We learn more from the ones we teach if we just pause for a minute to look into their eyes.
The other day someone had posted on one of the special needs groups asking ‘ How do I make my 3 year old wear foot wear at home? He wears shoes when he goes outdoors and to school. But refuses to wear slippers when he is home.’
I scrolled down to see so many responses with suggestions of getting the child onto a behaviour modification program with a therapist.
Very often I find that we give the typical child so much more space to discover themselves than we do the special needs child. Do we truly believe that the child with special needs has no thought of their own, has no ideas they wants to explore, has no feeling they want to express? Does the child with special needs exist as an individual at all? Do we believe that a non-verbal child with other disabling factors have a personality of their own at all? (‘they’ has been used to keen it gender neutral)
I do believe the child is first an individual trying to make sense of the world and themselves in the space they exist. This child, like every child, is limited with the abilities that are not yet in place. This child, whether typical or atypical, has a personality that is unique the them. Yes, just like every child needs to be exposed to a plethora of learning, a wide database to be able to choose from, so does the one with special needs. But the education is only for them to become aware of what the possibilities are. The learning cannot be used to mould and chisel the child into the image we, the adults, have for them. Every child has a right to be and become who they see as themselves. They all should be given the privilege to make mistakes and learn from them. And it is our responsibility, as the adults who are older and wiser, to respect the uniqueness we discover in them.
Diversity is beautiful. Differences can fill the gaps. Where one lacks, another can excel. Where one is disabled, the other is abled. And we will only be able to do that when we respect abilities and disabilities and diversities and differences.
— at Samatha Learning Centre.