Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On raising a child with disabilities, part 7: A problem with special education—concerning an “appropriate" education

The United States federal (national) government legislation known as IDEA—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—mandates that every child in the United States receive a free and appropriate education. It does not require school districts to provide the best possible education, one that is most likely to enable a child to reach his or her maximum potential.

Unfortunately, that’s left to the parents.

After serious reconsideration, I can understand Z’s point concerning labeling. (See her own excellent Jan. 20, 2005 series on raising a child with disabilities, "When Something's Wrong," at http://jewview.blogspot.com/ .) In some cases, labeling a child may be the only way to get him or her the help that s/he needs. In other cases, however, it might be better just to have the special education system deal with the child’s symptoms, because the school district might use a specific label to give it an excuse to provide the minimum required by law, rather than providing all the help that the child actually needs.

In other words, to rework an old saying, eternal vigilance is the price of parenthood.



Blogger Elianah-Sharon said...

Thanks Shira :)

Tue Feb 22, 09:16:00 PM 2005  

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