Friday, October 30, 2015

Ignorance and Judgement is Present in Every Type of School

It is common knowledge among the special needs community that as special needs parents we accept a level of ignorance and judgement from the public when it comes to our children; we even accept it from our family. While it shouldn't be so widely accepted now a days, it is and it seems to be spreading. This week I felt ignorance and judgement from a place no parent should ever feel it, one of my son's teachers. I know a lot of us have been there but that doesn't mean we should or that I am going to accept this as being normal.

Here's a little back story:

I've dealt with ignorance before. I've even written about my family's experience with the school districts we've dealt with in the past and it leading us to choose homeschool, Until now I'd never dealt with it from a homeschool teacher. I hope to never deal with this again. My family uses the K12 program which heavily pushes a General Education and Special Education curriculum for their students, as most schools do; however in our case my son's teacher doesn't require the General Ed class be attended if we can't make it. Now before you get all up in arms over this lack of inclusion-K12 is homeschool. It isn't exactly the same as a brick and mortar school.

With that said, this is what happened:

During Math class this week my son's teacher, whom has nothing to do with his case, asked us to wait ten minutes after class in the blackboard room. Of course I did as asked. When she finally came in she was full of attitude from the start. She immediately asked how Z was doing in General Education to which I replied that he wasn't going because his teacher doesn't require it seeing as though Zain is schooled with his little brother on the same level as him. I was surprised when she replied that she had only asked to see if she "had the right kid."

Now pay attention, this is where it gets good.

She followed this up by putting her nose so deep into things that are none of her business that I am surprised she didn't suffocate. She began by trying to tell me what is best for my son as far as his schooling and scheduling goes. Keep in mind this woman has never met my child or me nor has she looked at his case in depth. She is just a teacher that takes my son's homeroom teachers kids for Math. She didn't stop there though.

To sum it up, she went on to tell me that while making school and real world schedules meet up is hard it's something that must be done. I'd just have to try harder. Let me stop here and tell you that I home school two children with one computer. Between these two children I have 20 classes a day (some that are more than an hour long a piece), no less than 2 class connect classes with a teacher everyday, and 2 therapy sessions a week-all on the computer. Yet I'm suppose to find time for multiple additional classes that are 3 grade levels above where my son is all based on one woman's personal preference. Needless to say I was fuming at this point but she didn't stop there. She went on to tell me that "My choices are causing my son to be behind" [his peers in school]. At this point I was borderline homicidal.

I am extremely proud of myself for how I handled this, if you know me you will be too. I excused us from her class; told her to have a nice day; then emailed the teacher that is in charge of my son's case. His case manager was more than apologetic, which I appreciated more than she'll ever know. She also said she was going to have a talk with the teacher in question. Now let's just hope she does and this doesn't happen again. Until this point we were enjoying the K12 program.

Now this is my question, my point: When did teachers start thinking that it was OK to talk to a parent in this fashion? We know our children are behind, we set through IEP meetings, therapy appointments, and Doctors visits and listen to the percentages and levels several times a year. Did she say this stuff for fun? Did it make her feel better about herself to tell a mother that has worked her butt off over a decade that she was the cause of her child being behind? I'm assuming this teacher has no children of her own or she wouldn't have opened her mouth.

What is for sure is that she left this special needs mother confused. I felt every emotion a person can feel when she said these things. People need to think before they speak. I think it comes down to that. We are losing the ability to stop and think. When that happens people get their feelings hurt and families pay the price. While with this particular subject I desire for liberosis when it comes down to it this is one that we all must care about. The public needs to realize that this isolation we feel, this condemning judgment shown to us special needs parents extends into our schools as well.

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