Attitudes towards Special Education Kids

Being the mother of three children, ages; 20, 13, and 7, I have a great interest in education. My oldest was an average student and my youngest is a gifted child. That leaves my middle child with some learning disabilities. Not because he is the middle child, of course.

We noticed that he was learning slower than his peers when he was in the first grade. Being that he is a July baby, I thought perhaps I had started him in kindergarten too early and that his maturity level was not yet ready for school. I was a stay-at-home mom, so he was never in pre-school. But once he was in first grade it was apparent that he was having problems. After many conferences with teachers and specialists, we decided to try something different. So for the first half of the school day he went back to kindergarten and for the second half he stayed in first grade. The following year he would attend first grade all day. I was concerned about how this stigma of being held back would affect him. Thankfully he handled it with very few if any problems at all because of his age. But he was not catching up and soon we could see that he was going to be put in special education classes. This bothered me because I remember the way kids were considered second rate or even mentally challenged.

He was put through every test the school could think of to pinpoint his disability and figure the best plan of teaching him. There was only one problem. He didn’t fit in any category. He didn’t meet all the criteria for any certain problem. So the teachers decided that they would just put him in extra classes in hopes that he would learn what he was suppose to. He was overwhelmed and soon started to lose interest in learning all together.

All through grade school he struggled and as a parent I worried he would become a behavior problem. So I stayed in close contact with his teachers and we monitored him closely. In the 5th grade he came home from school very excited. A science academy had come to recruit for their middle school. My son truly wanted to attend their school the following year. My heart sunk. I assumed that it would be by application and grades that they would accept their students. I knew my son would not make the cut, so to speak. But it was the first time I had seen him excited about school and learning so I checked it out. After a few phone calls, I found out that it was a magnet school within the public school system. Which meant, I didn’t have to worry about private school tuition and that they didn’t necessarily need exceptional grades to be accepted.

He and I both became excited about what they might be able to offer him. We filled out the application and he was accepted before the end of the 5th grade. My son would be attending G.W. Carver Academy for the Sciences and Technologies, a NASA Explorer School in Waco, Texas. We were looking forward to new possibilities.

I met with the teachers and staff and found out that they had a new way of approaching children with special learning needs. As where most schools take a child out of the classroom to help him or her, (excluding them from their peers) Carver had a program called Inclusion. This meant that my son would not be taken from his regular classes but would have an Inclusion teacher with him at all times. Helping explain in more detail about his lessons, hence keeping him from feeling left out. They also believed that students should help their peers. By doing this it taught children without learning problems to be more compassionate to those who did. Making them better people and leaders in the future.

This program has done wonders for my son. The first nine weeks of Middle School my son was on the A B Honor roll! Wow! He is now about to finish his 7th grade year and is talking about going to college for the first time in his life. He works hard and is rewarding and praised. He is still not at grade level but he is learning what he has to do to success. He is also learning that he CAN be successful.

We still aren’t sure why he has the problems in learning that he does or where they came from but we have a good idea. Through the help my son has received in this Inclusion Program, I truly believe that he has great opportunities in his future.

We do believe that some of his problems may have come from Mercury Poisoning that he may have received while I was pregnant with him, but the testing is not finished on that yet. And that is another article for this writer at another time. Stay tuned..