At Least He is Happy

It seems as if you have a kid with special needs the ultimate goal is for the child to be happy. About school, language, society the big secret lies within ‘as long as s/he is happy’.
As long as Vince is happy that is what matter, and that should be what defines the challenges in his life.

On the other side, if you have a child without special needs, happiness is taken as a given. Or at least not as a defined goal when it comes to planning the child’s elementary education plan.

Do you realize exactly how ridiculous that is?
I mean, all parents who do NOT want their kids happy, please stand up and put your hand up now.
Anyone?
No, I did not think so.
If you have a kid without special needs (and guess what, I have one of those too so I have some insight) the expectations are rarely for the child to ‘just be happy’. And I am not minimizing the importane of happiness in ones life, not at all, but really? My kid has Down syndrome, and therefore as long as he is happy in school I should be fine with that?

No, I do not believe in that.
I believe he will have to be rather unhappy quite a lot of times. He is happy when he gets to do what he wants to. Does that mean he should be allowed to sit and eat candy and play on his i-pad and take breaks whenever he wants to? Does that mean he should play with the knights and the castle till he is 15, just because that is what makes him happy? Is that how life is and will be for him in the future?
At least my life is not always going as planned (and just as a side note, I chose happy).

So about school again, I want Vince to be challenged to his fullest ability, if that means learning to read when he is 8,12 or 22, is really not the point. That he is challenged after his own ability, and not after what someone else thinks he can do, is what matters. If it means that he will not learn to read because he simply can not, well then we will have to live with that, but if it is because the educational system can not find his channel to learn, him being happy just will not be enough.

You know the saying reach for the stars, it really does not make a difference the number of chromosomes you have. We still aim high for both our kids.

 

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10 Responses

  1. out of my head! Someone in the IEP meeting this week, who wants us to stop this inclusion nonsense, told me that “Kids in the separate classes just seem happier.” Like that’s it. We should settle for that. It’s infuriating to have the expectation be so low! I feel like a huge part of school is learning to deal with the low-level annoyances of life – waiting around, working with people you don’t like, all that.

    Yeah, I could write a book. I’ll stop. :) Just saying, I TOTALLY hear you on this one.

    • It is infuriating, and the argument just shows how far apart the thinking is. Our school is not doing this (at least not yet), but i am met by that expectation a lot and it just throws me off guard.

  2. Visst är det klart att vi alla vill att våra barn ska vara lyckliga, gärna hela tiden. Detta är dock en omöjlighet, INGEN är lycklig HELA tiden. Däremot vill jag att mina barn ska vara glada och lyckliga pga av saker de har presterat, inte för att de alltid får som dom vill. Bortskämdhet och själviskhet gör ingen glad. Jag kan bara hålla med dig. Att bara vara lycklig hela tiden är inget mål i livet. Lycka är mer än så. Det är vägen till målet. Känslan av att ha presterat. Känslan av att ha överkommit svårigheter. Känslan av att ha klarat det man själv inte trodde man kunde göra. DET är lycka!

    • Och om man var lycklig i hela tiden kan man ju inte veta vad lycka är. Det måste ju finnas nån motsatts till high för att kunna njuta av när det inträffar.

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing your opinions. I think this is very important ‘ I want Vince to be challenged to his fullest ability’ and be given the opportunities to reach for the stars. Challenges are here for all of us to learn no matter how difficult it is sometimes.

    “….but if it is because the educational system can not find his channel to learn,”

    This is the worst! It’s really frustrating when this happens. I think a lot times certain areas of education fail because it doesn’t tailor fit to the needs of the students. People are different and to lump one solution for all is mere laziness.

    On a separate note, did you read about this? http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/01/19/houston-waiter-refuses-to-serve-customer-who-insulted-down-syndrome-boy/

    • And many times it fails because the schools or caring facility or whatever chooses to take the easy way. Often as a parent it is impoosible to know as we have very limited access to the ‘real’ school environment. It is not possible to be in the school to control that all is done. And when we do visit, is it representative?
      Having a child with limit communication ability also plays a role, as you mist have working honest communication. Unfortunately, all people working with the child are not doing it because they have a vision to makethe best foreach individual child. But the ones that do, they do make the sun come out :)

    • And i did see the article :)

  4. This is a very interesting post. As a teacher and a mother I want every child to be happy…up to a point! My basic belief is that they will not learn if they are not happy. However, sometimes they need to understand that being happy does not necessarily mean doing what they want all the time. I try to plan lessons and activities that will encourage and inspire them, capture their interest and make them excited and want to learn more, get better at a skill etc. Happiness is important but there are restraints as you point out.

  5. Very good point! I think in todays world, we feel our children should be happy all the time. Or their life is terrible. Truth is……happiness is a choice. Special needs or not, teaching our children that each day is a gift and learning to adapt and do our best is most important. Life will not always be easy, but we can choose to be happy!

  6. This is so just so true, Christina. Our child Frederik (we met at Connys Book presentation “Väterglück”) is attending 2nd grade and the special needs teacher keeps telling me for the last 2 years, that all he needs is structures. He knows ho to read and he would also know how to write, if the teacher would have only tried. I taught him the letters, but she kept accusing me of asking too much. I strongly believe in challenging our kids, so they can also be happy when they are adults.best regards, gaby

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