I’ve been doing a lot of substitute teaching lately, which has led to some reflection. Everyone is in favor of a quality education for all our children, but what exactly does that mean?
It means a deaf child gets a sign-language interpreter, a child with a seizure disorder has an aide, and a child confined to a wheelchair still gets PE. What do you teach a severely autistic child who is also blind? Well, he can push a broom.
When we think of accommodations, it’s easy to focus on learning disabilities like dyslexia or hyperactivity. But the true measure of a civilization is how it treats all children. In eight-plus years of subbing, I’ve seen some extreme cases. I’ve also seen my local school system do everything it can to give every child the same commensurate opportunities. That includes making sure the child is fed and has transportation.
Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s always expensive to do something right.
By the way, I’ve learned a lot too — everything from don’t run the motorized wheelchair over your foot to how to recognize seizures. Think of it as win-win.