Special Education – is it us or them?

Are we labeling children for nothing?

I was just by a special education training session this morning. It was intriguing to hear the presenter’s  frustration at how we  often label a child as needy, disabled, ADHD, weak etc. without fully understanding the wide range of developmental stages that there are for each age group.

How can we label a child if we do not know if something is actually age appropriate for that child? The action may not be up to par with the rest of the class, however that does not mean that the child is necessarily weak. Every child grows at different levels and all learn differently. Their action may fall in the range of appropriate actions for that age group, even though you see it differently. A teacher must first learn what is expected of each age group without jumping to conclusions and then can seek appropriate assistance.

children in a box

Are we putting children in a box?

This scared me. I was left wondering if we are the ones whom label children with labels and they do not need to be labeled at all! Are we just labeling them because we do not have clear expectations of that specific age group, while the child may fall in an appropriate range of expectations?

Help! And to expound on her message the presenter gave each of the attendees a few scenarios and asked us to label them as to which age group we find that behavior appropriate for. None of the veteran teachers and educators got them all correct.

Majority of the workshop was based on early-childhood developmental guidelines. However the lesson was clear:

Never judge and label a child. Review and study expectations for that age group and do not jump to conclusions! 

as stated in the developmental guidelines-

“As one teacher explains, “Knowing about
development lets me slow down and
put aside my assumptions in order to see
children as individuals and pay attention
to where they are developmentally rather
than where I think they “should” be. “

Stop putting children in a box!