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March 16, 2006

Comments

Sandy Alperstein

This brought a tear to my eye and a sigh to my heart. A friend of mine has a son with autism (severe on the spectrum), and he's been included in his local school for years (8th grade now). It amazes me how accepting the other kids are of him - it's the adults who have the problem. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty of acceptance!

Daunna Minnich

Inclusion is beautiful, and so is your verse, Lori!

Peggy Lou Morgan

Lori:

This was really beautiful. It reminded me of both the kindness and acceptance Billy Ray has experience and the rudeness or ignoring he has experienced.

Mandi

I hate to rain on everyone's parade and I do admit, in some cases, inclusion can be achieved with minimal disturbance and actual social and academic advantages to both the handicapped and "normal" children in the classroom. But let me bring a different perspective to the mix. In Michigan, inclusion was determined to be in the best interests of the child a number of years ago, forgive my ignorance as to the exact number.
While this may be a sensible solution and in the best interests of the child when you have a child who is teachable and non-violent, perhaps those justices would like to visit my mother's former classroom. She taught those from the age of twenty to twentyfour (in Michigan, special needs children received an education into their twenties at state cost) who were severely mentally impaired. We are talking about the really bad cases here. We are talking about those children with IQs around 50, perhaps lower, most with additional physical disabilities, all requiring special care.
I find it interesting that the judiciary would consider it in the best interest of anyone to place one of my mother's two hundred pound male students who believes, like most two-year olds, that if you don't want to do something the best way to avoid it is to throw a tantrum, into a classroom with a bevy of 50 pound child projectiles (aka students).
My mother had special training in the physical restraint of these children, as did all teachers in positions like hers. She also came out of the position with arthritis in her feet from having them stomped on by unwilling students, a crooked nose from having it broken once when a student threw her across a room and the knowledge that, while she wholeheartedly supports bringing the "normal" and "not normal" children together, which she did through special activities with the middle school next door to her exclusively special needs school, it is also in the best interests of both sets of children to keep them separate in order to focus on their needs more directly.
Placing a twenty year old male in the back of a first grade classroom and expecting him to assimilate the information taught in such a manner that he will be able to behave appropriately and advance to the next level is cruel treatment of the twenty year old and is asking too much of the teacher who wasn't trained to handle those students and doesn't recognize their vastly different thought process.
Aside from this diatribe I have written, I want to state that I am a staunch supporter of disabled children. I have been blessed to meet so many of them through my mother's experiences and they are some of the most genuine and kindhearted individuals I will ever know. I think they deserve the education that will help both them and their families cope with their disabilities for the rest of their lives and I truly believe that acceptance and integration, which may cure ignorance and apathy towards the mentally or physically disabled, can be achieved without sacrificing the education of both.

Charles Fox

Mandi: your "praise" is more revealing of your narrow-minded ill informed bigotry than your criticism . Thank you for sharing as it reveals that unfortunate attitudes such as yours do not go away in the several generations that IDEA has been law.

Charlie Fox

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