Sunday, May 3, 2009

The neighbours

40 days to go until the school year ends. One group of kids will move on to middle school and another group will start Kindergarten. Everyone else will move up a grade and the teachers will have new variations on the theme. I've been looking back into my own childhood and making comparisons between my experiences there and what I'm experiencing as an adult. Some of the experiences have been cyclical - a little charismatic pain-in-the-neck reminding me of another charismatic pain-in-the-neck I used to go to school with - and some have given me cause for deep reflection. One of the schools I work at has a group of children with special needs, and the library is right next door to 'life skills', so I can hear just about everything that goes on with the neighbours. I've mentioned in a previous post the struggles the EA's go through to teach these children. EA's aren't paid enough, by the way.
Where were these children when I went to school? Also, where were the emotionally troubled children when I went to school? These are the ones with ADD/ADHD, FASD, anger and other emotional issues, and so on. The ones who are certainly not as visible but are in as much need of support as those who are visible. Where were these children when I was growing up? I would be an idiot to suggest that these problems just didn't exist when I was growing up. They just weren't as visible in my day. There was a Resource room at the school I went to, but I was never in there much. There was a need for this place, but those with visible and invisible disabilities never come up from my memory. They certainly weren't part of the general populace in my day. They were completely hidden/segregated from the rest of the world.
Sad, but unfortunately, there just was not enough focus on these children for government to want to provide supports for these children and their families. Now there's an EA for every class so the EA can provide the one-on-one support that is needed. The child with previously 'unseen' disabilities and issues receives funding, which results in support and the child surviving K-5 with happier memories than the children from a generation ago. I'm not going to go any deeper with this topic until I've given it more thought. Believe me, I could go on, but I've already waded far enough and could be in over my head. Until later, BYE.

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