntie Jane came to school with me to pick him up one Friday.  Jane is at the very high end of the Autism Spectrum.  She IS a Special Ed teacher, and was really never in SE herself.  We came into the school office to check in as required in case kidnappers were to arrive at school and take him.  Our Pediatrician  once flippantly said: "at least you won't have to worry about this kid being abducted."  I felt instantly better after he told me that. Not.  I digress.

I introduced Jane to the Secretary, Principal, and Nurse.   They all stood like stiffs looking her up and down.  My son had told them about his "Auntie Jane."  She was wearing her light blue jumpsuit from Space Camp, had hair that looked like it had been combed with an eggbeater, and large pieces of cotton stuck in her ears (she hated the feeling of wind in her ears).   I broke the silence by verbally introducing them.   Talk about uncomfortable.  After signing in, we were outta there.  Really, they looked at her like she was a leper.  My parting remark was "see they still have it when they grow up!"  As usual, I have a way with words...

5 years later I would get a call from a teacher saying my son wanted to make a t-shirt with iron on transfers from the computer.  I figured he had wanted to have a gun, or a bomb, or something that is no longer seen or allowed in schools. Can you believe that my husband used to take the NYC train to high school and carry his rifle on the train to the machine shop?   Back to the story.  Apparently my son wanted to make a shirt with "What's so special about Special Ed?" printed on it.  Nope, we weren't having any of that.  I thought it was funny, as did he.  He'd been in an out of all sorts of schools and  classrooms when the "t-shirt incident" occurred.  He was speaking from experience.  Jr. High kids were mocking him hourly just for being in the "retard" class.  I could see both sides of the story.  

Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.


  1. My best friend has a son with autism, now 40. I've been around him since he was born, so this subject is very close to my heart. Thanx for sharing...

  2. Our special ed class has treated our son like he is a complete doof when it comes to math. In 6th grade they are still giving him multiplication and division sheets. We have explained to them that he is a math genius and they have ignored us.........until yesterday.
    He scored the highest score EVER on the math placement exams for junior high.
    Maybe now they will listen. :)

  3. T, how frustrating! But good for him! Can he do my Math for me?
    Suz, you mentioned this person before...good to know. :-)