Every once in a while a post percolates around in my brain, that despite countess attempts of me trying to banish it, insists on being written. Today’s post is one of those. My topic? Unconditional.
Tomorrow I’ll be taking treats in to the small group class that Parker would be a member of if his health would allow. I’ve had a great time anticipating meeting the party food needs of several different kids, all of whom I consider to be pretty awesome.
If Parker were healthy enough, he’d be in Miss Angie’s Small Group classroom and you know what? I’d be as proud as a parent could be.
Oh, yeah. I went there. Pride. Small group classroom. A kid as bright as Parker. A small groups teacher as talented as Miss Angie.
I know there are those out there who consider me a traitor for not fighting for Parker to be put into a typical 2nd grade classroom. Even with supports, Parker would be lost in that setting, both literally and figuratively.
That is by NO means to say that every child with Ds in a typical classroom would have this same experience. But it would be Parker’s reality. With his first4 years spent circling the drain, and the mind boggling amount of surgeries he’s undergone, each of which requiring long weeks of physical AND cognitive recuperation, the educational odds are stacked against this kid.
Because of that Miss Angie’s class would be the very best choice for Parker. I have absolutely NO issue with that. Like I said, when it comes to Brave Heroes, I’m the proudest of Parker.
(Homeschooling Parker is a close second. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to teach Parker at home.)
I recently spoke to a Mama who broke down in tears of embarrassment when telling me that her child was in a small group setting. She felt that if she told other parents of kids with special needs about her choice it would be like declaring her child to be worth less than other children with special needs.
I wish I could say this Mama’s feelings stunned me. Instead I knew exactly where she was coming from.
As we fight to have our children accepted in a typical world, do we also have to fight to have them accepted and respected within a special needs world?
Those of us who have the gift of experience under our special needs belts should be encouraging those new to this club to make the very best choice for their child based on their child’s needs, and not the agenda of anyone else.
Trust me, we can further the cause of advocacy even with kids rocking the small group scene, the homeschooling scene, the typical classroom with supports scene, the typical classroom with no supports necessary scene. In my view, the objective isn’t to have every kid with special needs in a typical classroom but to give every parent the opportunity to have the choice of how to best educate their child with special needs.
You can disagree with me all you would like. You have that right to do so. It won’t be the first time someone has disagreed with me. But to deliberately make a parent feel as though they are short changing their child because they didn’t make the same choices as we may have, is, imho, kinda rotten in a passive aggressive bullying kind of way.
Doesn’t one of the biggest gifts of community come from the support we give one another?
For me the issue isn’t where or how Parker gets educated, it’s all about the fact that he DOES get educated. And please don’t tell me that Parker will pick up bad habits in a small groups classroom. I’ve worked with kids all my life and I promise you typical kids pick up all kinds of gross stuff from other typical kids too.
I’m so excited for Thursday. I’m excited to see the anticipation on the faces of some pretty fantastic kids. I’m excited to pass out the Valentine’s that Parker has so painstakingly signed his name to. The same Valentine’s he tried to give to the UPS guy that stopped by a few minutes ago. heh.
I love this kid regardless of where his best educational placement may be. There’s a name for this kind of love. It’s called unconditional.
And it’s the same kind of support I’ll show you for your choice of how to educate your child with special needs. Together we can be supportive and proud…..oh so proud…….of all of our kids…….like a true community should be.