Free «A Direct Ride Home» UK Essay Paper
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The case entitled “A Direct Ride Home: Shelly’s Story” tells about a mother, who has three children, two of them with special needs. The first son suffers with autism and has mental retardation, and the second has the Asperger syndrome. Being dissatisfied with one of the two sons little progress at school, the mother decided to teach him at home. For example, even transportation becomes a great obstacle in the process of school education and creates inconveniences for the whole family. However, stress, recent illness, physical and financial exhaustion and other factors made Shelly partially competent to implement her decision into being. Therefore, this case aims at examining the collateral effect of school arrangements on family life, Shelly’s perception of education and educators versus home schooling, teacher’s risk and responsibility concerning the school decisions and professional judgment.
Analysis and Discussion
Autism is a “pervasive developmental disorder that is characterized by impairments in social interactions, interests and activities, and language development” (Emery, 2004). Parents, whose children have autism, are very responsible for bringing them up and introducing into this world full of controversies. As children with autism are deprived of normal development and organization of their mind, they require special attention and specific care. In order to help autistic children socialize and be self-sufficient, special private schools are designed to meet their needs.
Unfortunately, not every school has the possibility to provide all the necessary and required steps to help such children in strive for education. First, even the system of transportation can be unreasoned to such an extent that some autistic individuals may feel uncomfortable and underserved. For example, Shelly had requested a direct transportation from home up to the private school, because her autistic son Brian felt nausea during the long-term rides. However, according to the bus schedule, the bus picked up Brian in front of the house, and then he had to switch busses at a bus depot and drive back through their neighborhood to the private school (Overton, 2005). The option, where Brian could be picked up when the bus headed from the depot directly to the school was unavailable. After three days of inconvenience, Shelly, as a worried mother, decided to drive Brian school herself. To achieve this aim, she had to arrange her personal time and adjust to Brian’s schedule. This left Shelly with little free time, where she could do household duties or anything else. The current situation shows how school arrangements, transportation, in particular, have a negative effect on the life of a family.
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Second, the system of education lacks skilled and trained personnel, who can adequately work with autistic children and help them progress. According to Shelly, the private school for autists in their neighborhood took children up to eight years. Therefore, Brian could attend it up to a certain age. What is more, as Brian made little progress at school, Shelly requested teachers to pay him special attention. However, the teaching staff was just confused and could do little about it. Therefore, Shelly decided to home-school Brian. On the one hand, Shelly is right. Private schools or any other schools, that accept children with autism, are required to “evaluate prospective interventions … on an individualized basis …” (“Teaching Children with Autism Special Education Interventions”, n.d). They should not only implement the program that would meet the specific needs of these children, but include the well-trained personnel, who could teach autistic children to read, write, mathematical knowledge, and other studies with a step-by-step mastering and positive reinforcement. However, on the other hand, every child with autism is an individual with personal needs and abilities to master them. Moreover, teachers, who desire to work with “children with needs”, are only a few. Shelly believes that teachers in formal school “do not have the expertise to do very much with the children … they follow the instructions and material [she] sends in, but they are in dire need of direct coaching” (Overton, 2005). This job is hard; it requires great efforts, enthusiasm and responsibility for the children. In comparison, homeschooling might be a way out which can give an autistic child special attention, systematic tutoring, easiness in organizational matters and vast possibilities to progress. Besides this, Shelly reports that Brian made greater progress while studying at home than he did being at school. The only minus of homeschooling is that Shelly has to self-tutor herself for about twenty hours per week to produce a forty-hour per week education for Brian (Overton, 2005).
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Third, by so far, the family’s experience within the educational system has contributed to the unsuccessful collaboration between parents and school professionals. Despite transportation problem and unprofessional school staff, the professional judgment of teachers and school decisions were in opposition towards one another and influenced collaboration between the school and the parents. Not only Shelly’s family but also many families “have given up expecting much from schools” (Overton, 2005). The schools and their workers cannot provide the appropriate services to the families with autistic children. What is more, they do not promise anything for child progress. Therefore, Shelly and her husband need to purchase services and do everything on their own to support their children in their needs. Shelly says that the family will not abandon the home program “for a program that would not necessarily provide experienced or trained staff or supervisors” (Overton, 2005). Therefore, Shelly has no choice, but to teach her child at home.
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The analysis and discussion of the Shelly’s Story have concluded that school arrangements, professionality of the teaching staff and school transportation do not meet the special needs of children with autism. Thus, the collaboration of such schools and parents is unsuccessful. What is more, neither the school program nor the professional teachers can promise that autistic children will make progress and learn anything. For the time being and according to Shelly, homeschooling is the only way to support and educate children with special needs as it definitely has numerous benefits.
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