I have been in education for almost 15 years and I seem to always have the same conversation with adults not involved in education. It goes something like this: “Why are ‘those’ kids included in schools with ‘regular’ kids?” “Don’t they disrupt the other students who can actually learn?” The questions go on and on…
I unfortunately do not get to work with too many special education students but I do have the opportunity to witness wonderful learning experiences. Yesterday I was leaving my classroom and witnessed modified bowling in our commons area. Some students could throw the bowling ball like professionals while others had a ramp (one made of metal like the bowling alleys and one made of cardboard). Each of them were excited about the game and gave it their all! Everyone cheered for their strikes and their victories. Our special ed staff was encouraging, assisting, fixing, recording and doing so much more in order to create a great experience. I later found out that they were preparing for a future field trip to the bowling alley. Words cannot express the excitement I was feeling as I observed.
“These” kids may be quiet, they may be loud, they may not walk and some may walk too fast but they are all FABULOUS. They are learning and growing just like every other student in our school. It may look differently, they may not be able to tell us without the assistance of technology but they are growing! Not only are our students learning and growing but our staff and families are learning that “those” kids have the same right to a great education as the “regular” kids.
So when asked again about “those” kids, I will share with them my thoughts (as I have already in the past), my pictures and my observations of the hardest working students and staff in our building. Thank you Thomas Special Education Staff for creating such an environment for our students where they feel cared for and loved!