Liberty in Focus on 7th Independent Living Day
This year’s European Independent Living Day is a day like no other More...
PA service contiues
Despite the state of emergency PA service More...
New EU COVID-19 response brings no guarantees for social services
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis More...
Living Independently during COVID-19 Pandemic: Spain
ENIL - Spain is among the countries most affected by the corona virus (COVID-19) More...
EU invisible on social emergency of COVID-19
Day-to-day developments across Europe show that More...
Educating Students with Disabilities: Some Say It's Not Worth It
Kristina Chew, 21 June 2010 I
n the case of students with disabilities---autism like my son Charlie and with multiple disabilities---what ought to be the main focus? Is it academics or more functional areas like life skills and vocational training? Keep in mind that many of these students will not be attending college and may only be able to work in sheltered workplaces, and/or assisted by job coaches.
Is that the way we should be thinking or are we undermining what these students might potentially learn by not 'rounding out' what they are taught to include lessons in literature, in social studies, science?
An Enormous Challenge
This question is highlighted in a June 19th New York Times article about the struggles of public schools to teach students with multiple, severe disabilities. The plight of 20-year-old Donovan Forde is highlighted: as a result of a traumatic brain injury that happened when he was only 5 months old, Donovan cannot walk or talk. Should he be learning subjects like science and English, the curricula very much adapted to accommodate his cognitive disabilities?
Donovan’s mother, Michelle Forde, likes his special education high school, Public School 79, the Horan School, in East Harlem, where she feels he is welcome and cared for. But she wishes his teachers would spend more time working on his practical challenges, like his self-abusive habit of hitting himself in the face so hard that he has to wear thick white cotton mitts most of the time, even when he sleeps.
Instead of having him work on basic academic goals, like identifying shapes and coins, she wishes he had physical therapy more than 30 minutes, twice a week, because it is generally the only time during the day he is taken out of his wheelchair, except when an aide takes him to the bathroom to change him.
A quick glance at some (thankfully not all of) the comments to the New York Times article suggests---more than unfortunately---that many people have a long way to go as far as understanding why all students have the right to a free and appropriate public education.
Writes one reader in a comment that over 300 people 'recommended' (I didn't):We are spending 5 to 10 times as much on students who will never be the backbone of society, never be able to consistently hold a job. Indeed, many will be shuffled off to expensive group-home settings. Many more will be wards of the State in other, less desirable ways. In our desire to do everything for everyone, state and federal politicians and lobbying interests have carved out special-niche mandates that significantly reduce our ability to serve those who will one day serve our country best.
Providing an education for students like Donovan and for Charlie is not a waste of resources. Far from it, it's a sign of the humanity of our society and---I know I sound idealistic here, but so be it---of what sets our society apart, that it's the law to educate students with disabilities.
My son Charlie can talk a little and he does not have any physical disabilities. As Charlie has gotten older, more and more of his learning has been what is called 'functional'; has been about teaching him 'skills' that involve 'self-care' and 'daily living' (teeth brushing, household chores) and that, it's hoped, might prepare him for some kind of job. He still receives speech therapy and occupational therapy, with the subject matter of both of these determined according to what might best help him in his day-to-day experiences, needs and interactions.
Charlie does not read; he's currently working on various sight words for places, things and the like. Since he was in preschool, teachers and therapists have been trying numerous methods and curricula to teach him the alphabet and reading. It was just a few years ago that Charlie mastered the alphabet (he is 13 years old). I still always feel the tug of hope: Maybe, maybe, and who knows but perhaps Charlie is able to read much more than he appears to, but just hasn't revealed this yet to us. That is, Charlie is not being taught to read with a view towards reading books but to help him navigate the world a little better. And isn't that what reading is for, for many?
Still, I often feel a tug: Shouldn't we be challenging Charlie more? Have we 'given in'? Charlie is only 13 years old; isn't it too early to have 'narrowed' his education down to teaching him the skills for a job?And then I feel exactly like Donovan's mother, who, as quoted in the New York Times, says ' “The only goal I had for him was when he was in the hospital after the accident, when the nurse told me he wasn’t going to live......He’s here, and he’s 20 years old. So he surpassed his goal. He’s alive.”
Yes, Donovan is here and Charlie is here, as are so many students with disabilities and we need to make sure that they have access to the education that they need. I believe the onus is upon us all to keep finding new and different ways to teach students with so many different needs, to do all that we can to help them learn and grow and achieve their full potential.
It's the least that we can do.
Special Advisor for International Disability Rights
Third workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
Second workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
Educating Students with Disabilities: Some Say It's Not Worth It
Workshop on monitoring and implementation CRPD in Serbia
INFORMATION BULLETIN - European Court of Human Rights upholds the right to vote of persons with disabilities
European Call for Protest: Inclusion - "Being there from the start"! 05 May, 2010
European Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29 April 2010 - ENIL
Rights and reality: disabled people’s experiences of accessing goods and services
ENIL calls for an end to Death by Social Indifference
Four more countries ratify CRPD
Disability Awareness in Action Newsletter
SEMINAR IN NIKSIC, MONTENEGRO
CIL in Belgrade too
We have our lives back
JOBS FOR ALL
MD persons continue hunger strike
Call for 140 financial support for 140 students with disability
Council of Europe calls for deinstitutionalisation of children with disabilities
NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DRIVES FORWARD DISABILITY RIGHTS
“Incredible stories of invisible lives” exhibition in Uzice
Draft of Law on Social Protection
30 years United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Opening Conference of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion,
The sky's the limit for disabled athletes in Serbia
CRPD Ratifications reach 76
Round table "Development the advocacy capacities of organisations of persons with disability in Serbia"
With Parthership Towards Development
FREE OUR PEOPLE NOW!
COMMEMORATING THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA
Persons with disability in politic life everywhere
ENIL has 777 members in Facebook
Disability and policy
„Love and Kindness“ Fund
Women with disability
„A Midnight Summer Dream“
Court Cases filed in the Name of Persons with Disability
Freedom Drive 2009 - Demands
INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ABOUT H1N1 VIRUS
My world has changed – two stories in one
European Citizen Award
Not just a pretty Facebook
First deaf Member of Parliament is sworn in
Letter to Prime Minister Cvetkovic
PA Service in Leskovac too
International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December 2009
New TV broadcast
Malta: MOTE - My Opinion My Vote
Access to persons with disability
„CLOSER TOGETHER“ PROJECT
SERBIA RATIFIED UN CONVENTION
Court case dealing with UN COnvention in Germany
WHY SHOULD EUROPE INCREASE THE MATERNITY LEAVE?
Learning disability genes found
Poland: Disabled People Excluded from EU Elections
International Autism Day
Coucil for persons with disability
My right to be healthy
International Day of Rare Diseases
PERSONAL ASSISTANCE BILLS
Disability Equality: Promoting Positive Attitudes
SERVICE IN JAGODINA
White House launched a new website today and disability issues are highlighted under the Agenda heading
Conference on Cooperation for Improvement of Disability Policy in Serbia
Workshhop on CRPD
First Committee of Experts on Disability Rights Convention Elected
GREAT SUPPORT TO ANTONIJEVIC FAMILY
Parking for everyone
Electoral rights for PWDs in Albania
The ways of integration
Finding a College That Suits Students “With Special Needs”
Another silver medal for Serbia
The Annual march for Disabled Visibility in Madrid
Good Practise/Bad Practice
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Free our People!
All... but not retard.
European Day of Disabled People 2008
Parents' fury at 'Down's Syndrome dolls'
Eurobarometer on discrimination
Less sex, less fun
Coming Soon, a Braille Silver Dollar
Roads to integration
Disability proves no barrier to Olympic inclusion
Media and Disability
Media and disability
Are there any changes in preparations for Paraolympics?
U.N Issues Stamps to Commemorate Disability Treaty
Beijing 'sorry' for offending disabled
Government unveils new package for disabled children
China Sets Gold Standard in Offending Disabled
Way to Independence
Wishes could come true
Seminar on reforms of social protection system
National Conference on Gender Equality
Mobility International Seeks Young Adults
Wal-Mart settles with applicant with disability [USA]
First Contestant with a Disability to Compete for Miss USA Title
INFO - CENTER
INACCESSIBILITY IS DISCRIMINATION!
UN Convention on PWDs rights
Conference on National strategy for Youth
Bits and pieces from Slovenija
Meeting with Bozidar Djelic
Focus group “Social services for PWDs“
SHARE SEE Grantee Training
Make a date
It's Okay to Stare... Then Engage a Question!
Sombor hosted workshop "sex, gender, disability"
Dancing Beyond Disability
Seminar HUMAN BEING AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Project From Alternative to Standardisation
The regional group of experts in social service provision for people with disabilities
Youth Regional conference
Are we going to Europe?
Disability Guide to Disneyland Paris
POI Conference "From cause to the result: New approaches towards disability"
Open Letter to the Government, Members of National Assembly Competent Institutions and Policy Makers
Centre plan for disabled actors
An Autistic Dream
MEETING ON DISABILITY ISSUES IN SERBIA
A PARAGIDM SHIFT FROM 'CHARITY' TO 'RIGHTS AND DIGNITY'
New Visa rules
Disabled rights champion honoured
Map of the World
Serbia is going to sign UN CRPD
WORKSHOP IN CAIRO
Seminar on Women with Disabilities
Adaptation of living environment for Persons with Disabilities
Program „Contact Organisations from the Civil Society”
Community Living for Disabled People Must Be Made a Priority
Celebrating 3rd December
Celebrating the 3rd December 2007
FILM FESTIVAL OBSERVING 3 DECEMBER
National Umbrella Organisation mark 3rd of December
ENDING OF SHARE SEE TRAINING PROGRAM
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – NISKA BANJA
IMPORTANT DAYS TO CELEBRATE
To Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
SHARE SEE training in Predejane
Recognising the Rights of Girls and Women with Disabilities
SHARE SEE IV MODULE IN SMEDEREVO
Creation the Local Plans of Actions in Disability Area
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – BELGRADE
TODAY IS THE DAY OF UN
Goodbye mouse hello voice controls
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF POVERTY REDUCTION
ADA RESTORATION ACTION CENTER
WHERE IS SERBIA
Disability Rights Treaty on Verge of Making History?
The Days of European Heritage in Belgrade, 20-30 of September
Council of Europe in Zagreb
Virtual interpreter turns speech into sign language
Strasbourg Freedom Drive
Jagodina hosted the Third Table tennis tournament "Jagodina Trophy"
Hungary ratified UN Convention
Convention on Child Protection
UN convention on disability rights reaches milestone in signatories
IIIrd INTERNATIONAL SMILING CHILD FESTIVAL
Your dressing room on the Internet
Chosen home life a basic right for disabled people
What Can They Do?
III Module of trainings accomplished
SHARE SEE trainings
Project with young activists finished
Special EUROBAROMETER 263 “Discrimination in the European Union”
Seminar on Independent Living in Macedonia
It's Deaf Awareness Week 7-13 May
International Day of Families (15 May)
Social services in South East Europe
Test on Autism
UN Headquarters, New York, NY
Presentation the UN Convention in Belgrade
Presentation of UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities in Jagodina
SHARE SEE training in Belgrade
SHARE SEE training for Leskovac cluster
SHARE SEE Module II in Nis
The U.S. Embassy has a pleasure to invite you
SHARE SEE trainings Module II
I N T E R V I E W
UN Study of Violence Against Women Finds 50% of Disabled Women Experience Abuse
Launch of the Year of Equal Opportunities
Survey reveals social attitudes to disability
Homes that Meet Life’s Changing Needs
Awards for the best Campaign, PAs and users within the PASS project
Design for Everyone, Disabled or Not
EDUCATION FOR MEMBERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NOVI SAD ON BASIC FACTS ON DISABILITY ISSUES!
UN Convention adopted
Tribune on UN Convention in Novi Sad
Round table in Sarajevo
Evropean Union and Persons with Disabilities
Promotion of International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PASS presentation in Bosnia and Herzegovina