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A Reform to the Special Education Program


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October 29, 2012

Mr. President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Sue and Jim adopted two brothers from Guatemala, named Max and Marvin. But soon, they realized that something was wrong with their perfect sons. They weren’t maturing at the levels that they should be and Marvin, their four-year-old, could not walk or talk. They took their sons to the doctor and found they had Fragile X Syndrome.

According to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov “Fragile X Syndrome is a disorder where the gene FMR1 is repeated in a fragile area of the x chromosome”. Most schools don’t have capabilities to provide a proper education for children like Max and Marvin. Because of their disorder they will only mature mentally to an eight-year-old. It is imperative that you make change to the special education programs especially in the area of evaluation, socialization, transition after high school, and the no child left behind policy.

All disabled children are required to go through an evaluation every three years. They are required to go into a room without their parent and take a series of tests. The tests include a verbal, written, and standardized test. Max dreads the evaluations. He becomes incredibly frightened with the idea of leaving his mom and talking to a stranger. Due to this, he does not perform as well as he can. In genetic cases like this, the child only should be evaluated prior to kindergarten, middle school, and high school. And the child should be given the option to let their parent accompany them.

Some schools face difficulties in the socialization of disabled students. At Arrowhead High School, in Hartland, Wisconsin, the special education room and the Content Mastery Center are combined. Many kids here struggle with drug, alcohol, and violence problems. Kids from the CMC can be a negative influence on disabled kids. They can pick up vulgar language and see inappropriate actions, which they then think is okay. A law stating that the CMC and the special needs room need to be separated should be created in order to protect disabled students.

Public schools are required to provide education for children with special needs from the ages of three to 21. What happens to the kids after? There currently are programs that provide jobs to these students, but they often fail and the individual is forgotten. After graduation, if a child still requires an aid, the family has to find a volunteer or hire someone. Families who are struggling financially often cannot find care for their child. This leads to neglect, and it takes away from the quality of life for the individual. The government should provide children with disabilities care throughout their entire life. This would also help families have a sense of relief knowing that once they perish their child will be taken care of.

The No Child Left Behind policy requires all students in to take standardized tests including children with disabilities. These tests are difficult for children like Max and Marvin. They struggle with reading, focusing, and comprehension, which make the tests nearly impossible. Children with genetic conditions should be exempt from taking standardized tests due to their inability to perform basic skills needed for the test.

According to http://www.nationalreview.com, “In America one in seven kids have a learning disability or special needs. ”Although this makes up a significant population of students in public schools, children with disabilities are not being treated correct. In order to improve the quality of their education, the evaluation process, socialization, transitioning out of high school, and the No Child Left Behind policy need to be focused on and improved.

The only thing that separates other children from Max and Marvin is their genetic makeup. And they deserve their natural right to the life, and the pursuit of happiness, just like everyone else. Improving the state of the special education programs throughout the nation can do this.



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