Q30: Adventures in the Mainstream

Q 30)

“We learned today that there is a side benefit to Ned’s working in the Special Ed first grade classroom that doesn’t do much for him but apparently does a lot for others.  The teacher told us that even though most of her students are six or seven years old, many of their parents are just coming to terms with the fact that their children have mental retardation.  That doesn’t surprise me.  It’s possible to overlook or ignore your child’s pre-school lack of intellectual development.  But put that child in an academic environment for the first time, where even in Special Ed there are assignments to do and goals to achieve, and what you’re facing for the rest of your life can suddenly become much clearer and more daunting.


“But having Ned there,” the teacher told us today, “when parents come in they see a young man with Down syndrome, a graduate of this very room, who’s actually doing a job, who’s very verbal and functional.  For some of them, I think Ned renews their hope for the future for their own children, just when they need it.”


I’m glad Ned’s doing valuable work as a teacher’s aide, even if his success is in one way frustrating.  It’s perfect work for him, especially with Marcy, but it is work he will probably never get the opportunity to do again.  The Wedgwood job is strictly a high school vocational position that ends when high school ends….


To be a functioning adult, Ned needs to get a paycheck, as much for psychological reasons as financial ones.  I don’t see that paycheck ever coming from a school district.”  pp. 143-143


Do you agree with Ned’s teacher’s assessment?  How do you feel about your child being an “inspiration” to others?  Have you been frustrated about finding the perfect job for your loved one?

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