Last month my son came home from school visibly upset. He said, “Mom kids at school are making fun of me because I’m in the special needs class.” My first response was anger and a strong desire to protect my boy. But, I quickly re-grouped and started to come up with a plan to resolve the problem.
Not that I need to explain, but my son is diagnosed ADHD/PDD and was in a behavior controlled classroom. In his class, the teachers worked with the kids to learn how to control their behavior while they learned what every other 5th grader did. Unfortunately, when the kids told the teachers about the teasing, they are told to ignore the behavior. My son had a hard time IGNORING what he heard. In my opinion, whay you ignore, you allow!
So once again, I had to sit down with my son and have a discussion that I should never have to have. “Other’s opinions of you should not matter because they don’t know you. Often times teasing comes from fear of those who are different or because teasing makes them feel more superior. No two people are the same and some differences are simply more noticeable. Differences are what make each of us special and unique. Kids shouldn’t tease others because they’re different, it hurts feelings. It’s what you do with the teasing that matters. No one can protect you from teasing…only you can.” So now when someone teases him, he simply says “thank you for sharing but your opinion doesn’t matter.”
I find it appalling that kids in special needs classes, who already face many challenges daily, have to deal with kids that have no respect for them. They don’t need sympathy, only human decency. If the teachers wont do anything about it, it’s up to the parents. Please take the time to educate your children on special needs. Awareness and education are key! Your local library and librarian can be a great resource for finding age-appropriate books and materials. Find out if your kid’s school offers any disability-awareness curriculum. These programs help teach kids about different disabilities through engaging activities and guest speakers.