Stories from Teachers
Comments from a Teacher
“Sometimes it's the parents who don't want their child tested. The parents cannot bring themselves to admit that their child may have some kind of disability or need special education services. Another common misconception is that the child will 'grow out of' their disorder. Many of these disabilities will need to be managed for an entire lifetime."
A Teacher’s Lament
“I got into special education to help children, but now I feel I'm being prevented from doing my job. The powers- that- be frown upon teachers who recommend special education services. I've become afraid to speak up. I feel awful for some of the children, but I'm afraid of losing my job.”
A Teacher’s Concern
“There's a serious undercurrent of negativity in town towards special education children. Parents feel that their normal children are suffering because of resources being spent on special education. I'm hearing it everywhere, including in town meetings. The parents are saying that class sizes wouldn't be so big if it wasn't for the resources being allocated towards special education students. It concerns me greatly as it appears that one set of parents is pitted against the other.”
Laid Off Teacher
“I was laid off today and I'm convinced that part of the reason is that I recommend too many special education services. I can't prove anything, and I never heard that comment specifically either verbally or in writing. But in reading body language and reading between the lines, I believe they let me go to not only save my salary but to save money by offering fewer special education services.”
A Teacher Recommending Help
“I've been a schoolteacher for almost 15 years so I can recognize special needs kids pretty quickly. Also my older brother has Asperger's so we grew up with it in our family. I have a boy in my class who I recommended to the parents that they get the child tested for ADHD. We even scheduled a meeting to discuss the process. The parents missed the first two meetings, and are very slow in scheduling a third meeting despite my consistent follow-up. Here's a case where the school is trying to help the special needs child and they cannot even get parental consent. While I have no proof, perhaps one or more of the parents has ADHD."
An Understanding Teacher
“I know it can be difficult negotiating with the school to get special education services, I have seen it first-hand. However, I get concerned when I hear parents talk about ‘fighting the school.’ The terminology seems so angry and seems to guarantee conflict. There must be a way where parents can navigate the system to help their special needs child without the situation exploding into anger. Negotiate with the school, don't fight the school.”