A message for Ms Hanson

Ms Hanson,
I don’t for a moment believe that because at one time you attended school you are qualified to comment on educational matters, but let’s for a moment consider your recent suggestion –

If students with autism spectrum disorder take away from the time of teachers and learning of ‘normal’ students, and that means we should remove them, then logic has it that the same thinking would be applied to other students who do not fit your view of ‘normal’. So next, we take out students with 
dyslexia, 

dysgraphia, 

auditory or other sensory processing disorders, 

Cerebral palsy,

Vision impairment,

Hearing impairment,

the selectively mute…
And don’t forget the ones identified as gifted and talented, because they take away time from ‘normal’ students too, so take them out as well…
Now you think we are left with ‘normal’ students, but how many of those need extra time and attention because

they are adjusting to changing family circumstances,

they live between two homes,

they have anxiety or depression or both,

they have lost a parent or sibling,

they have a very ill parent or sibling… the list could go on!

If you remove all of these students who take up my time, I have no class!

Ms Hanson, you do not realise that by looking at my students from the viewpoint of a supposed deficit they place on my time and each other’s learning, you miss the very important fact that all students have needs, interests, talents, thoughts and ideas to share with the world!
 So rather than deficit, let’s look at my students from a perspective of credit –

Ms Hanson, I would like to point out that having students with special learning needs in my classes has made me a better teacher for all my students. By learning how to create effective learning experiences for students who don’t fit the unrealistic and non-existent ‘normal’, I end up having more ideas, materials and strategies to offer every student. I learn to look for and utilise the individual strengths of the students – because they do have them! I grow and learn and reflect on my professional practice and adapt as my students grow and change – and that surely improves the education of all my students!

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