Other People's Views


    This has to be my favorite section as this is where I get to blow my horn! The world of special needs has always been open to debate over which methods are 'best' and who know best about what. So below you'll find my opinions on a variety of matters to do with disability. But you don't have to just sit there and listen to what I have to say! You'll notice above that there's a link to the discussion board so if you agree or disagree with anything I say, or if you have something completely different to say, then you can debate it out up there with other site visitors (I'll also post to it every so often!). Not necessarily a place to sell your Harley-Davidson but definitely a good place to discuss difference of opinion. You may want to look into motorcycle classifieds if you ARE looking to unload a Harley, however. So lets get on with what I think.

Stand by for a injection in to this section. I'm mulling over a verity of topics to mouth off about but if you've got any suggestion or would like to put you opinions up here permanently (as the discussion board is still not working!) thensend them in!

Sporty Person in WheelchairSpecial Education 

    My first topic to be put under the spotlight is whether those with special needs should be educated in dedicated schools or whether they should be integrated in to mainstream schools. Now I'm probably the best and worst person to give my opinion on this because, as you've probably read, I've been in special education and am now thoroughly loving mainstream. But that doesn't stop me... 

    One of the most obvious advantages of a special school is that it is usually intended to offer easy access. Those in wheelchairs or using other aids to help them with their mobility don't need to worry about getting to where they need or want to go. Students at a special school also have access to many more services to meet their needs. For instance, those requiring physiotherapy or speech therapy can have their needs met in school. These advantages apply mainly to the purely physical disabled student, and it is such students who can argue the case of mainstream of special education. Those with a mental disability will find it far harder, and in the majority of cases impossible, to gain advantage from mainstream education. It is for this reason that from now on, I will discuss this argument for physically disabled students.

    This help and ease which may be advantageous to some pupils, is also the root of the problems in later life for others. To phrase this another way, the protection which those in special education receive also protects them from the good, the bad and the ugly of the 'real' world. Students who have been in special education all of their school life find it extremely difficult to cope with the norms of the able-bodied society when they leave this safe environment. This means that even if they do attain the grades at their special school which would allow them to go on, they often do not do so because of immense emotional difficulty. This therefore leads on to the logical conclusion that special education can, for a percentage of disabled people, lead on to a limited future. 

    Whether or not they attain good grades or qualifications is also arguable. Because they are being taught in small classes, disabled students are often being educated alongside those who are at a lower and higher academic level. This results in everyone being taught at the most accessible level which often pulls the more able down and over-stretches the less able. The factor of fewer numbers means that those who are brighter may appear to be even brighter still because they have no one to challenge them and so get an incorrect impression of their abilities.

    In the mainstream environment there are many educational advantages compared to the special education environment. The higher number of students results in classes being split up by academic ability which is of advantage to all students as it offers an increased quantity and, more importantly, quality of fair competition. Another benefit of having more classmates is the opportunity for greater social interaction which helps in prepared disabled student for later life.

    However, a special school offers to those who may already have problems with their disabled status, a chance to relieve themselves of such problems. The fact that every single pupil at a special school has one common denominator - a disability of some description - means that they need not worry about