The Stigma Surrounding Special Education Classes Needs to Stop

  • December 12, 2017

There has always been a strong misconception surrounding special education classes and the students that take them, and this must stop now. Some examples include, but are not limited to, students being called demeaning names, being talked about behind their backs, or having to explain to another person that they are in a certain class because they need extra help, only to receive a strange glance from the person they are talking to. I have been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of all the examples mentioned. Even if someone does any of the things previously listed, there seems to be an idea on campus that in order to be successful, one will need to take the hardest classes he or she possibly can. There are many reasons why special education classes don’t deserve these incorrect notions. As someone who is currently enrolled in a special education class, I feel that it is crucial for others to be aware of this topic.

This is my first year in a special education class. Before this happened, I always struggled with math. Since some other students excelled in the subject, I always felt insecure because I wanted to excel as well. The fact that I couldn’t comprehend and keep up with this subject would make me feel dejected.

Then I was placed in this particular class level. Suddenly, I could understand everything. The different environment helped so much. I have gained so much confidence from being in this class because I know that this specific environment will help me learn better. People need to understand that some students thrive in some environments while others are at a disadvantage. Just because one kind of class approaches teaching with a different method from the traditional system doesn’t mean that it needs to be met with negative comments. It should not be met with a negative attitude at all.

In some cases, when a student finds out that another student happens to be enrolled in a special education class, s/he will proceed to call that student degrading names or say something negative about the class in general. Just because someone is in a special education class does not mean that s/he is any less intelligent or capable of success than someone who is not in a special education class.

The students in these classes are those that need the extra help and a slower pace to do well in a subject that they have difficulty with. Do you think that these students want to struggle in a certain subject? Do you think that these students want to try their hardest and put in their best possible effort into a class, only to fail and feel completely discouraged? No. Before you make a comment about a student being in this kind of class, think about how it would make them feel. I know that some people would love to be good at the things that I’m good at.

While these classes are very beneficial for the students that choose to take them, the stigma is a complete confidence breaker. Some students have even chosen to not take these classes because of the negative perception that follows them.

Sometimes there are days when I don’t want to go to my special education class because I don’t want someone to see me and think that I’m just another “sped” kid. I was called a “sped kid” in the hallway one time and I certainly do not want it to happen again. I don’t want to be reminded of the stigma that is attached to this class. I don’t want someone to get the wrong impression of me just because I’m not in a regular class. This has also happened on more than one occasion and I’m tired of this. I don’t want someone to say something belittling or give me a weird look because of this.

I just want to be viewed as a capable and intelligent student. I want every student in a special education class to be seen just like any other student. The kind of class you’re in should not determine how people treat or view you. You should not be stigmatized for needing extra help. You should not be stigmatized for learning in the way that works best for you.

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