On of the better school-book publishers in Israel has put out some new workbooks for the “intellectually impaired”, for “high school” age. They looked interesting, and since I am always looking for things to use with Ricki, I ordered them. There were 5 booklets, three on social studies, and two about language skills. The day before yesterday the order finally arrived, so I spent that afternoon reading them and evaluating their usefulness. [Reading in Hebrew still takes me time, so it was an all-afternoon project.]
The three on social studies are basically on:
-taking responsibility, being part of a community
-rules, laws, legislature
-occupations… why people work, duties, and rights
The two on language were on various language skills, gathering information, emotions, and making choices.
In general, they are well done, and my money was well-spent. The language skills which are targeted are ones she has learned already, which shows, again, the low expectations here for special ed. “High school” level special ed is about what was Ricki’s sixth-grade level. But these booklets will be a good review, and they appear to be fun to work with. But one thing really bothered me.
In one language book, there is a collection of seven poems on emotions. (One of these Ricki studied in fourth grade.) One of the selections is a poem on “secrets in my heart”, i.e., things we feel but are afraid or embarrassed to say. On the bottom of one page is a colored corner that can be folded up. There are instructions to “write a secret of yours in the corner, and if you fold the flap up, it will remain a secret”.
GIMME A BREAK!
First, the allotted space is WAY too small for most students with intellectual disabilities to write in. Secondly, who is guaranteeing that this secret won’t be revealed? That the teacher, grading the booklet, won’t peak? Nor the parents? And not the classmates, sisters, and brothers? What about the right of people to keep their secrets?
So I fired off an angry email yesterday to the publisher. And I suggested that much better than asking students to reveal their secrets would be to promote a class discussion on “good” and “bad” secrets, and why it is important to reveal “bad” ones.
For such a good company to make this “corner” mistake is simply disappointing. I am afraid that it is symptomatic of the basic warped view of the intellectually-impaired that is so prevalent in this country.