Life after Special Ed article
- I just was searching some old papers to find an article for a geography
essay Christopher needed to do. One of the papers had an article that
caught my eye: "Life After Special Ed Surveyed" on the front page of The
Oregonian, April 2, 2009.
It goes on to say that in Oregon nearly 73,000 students are enrolled in
special education programs, which is about 1 in 8 students throughout
Oregon. But "during the first year out of high school, more than one in
four special education students in Oregon never held a paying job or
enrolled even part-time in college or job training, a new state report
shows." And nation-wide when these statistics are tracked, they consider a
"job" to be 20 hours or more a week, minimum wage or better. Oregon counts
all jobs, whether they are a few hours or short term, not just those of 20
or more hours per week. So doggie sitting on rare occasions would classify
one as "employed" -- but how is that going to enable them to live on their
Anyway, it seems that homeschooled special ed kids are at a great advantage
in my estimation as we parents feel a responsibility to prepare our kids for
adulthood. We aren't leaving it to others to teach our kids what they need
I've worked with special ed kids in a public school setting and found the
teachers and parents expect the special ed assistant to basically do the
work for the kid as they don't want to have him lagging behind or
distracting the class. After working in the public schools I did become
more lenient with my son's education, realizing I didn't have to be nearly
as strict as I had been, but I want my son to succeed in life without Mama
always tagging along, making sure everything goes perfect for him. Also I'm
an older mom so won't always be able to be there for him.
There is a chart in the article showing that the first year after highschool
38% work full or part-time for pay. 27% neither held a paying job nor
attended college or got training. 13% went to college or got job training.
22% are working and enrolled in post-secondary education. The same chart
comments "Tax money varies widely depending on disability. On average,
Oregon gives schools about twice as much money to educate a special
education student as the roughtly $6,000 spent on students without
disabilities." Wow -- homeschool special ed parents could put $12,000 to
use training their kids to accomplish lots of things! That is if we only
got ONE YEAR'S money! The article brags on a program at Lake Oswego High
that helps young adults with disabilities gain skills for holding a job and
teaches them budgeting, shopping, social skills, learning to speak up and
ask questions when they don't understand, etc.
When people act like we parents are not capable, or it's too much work for
us to teach our special needs kids, let's keep in mind that by teaching them
real-life skills, we are probably doing far more than the closest public
school system is accomplishing for children like ours. It is true that
senior internship programs in highschools provide insurance to cover
injuries, etc that a student might encounter in an internship program, which
a homeschooled parent can't provide as easily on their own.
But I think most of us have been thinking from early school years, what
occupations can my child realistically do? How can I direct them toward a
job that is suited to their abilities?
I just wanted to share this and hope it encourages all of you to never give
up or allow the enemy to sow seeds of discouragement when the world
belittles your hard work.