One of the main worries parents get when they are presented with the possibility of enrolling their children to Special Education classes is the stigma that comes with it. As much as our country has advanced when it comes to progressiveness and inclusivity, the negative notions that come along with being a child with special needs are still there.
Parents of children with special needs usually automatically become defensive once SPED is suggested to them. Understandable, as parents don’t really want their child labelled and ostracized from their peers. No parent wants to be judged by people who think that the situation was somehow caused by their parenting.
While these feelings of reluctance are understandable, they should not overweigh the child’s educational needs. By depriving a child with special needs of Special Education, the child loses the opportunity to catch up with his/her peers. Parents need to know that the ultimate priority of SPED is to accommodate what the child needs to learn and catch up with children his/her age, so forcing him/her to remain in regular classes might do more harm than good.
As not a lot of people are educated about what SPED is, pre-conceived notions about it might not go away soon. We should make the parents understand that their child is not less, that their child having special needs is not a bad thing; it just means that the child needs a different way to learn.If the parents are presented with the benefits and if they were assured that the goal of SPED is integration, they might see it in another light, and might be more willing to participate in the whole process.We, as educators, should also foster a healthy social and learning environment at school. This includes making sure that we treat our SPED students with respect, and that we educate our regular students about their classmates' conditions – that while educational needs of SPED students are different, they’re the same as them in other ways. The change starts with us, and if we set an example, our students, both SPED and regular, would follow suit.