Special needs programs should be restructured

Two years ago, my special needs brother, Adrian Cooney, had to change schools due to the special needs program in his old school being dissolved. Other than the change in scenery, this change brought with it a change in how he was being taught. 

In his old school, he would be mainstreamed in some classes, because he was caught up with regular students, and in others, he had to go to his special needs room. 

In his new school, they would only teach him in the special needs room. Why was this? Why couldn’t they mainstream him in the classes he is up to speed on?

This is because special needs classrooms can vary wildly depending on what the students in the classroom need. For instance, students that need assistance with basic hygiene or functional needs will be taught in a self-contained classroom, usually of a smaller size.

Other special needs students, similar to my brother, have only a minor issue with school and are able to be taught with mainstream students if they are on par with the other students.

If schools want to create an equitable learning experience for all students, it is important for special needs students to have proper classrooms to support their needs, along with a teacher trained to support those needs.

In the case of my brother, where he mainly needs to be caught up on his classes and have some understanding of social interactions with other students, if he was put into a scenario where he is in a classroom environment designed for students who have major special needs which need constant attention, he wouldn’t be set up in the best way possible for his future due to the environment not suiting the student. 

However, if he is in a classroom that is focused on catching him up and he gets sent to classrooms with other students for subjects he is caught up on, he will be set up properly for his future.

The best possible solution for special education in schools would be difficult to achieve due to the training required for special needs education, along with most people entering the teaching industry being unwilling to work with special needs students, but if achieved, everyone would be able to have the greatest education that could be given to them.