Friday, July 25, 2014

When the teacher said she didn't want "that kid" in her class...

I recently wrote a letter to a mom/teacher last week that has caused quite a buzz.  I think it stirred people up because the topic needs to be spoken about.  Teachers need more training and assistance and sometimes they need a little more understanding and compassion for people with ASD. 
We were at Tyler's t-ball game and a teacher made a very hurtful comment about a special needs child on the team saying, "I pray to God he isn't in my class next year." I was simply shocked.  I just stared at her for several minutes, composing myself thinking about what I could say.  She didn't realize that my son with special needs was sitting right in between us. My daughter looked at me and said, "MOM! What are you going to say to her.  Tell her he has special needs." I didn't say anything. I knew that a quick reaction probably wouldn't help in that moment and really I felt sad.  I was sad for her and I was sad for any special needs child who is in a class with a  teacher that doesn't want them.  I went home, got her email address, and let her know what I felt about that comment. You can read the letter here:
or on facebook here: and scroll down to the article
Her surprising response to my letter was respectful, but was totally and completely blaming it on bad parenting. Time and time again we hear people blaming the parents.  Autism is a neurological disorder and these children are so remarkable if you take the time to see them, past their diagnosis.  What I wanted people to gain from sharing this letter is important and goes much further than just to this woman.
1. I always feel like the best way to fight hatred, ignorance, and just plain ugliness isn't by lashing out.  We need to educate and help people to understand autism and that there is much more to these special individuals than "bad behavior".  There are many ways to reach them, it may just take some extra training.
2. Always be mindful when little ears are around (and big ears for that matter) especially as a professional.  We adults are responsible for illustrating to these little ones to either be accepting of children with special needs or not.  Regardless of why the child was acting out, whether people believe its the parents, its the disorder, etc. no one needs to say things like this about children. 
3. It is incredibly obvious that teachers need more training as more and more kids with autism are being mainstreamed into their classes.  The fact is, autism is growing in prevalence.  Not all children with autism need to be in a special needs class. Some need to mainstream in order to grow and develop.  This is just a fact. So if you are a teacher and not willing to try and just want to make it a miserable year for everyone,  it may be time to consider a new profession or a teaching job in which children will not be mainstreamed into your class.
4. Even without training, compassion and caring can go a long way.

Colossians 3:12-17English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Peter 3:8-9English Standard Version (ESV)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

No comments:

Post a Comment