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Life after Special Ed article

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  • Carol Blackman
    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:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2009
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      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
      own?

      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
      to know.

      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.

      Blessings,
      Carol
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