Sunday, January 1, 2012

The new face of “Special Ed” students.

When I began working for the Philadelphia School District, I was surprised to see the new face of “Special Ed” kids. They didn’t look like the Special Ed kids that I remember as a child. They didn’t appear to have down syndrome, nor were they physically disabled. They weren’t blind, deaf or dumb. Upon talking to them one-on-one, they didn’t appear to be mentally handicapped either, yet MANY students had been labeled “Special Ed”.

Upon further investigation, I learned that there were two categories of Special Ed Students. You had the students who made it to the 9th grade, but were at a 3rd grade reading level. So they were labeled due to a perceived learning disability. Then you had the students who were labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Hyper-active Attention Deficit (HADD). This particular group confused and concerned me.

These students weren’t any different than any ordinary inquisitive, curious, mischievous child, yet they were labeled and put on medication. As an incentive for parents to ok this often erroneous diagnosis without question, they received a check each month for their “Special Ed” child. The schools also received additional funds for Special Ed students. So, everybody was happy.

Let me say that I’m sure there are some children who fit that bill, but there are too many who are given this diagnosis for the wrong reasons. It’s sad. It’s a racket. It’s a disservice to our children. Mislabeling them at an early age can’t be good for their future. They’re being conditioned to think that they are a certain way…and it doesn’t stop with the Special Ed students either.

Does anybody else even care about this stuff besides me?

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