I was checking out a great resource site I often visit (olliebean) in an attempt to research some special needs homeschooling/advocacy information, and saw the image above. These statements should be uttered by all professionals in education/therapists/parents/care providers on a DAILY basis.
Much of what we get in return from our children, particularly those with special needs who are let “off the hook” all too often, is exactly what we expect from them. Yes, it is certainly incredibly challenging to figure out when our expectations are realistic and when they are just “too much”, but how do we know if we don’t try?
Another excellent post on there today, related to this topic in many ways, was about how Acceptance Starts at Home…
If any person indicates they have lower expectations, do not presume competence, uses functioning labels , does not value your child as a whole, complex, contributing member of society, it’s our job as parents to speak up and educate that person . It can be really hard to do if you don’t happen to have the type of personality that lends itself to confrontation, but it is necessary. If we allow someone speak to or about our child in a way that is anything but respectful, we’re not setting the right example. If our children see us speaking up, it’s much easier for them to do the same . My teenage son tells us it has had a big impact on his advocacy.
This really struck a nerve with me. I am in the place right now where I am trying to determine if the experiment we have been living with Kimberly in General Ed (mostly positive overall) is going to be a viable option for us moving forward. I question this for multiple reasons, mostly: is this the “least restrictive” setting for her? Academically, taking her back to kindergarten was appropriate…ironically though, the maturity level of the children and interactions have been less so. I am trying to balance maintaining her confidence with matching her abilities with the expectations, but also want to avoid making her feel, in any way, as though she is being held back or punished for her differences.
Without question, I will not place her back in the separate setting classroom, it is not the best place for her. Our school district (and state for that matter) do not support a truly inclusive education model…rather it is cobbled together when insisted upon and the Resource teacher is overwhelmed at best. So that leaves: current situation, private school (little to no options there), or me.
The result of this dilemma remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure…we ALL need to:
Presume Competence…because, Expectations Matter (and gives lots of hugs and support too)!