I've shared in my previous SK blogs how difficult the first few weeks of kindergarten were for my son and our family. For a while, I thought we were in for a pretty rough year. Cooper's behavior was out of control, he wouldn't even attempt to do his homework, and his general education teachers didn't seem to understand his special needs.
It was so miserable, I started to think the special education department had made a mistake by deeming him eligible to participate in an inclusive classroom environment, instead of placing him in a special education classroom. I was one step away from requesting a new IEP evaluation when things suddenly (thankfully) took a turn for the better.
Cooper stopped acting out in class and started being quiet and listening to his teachers, though, without help, he doesn't really understand everything they teach. Though he has trouble with directions and grasping what's being taught, he is trying. And for us parents of children with special needs, developmental delays, and learning disabilities, we understand that success isn't always the end result but the actual process of working to achieve a goal. Though his handwriting is basically squiggly lines, at best, the fact that my son is trying so hard to write his ABC's brings absolute joy to my heart.
Why do I think things suddenly began to get better at school? I think his teachers finally get it. They truly understand that Cooper is not like the rest of the children in their classroom. They understand that he's not not listening or trying, but that he has real cognitive delays. They understand that success for Cooper means something different.
If you have a child like mine who is participating in a general education environment and is having difficulties, talk to his or her teachers. The fact is, even if they know that your child requires special education assistance, and even if they've read your child's IEP evaluation themselves, general education teachers don't always grasp the seriousness or severity of special needs. It's our job as parents to make them “get it.”
Do you find grocery shopping easy to do with your disabled child?