As always, the choice should be made after placing the child first:
– Will this school add necessary assets to my child’s overall development?
– What do the teachers know about my child’s peculiarities and will they consider changing protocol to attend those peculiarities?
– Will school staff be able to set up a personal plan to my child, adapting its curriculum to my child’s possibilities/limitations yet keeping motivating him to accompany the group?
– How does school handle bullying? What’s the tolerance level to bullying?
… And many other questions of that kind.
The truth is, we cannot change a established educational system at once. It may take years of efforts and willingness – both from educational organizations and parents – to work together for education that will include all people, regardless their differences.
We cannot expect from a teacher who is underpaid and overworked, to turn them into autism specialists from night to day. But our Educational System can include neurological conditions ( autism, ad(h)d, OCD etc.) to teachers study curriculum, broader than it already happens in some institutions that form a professional teacher).
We cannot just set our vulnerable child into an unprepared school because ‘it should be their job’. It SHOULD but isn’t yet, in most cases.
We do CAN make a difference, going to all meetings at school, joining PTA or even organizing lectures at school to parents of neurotypical children.
We can passionately try to convince (regular) school management to pay attention to our children’s necessities and ask them to provide those. One would be amazed to see that a lot of school administrators are really engaged and willing to hear what parents have to say.
We can win by being true to the love we have for our different children, at the same time inspiring school to feel the urge of inclusion.
Be your children’s best advocate! Don’t get angry at school – most of its people are doing their jobs, following a series of bureaucratic tasks. Don’t get angry at all. It is a waste of positive energy you can throw into progressive conversation with the school itself, the deputy you helped to elect or just other people who think just like you.
There are many ways to promote Educational Inclusion, but schools can’t do it alone. Parents must cooperate too. We have the knowledge, and we have a voice. Together, with the unmissable support of the regular school – its management and docents – we can build a bridge to include children who otherwise will remain at special needs schools.
Those are perfectly fine, by the way; sometimes the only choice to a particular situation.
Again, the child in the first place! Some children might take a little longer – if ever -to cope with regular school environment. In that case, one possibility would be to create an occasional visit to a regular school for these children at the special needs school.
For example, once a week this last group would spend a couple of hours at the mainstream school -with guidance of their own teacher.
Because not only special needs children can benefit from such interaction, but neurotypical ones too!
Under coherent supervision, from both willing schools, there will be set the roots to provide the nation we all wait for: the neurodiverse one.
Past all labels the contemporary society chose to stick on ‘other-than-normal’ people, we all are just what we are: human beings, not better or worse than anybody, just…different.