My son, Jacob, was admitted to the hospital on January 23, 2015 for a respiratory infection complicated by Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a degenerative neurological disorder. He would turn 13 years old on May 15 and his bar mitzvah, the ceremony and celebration commemorating his entry into Jewish adulthood, was supposed to be May 18.
Inclusion is held up as the ideal learning environment, and rightly so. Successful integration is possible, yet it doesn't magically happen when you throw a child with high-functioning autism into a class of 20+ children, cross your fingers and hope for the best. In many cases, though, in schools across the country, this is exactly what is being passed off as inclusion.
This is another prime example how the rights of special needs children continues to be violated by the same people that are in a position to protect them. The abuser doesn't see these children as whole. They see them as deficient, less than and certainly not worthy of respect and dignity. This principal didn't see them as whole human beings. She saw them as "animals." What message is the school district sending when they fire the person that has reported the abuse?
In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver. "My daughter is the joy of my life but sometimes I feel incredibly stressed by the daily responsibilities and challenges of her disability. What can I do when I feel like this?"