Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've been a special education teacher for a long time. It's a big part of me. When you teach kids with disabilities day in and day out, they seem "normal" to you. Instead of seeing their differences as negative, you see begin to see them as what makes these kids unique and special. They're quirkiness becomes endearing. And you see "normal" kids as somewhat boring.

Now, I have a quirky kid of my own. I try very hard not to compare him to other kids. I've always known he was different. But I see these differences as what makes him exceptional. He has a hard time sitting still? Let him run around. He loves to be read to, but fidgets alot. Give him a wipe off board and let him draw as I read. When he's in the middle of an activity and really into it, he hates having to leave it to do something he considers mundane. So, give him ample warnings so he doesn't feel surprised. He has a huge need for validation and hates to be told what to do. So, make him a part of the problem solving process.

Do I do these things every day? No. Sometimes I loose it. I want him to listen and sometimes I just don't have the patience to do these steps. But they work. He takes extra time, much more than your average kid.

Now, he's being thrown into a school setting where he is expected to do things like everyone else. Now, his differences are not seen as making him exceptional, they are looked at as taking way too much time away from instruction. The school doesn't want to treat him any differently then the other kids. They want what works for everybody to work for him. That would be ideal. But what if doesn't work?

These are some of the questions I have been wrestling with lately. Samuel has actually had two good weeks at school. He still loves getting up in the morning and going. He never complains about hating school. If this starts happening, George and I will really have to think long and hard about what we are going to do.