Tuesday, August 14, 2007

School Supply List

I found the following post on a Special Ed Law blog and loved it! It is definitely worth reprinting. I just wonder if the things on the list would qualify for Virginia's tax-free school supply weekend?

School Supply Lists For Kids With Special Needs
by Lori Miller Fox

It’s that time of year again. Back to school. When parents all over the country, list in hand, ambush the stores in search of the perfect school supplies. Red, plastic, 8x12 pronged folder with pockets, green wide-ruled five-subject spiral notebook. Every subject has a specific pencil, every class a unique pen. But somehow those itemized lists never seem to apply to my son. Just seeing the word “Elmers” used to get me unglued, the word “ball point” would start me balling, and the word “scissors” would cut me to my very core. The only thing that seemed remotely useful was the mandatory box of Kleenex tissues to wipe away the tears, so I always bought an extra for my own supply closet.

After years of suffering in silence, I’ve put together my own, more functional list for kids with special needs, their families and the staff who “just don’t get them”.

  • Downward spiral notebook - a handy place for teachers and therapists to record a student’s regression and lack of progress.

  • Nap sack - a book bag which conveniently doubles as a cushion to be used by staff as a pillow when they’ve fallen asleep on the job.

  • Miscalculator - a battery-operated problem-solving device for staff with very low expectations.

  • Number twenty-two pencil - a writing tool used by special needs children who are not the school’s number one priority.

  • Moral compass - an instrument that should be used by school staff to measure their degree of guilt and irresponsibility when they are not doing what’s best for their students with special needs.

  • Organ-izer - a place to put a heart after the school system has ripped it out of a parent's chest.

  • Three-ring circus notebook - a binder used to display a student’s laughable work product.

  • Right-out - a bottle of liquid paper used to cover up a child’s legal rights.

  • Bull point pen - a writing tool used by staff to keep parents apprised of how “well” their child is supposedly doing at school.

  • Destruction paper - colorful paper used to pass off art projects made by an aid as a child’s own.

  • Eleven-inch ruler - a straight-edged instrument used with students that staff think don’t measure up.

  • Hanging files - a place where biased evaluations are kept until they can be compiled and used to hang a child out to dry.

  • Mask-on tape - a roll of adhesive strips used to cover the smirks on school staff members’ faces when professing their committment to your child’s education.

  • Pest-it notes - yellow sticky-back slips of paper that can be attached to notebooks and letters of detention on which can be written what a pest your child is at school.

  • Subjective dividers - Deep-seated misconceptions and beliefs housed inside the minds of ignorant school staff and administrators that separate children with special needs from their neurotypical peers.

  • Scruple remover - a device not needed by many school employees, as most of their scruples have already been removed.

  • Make-up-their-own-ruled paper - sheets on which school staff explain why they can’t accomodate your child, usually starting with ”that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

  • Lead balloon pencil - tool used to write things about a child that don’t go over real well with the parents.

  • Low lighters - transparent markers used to emphasize the low points in your child’s academic career.

  • Never let ‘em see you sweatshirt - Mandatory parent dress code at all IEP meetings !


Anonymous said...

I find this post very ugly. As an EC teacher I bust my ass everyday for my students. I take work home and even buy clothes and food for kids who live in shelters. Before you judge walk a day in my shoes.

Ashley's Mom said...

Thank you for your comment. I would, however, ask that you walk a day in my shoes. Actually, to fully understand, you might have to walk the last 10 years in my shoes.

While I know there are very good, dedicated teachers in most school systems, my daughter hasn't had many of them over the years. Rather, her teachers have refused to use sign language and then gotten angry when my daughter doesn't understand (my daughter is profoundly deaf). Her teachers have confined her to a wooden tray chair to 'help her focus'. All it did however was frustrate my daughter to the point of self-injurious behavior. Her teachers have assumed she is incapable of learning, and have already decided that as an adult she will be confined to an institution. They continue to place her in classes for the profoundly mentally retarded, yet all she really is is deafblind. I have the evaluation results to prove that. Her teachers have treated her as unworthy of receiving an academic education, and rather take her bowling and to the mall. All my daughter has learned, I and her aide (think Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan) have taughter her. We have taught her to read and do math. We have taught her geography and geometry. We have taughter her manners and how important it is to be a friend to others. And she has taught us to never place limits on any person, regardless of the level of that person's disability.

May I suggest you read some other posts of mine, and you may have a clearer picture of why this particular post rings true for me. Here are the other posts:

Expecting Way Too Much

Missing g Tube

What The Docs Didn't Tell Me


Mother Knows Best

Child's Play Part 2

Child's Play Part 1

I know teachers have very difficult jobs, especially teacher in special education. I constantly offer support to my childrens' teachers, but that support is usually not accepted. I have crossed paths with many, many wonderful teachers. Unfortunately, my daughter, Ashley, has not had those teachers.

I also teach a class at a local university to teachers working on a certificate in severe disabilities. I see in their eyes the dedication and desire to do the very best for children. And while two of my four children have had some very good teachers, unfortunately, my youngest daughter has not.

Attila the Mom said...

You go, Girl!