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Monday, April 10, 2006

The question for last week asked whether the US public educational system should be mandated to care for all special needs children.

Dan said "I think we we should not spend a penny more on special needs children than we do on gifted children. As a society we have an obligation to both sets of kids that is equal. After all, the gifted kids probably have the best chance of helping humanity in the long run, including the special interest kids.

So if education is really investing in our future, I'd want those gifted kids helped out as much as we can.I also think that the money for children should be owned by the family, not the school system. If you want to take your ten thousand bucks and invest in a different kind of education for your child, you have that right.

After all, who is ultimately responsible for educating kids, anyway? It's certainly not the schools, it's the parents. So why not empower them? and Melissa, who has the added input of having worked with current special needs programs, said " I have had concerns about blanket mainstreaming in the schools as well. A child whose body is limited by Cerebral Palsy, but whose brain is fine should be in a class with other children, given adaptive equipment and helped to expand his/her capabilities.

On the other hand, a disruptive autistic child or a severely affected child with Down's Syndrome who are not getting anything out of the class and are preventing other children from learning, this is of great concern to me. It is not that I don't want them to learn, on the contrary I want them to learn and participate as much as they can. But if a child is on the level of a 2 year old, what is that child getting out of classes teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. There needs to be time when all the children come together so that the 'normal' children learn to care about and for those that have special needs and to learn that though they are different, they are people too.

I remember being in school and the special needs people were shuffled off to a special classroom and we didn't see them all day. We were afraid of them. "In summary, if you are the parent of a special needs child you have two options. Invent the monies needed to do everything out of your pocket, or rely at least in some part on your local school. Depending on where you live, what your child's literal diagnosis/label is, and how much money you have freely floating around, you will get different results.

by Rebecca

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