Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Socialization Myth

When you have a special needs child, sometimes it seems like the whole world is judging everything to do.

We're often criticized for homeschooling our daughter. We've heard it all. People, (even some close friends) have even come right out and said, "Well, maybe she is the way she is because she's not around people, she's homeschooled."

Ok, first off, she's around people. All kinds of people, not just her select age group. I take her everywhere with me. The grocery store, the bank, the library, my older daugher's school events - everywhere. I also have her involved in a scout troop, library events, and church activities. I don't just take her to these things, we discuss every situation later on. Why did she say that? Why did he do that? It's important for her to learn by seeing in action, so I always try to model relationships with friends, and even with speaking to the librarian, store clerk, or bank teller. We discuss these things, as well.

Secondly, having her in a school setting is not going to help her. She attended one year of preschool. She had three of the most wonderful teachers in the world. They went out of their way to help her with her social issues. They came to our home and tried to play with her on several occasions. She ended the year and did not say one word to anyone the entire year (she speaks fine at home).

Furthermore, the selective mutism and anxieties are just part of my child, not my whole child. My daughter also suffers from learning disabilities. When she exited the public preschool system, it was estimated that she was functioning at a 18 month old - 24 month old level. She just turned six.

We just completed first grade. My daughter is now reading and writing. She still needs help forming her numbers and occasionally her letters. She does not understand that when you form lowercase letters you keep most of them under the middle line, in fact, you should stay between the same lines (LOL!), but the important part is she is getting it. She would not be getting it in classroom setting where everyone is making noise and moving around. She especially would not be getting it in a multiple handicap room setting. She definately exhibits ADD symptoms in these settings. Slowly, but surely, with the one-on-one attention, she is thriving at home.

Besides, I went to public school. All I remember about public school, or any organized activity, is the kids being told to "shut-up." Just sit still and be quiet!

How is that socializing?

Oh, well, there's time for socializing at recess.

I remember how teachers treated the kids that just didn't get it, or were busy day-dreaming, or just plain slow. These kids were punished by losing recess time or specials classes, like music and art. They had to stay at their desks, by themselves, and continue to work. Then when they still don't get the work done, send it home to work on in the evening with mom and dad.

I'll bet that's great for a kid's self-esteem. NOT!

Sometimes the special needs kids are thankful to avoid recess. Have you ever experienced the bullying that goes on? While the playground aides are doing whatever. The slow or special needs kids are fearful of being called names, hit on, and who knows what else on the playground.

Socialization, no thanks! I don't want my daughter using those words!

BTW, I'm not using my own public school experiences to make choices for my daughter's education. I was not one of the "slow kids." I seen it happen many times in each grade level. So it wasn't just one teacher, it was every teacher that I had.

I'll get off my soapbox now. These are just points I'd like to prove. Unfortunately, probably no one who has questioned my intentions is reading this because when people bring it up, I just smile and politely tell them that we feel it's the best choice for our daughter right now. We are not opposed to her going to public school later, if that is her choice, but we'd like her to get her basics down.

You see really I'd like to explode and tell the people that they are morons for believing that any valuable socialization actually occurs in a public school. And that they should be happy, she is not in public school, she is not requiring any extra time from your child's teacher, therefore, your child should get a better education. Her special needs are not causing the taxpayers of this community any extra money for teachers learning how to deal with her disability or special equipment. But, instead, I just dismiss their ignorance because I'm too busy modeling good behavior and healthy relationships for my daughter who is always quietly watching.

No comments: