When should children who are special needs be place in mainstream education? Should they be placed there at all? Educators have been trying to clarify this issue for years and yet, there are no definitive answers. The needs of each child need to be carefully weighed and parents need to weigh in on what their child needs.
But sometimes, children want to be in main stream education. For example, Henry is 13 years old and wants to go to his neighborhood school. The district has determined that he needs to go to the special needs school. He is protesting this placement and so his mom is homeschooling him for the time being. His story is inspiring because he wants to be in a regular classroom where most educators push special needs children out of the main stream classroom because they do not know how to handle them or their needs.
Temple Grandin has also put her voice into the mix with her background in autism by speaking to parents and educators on this topic. She was honored in Time Magazine as “The 100 Most Influential People in America.” This is an incredible honor for someone society had once cast off. She would definitely know what a special needs child needs in a classroom since she was once in the position.
One thing to consider before moving your child from a special education classroom to a main stream classroom is the amount of bullying that might occur. Special Education students are continually the subject of bullies and unfortunately even with all of the awareness, it continues to occur.
You should also consider how the school deals with students with special needs. Do they use restraints or padded rooms when they believe a child has become out of hand? What is their process for notifying the parents when the child is unable to calm down? Are the teachers equipped to deal with you child and his/her disability? As you can see, there are many questions that will need to be answered.
Wretches and Jabberers is a film created to show the inner struggles of people with autism that could not speaking but learned to type. Many people in this situation now use an Ipad to communicate with others. However, these adults overcame a lot in the educational system and are now trying to make people aware of their innate intelligence. This film inspired Henry’s quest and I am sure it inspired many others in the same boat.
Ultimately, it will be your decision as a parent what works best for your child but make sure that the one you choose has all of the support that you need from whatever school you choose.