Recently, I've been struggling to maintain my classroom with one child who exhibits those of a special needs child. I am no expert in this field and my stress and patience are being tested daily as I struggle to find ways to keep this child from hurting himself and others. I'm also determined to have him learn some social skills since he currently holds none. On top of this one child, I have many others and my Assistant and I are left alone to figure out what this child needs. We're frustrated because we don't have the support or staff to care for his special needs. Neither of us is trained in this field and though we can recognize that this child would benefit from more one-on-one interaction, we are unable to provide it in the class of 20. So all of this got me thinking.....why are so many schools pushing children along who are clearly special needs instead of finding ways to get them the support they need? After a little research, it seems like we have this epidemic of not caring for special needs children in the ways they need to be cared for.
I almost feel as though I care too much. If I just pretend I don't see the problems, keep my mouth shut and wait until the next class move-ups, this problem will be out of my hair. Yet, the biggest part of me that was drawn to teaching to actually teach....that part of me is begging for help and instruction so this child can get the proper care he needs NOW before he gets pushed through the school system and performs so poorly that more teachers stop caring about him. I care too much and I want him to be helped. I don't just want to alleviate my personal problems of becoming frustrated with him. And I find it incredibly sad and daunting that the system I work for is not taking the necessary steps to insure this child's needs are met and the teacher's are trained appropriately to care for him. How could I want to send my own child to a school that neglects issues such as these?
I've never encountered special needs children in the way I have since I've started teaching. I know very little but the more I see....the more I see the neglect and ignorance to the needs of these children, the more it truly saddens my heart. There is a serious issue in PA (at minimum!) in ignoring the needs of children who require more attention and care than typical. Teachers who are not prepared to handle these issues are being expected to and their cries for help and concern are being ignored. This is a far greater problem than I could ever have imagined.