Tuesday, August 6, 2013

But for the Grace of God

When Boy Wonder was diagnosed with Classic Autism just under 4 years ago, the rate was 1 in 150 kids had autism. Then it was 1 in 110 kids. The current rate is believed to be anywhere between 1 in 88 or 1 in 50 kids have some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  We are your "But for the Grace of God" story. 

We hear what you say about our kids. We hear what you say when we aren't there to listen when you speak about our kids. And it always eventually gets back to us what you say when we aren't there. To your kids, " Be nice to Johnny. He has special needs" in your Florence Nightingale voice yet then you complain that your kids were placed in the inclusive classroom with our kids.

You complain about what it costs to educate our kids out of one side of your mouth while looking at us with eyes full of pity while rubbing our arm and asking in your most sorrowful voice,"How's Sally doing?".  Then you stand up at a Board of Education meeting and ask if (insert extracurricular activity of your choice here) was cut because of what it costs to educate those special needs kids and furthermore, that our kids are holding your kids back academically.

We hear you and we see you. More importantly, your kids see you. They see your hypocrisy and your double standards.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm no saint. I didn't chose to adopt a special needs child. Most of those who have kids with special needs didn't chose this path. It was thrust upon us by some random act of God, genetics or luck of the draw. I know I checked off the smart and perfect child who will never give me a moment's worry. He or she would grow up, go to college,  and have a happy, successful and independent life.

Let me ask you a question. How would you feel if I said well since my kid can't participate in (insert extracurricular activity of your choice here) I'd like it removed from the school. It's not fair to have (insert extracurricular activity of your choice here) since my kid can't and most likely will never participate. That's not fair now is it?

Federal Law protects Boy Wonder. It mandates that he is given a Free Appropriate Public Education. Your child is also entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education.

So what does your child really learn by having children like ours in their classrooms? Hopefully, they are learning empathy, compassion and an appreciation for other people's differences. They are learning tolerance and acceptance. Aren't these all things that will serve your kids well when they are adults? Yet you want to take that away from them. I bet you think you are all these things but you're not. Your words and deeds have proved otherwise, yet it's not too late for you to change and be a positive example for your kids. Autism and other developmental and learning disabilities are NOT contagious but bigotry, ignorance and intolerance are very contagious.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...there must be a story there. The hypocrites never see themselves in the mirror, no matter how carefully and steadily it is held in front of their faces. It makes me sad that we (those of us whose children NEED the inclusive classroom for a FAPE) are forced to use arguments based on economics to defend why educating our children alongside their typical peers is the wise decision (you know, in terms of the financial cost/benefit analysis--what it costs society to educate our children well today versus taking care of them 100% later). Yet these parents never feel the need to defend their daughter's "right" to cheerleading or their son's "right" to football in cost/benefit to society terms. Considering school starts next Monday for us, however, I have to put the big picture hypocrisy behind me and focus on the here and now of my son's third grade education. Wishing you and Boy Wonder the best as you approach the school year!