DEAR ABBY: As a special education teacher, I have a request for parents of special education students. When you enroll your child at a new school, please inform the school that your child is a special education student.
Many parents follow the urging of their children and don't notify the new school, and this does a great disservice to their children. Schools face consequences for not identifying and servicing special education students correctly. If you and your child are adamant that he or she not be given the extra services for special education students, inform the school and provide documentation that you don't want these services for your child. Please do not leave your children to suffer the frustration of an incorrect educational placement. The schools will work with you and your child to find the best educational option for your child. -- SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, OKLAHOMA CITY
DEAR TEACHER: I can understand the reluctance of parents not wanting their children to be "labeled." I also understand that children can be cruel, and unwilling to accept children they perceive as "different."
However, the truth remains that not all children are able to learn in the same way. Some children need specialized help because of visual or auditory challenges in order to grasp and absorb their lessons. If they do not get it, they fall further and further behind, become the butt of ridicule among their classmates, become depressed and disruptive, and suffer from low self-esteem from which they may never recover.
I hope that parents of learning-disabled children will take your message to heart, and that your letter will convince them to do what is right for their children -- which, sadly, is often not the "easiest" thing to do.