I work at a small charter school in Benson, AZ. When I started working there we had your basic average population. We have morphed into a school that specializes in educating the youth of the world that other's have given up on or thrown away. These are the kids that were too challenging in a "regular" classroom although they have no disability. These are the kids that are so kind and sweet and are mildly or moderately mentally disabled, but cry in class if I cry and care more about me somedays then I care about myself. These are the children with autism along the spectrum from highly functioning to low functioning, highly verbal to non verbal. My hope here is to give a voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves; those who are misunderstood; those the world has given up on.
This journey started actually the year I graduated from college. My first job teaching fifth grade, replacing a teacher who had been arrested for stealing money. I couldn't get into the classroom ahead of time and the kids didn't know they were getting a new teacher on Monday... what memories... but one that stands out is the one boy who told me that first day that he was special ed; he didn't have to do any work and to not expect him to do any then we would get along just fine. I was of course shocked right out of my shoes. Progress with him was slow, very slow... but you know what... he won the science fair for fifth grade that year. He was so proud of himself and so strong and stood up to so many fears. One of the many things he taught me is that once you get passed the fear you still have to have the courage to push through the hard stuff... and you know what - everything in life is hard.
So for now - get passed the fear - or at least name the fear - that of course is step one.
Peace and Love,