We never sent our youngest son to school because we were already homeschooling our older three kids and didn’t think his having Down syndrome was a good reason not to homeschool him, too. That was our main reasoning. But underlying that logic was our fear that he might be mistreated in school.
When I went to school, the “retarded,” as they were called, were often made fun of and picked on by other students. But it never occurred to me back then that teachers might do that too. Adults were supposed to be above such things; teachers in particular were supposed to care about children and be kind to them.
As a parent, I wasn’t quite so naïve. Yes, there are good teachers out there, but I know from the experiences of some relatives and friends that you take your chances when it comes to your child getting a good teacher vs. a bad one. When your child has mental retardation (and particularly when he has speech delays or apraxia), you lay awake nights worrying that someone might hurt him in school and he wouldn’t even be able to tell you that it happened, much less share his pain so that you could help him recover from it.
So homeschooling our son resolved all sorts of problems for us. But not everyone can homeschool their special needs kids. Take this single dad, for example. His 10-year-old son has autism and as a result has difficulty communicating at times. But he’s normally a sweet kid, so when he started acting out in school, his dad became concerned. Then he sent his boy to school with a recorder in his pocket and soon discovered the ugly truth that his son could not tell him.
My heart breaks for this man and his son, and for all parents of special needs kids who can’t homeschool them. What you will see in this video is righteous anger: