For children with disabilities, school can be a nightmare – and for their parents. Kids with conditions such as autism, ADHD and anxiety can be triggered by bright lights, crowded hallways, taking turns, lining up, keeping a desk organized and navigating friendships. What may seem like basic tasks for some kids, for others with special needs, those same tasks can seem agitating and overwhelming. School doesn’t feel safe for them.
Many parents of special needs kids feel that under-resourced schools and a lack of fully-trained staff are essentially pushing their kids out of school.
Special-needs children need accommodations, and the schools and the school boards need to take care of them. They should be integrated as much as possible into the classrooms/schools.
But the problem is, teachers in mainstream classrooms rarely have the education or expertise to work with complex disabilities that include difficulties with behaviour.
In March 2016, Doreen Smith received a text message from her daughter’s teacher which showed a photo of Rosa, her daughter. Rosa has cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that affects a person’s movement, posture, muscle tone, or all three.
In the photo, Rosa is seen with four pieces of tape covering her mouth.