Monday, February 8, 2010
But he's thriving in school, and the biggest factor may be this: he's included in a classroom with kids who aren't learning disabled.
Too often, it seems, kids who are different -- kids with speech delays, kids on the autism spectrum, kids who have a range of sensory and/or behavioral challenges -- get shunted off into special education classes. And while that might be the right solution for some kids, it sure wasn't for my nephew, who started to come home from kindergarten imitiating the emotionally disturbed behaviors of some of his classmates, and was less and less responsive and engaged while at school. A mid-year change to a new school, in which he got help from an aid but within the setting of a regular classroom, made a world of difference.
He's well into elementary school now, reading, writing, doing math, doing work on a par with his peers, sometimes scoring in impressive percentiles within his grade level.
Yet a couple of years ago, his parents were being told by social workers he couldn't be taught.
It's amazing what a difference the right educational setting can make.
Putting kids with learning disabilities in classes with kids who aren't can have benefits for everyone. It's a way for kids to learn to be sensitive, caring, good friends to kids who need some extra help sometimes. Over the longterm, the learning disabled kids tend to do better when being in an inclusive setting.
And now, in a shameless plug, I'm going to mention the book my sister-in-law, Diane Linder, has written about her family's experiences trying to get her son what he needed to learn. It's called BEYOND WORDS - REFLECTIONS ON OUR JOURNEY TO INCLUSION. If you or anyone you know is dealing with the educational system and trying to get the best services and setting for a learning disabled child, you'll get a lot out of it. It's moving, it's helpful, and most of of all, hopeful. So if you are so moved, check it out at Powell's Books, Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.