Embracing Our Special Needs Population

Today’s post is in celebration of all the people who work tirelessly with and for our special needs population in our country. If not for these people who provide daily care at homes, at schools, in the workplace, hundreds of thousands of our family members would be restricted to a very limited life experience.

I came away from work today a bit disgruntled, disgusted, and flat-out disappointed. Apparently, some folks were not being agreeable with a schedule created to include our special needs population in programs available to everyone. I sat listening to the anguish of a coworker  (we’ll call her Patty)  as she related the verbal attack she received from another coworker (we’ll call her Sally). Patty had placed her special needs people in the appropriate programs, but Sally was fuming over the amount in her room.

I was outraged for Patty and heartsick for the group. Once again, bigotry rears its ugly head. All Sally wanted was for them to go somewhere else, not thinking about these people’s variety of limitations and how limited their choices are. Patty’s people were being treated like second-class citizens, if not worse.

All’s well  that ends well. Patty’s people got to stay in their programs, but really? In this day and age, to see prejudice directed at a population of people already living each day with their own trials and tribulations, makes me sick! I am appalled and dismayed that there are still people in this country that walk around living as though we have a caste system here.  

So I say, CHEERS! To everyone that works with special needs individuals: you are the lifeline, the tether that keeps special needs people connected to the world around them. I thank you for your tireless quest for equality. I join with  you in that fight, because if my experience today is any indicator, we have a long way to go before our special needs population is truly considered no different from the rest of us and accepted unconditionally.

Will you join me? Advocate for our special needs population. It does a heart good…

Here is a short list of organizations that provide  information about and for our special needs population:

http://fcsn.org/index.php   Federation for Children with Special Needs

http://www.angelswithspecialneeds.org/ Angels With Special Needs

http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/  4My Child

http://www.osfamilies.org/ Organization of Special Needs Families

http://adhd.kids.tripod.com/sitesorg.html ADHD/LD Special Needs Organizations

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    Yeah Deena,
    I worked towards having computer access for special needs student in schools. I was frustrated by the lack of cooperation from lots of people. I have started working with a group that I really like called Hopekids.
    http://www.hopekids.org/
    Keep spreading the news and enough people will get together to make a difference.

    1. deenaremiel says:

      Thanks for all you do, Ruth! There are many of us out there that respect our special needs friends, but sometimes, constantly fighting for their rights gets us down and we need to recharge our batteries.

  2. Judy says:

    People are flawed, and prejudices are taught, from a very early age. There will always be those who believe that only their way is the right way, and anyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong and needs to change. Horrible atrocities have been committed because others didn’t “fit in.” Some people don’t want the blinders off, and I’ve found that it’s usually because they are afraid. I feel sorry for “Sally” because she’s missing out on an incredible experience, an opportunity to broaden her world in immeasurable ways.

    1. deenaremiel says:

      I agree, Judy! She winds up being the loser AND being seen in a less than positive light.

  3. Robert Roman says:

    Thanks for the cheers and a big ‘hear, hear!’ for the sentiment. All of my classes last year had at least a few inclusion students and this upcoming year the bulk of my classes will be in self-contained classrooms for special needs students. There are challenges inherent in both of those situations, but those are exacerbated by the ‘Sallys’ in the world, sometimes in ways they don’t realize.

    In my case, it took me nearly eight months to track down a comprehensive list of which students were special needs and to get some idea what needs each student had. Of course by then, I had a good grasp of each student, but it would have been a lot faster had I been able to get the information compiled from earlier years.

    I’ll readily admit; part of that time was me figuring out who to speak with. If I had inclusion classes this year, I’d have the same list within a few days or weeks. However, I was appalled by the reason I wasn’t provided with it in the first place. The person who gave me the information, after confirming my reasons for asking, explained that there were individuals in the building who would protest vociferously if they realized there were special needs students in their ‘normal’ classes. The solution, such as it was, was to assign a special education qualified co-instructor without informing the subject matter instructor.

    So, because of a few people who ‘don’t want those people ruining my class’, the bulk of us who are just trying to do right by as many kids as possible wind up having to jump through hoops to get information that otherwise would be incredibly helpful in meeting the students’ needs.

    Thankfully, the vast majority of the staff is, like I said, just trying to do the best we can for as many students as we can.

    Oh, well. Thanks again for the kudos, GRRR! again at the deliberately ignorant people of the world, and back to writing. Did I mention my WIP has a physically disabled person as one of the main characters? Complete coincidence, I assure you. 🙂

  4. deenaremiel says:

    Robert, there it is again, those horrible phrases “those people” and “ruin everything”. Argh! My response when people say that… They’re MY people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Do you know how many times I have to say that every week? It’s pathetic.

    You just keep on jumping through those hoops, Robert. “Those kids” are counting on you! ❤

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