Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting Michael off to school

It is quite a ballet Michael's parents do to get him off to school each day. Dad gives him a bath while Mom prepares breakfast and lunch to go with him. His food has to be pureed and packed up along with bibs, diapers and meds.
Michael's school specializes in special needs students with dedicated teaches, aides and medical professionals. These people understand the needs of their very special students. But the Los Angeles school district would like to close this very special school. They prefer to put their money and effort into magnet schools for the gifted. The disabled, they seem to feel, should be shut away and not seen. In fact Michael, at other schools, has had teachers who thought he should be put in a corner and left to fend for himself. Michael does learn but he needs help. While I certainly agree that gifted and normally developing children need a good education, they have greater personal resources than do children like Michael.

Children like Michael need patient, creative teachers willing to find activities to spark their interest. They need patient repetition to learn new tasks. They need patient observers willing to interpret their attempts to communicate their needs. Otherwise they wither away, going into a steady decline.

This is one grandma's rant. One grandma in a larger family that loves and is devoted to their special needs child. One family that thinks their child is just as important as any other. One family that thinks special ed schools are just as important as special music schools, special science schools or any other special school.

There are many familys like ours.


Diane C. said...

Maybe a bit of a rant, but an interesting and informative photo-essay, Martha! Sorry that Michael's special school might be closing. His parents deserve a lot of credit for the great job they're doing of understanding and taking care of his many needs.

Eric Z said...

There has been a great deal of ranting going on around here over this issue. I really appreciate the essay, although I wish I'd combed my hair for the photos. :)

Thanks, Mom.

Melissa said...

What a sweet boy you have there. I can understand how frustrated you are about the school wanting to close and how mainstream kids seem to get all the breaks so to speak. Not to say that they need a good education to but it's so frustrating when these special kids seem to fall to the way side because of on thing or another. I am dealing with school budget cuts right now and how it means there will be next to no help for my son during the summer and next fall. My heart goes out to you and your family and to your sweet boy Michael. If only as much emphasis could be placed on our special kids and what they need, as what is put on these magnet schools and the like.

Lily Hydrangea said...

thanks for this thoughtful interesting post. I have a brother-in-law with special needs so this is a subject close to my heart.
You are right to raise awareness about this very important issue.
Michael has such a sweet face!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I don't think our city has any schools specifically for special needs children, but they do take care of them in the schools until they are 21.