Special Education

We made the decision to bring Sweet G home after I observed a day in the life of G in a public school setting. He was so drastically different there than he is at home. He sat slumped in his chair, detatched and unengaged to the world around him. I don’t want it to seem like it was all bad because it wasn’t. He was loved by everyone in that school and he loved them in return. However, children aren’t sent to school to be loved, they are sent to get an education. Was G getting an education? Yes. Was he getting everything he needed to succeed? No. In a public school setting he is only one of hundreds. His needs are unlike the needs of any child that has ever stepped into the doors of that school.

Schools are designed for the masses. If everything about your child is typical then public school is a great place for them to be. The problem is that a large percentage of students are not “typical”. Educators do the best they can with what they are given. The problem is that we as Americans don’t put a high enough value on our children’s education. Schools were already underfunded when the recession hit and sent shock waves through the educational system of our country. Teachers were cut, class size was increased, legislatures met and raised class size even more, programs were cut, schools were closed, and some systems cut the school year by 20 days. That is four weeks of school!! They are supposedly making up that time by lengthening the school day. Really? Do you think that extra 15-30 minutes a day for year will be as effective as 20–7 hour days? If you do I have some swamp land I’d like to sell you. Kids can only take in so much in one day. When it gets close to the end of the day they start to shut down. I know because I spent the last two years in elementary schools watching it happen.

Add learning disabilities to the problems I mentioned and you will see what an impossible situation our schools are in. In my opinion, special educators are not given enough training to be effective. All you have to do to teach special ed is have a degree in education and take a test over special education. I know several people personally who took the Special Ed GACE and all of them passed it easily. In our entire bachelor’s program we were only required to take ONE special education class. One. We didn’t meet every week and covered every major disability.

Let’s put this into perspective. Say you buy an airplane and it begins to sputter and jerk everytime you start down the runway. It just won’t make it off the ground. You have a friend who is a mechanic, a pretty good one. He reads (or halfway reads) a book about airplanes. He listens to someone describe airplanes once a week for about 8-10 weeks. The book tells him how to identify all kinds of airplanes by their special characteristics. The book does NOT tell him anything about how to fix an airplane. He takes a test on airplane identification and passes it with flying colors. Do you let him work on your plane? Remember, he is an automobile mechanic. Both machines have engines. They both have wheels, seats, steering wheels, seat belts, windshields, and radios. Would you trust him? Do you feel he would be qualified to diagnose and repair the engine? I don’t know about you but I just wouldn’t trust his skills. Lives are at stake. The risk is too high for mistakes to be made.

That is why we brought Sweet G home. The risks were too great that he would fall through the cracks. We will soon see a Neuropsychologist in Atlanta who will perform tests to find out what is going on from the time information enters Sweet G’s eyes travels through his brain and back out his mouth. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is getting brighter everyday. I am already seeing huge improvements in his reading. He spelled several three letter words last week when I called them out to him which is huge!! We are making progress slowly but surely and we are having fun together while doing it. I love me some homeschooling!!
I guess it finally got dark enough because in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” And tonight my sky is full of them.

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