Yesterday I was at a meeting attended by, amongst others, some people I rarely see: those who work in special ed. My attitude towards this group is rather two-sided:
-I admire them for doing a hard job at minimal pay, and understand that they care…
-Yet I am equally frustrated by their (often) lack of knowledge in the new ways of teaching children with Down syndrome, and their attitude of not expecting too much.
After the meeting, one of the younger teachers talked a bit to me. She asked if we use grocery store “X”, and I replied affirmatively.
-“You know, I’ve seen your daughter there. She’s really quite nice.” She said this without a trace of patronizing; it was a pure well-meant compliment.
I answered with a wry laugh: “Yeah, when she wants to be…”
She also laughed, and added, “Yes, just as with all our children….”
Younger staff is slowly coming into the schools. Some have had a bit of exposure to new ideas. In addition, parents are beginning to insist that special ed school staffs see good things being accomplished in other schools around the country. Things are still VERY far from perfect in the schools in our city. But I see a stronger willingness to be open to new ideas. I am glad for that.