If I haven’t heard this once, heard it a thousand times plus…
Today as I rest my sick body my brain doesn’t stop and a thought came to me. Accommodations, It’s a different perspective and human nature that make something so complicated that seems so logical and reasonable to some of us but not to others.
Accommodations seem to be exceptions that require reciprocal responses when you don’t needs them. When you need them they are your normal way of working which does not require a favor.
I will say many things out loud that others think about and in the trenches of teaching those with disabilities we are not making a lot of headway or progress because the day to day process are based on an ideal setting, a trained and willing staff that is not overwhelmed with the great many other things that are asked of them. This is special educators and regular educators. There are limited resources and unchallenged preconceived notions that make progress like pushing a Cadillac up a steep hill.
So what is the solution…unfortunately there is one way to solve this issue but maybe our perspective changing can help. The change being oiled by understanding, compassion, knowledge. I know that is what has helped me. Coming in to education with guns blazing to be someone to convince and change my sphere of influence to be one that is a well oiled special education setting, to win over the hearts to be a school that serve each child to meet their needs teachers eagerly seeking my knowledge and experience to fill in their gaps of experience and knowledge. I’m a nice, compassionate, team player! Well that got me through the first five years ending in cynicism and burnout.
I saw the magnitude of burden laid on my shoulders and those of the regular education teachers shoulders was great. Parents going through a gambit of emotions- cycle of grief- most times not knowing what to do and what to expect from their child and the school/ teachers.
I know I am setting up a pretty grim picture… but we live in a broken world where there are no direct paths for teaching and seeing progress in students who learn, think, speak, write, move, see, hear atypically. That’s why they have an Individualized Education Program but people are still intent on having them fit the mold because it makes it easier for them to understand.
Once we leave the standardized comparison of students’ performance, it’s a whole new ball game and how do we grade that on a report card?
This may sound like some spiritual cop out but it isn’t…
I know from personal experience God has an individual plan for each of our lives from my experience as a person with learning disabilities that far reached anything that a school could have come up with. I prayed even as a young kid for God to help me because I knew I was different from my peers and they knew it too. The fallacy of not wanting to label your child is not valid. Pretty much an alert person knows when they are an atypical person in their environment. I think it’s the uncomfortable part of not knowing in which way they are atypical and what to expect.
He has always been faithful to me but He didn’t not take my differences away which I wish He would have many times over. But He has told me He has set me apart for a good purpose and an life to be lived as an individual. I did OK in K-12 grades not great because of the overwhelming experience of it academically and socially. And you have to know my disabilities were not defined for me until I was 26 years old in community college which I did very well in college because I had more control.
At that point, I had a whole load of baggage concerning my self-images that He is helping me still unpack and put nicely back into my soul according to my identity based on His opinion of me and the way He sees me.
Which brings me to the spiritual aspect of accommodations, seeing people as God sees them as someone with strengths, gifts, and talents not focusing on their lack or differences. Asking God to lead and guide us in this seeing of the person to see what His plan for them is because He knows exactly who they are, what they needs and where their future will take them.
So I have come back to a place where in my job and the lives of my own children into the hands of God asking for His hands to be the director and follow His lead. He knows and all my training can not make it work out ideally as everyone would like, including myself. He knows best and I rely and trust in Him completely! As I rest in Him and partner with Him my burden is significantly lifted and burn out is stayed off.
This is not to be a popular way of developing an educational plan for students in public schools but it takes the person, their family putting it into God’s hands wherever they attend school-public, christian, or home-school. Christ is big enough, strong enough to take the lead wherever that person goes. When we put Him in control by asking for help, the battle becomes His. He will lead and guide through His Holy Spirit in your or your child’s, your student’s education that equips them for their purpose and life.