George Lucas Educational Foundation



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Education proudly graduates students with "special needs" ...but rarely finds such graduates appropriate for employment as teachers and administrators. Why? Why are so few ADULTS with significant disabilities "inclusion-ed" into SALARIED POSITIONS in schools?

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Shukry Ali Mahmood's picture

Hello! I would like to say that this is not easy issue to discuss. The biggest problem is that will the public trust the deaf people or the people with special needs to run our own show because we know what is it like to be deaf or with special needs based on our experience. Will we be trust enough to change the programs or educational tools if the public really trust us. for salaries, I think it will be based on merit and level of experience.

Robertta Thoryk's picture

So Shukry you feel it's an issue of trust - that educators and administrators don't trust adults with disabilities?

S.L. Cook's picture
S.L. Cook
Instructional Designer and Educational Reform Proponent

I would wonder how many of the graduates with "special needs" are fully educated and fully trained, and who complete college, in order to be employed in those positions. Depending upon the state, and even the individual university, getting a college education can be brutal for persons with disabilities. Often the environment is lacking in appropriate supports and services.

For example, a student I am currently helping is taking his first semester of college classes and the college will not provide accommodations UNTIL he fails so he can "prove" he needs the accommodations. After years of being in special education, proving himself over and over as a bright individual with disabilities, with no less than three comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations, you'd THINK those at the higher levels of educational would not subject the student to proof through failure first AGAIN. Administrations should KNOW that disabilities aren't "cured".. they're accommodated. Forcing students to fail prior to providing needed supports increases dropout rates, is detrimental to student achievement and really accomplishes NOTHING. Given the goal of education is to provide an individual with knowledge and skills to become a contributing member of society, I am always at a loss to such detrimental approaches to providing needed educational supports to persons with disabilities.

I think in our society, public education fails persons with disabilities from the outset because the individuals are not valued as the fabulous, often talented and bright, persons they actually are. Students with disabilities often have to be innovative and creative individuals to figure out how to succeed, and often have a strength of character only seen in those who have overcome great hardship. I believe persons with disabilities are often not embraced as valuable members of society from the outset, but I think they can be among the most valuable employees any employer could find.

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