Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Inclusion...is it always a good thing?

The statistics now say that 1 out of every 110 kids has autism. Its shows...what do I mean? Let me explain. Quirky is in a regular class room...she is very high functioning and in theory this should go well. Notice I said in theory. Anyway that is another story. A few years ago Quirky might have been the only child with autism in her class...

something unusual and being high functioning not a major problem for a regular class room setting. Quirky however this year is not the only autistic child in her class room. This has led Quirky to come home confused on several occasions.
With Quirky we have been honest and open...she knows that she has autism and its effects. On that note we have also set a standard that she should never use her autism as an excuse for bad behavior or not at the very least trying to do her school work. We push her to do and be her very best. Notice I did not say perfect...do I expect A work in everything? No. I do expect her to try her best...if that is a C or even a D so be it. As long as she tries. That has never been a problem really... and she has never questioned that...until recently.
The problem is that the other child is allowed to not complete work...not participate and from Quirky's point of view cause chaos in the class. Quirky's question....why can this child be allowed to do this? Why is this child allowed to not participate? Good Question.
This is where if anybody is actually reading...I just might make some people mad. What do I think the problem is? Well for one...inclusion. Not all special needs kids are suitable for a regular class room. Period. They are often a distraction to other kids trying to learn...and why should those kids suffer because of some crap that a bunch beaucrats got together and decided was best. Two...if these kids are going to be in a regular class room they need aides. Aides that are going to provide the back up that the teachers need because what teacher has the time or desire to stop what they are doing to try and get this child to participate in class in a meaningful way. Or for that matter stop everything to stop a child from being a major distraction. Its unfair to the students in the class and the teacher.
Whats wrong with having a seperate classroom? Nothing. Provided they are given adequate resources...well trained and patient teachers...and the materials they need to learn at their own pace. Instead we get kids of all levels thrown into class rooms because schools or parents push for it. To what end?
Would I put Quirky in a classroom that was specially designed for kids with her needs...(ie...high-functioning autism or aspergers)...absolutely if it were available.
So what did tell Quirky? I was nice...I explained that their are different levels to autism and they each child had their own needs...blah...blah...blah. What did I want to say. I wanted to say because the teachers let her get away with it because they don't really have the skills, time or energy to deal with the needs of a child like this. I wanted to say because a child like this really has not business being in a regular class room. I didn't. I was nice.