Parents of children with disabilities have a tough job, but also a rewarding one. You have a child filled with tremendous potential, but the challenges of their disabilities hold them back or cause obstacles. I believe that education is so important to both parent and child. Education is needed for the parent about the disability their child has. It also is important to ensure their child gets a fair education with opportunities.
Why is education so important for someone who has cerebral palsy? Well, to be perfectly honest, sometimes our mental skills and abilities are all we have the power to control. Our bodies often are difficult to control due to involuntary movements, but our mental capacities may be fully intact. So, by allowing your child to experience a full educational career, you’re giving them a sense of independence.
Children with disabilities have every right to an education, just as any other child would. Back in 1980, when I was beginning public school, children who had special needs were put in a different room that was far away from the other kids. Even if a child did not have a developmental disability, they weren’t allowed to be in a regular classroom. We couldn’t even eat in the cafeteria with other children because the school administration thought it might upset them. Thank goodness times have changed.
I was finally included with the rest of the students at school at age 11. I also learned a few things that I wished teachers would have done to help me feel included. I wish they would have seen me for who I was and not just my disability. As I went to college, I learned more about inclusion by studying to be a special education teacher. If you’re an educator or parent I hope my suggestions encourage you to help your students. As a parent, never give up fighting for your child to have everything needed to learn.
Every child has a capacity to learn. You just have to find out what they need in order to open them up to learning. Refuse to give up on a child until you have exhausted all measures. Encourage them to learn and do well in school because proper education can help them succeed.
Push for a good inclusive environment. For example, allow students who have disabilities to sit among other students. Don’t just put them in a spot that is convenient for a wheelchair. Feeling included means including them in everything, as you would everyone else.
Don’t let them hide behind a speech impediment. Call on the student and have high expectations. I have a speech impediment and used to cringe when being called on by the teacher. However, the more practice I had, the more comfortable I became.
When doing a group activity, try to assign groups instead of teachers picking them, so no student feels left out. There is nothing worse than being picked last because of a disability.
Learn what your students have. Don’t use the word “disease” for a disability, as diseases and disabilities are very different. Educate yourself as much as possible.
Be accommodating. If a student can’t write, let them type. It’s okay to think outside the box. They need to learn, and learning is the most important thing, even if it’s in a little different way.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.