Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retarded--the Most Misused Word

Retarded, this is word that brings many negative and ugly connotations.  It is misused to such an extent that there are many campaigns to eliminate its use including Spread the Word to End the Word.

But a mom of a beautiful young girl says it best in her blog, Herding Cats.  I thank her for her advocacy of not only her daughter but all of the people who happen to be cognitively delayed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When No Isn't No

"No."  Two letters make a big word.  It is a word that indicates refusal, disinterest, or a different opinion. 


Small children learn the word quickly and use it at every opportunity to assert their independence.  It is a word parents use to protect a crawling child from danger.


It can clarify a statement to determine if it was dissent or confirmation


In my class, I have a student who says "no" every time an adult speaks to him.  For him, "no" means..."Give me a minute to think." or  "I don't know what you are saying, could you say it another way?" or "Help me know if saying yes is safe."  Dor this young man, no isn't a refusal but rather a word he uses to protect himself from the unknown.  His limited receptive language has caused him to agree to things he was not very happy about so he is cautious and anxious about agreeing until he understands.  His limited expressive language and articulation struggles leave him with the simple but eloquent, no.  Given time to process, he is usually happy to comply and grins with the success of both protecting himself from the unknown and pleasing the adult.
Confidence is a great thing!(Shared with permission from the child's parents)

This young man reminds me every time he declares "no" that processing and think time is not only critical, it is the only way to give the student the feeling of safety and security that we all want for each of our students and children.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ring in the New Year

As the year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting.  2011 brought continued budget cuts and with that, increased class sizes, fewer people for services such as special education, Reading Recovery, Title 1, gifted and talented programs, and school readiness.  Additionally, we all wait in fear that our music and arts programs will be cut.  We struggle daily to still meet high standards and complete stacks and piles of paperwork.

Will 2012 be more of the same?  Failed attempts to raise funds? Exhausted teachers?  Decreased confidence in the public school system?  I don't think so.

I think 2012 will bring the healing of our spirits and confidence.  We will realize that, although tired, we survived all the bad news of 2012.  We can handle more than we thought, and with grace.  The exhaustion, anger, and frustration will give way to hope, confidence, and renewed joy of the job.  I already feel my spirits lifting and look forward to returning to school.