We live in a world filled with judgement and stigma and sadly children with special needs often fall victim to judgement which I feel is mostly down to not being understood. Like with mental illness, you hear a word and think oh no, lets not go anywhere near and lets keep our children away too, just in case.
I have a friend whose son suffers from a learning disability and is behind by approximately 6 years. While my friend is fighting to keep him in a mainstream school due to lack of support she is worried that he attending a special school would make him stand out even further.
I argued that he should stay in the school he knows; OK he will never meet the grades expected by the national average, but who cares. The important factors to me are that he is happy, safe and supported.
Why should he have to attend a special school because he has special needs? He needs an extra teaching assistant to help him in class, but is that a bad thing? I do understand her cause for concern about the possibility that he may be bullied because of this. I reminded her I was bullied severely for years at school and for no reason at all.
I have heard mothers in the playground at the other school my children attend, muttering how a child with special needs should not be mixing with normal children and it was a good job my sons football was in his bag as I would have loved to have thrown it accidently at them, on the side of their head.
What type of attitude does this project upon to our children? We are judging children here. The fear of an illness, a disability or a special need causes disgusting prejudice and because they are ignorant they form a judgement.
Why should our children not be mixing with every other child their age range, just because that child has an extra need, does not make them any less important and we should be teaching our children not making them frightened of something they do not understand?
“What is wrong with that girl” I remember my daughter, very young at the time asking me when we walked past a lady with downs syndrome. Rather than shrugging and avoiding the question I was able to explain in a very simple way. When I see school children poking fun at the residents who live in a house close to our own, that houses grown-ups with disabilities or special needs, my children are disgusted as much as I am.
I am very proud of my children and the way they accept others. I am proud because they are what our generation should be, so much needs to be changed when it comes to stigma of certain illnesses and disabilities.
Is it too hard to teach your children that we are all the same, despite what illness or disability we may have we all leave a skeleton behind.