VALUES AND OUTCOMES
Lets revisit Matthew Ackinclose and determine what values and outcomes are part of his education.
*It is not unreasonable to have great expectations for Matt. He is participating in the general curriculum even as he also receives special support outside that environment.
*It is one thing to be the boy who never won a prize for contributing to his school, but it is quite another to be the boy who won the principal’s Pride Award for his positive contributions to his school.
*Matt defies a stereotype that people with emotional or behavioral disorders cannot "recover"–Matt himself is resilient and determined and those traits are great strengths for him now and later.
*By asking Matt why he acts in certain ways, his teacher Rebecca has taught him to consider his strengths and to make choices based on them.
*Matt’s use of medication and his teachers’ focus on his strengths help Matt have good relationships with his peers; the principal’s Pride Award certainly testifies to his good relations with his peers and teachers.
*It seems clear that Matt is smart enough to get and hold a job; he will be regarded as, and will regard himself as, a full citizen when his education leads to his economic self-sufficiency.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Remembering the three women in Matt’s life (his mother Laura, his social worker Rebecca, and his special education teacher Charlotte), to what degree has Matt’s recovery depended on Laura’s determination to avoid a residential treatment center for him, or Rebecca’s strengths-based approach, or on Charlotte’s diligent use of positive communication to build trust with Matt?
Recall that Charlotte has said "you can be trained" to work with students with emotional or behavioral disorders, but that she added, "You have to want to do this job." Do you believe that the training is more, less, or equally important as the desire to be an effective special educator?
Does it seem to you that Matt has fully recovered–after all, he now attends and its successful in school and takes far fewer medicines than he used to–or do you sense that Matt will almost always need some kind of support to be successful as a student and then as an adult?