High Expectations!!!! // Judy Itzkowitz | Just another WordPress site

High Expectations!!!!

How essential.  Too often, I am told that my expectations of individuals with differing abilities are too high.  Whether that is a principal who told me that my expectations were too high and that a person with Down syndrome could never learn to drive. At the time, the young man was a middle school student.  I responded by saying that I do not know what is possible, but I am not going to put limits on a person.  If this young man wants to learn to drive, his parents and I will figure out what supports he needs.  Or another person who told a student with Down syndrome that he could never go to college, because he has a cognitive disability.  He stood up for himself and said, “that I am going to go to college” and he did.  Another time, I was told by a middle school teacher that a high school student with an intellectual disability should not learn about the Holocaust, as the person would not understand about what happened, that it would be too traumatic for him.  My thoughts — if all other students in that social studies class are learning about the Holocaust, then it also is important for the student with an intellectual disability to learn about the injustices and suffering.  It is part of the common core.  More importantly, it is part of being human.  Sometimes parents have told me that they are fearful about their adolescent son or daughter with an intellectual disability staying home alone.  My thoughts — how do we teach the student the skills that he or she needs so that he/she can stay home safely?   If I do not have high expectations, I can run the risk of doing things that result in a person becoming more disabled, acquiring learned helplessness, and making their lives smaller.  More about this another time.  So, what will I choose today?

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