Room 112 is walled off from the rest of a Maplewood public school by an ugly row of concrete blocks. Its wooden entrance was replaced with a steel door, and the carpet and plumbing fixtures removed, all so its sole occupant — an 8-year-old boy prone to attacking teachers and classmates — would have nothing to destroy during his daily outbursts. Even his books and toys were kept on a cart that could be wheeled away at a moment’s notice. Every school day, the boy, who has autism and doesn’t speak, came to the barren cell built only for him.
Comments: They can´t squander the taxpayer money fast enough.
If this substantial sum were spent on the general student population, would not the overall result be better? This poor chap will never be productive, unless he is appointed to a position in the 0bama cabinet, of course.
Every school district in America can tell you that the number of significantly disabled students is skyrocketing. Most of them have autism, or a combination of autism with a neurological or psychiatric disorder.
Rational people would ask the question: Why is the number of severely disabled kids with autism growing so fast? But no, our government instead still makes the claim that this is all ´better diagnosis´. Hello - it isn´t the label that makes the kid severely disabled. If these kids were truly around 25 years ago, with the current behaviors, albeit with a different diagnosis, then how did the schools handle them then? And where are these adults now, 25 years later?
Until researchers admit that the autism epidemic is real and a crisis, we will never get to the bottom of it. And these currently severely disabled kids are growing up. The story mentions a 17 year old who rides a specially built tricycle in the halls to calm down. Where is he going to be living in 10 years?
I too wonder why there are so many autistic children. It is strange and disturbing. It certainly seems to be an epidemic. I just don´t see any indication of this kind of disorder many generations ago. Could it have something to do with our population growing so fast? Could it be something in our food (e.g. maybe GM foods or a chemical/preservative)? Could it be from a disease or parasite we haven´t discovered? Whatever it is, it needs addressing.
These special children should not be in the main stream government schools. These schools and programs are not designed to help them and the vast sums of money should not be poured into programs for one or two children who likely will not benefit from them.
This is such a difficult problem. Should we spend 30% of our education budget on a small percentage of the student population with special needs or on the greater percentage of students determined to be gifted who might find the therapy or cure for these problems for the next generation?
What do we owe to our society? Maintenance or growth? There simply is not enough money to do both well.
There is something called the autism spectrum, picking up on very mild (what used to be called eccentric) to severe autism. And the unfortunate part of the whole problem is that scarce resources are being spent on the mild cases. (I have previously noted that as a university professor, about half of my colleagues - and I - belonged on that spectrum. You have to be at least mildly autistic to be a good research professor, singleminded in your pursuit of obscure stuff. Watch an episode of big bang theory as proof.)
De-institutionalization and mainstreaming of mentally ill and disabled children and adults has been a human, social and economic disaster of apocalyptic magnitude. It was driven by Leftist fantasy ideology and wishful thinking. Jails, prisons, shelters, squalid rooming houses and cemeteries are now the abode of the severely chronically mentally ill. Pretending that massively impaired children are well enough to be managed in normal schoolrooms, or that the latter can be adapted at any expense to meet their needs, is denial of reality taken to the level of actual insanity.
The usual suspects, people for whom fantasy is more important than reality, are behind all of this.
The harm inflicted by such ideologues with their militant wishful thinking surpasses all human understanding. The greatest, most dangerous enemies of humanity invariably turn out to be those who espouse the highest and noblest ideals. They ruin everything they come into contact with because of their dogmatic refusal to accommodate their desires and demands to reality.
Wow. As the mother of a special needs kid who benefits from some of the services offered, I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone for devouring all the tax dollars I put into the system (being in the highest tax bracket thanks to a successful small business, I pay more per year than both of my children put together cost the system).
My son is high-functioning on the autistic spectrum (and if you ever met my father-in-law you´d see it´s clearly genetic) and gets services for behavioral and reading education. There is also an adult aide in his classroom who is assigned to several other children as well as my son. Having that aide in the classroom is a benefit to all the students as they are allowed to ask her/him for help if they need it as well.
The kids described in this article are not the run-of-the-mill special needs kids you find at the vast majority of schools. How each school deals with these kids should always be examined but the idea that special needs kids shouldn´t be in regular schools is just another one-size-fits-all approach that fails in action.
And, guess what -- the Minneapolis Star Tribune is not the place I´d go to get a good idea of what´s actually happening in the real world.
We do not have an endless amount of money to spend on education. We should spend it so that we achieve a maximum result. No one is more unhappy with the current allocation of money, personnel and effort to special education students than regular classroom teachers.
Thorny questions - why the increasing behavioral problems? What element is now present in people´s lives that wasn´t there fifty to sixty years ago? Many things come to mind yet cannot be conclusively proven. Fluoride in water and medicines, GMO vegetables, increased use of soy in animal feed, radiations,food additives etc., Attitudes have changed - primarily that any child however impaired he/she may be must be educated in public school at puclic expense regardless of any potential outcome and jeopardizing the majority of children´s proper learning environment. Once upon a time there were perfectly good protective residences for people with impairments and anti social behavior, but the bleeding heart liberals didn´t like them and got them closed down. Not to mention the struggles of the parents trying to do the best for their offspring.
#12, I don´t think anyone here thinks special needs kids don´t belong in school. My children have had numerous classmates who were accompanied by a aide, and things were fine, for the disabled child and for the class as a whole.
What I do wonder about is students like the ones talked about here, who seemingly can´t learn in mainstream situations, and end up completely separated from their schoolmates. The move to mainstream every child has not worked out that well. I know of several children who were frequently attacked by disabled children who should not have been in the classroom, and several situations where a disabled child completely destroyed the instructional atmosphere in the classroom.
My daughter is 38, and has been in a residential placement for many years. She went to public schools back when they still had K-12 schools (now gone, "too restrictive") where she did learn some skills but such help ends at age 22 (I guess Congress thought they´d all be "cured" by then).
There is NO help after that age. Thesekids then go on SS disability and Mediciad. Some who can go to group homes. Others, stay home forever. If lucky, Ike us, your state MIGHT have a residential facility. Most have been closed. "Too restrictive". The solutions for these problems are complex. Thesenarenour most vulnerable citizens. They deserve a reasonable amount of education and housing and programming as adults.
What are these people going to be doing in the real world after they get out of this school setting? Why are we dumping so much money and effort into them? Do the parents pay extra for this? What will be the outcome after all this expensive treatment?
I know of a special ed teacher who fought again mainstreaming. He was concerned that the education of the regular students would suffer, concerned about the costs, the physical danger to students and teachers and mostly he was concerned for the special ed students. This teacher was treated like a leper, "progressive" school board members said he needed to embrace change, everyone would benefit from mainstreaming. I wish he was still here to see that all his fears came true.
I raised a neurologically impaired child starting back in the 60s, and had to beg and scrape to get even minimal co-operation from the school system. As far as the cause of autism which now affects 1 child in every 88, my studies into neurological impairments, I would think perhaps one of the reasons might be sugar substitutes ingested by pregnant women and perhaps given to children under age 5. I have seen a lot of pregnant women with cans of Diet Coke over the years.
I´d rather my tax dollars go to this than to Obama phones, Sex Ed for five year olds, and federal grants to research what chimps do while on cocaine. Great societies care for the truly vulnerable and innocent. That is a conservative value. Though it seems many here have forgotten it.
Public education has been distorted and destroyed by the left (on purpose). But these children, God´s children, should be welcomed in our world and our schools. They are beautiful, joyful, complex challenges. It is important to be around them so we can learn from them. They are the best teachers of life´s greatest lesson-- how to love.
Of course, violent children are a different case, but what should become of the non-violent profoundly disabled? Do we abort them? Take them from their parents and lock them in wards? Leave them naked in a field to starve to death? Force their parents to choose, 24/7 in home care with absolutely no break or put their precious CHILDREN in a corrupt and abusive government run institution? Even the most profoundly disabled-- the ones who cannot talk, walk, or feed themselves-- want to be loved. I know this to be true.
"Mainstreaming" has been going on now for some time. Only those personally familiar with some of the children forced into regular classrooms would be likely to believe the damaging and absurd length to which this fantasy ideology has been taken. The culprits are always the same: naive do-gooders, Leftist militants, the Federal government and court system, academics - the same Axis of Folly that has fouled up just about everything else in America and that is forever alert for something else to fix, improve, abolish or regulate. One must admit that such zealots are nothing if not indefatigable. They are determined to fix every evil in society even if it means destroying everything in the process.
Like just about everything else dear to the heart of the sentimental, progressive, socially virtuous and compassionate Left, "mainstreaming" is mainly about making its proponents feel better. This is why results in the ordinary sense could not matter less to such people. The real result is that it makes them feel better to fantasize about and advocate such programs. What actually happens when they are implemented can always be rationalized, denied, or simply ignored.
One might have thought that the clumsy euphemism "special needs students" would have given a clue to how to approach the challenges they present - indeed, that it represents a logical contradiction to "mainstreaming." One would be wrong. The reason is that both linguistic constructions serve to make those who use them feel better. They are incompatible only in regard to the real world but perfectly at home together in the fantasy hothouse of the liberal/Leftist mind.
The liberal leftist mind and the raging right wing mind are of the same type. Neither one is interested in the child but only in their biased philosophy of life. All autistic children vary greatly in ability and ´one size fits all´ government rules do not work. Lets get some common sense back into the system and not forget that all children need love and protection. The Star and Tribune needed a provocative story to tell since no one reads papers anymore unless they are filled with tripe.They sure bring out the worthless, ugly, opinions not based on knowlege.
I am fortunate to have a placement for my undergrad teacher candidates in a school system with smart, very caring teachers and administrators who know the value of appropriate placements. There was a time when children with the mildest of delays were automatically put into self-contained classrooms. That is not acceptable today with the advent of RTI (Response to Intervention), which mandates that teachers must document what they are doing to help a child and how the child responds. Only when in-class solutions do not work is the child pulled out.
In the best schools there are support people to help the teachers - special ed teachers, speech and occupational therapists, reading specialists, social workers, etc. There is no other country in the world where needy children and their parents have access to so much help. I think it speaks to our Judeo-Christian heritage that we care so much for those who cannot help themselves.
That is not to say we don´t go overboard in some ways. We sure do. I too fought mainstreaming of severely challenged children - appropriateness ought to trump restrictiveness, IMO. Buy to see every day a system that actually works is a joy. Ramona (the Pest)
We have a disabled (low cognitive and physical difficulties) child who has needed a lot of assistance. In the younger grades they bent over backwards to get the things he needed, plus he was so cute he would wrap them around his finger. As he got older he was pushed along to get along, we had to hire an advocate to help fight for basic services. He is in a Technical HS and doing well his shop is Early Childhood Development. He wants to work at a day care with kids. We purchased the house next door many years ago anticipating him living on his own. Now he is learning how to keep a house for later on. It´s never easy but I wouldn´t trade him for the money in the world. Also gonna be an Eagle Scout soon. So you never know what kind of gift God will bestow on you.
My cousin, born of a mother in her early 40s is a high-functioning autistic. My brother who made a very bad marriage has an HFA ´step grandson´ whose mother was a junkie at the time of his birth.
So drug-addicted women and older women having babies. Those are my guesses for the rise. And probably changes in diagnosis. Autism in many cases, can get you disability benefits. In fact stupidity can get you government money - as at a certain level - stupidity is classified as intellectually disabled.
This is an absolute fact story of events. My youngest son (older brother and two sisters)was in Resource Room class till the 8th grade. Failed 2nd grade, in the third grade a teacher wrote he couldn´t tie his shoes. He was put in resource room.
In Jr High a teacher called us. Said there wasn´t anything wrong with Bob. He was smart and PLAIN LAZY. As parents it is our fault we let his brother and sister do everything for him. We met with the Principle, RR Dept head and his teacher. It was a heated situation. In the end we demanded he be taken out of resource room for one trimester. Made him study. He graduated from Texas A & M. In his 20’s his income was over 100K, it is 250 K now, manager over 500 employees.
Each year the school wanted Bob in RR. Basically always said it was best for him. In my opinion, looking back, maybe they believed this. On the other hand the school needs “X” amount of students in RR to acquire funds at that school.
There is no exaggeration here on success what so ever. To make matter worse. I was a College Instructor for 15 years. Should of know better, my culpability.
Feel Resource room is between special education and regular classes.
My heart is with #23. My head is with #12/#24. In the end, I will stand with those like #13, as I did once before in another life. Years ago, I was trapped at a garden party. A little boy, perhaps sensing my desire to be doing anything else, proceeded to engage me in a game that mostly involved me chasing him around the yard. A little girl joined in. She didn´t talk. I assumed it was because she couldn´t speak English. So we played "chase" instead.
Later her parents approached me and explained that their daughter was severely autistic. They said they´d never seen her interact with a stranger like that. They asked somewhat shyly if I would consider being part of her circle of therapy friends. I said no.
Somehow that didn´t work. For the next year and a half, I spent two two-hour sessions a week with my new friend. We had play exercises and learning routines to follow, but mostly we just played. And I also learned. My friend didn´t talk much, but she did say "Bye bye" when she was done. It didn´t mean "Goodbye." It meant "Go away!" Understandings like that made me smile. Over time I came to understand something else: It was her world. I was just visiting it.
Eventually life intervened and I was relocated. On my last visit, I couldn´t explain what was happening, so we just played until she said "Bye bye!" As I left, I found I was unable to say goodbye.
Years later, while I was watching a production of "Alice in Wonderland," I realized something about my friend was trying to explain itself to me: Maybe I was a character in her wonderland. I hope so.
Sears stock plummeted Wednesday as news came out that Edward Lampert, its stubborn billionaire chairman and CEO, had to surrender majority control of the 120-year-old big box retailer when investors in Lampert’s hedge fund pulled money out. With no end in sight for Lampert’s quixotic turnaround efforts, it’s time to question whether there’s any way to save Sears as long as he remains in charge. (Snip) Lampert began at Sears with the ill-fated $12 billion merger with Kmart in 2005. Sales have declined for 27 straight quarters and the company’s stock is down over 70% from its high in 2007.
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