If you have a child with special needs you know all too well how challenging meeting their needs can be. If you are spending your time negotiating with teachers, counselors, specialists and administrators, you are familiar with the frustrations of finding the right mix of special education and integration. With advances in diagnosing things like autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, more children than ever before are being diagnosed at earlier and earlier ages. Thus, more children than ever are competing for already limited resources. What can you expect in the future?
1. Migration Out Of Public Schools;
With the increased availability of specialized homeschooling resources and support (tutoring, therapy, etc.) outside of the mainstream school system, more and more families will be taking charge of their child’s education. By bringing them home and combining the range or resources available online and in their communities, parents will no longer need to worry about the politics of school and can instead focus on educating their children, and setting them up for future success. There is no reason to simply settle when you can provide the best options on your own.
2. Change In Public Schools;
When the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting that 1 in 68 children falls on the autism spectrum and that of those children, boys are 5:1 more likely to be on the autism spectrum. Homeschooling is a great option but it’s not an option for everyone. People are going to demand changes. Mainstreaming works for some kids but not all. Schools are going to have to change to meet the needs of their actual individual students, not their predicted students and not simply the “average students.”
3. Greatly Increased Activism By Parents Within Special Education;
People in general are tired of politicians and their games. For decades, they have listened to politicians talk about the need for improved education for all children. And, yet, decade-by-decade, the education system fails students working at every level. Given the number of parents who have a child with special needs in this country, it’s only a matter of time until they get organized and demand local control and true change. There is no reason, in the twenty-first century that any parent should accept the current school system if it’s not meeting their child’s needs. Instead, parents should have a choice to use the multitude of resources available to each child to create a personalized education – without penalty.
4. Greater Acceptance Of Children With Special Needs;
With a range of national campaigns dedicated to ending bullying and increasing understanding of various special needs, America is becoming more aware and more accepting of children with learning differences. The barrier between kids with special needs and neuro-typical kids grows fainter each day. As people begin to understand the special gifts and talents that kids with special needs have, the less likely they are to marginalize the needs of these children. Schools will be forced to find a way to teach the individual, not the masses.
Whether you see the educational world as a glass half-full of a mess or a glass half-empty of a mess, it’s kind of a mess. Parents of children with special needs must band together with parents of neuro-typical children. Work locally to figure out what children are under-served in your community and how to first help them. From there, work your way up the ladder. Waiting for others to do the work for you? You’re going to be waiting and waiting and waiting. Stand up for what’s right and give children a voice. It’s never too late to get started, but it will take everyone joining forces to implement positive change.