Special Needs Education

I have a friend who has a large family. She’s got 7 kids, and is a single stay-at-home mother. Be that as it may, the fact remains that 3 of her school aged children are on the autism spectrum and have varying levels of learning difficulties as a result. One of her sons is quite severely affected.

My friend is on some never ending rant about the education system failing her family as a consequence. But here’s the thing – she lives in the middle of nowhere. The school her kids attend is tiny, less than 100 students total. They do not have a special needs teacher. The school is barely able to recruit regular teachers as it is – nobody wants to live there – let alone a special needs teacher.

She refuses to consider the option of relocating to a town where more suitable educational facilities are available for her kids. She refuses to consider sending the child with the more serious case of autism to a boarding school which could deal with the challenge.

The school is not out to “get her”. The teachers that the school does have simply do not have the special training required to deal with such an extreme case. I sympathise with her situation, but it is not the school’s fault. The state education department can not force teachers to live in a certain area. If the school is simply unable to recruit a special needs teacher, then yes, that’s incredibly unfortunate, but it is not the fault of the teachers or the school’s administrators.

I wish she would stop blaming everyone else and actually realise that this problem does have a pretty simple solution. There’s a city not that far away which by all measures has the infrastructure and educational facilities to deal with her son. My friend is a stay-at-home single mother who doesn’t work, and really has nothing keeping her living where she is except for sheer pigheadedness and the belief that the world should revolve around her.

Why are we friends again? Sometimes I wonder.


2 thoughts on “Special Needs Education

  1. Oh my…It seems you are very frustrated with your friend. I can understand your concern. School choice is a very personal decision. We can’t always know why parents make the choices for their own special education children, we can only try to understand the difficulty in doing so. Perhaps your friend would be better served with your kindness in finding support groups or even educational counseling in your area. The Dept. of Disability in your state might be able to provide more support for your friend. Good luck.

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