Skip to main content

My Kid Won’t Learn from Your Kid.

Many times during our life, if we are truly challenging our own personal growth - we will come face-to-face with our own prejudices. I have had several in my 39 years – one of the first was when I moved to the south when I was 17. I had some fairly strong stereotypes about Southerners – and very quickly at the university I attended, those stereotypes were laid to rest.

In my more recent history, I was struck by my prejudices about children with special needs. When first researching classroom environments for Ben, I definitely had the notion that he would only benefit from being in an inclusion class. There are many reasons parents want their child in inclusion – it is more “normal”, curriculum is rigorous and if your child is going to learn from their peers, you want those peers to be typical.

When it was all said and done, Ben’s best placement was in a self-contained classroom, a class with a teacher trained in special education with two assistants and 9 children, all with differing special needs.

Looking back now, I ask myself, “How could I have been so narrow-minded?” By discounting what children with special needs could teach my son, I am at the same time taking away Ben’s gifts. I know our Ben can offer friendship, love, courage, strength, determination, warmth, kindness, laughter and patience to his classmates.

It is a family’s decision to place their child in the best school setting – different ones work for all types of individuals. My only question for anyone facing this type of decision is, “What negative thoughts, fears or stereotypes do you have that could be getting in the way of making the best decision possible for your child?” If you have, at the very least, examined yourself, you are headed in the right direction.


  1. Wow...I can relate so well to what you are talking about. My son is ADHD bipolar. His mood swings put him from a happy and excited child to a quiet withdrawn lonely boy. I struggled with the decision to put him in a special class when he was young. I figured that he would "normalize" in a regular classroom setting. Little did I realize how overrated "normal" is. My son flourished in 2 years of special education classes, thanks to a most awesome teacher. I'll just call him Jack...He totally understood my son and what he needed when he needed it. With this awesome teachers help in two years, my son had learned the social skills he needed to function in a normal school setting. I'm not saying it's been easy street since then, but he surely does have a much better understanding of what he can accomplish and he also understands that there are people willing to help if only he asks(thank you IEP). I'm not afraid for my son at school anymore, and more important, he isn't afraid either. He will graduate one semester late, but he WILL graduate. That is a dream come true for me. Thanks for the great post :)

  2. Thanks Bendigo! I really appreciate you reading and commenting. It is always good to know I've hit the mark with someone. You are an awesome Dad to be so involved with your son and school. It has probably made a huge difference.


Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my post. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. If you wish to contact me directly, please let me know and I will email you.

Popular posts from this blog

Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities

  "Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities" is a series on eSpeciallyBen. As Ben approached 18, it was clear our role changed as parents. We needed to help Ben transition into adulthood. These stories are meant to assist other families who face, or will face, some of the same challenges. Talking About the Future Guest Post - Matt Wilson Legal Guardianship, Medicaid and SSI Researching Group Homes Questions to Ask at a Group Home Visit Referral Packet for Group Homes Getting Assistance from a Care Manager From Group Home Placement to Discharge Reaching for Independence

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

After my post, Brotherly Love , I received an email from a reader who reminded me of this song. I knew the song, but had never really thought about the words and the meaning behind them. I looked it up and thought others might see the lyrics in a new light.   He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother The road is long With many a winding turn That leads us to who knows where Who knows when But I'm strong Strong enough to carry him He ain't heavy, he's my brother. So on we go His welfare is of my concern No burden is he to bear We'll get there For I know He would not encumber me If I'm laden at all I'm laden with sadness That everyone's heart Isn't filled with the gladness Of love for one another. It's a long, long road From which there is no return While we're on the way to there Why not share And the load Doesn't weigh me down at all He ain't heavy, he's my brother. He's my brother He ain't h

ABC's of ABA

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop presented by a behavior therapist. As it turned out, I went to a conference on the same topic over a year ago. I will describe what I have taken away from these methods in my own words - but please take a look at the links I have provided below. After I learned about this, life with children made a lot more sense to me. Not that this is earth shattering material, but it helped me to better understand the hows, whats and whys of behavior in children, and occasionally husbands. I am in no way an expert in this - just a parent who wants to share a behavior strategy that has worked in our home. I hope to inspire others to explore it further.  Any errors in information comes from me and cannot be blamed on the presenters. Also, you may have seen ABA - Applied Behavior Analysis - connected most often with Autism - please do not let this deter you if your child is not autistic. I use these methods with all my children, none of which are labeled au