Response Paper questions:
1. In your opinion, what has caused the greatest change in the way that individuals with disabilities have received services over the years?
In my opinion, the roles of parents have caused the greatest change in the way that individuals with disabilities have received services. The roles of parents have gone from being the cause of a child’s disability to being political advocates and key partners in their child’s educational development. Beginning with the eugenics movement (1880-1930) parents were often accused of being the reason their child had disabilities. The genetic traits were passed from one generation to the next and the parents were seen as unfit because they carried bad genes. This allowed the law to sterilize and institutionalize people with disabilities. In the 1930’s parents began organizing and forming groups at the local levels to deal with the issues of disabilities. The parents thought that the public and professional responses to the needs of children with disabilities were inadequate. In the 1970’s professionals thought, they knew what was best for the children and parents should simply comply and follow the guidance of the professionals. Today some professionals still have that belief. Parents became successful advocates for their children at the local, state, and national levels as they brought cases to court and won judgments. With the passage of IDEA, children were allowed to be educated in schools. Parents continue to be advocates for their children. The parents seek educational partnership with teachers and professionals in making decisions about the education and future employment of their children with disabilities.
Parents have been the greatest change agents throughout the history of special education. It is their willingness to go out on a limb for their children that have forced changes to the legislation. I would completely agree with your assessment! Well done.
I agree that parents can become very powerful advocates for their children. I think that with out this voice the parents will be led around with out being able to do what is right for their children.
The roles of parents/caregivers that are helping raise a child with special needs has changed greatly over the years. Many years ago most families in America would not have had the resources necessary to raise a child with special needs. Most of these children were placed into institutions and remained there for the remainder of their lives. Through out the last several decades’ laws have been past requiring that people with special needs are treated as equals. By doing this it has empowered parents and caregivers to advocate for the children. It also has made available many different resources to parents, which gives them the much-needed support in such a difficult situation.
I agree, Joe. I would add that in some ways it is because of parents advocating that laws have changed. We as professionals need to recognize that parents are crucial to the son/daughter's success at school. They are the agents of change.
I agree that the roles of parents have changed greatly over the years. Most families today do not have the resources necessary to raise a child with disabilities. With the advocacy of parents and the changing laws financial resources, experts, local and national organizations are present to provide assistance to parents and families of children with disabilities. Without the resources parents have advocated for the parents wouldn't have the resources necessary to raise their children wiho have disabilities.
I agree with what you are saying Joseph. I remember reading about how children with disabilities would be placed in institutions and that made me so sad. It is really amazing to see how parents and caregivers have taken on the responsibility of taking care of their children and making their lives as normal and as happy as they possibly can :)
I feel that parents and educators have caused the greatest change in the way individuals with disabilities have received services. Parents have become advocates for their children in making sure they receive the rights they deserve. At first, I feel that parents took the back seat because the didn’t really know a lot about special education services or the disabilities that were being diagnosed. Through the years, parents have become more educated about special education and now they have taken the drivers seat in making sure their children succeed in the classroom. They have done this by fighting to push inclusion and mainstreaming and to have their children feel as normal as possible. Parent involvement in the school has also really helped special education because parents are volunteering their time to help out the teachers.
I feel that educators have also had a great influence on the change in sped services. We have so many great general ed and special ed teachers that are doing everything they can to make children with disabilities receive a great education and to succeed. Without these great teachers and their amazing efforts, children with disabilities would not be where they are today in terms of services and succeeding in the classroom.
I agree that parents have caused the greatest changes in special education. It has been the advocating by the parents and the lawsuits by parents against schools that have created the laws we have today in special education. While it is true there are many great teachers in special education their effect has been on helping the children as a result of the laws. Special education teachers are the result of the advocacy of the parents. If parents hadn't been organized and going to court to advocate for the rights of their children with disabilities then there wouldn't have been a law passed in 1975 that began protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
Parents are and continue to be the most powerful drive behind the rights of those with disabilities. I think that as more parents learn what they can advocate for the more society will accept those with disabilities.
Nice discussion by all. To sum up, it seems that all of you recognize not only the work of parents and family members but also professionals in impacting change for students with disabilities. The idea of how important parents and families have been to the growth of special education is a key concept to remember when dealing with parents. Know that they are ultimately most interested in their children, and finding what will "ring [their child's] bells." Knowing this can make us all fight a bit harder for our students.
Keep up the good work!