Recently a teacher of Spanish posted to a listserv that she had a child with selective mutism in her class. One response was “now I have officially heard it all!”
Both elicited comments that were quite appropriate, most of them letting the teacher know in no uncertain terms that she needed the support and direction of qualified persons in setting up this child’s education plan.
This is the most exasperating thing. In the face of the herculean efforts by parents and experts over decades to integrate children with various disabilities into the public school system and required courses on this topic to get certification, we still have teachers who imagine they are going to have to deal all by themselves with whatever child is placed in their classrooms. There are LAWS about this and every teacher should know that. Some posters pointed out that the teacher can simply dump this on administrators b/c they are required by LAW to provide support. Lord!
Then there is the “… I’ve hear it all….” comment. I’m not sure how it was meant. Was the poster referring to the diagnosis of selective mutism? Another poster wrote, “I sincerely doubt you’ve even heard half of it.” Or was the poster registering outrage that a school should have to “take in” such a damaged piece of goods.
One of the first things I noticed at my school when I started my teaching there was the way the retarded kids were integrated into the student body. Even in a large school of 2300 students, everyone seemed to know them and greeted them, high-fived them, teased them, had fun with them. It was a verypositive environment for everyone.
My school was a mecca for disabled kids and we had wonderful teachers and aides to help a very broad range of disabled children, or differently abled, if you prefer. They certainly added a lot to the school but they also required a high expense output due to the low student-teacher ratio required and the specialization of the teachers. And yet whenever we had an in-service to help us work with these kids as they were mainstreamed into our classrooms, you could always hear the complaints about “molly-coddling” and “special treatment”.
In “Pat’s world view”, I need to talk more about where this very American trait comes from, the fear that someone is getting something without working for it. You have to ask yourself, just how is a mentally retarded child supposed to learn the many skills required to gain a job as a carry-out boy (person) in a grocery store if he is left at home with no teaching. I will speak of the underlying premise to this view, which is that those who can afford private schooling will see their children get the help they need while the rest of society will wallow in misery, the misery they deserve as God’s dispensation for being unworthy.