Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Educating the People in our Life

It is very sad that people who are supposed to be educating our children have the attitude that our children are a waste of time and money, but it's true, many of them believe that our kids use too much of the precious resources that is to be used for kids in special education.  The more sever the issues, the more likely we will have to face that attitude.  I believe that our only course of action that will make any kind of an impact is education - of our communities.  I hate to admit it, but I was one who believed it was "silly" to spend so much to educate people who would never learn very much anyway - but I have learned that we are trying to help our children be able to speak up and get their needs known and to be safe and to need as little from society in later years as possible.  We hope to help them become productive, but number one we want our children to be safe in a society that does not always consider our kids fully human so they are taken advantage of at a greater rate than any other group.  It costs more to educate them because they learn differently than other kids and need more intensive attention and assistance to learn - but they do learn and they can become more when we give them the chance. 

There was recently a story in the news of two men who were working with severely developmentally disabled women, and they were sexually assaulting these women - and it was believed that they did this quite often.  There is even film of their crimes.  These women were unable to defend themselves or to speak up and get help.  That is something none of us wants to see for our children.  They feel pain and humiliation just like any other woman - they are not immune from feelings due to their disabilities.  

We have two very big jobs when we are the parents of children with disabilities - one is to advocate for our children and make sure their needs are met and the other is to educate those around us rather than acting out the anger we instinctively feel toward those who would discredit our kids and expect far too little of them.  This is not to say that we won't FEEL angry, but we have to overcome ourselves and make sure that our friends and acquaintances know more about why our kids need more funding for education and job and social skills.  We need to positively impact those around us who can then impact those around them.  We need to change deep seated beliefs that people don't even realize is discriminatory.

Thank goodness we have support groups to go to and vent our feelings of frustration and anger and discouragement because we will have them.  But we have to learn to be educators and sadly we even have to educate our regional center CSC's, supervisors and beyond, school district administrators and staff and often times our families.  Education won't do the whole job, because there are evil people out there who know the truth and lie and cheat and do anything for the almighty dollar, but it is only through educating others that we can ever hope to make lasting change with the majority.  The people of our state will only accept reductions that are geared toward those they consider a waste of money - we must show them that our kids are not a waste of money and that the investment now will mean less expense as they age and are able to do more and care more for themselves.  Our kids will cost less if they can live more independently than they would otherwise because of what is done to help them now - and they are generally adults much longer than they are children.