Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teach What Helps


Peter was a former special education student of mine with an IQ of 75.  In spite of his limited intellect, he learned how to cover up his disability.  He was a personable young man and easily got a job in a nearby fast food restaurant.  He worked hard and was promoted to manager, a job he did exceedingly well most of the time.  I say most of the time because he had a big problem when the computer that ran the register went out.  He couldn't make change and needed someone to help him out.

I remembered Peter today when a friend told me the story of a cashier who didn't know what to do with the dime he was handed when the change due was $9.90.  I told this friend the story and he was glad.  He never thought of people being too limited to even make change.  I then told him about a girl I taught several years earlier who would not ride the bus by herself because she could not count out the four quarters she needed for her fare.  No one would have guessed this about her.  She looked like you and me.

Things are different today.  These two students would probably be in an ICT class because some administrator or guidance counselor with an IQ slightly above that of those two kids decided it was right for them.  They would not be able to pass.  If by cheating some miracle they did pass, what good would it do them?  College should never be in their future.

I don't know what happened to the young woman but Peter's life has been a success.  He got a job sweeping floors at a major company.  The guys liked him and taught him to drive the truck, a job that paid a lot more money.  He married a registered nurse and became the father of two wonderful children.  He didn't waste time or money pursuing a college education, something he never could have completed.

1 comment:

Sweet Girl Tracie said...

Very interesting..this is what the panel that I am going to be on for next Tuesday will be about. I volunteered to be on a disability panel for a speech pathology class to discuss an awareness of issues with disabilities, share stories of growing up with a disability and give the undergrads a perspective of the challenges on which students who have (dis) abilities come across on a daily basis, learning, social skills, challenges in beating people's assumptions or negative stereotypes.