There has recently been a news story reported in several places regarding a six-year-old student being handcuffed in a Georgia school. I have read several comments by numerous people about their views as well as the mother’s concerns as reported in the article.
First of all, I want to say that I do not know this child or the extent of his special needs or diagnosis. I don’t even know what actually happened at the school to require the use of handcuffs on this child, other than what has been reported. My views come from my own experiences as a parent of my own special needs child. Continue reading Special Needs Children: A Parent’s View on Restraining a Child
Yesterday, I was fortunate to be able to visit with my daughter’s kindergarten class. Haynes-Inman Education Center is a school for children with various special needs. The teachers there provide various therapies to help these children overcome some of their disabilities.
On Monday, they were having “Leaf Day” in her classroom. The teacher brings in leaves for the kids to play in. While this might sound trivial to some, these kids are not usually able to go outside and play in the leaves like typical kids do. Some kids have sensory issues where they are unable to handle a new feeling, for example, even the feeling of a dry leaf being crumbled in their hands. While this is not necessarily the case of this day, these types of interactions help these kids to better relate to their surroundings and this is just one example of how they help these kids to learn and explore their surroundings.
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter is one of the students seen in these pictures. Raising a child with special needs can be quite demanding. Before the kids were introduced to the leaves, I was able to sit and observe the daily happenings in the classroom; things I am not normally able to observe. I saw as the staff move swiftly from one child to another – one child needing medication at a specific time, another trying to transition after mom left, still another needing to eat breakfast. The entire time seeming to have an unending amount of patience. Even though it doesn’t show, I know it is hard to do…I have three children at home.
I think that is what makes this place, and others like it, so special and also why my daughter loves so much to go there. The teachers, assistants, and therapists all care deeply about the success of these children – even if that success is simply being able to choose between two objects on any given day or watching a child take his or her first steps on their own after years of therapy.
I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of these children as much as I enjoyed spending the time to take them, and as much as they enjoyed experiencing something new.
No-Zero Grading Policy
Picture yourself in an ambulance being rushed to the hospital. Maybe you are having a heart attack. You arrive at the hospital and the doctors start to work on you. As the paramedics relay to the doctor your condition, you hear the doctor order an antacid for your treatment…an antacid. As you are taking your last breath, you hear the doctor say, “Whoops!!! I failed…can I get a do over?” The heart monitor begins the steady whine signaling your passing.
During Superbowl 46, the Giants and the Patriots fought seemingly relentlessly for the title of champion. As the final moments played out, it seems that the Giants are going to win. The Patriots miss their last chance at a goal. As the Giants begin the wild celebration, the announcer comes across the PA system and state, “May I have your attention, please! Due to the hard work of the Patriots this year, the NFL judges have determined that they also shall share the victory this year! Please help us in congratulating the co-winners of Superbowl 46!”
I figure you are thinking to yourself that these are ridiculous scenarios. They are. I can’t imagine anyone wanting an ER doctor who is not at the top of his game. I also cannot imagine the chaos and outrage that would occur if the title of champion was diluted for the Giants. People tend to work harder when they know they have a limited chance to get it right.
While I agree that students should have every opportunity to learn concepts, I believe they need a level of achievement to strive for…for excellence. Allowing students to continue to retake exams or redo work just to try to get them a better grade to make the school look better is not helping the student later in life. An ER doc does not usually get a second chance to save a life. I want to know (or at least believe) that the doctor who is making split second decisions about my care excelled in his/her studies. I want to believe that the doctor has the drive to make himself better and not be satisfied with just completing medical school. Yes, my doctor might make a mistake…doctors are human…but that doctor also knows there are consequences for not excelling at their practice.
Likewise these students need to know that they must drive themselves to be better. They need to know that it is OK to fail…as long as they get up and try again. There are also students, though, that do not do the work. The policy from the school system above prevents teachers from issuing a “0” to a student for not completing an assignment. That student receives an “I.” According to this policy, a student that refuses to do assignments gets a minimum score of 60. That tells a student that they can skate through the class and still make a recoverable grade…without doing the work the other students are doing. How is this fair to the students who bust their rear trying to get it done. This policy cheapens the work of those students who do work hard and also sets unrealistic expectations for when the student gets into the work force.
I believe it is a huge mistake for school systems to adopt these types of policies.