Saturday, June 7, 2008

Understanding, it's a two way street

Recently I've been reading a lot of blog posts and comments about messed up things that teachers and other people do to autistic kids. It sucks when people are mean to kids. It's really common and it really sucks. I think we should all work in our communities to reduce the amount of mean stuff done, and particularly when it's done to kids.

Where I differ with a quite a few posters is on how to achieve that goal. I keep hearing that the offenders should know better (I agree) and should be fired (I might agree). But I also hear that it is ridiculous to talk about these people needing support (I don't agree) and that they should not have to be educated in order to understand such basic things (I don't agree).

People are not all capable of doing everything perfectly all the time. That's just what humans are like. We suck at a lot of things. Even important things. We miscalculate social situations and fail to consider the impact of our actions. We say things that are different from what we wanted to say. We act inappropriately. Even as adults, we need to be reminded and taught how best to behave in challenging settings. There are things that we cannot do well without support.

Given that this is what we are working with, what kind of sense does it make to expect people to perform in the way we've decided they should without support, accommodation and patience? I'm not saying that we should not have high expectations of educators and others -- we should. I'm not saying that we should let abuse stand -- we should not. I'm saying that we should recognize the limited abilities that all humans have and work with those abilities and limitations so that everyone is functioning at their maximum potential, rather than fixing a standard and treating all those who fail to meet it as subhuman and unworthy of further engagement.

It's time we take what we have learned about human nature and apply it to all humans.

4 comments:

Niksmom said...

I think it's such a knee-jerk reaction for all of us. Puts me in mind of the quote from Plato -- "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Somewhere along the line we lost our willingness to see each other in the best possible light and began assuming the worst of those who have wronged us or others.

It's a difficult balance to strike but one that is worthy to strive for.

Marla said...

Well said! I have been in enough situations in pervious jobs in social work and schools to know that the stress many teachers are under is beyond ones imagination. A lot of people get mad when I say that because there is no excuse for treating a child poorly. I agree. But, it does not mean that people are not going to snap under that pressure. There are schools that put more than one special needs child in a regular ed classroom with no aides and no extra supports. I could not teach under those circumstances either. Parents and teachers fight for supports and in many communities they don't get them. Not everyone lives in wealthy areas. People can say over and over, "Well! That child should have had supports or that teacher should have asked for help." And what makes people think they are not asking for help and supports all ready? I think for me that is one reason I was a good advocate for parents in schools. I could see both sides and had empathy for both. Of course it is still impossible to get certain help when there is no funding, no people qualified for the jobs, etc. etc. A lot of people in wealthy areas talk as if all schools are like theirs or should be like theirs. That is just not the way it is.

Okay, I vented a bit there. This topic makes me so upset. People get so explosive and don't see all the layers and layers of problems in the schools, in the communities that make education for special needs children so very difficult.

Unpretentious Diva said...

[i]People are not all capable of doing everything perfectly all the time. That's just what humans are like. We suck at a lot of things. Even important things. We miscalculate social situations and fail to consider the impact of our actions. We say things that are different from what we wanted to say. We act inappropriately. Even as adults, we need to be reminded and taught how best to behave in challenging settings. There are things that we cannot do well without support.[/i]

I have listened and read many religionists, socialists and communists stating same things again and again, and what it lead to???
It lead to mass murders, terrorists, Maoist, Tyrants like castro, killers like marxists, che guverra and Stalin.

[i]Somewhere along the line we lost our willingness to see each other in the best possible light and began assuming the worst of those who have wronged us or others.[/i]
I guess it is just opposite.
in the force of trying to help others, we forget helping our ownself, and our family. And that causes havoc, because, inspite of all our tries, "common good" can never be achieved, but if each of us rationally start trying to achieve best for his own self, than there will be much more reduced needies.
When Plato said "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.", he just meant that don't be rude to others, don't hurt others irreasonably, don't exploit, don't use them irrationally, don't abrupt their Individual freedom and dignity. He didn't meant that be as poor or weak as the other one is by sharing your own power/strength/money. It is your freedom to share or not to share.
We must say and project the idea of compassion and love between the humans, but we cannot and should not force anyone to share his earnings, his strengths to/with other just because the other one is starving. It should always be on volluntary choice!
Anyways, my sphere blog lead me to this post, here is what I was writing related to it..Legal or Illegal?.
Now, after reading this post, I will surely add the case of austic children too.

VAB said...

Thanks for stopping by, UD. It is going to be a bit of a stretch to apply pure libertarian thinking to something like public school autism support, but it's always good to hear from people with clearly formed opinions.