A high school student sits quietly working in class, suddenly someone starts throwing desks and chairs. Members of a “Crisis Team” burst in and tackle the student to the floor. The entire room is cleared out, as everyone is shuffled to another room, until the disruptive student is officially escorted to the “crisis center.” This is where the student will remain in confinement for the next fifteen minutes.
It is clear that labeling students with a learning disability can oftentimes hurt their self-esteem. Additionally, these learners are thrown into a building with students who are convicted felons. They tease and harass those who need special education and it creates a formula for mental and emotional scaring.
It is not good chemistry to mix children with learning disabilities in a dangerous environment of teasing, harassment – mental, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse.
Students with learning disabilities should go to a special education school. They should be in a learning environment that is free from fear. Students with special needs should be placed in an academic environment that allows them to be assimilated into a general education environment if possible. This will help foster self-esteem and encourage students to seek further education.
Transitioning From Special Education to a Standard Academic Environment
What if there was a school specifically for students with learning disabilities? The entire purpose would be focused on integration; teach them new skills to cope with that learning disability. As the students grow and learn through these skills, they will be elevated to a higher level of learning and self-esteem.
This will facilitate learning at the students’ highest level. They will be able to graduate the special education school and integrate into the standard academic environment. There will always be opposition to this plan.
For one, opponents say that in a world of diversity there would be none if students with special needs attended a school catered to learning disabilities. Opponents would compare this plan to a form of special educational segregation, very similar to that of the 1950s Southern United States, or South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s.
It would be a segregation of schools. One could even compare it to the Jewish ghettos of pre-World War II Europe, in countries like Germany or Italy, two of three of the “Axis Powers.” In a world where one wants to escape the persecutions of civilizations past, which dates back to the Ancient Greek-Roman era over 2,000 years ago.
One would ask: How can a school for students with special needs, avoid fostering a new form of segregation? There are a wide array of learning disabilities, one could actually build a special education school centered around learning disabilities exclusively and still be boldly inclusive; nowhere near the exclusions offered by the institutions already in existence.
“Exceptional Children,” written by Hallahan, Kauffman, and Pullen defines learning disabilities:
Probably the most commonly accepted definition (in regards to learning disabilities) is that endorsed by the federal government,-“Specific learning disability” means a disorder in one of the basic or more processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which many manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term concludes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia-
One must always remember, however, that no matter what argument the opposition uses, the fact a student with a learning disability can enter an educational environment without fear remains.
Written by John Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Exceptional Learners: An Introduction to Special Education, Sixth Edition: Hallahan, Kauffman and Pullen
Featured Image Courtesy of Richard Lee’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License