I wanted to get insight on how parents would feel if there child went to a daycare with a child who has disabilities. Before I get answers I want to explain why I am curious about what other parents think. My mother came to me with the concern that because my son goes to daycare with a disabled child that he will pick up on some of the habits that the disabled child displays. I told my mother that just because my son likes to hang out with the other child doesnt mean that he will pick up what he does or somehow he will revert backwards in his learning.
This is a new issue between us and I stand my ground on keeping my son in the same daycare. How do you feel about this issue?
I have nothing to add to this since I have no experience with anything related. But as an outside observer let me say it's a different world today than when we grew up. Children are more tolerant due in part to programs like Glee and mass media exposure.
What a wonderful program. One of these children from either side of the coin, due to their tolerance and learned understanding of all people, may grow up to be the next Ghandi or Madame Curie.
I think that they should mix . I would never have stopped my child going because of a disabled child . That is cruel ,
Children need to learn that others have problems & be kind to them not be taught to avoid them.
If too many parents have that bad attitude the disabled child would end up being asked to stay away . How would you feel if it was your child that was disabled ???
You never get the feeling until you get a disabled child of your own and you find other children avoiding your child.
Mixing with disabled children is also a part of the learning process.
I agree freecampingaussie and ngureco. That kind of understanding is what I want to teach my son. That it doesn't matter what the circumstances are everyone is created equal.
When my daughter was four I put in her in a pilot-program preschool. The program was to try out mixing in special-needs children with child in the "top x percentile" developmental-wise. It was almost half/half special-needs/non-special-needs, and my daughter was one of no-special-needs kids. She was ahead of kids her age on all of the areas they tested before letting children into the program, and she was a really well behaved little kid. I applied for the program because it was in the public school, and at the time the few private preschools there in my area were, in my opinion, awful.
Anyway, my daughter's behavior didn't change in the slightest. What was cute was that she one day told me how she "didn't feel four" and how she "felt six". She then went on to mention a couple of her little friends who "felt five", a couple of "felt four", and one who "felt three". She was nonchalant in mentioning that she didn't feel four and that some of her friends felt different ages too. So, even if she chose to assume how the other kids "felt" (and that was a four-year-old's way of describing differences among the children), she just took it for granted that different kids "feel" different ages.
It was a nice preschool experience for her, and she enjoyed being with the other kids.
Having said that, I think there may really only be one "legitimate" concern about behavior "rubbing off", and that's if a child is particularly easily influenced by others (and/or by something like TV) and is a kid who tends to mimic what he sees. Some kids (not the majority) are very easily influenced and tend to be more impressed by some things/people. It's noticeable in a child who's like that. He'll tend to do whatever it is companions do, no matter who they are. He might even be a child who's very well behaved because he's also influenced by his parents and their behavior. He might repeat something he saw on TV and found funny - over and over again (more than other kids would). The parent who has this kind of child can usually see it without even wondering about it, because it's not just one friend. It's everyone and everything that seems to impress the child to the point where he'll mimic the behavior.
Anyway, based on my experience with my daughter (who - believe me - wasn't a kid who would be easily influenced by anyone or anything), I saw no problem whatsoever with four-year-olds being in the same class and playing together as long as the child isn't one of those "chameleon-type" kids (and you'd know if if he is). With chameleon-type kids, though, just about every other kid and a whole lot of other influences have the potential of being problems; so with that kind of child it's a whole different thing.
I am coming from the other side of this issue, since I have a child with a disability who attends a mainstream school. Ask yourself this question:
"What sort of lesson am I teaching my child by preventing relationships with children with disabilities?"
By removing her from the class, you could be teaching her to shun those with differences. In our personal experience, the typically developing children have not picked up any "atypical" behaviors (and my son had plenty of these when he started preschool). He would cower in a corner and cover his ears, and isolate himself (an extreme aversion to noise, sort of ironic for a deaf child). None of the other kids picked up these behaviors.
There are many benefits that come from an inclusion class. In addition to learning about compassion, acceptance, and diversity, the classroom often has an increased number of teachers/aides. My son's class often has an added teacher of the deaf or speech language pathologist - while they are intended for him, the extra adults often help the other kids during certain activities, too. The physical environment is also better - the classroom has better acoustics than a typical classroom (accommodations for my son, but they benefit all kids).
He has come a long (LONG) way and interacts in a typical manner for the most part.
I agree with you completely on this! Just to add that if children are isolated from another child with a disability, they may not accept somebody who is disabled later on in say high school. They may pick on the child (which is horrible but unfortunately happens) and not understand the differences.
I used to drive a bus for disabled people and we used to have so much fun, but I could see the looks that some people would give them. I had to keep somewhat cool about it as I was at work and wearing uniform, but I wanted so bad to let those people laughing what I thought of them!
Teaching tolerance and acceptance at a young age is very important! I really see no problem with them being in class together. Both of my girls have been on the bus with me a couple times when I used to drive it and they met many people. They asked me a lot of questions after, but they were accepting. It was a different situation as I drove mentally and physically disabled adults and not children.
I don't mean to pick apart a choice of words (especially since the choice of words are pretty much the most commonly used with regard to things like differences between people, and I know people just use them because they're the "popular" words), but I don't even like the idea of "teach tolerance and acceptance"; because, if you think about it, "tolerance" is about tolerating, and "accepting" presumes the one person has the right to either accept or not accept someone else who hasn't done anything wrong and is simply different from them.
I wish the world would make popular terms more along the lines of "teach reality and understanding", or maybe even "teach those ways in which we are all the same" or "teach the things to which each and every person has a right."
The minute the words, "tolerance" and "acceptance" get factored into the mix, it suggests that the "different" person (whether that's a disability, race, age, nationality, etc. etc.) is somehow out of "the mainstream" and "less". The way I see, it's not my place to "tolerate" the developmentally disabled guy I know who has so often offered me help when I didn't know when or where the bus ran. It's not my place or right to deem him "acceptable" or "not acceptable". He is who he is, just as I am who and what I am. Ironically, most children start out seeing everyone else the way they should. What they're taught is often not to see people with differences of one sort or another as "the same as, and equal to, them".
Another irony is that a lot of people who have "some difference of one sort or another" are as guilty as anyone else in not seeing others "as equal to" or "as the same as" they. That's yet one more reason why kids are better off being mixed in with all kinds of kids.
I am sorry it sounded this way, I see your point and feel bad for my wording I think more then what I type and sometimes because I know what I mean, I think others do too.
I mean accept differences between people. As every person is different from the next, that is what makes us unique (the world would be boring if we were not all different.) I am not meaning that just disabled people are different, we all are. I aim to be different from others myself. When kids do not get to interact with every child, they tend to not understand others as well and this occasionally builds up to an intolerance (resulting in name calling, hate crimes, bullying etc.) when it may really be not understanding the person. That is really what hate crimes are based on-intolerance. That is why I used the word tolerance. Sometimes it is because of parents views that kids feel the way they do and sometimes it is because of peers.
I did not mean it in a bad way, I promise and I get along with most people no matter what their background, race, disability or anything else.
I especially think there would be a problem if they were pulled away from other kids when they are young, they may think there is a reason they should not play with certain kids.
I apologize if I offended anybody, it was not my intention! And thank you for pointing out my wording Lisa, I was trying to say a nice thing it came out all wrong.
Dawn, I didn't mean at all that you "sound that way" either. It's the wording that "the world" uses these days. I thought twice about even mentioning the wording (since you did use it ). It's just that I think there are so many things we all just kind of adopt "from the world" that could stand a little more "refining". I was trying to say something about "the world and politically correct terms in general", and that came out wrong too, I guess. I should apologize for adding my thoughts on those terms right after you used them the way "everybody else" uses them. I can be a clod sometimes when my enthusiasm for a subject exceeds my social skills.
I did not take offense! It actually made me realize how it sounded after reading it again. No worries, I knew what you were saying and when I re-read my post it sounded kind of mean using such words the way I did. Even tho I didn't mean it to be mean!
No need to apologize, you were not being mean I really meant it when I said thank you for pointing it out
Thank you Dawn,Lisa and Leahlefler. If we could all learn to think outside of what society "says" or what "they" say then we can all work together to bring a more tolerable world.
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