Disabled…disengaged…oppositional…hyperactive…disturbed…

We often put labels on our children without too much thought to how it impacts their self-image, their learning, and their future. I have read so many IEPs that paint a dreadful image of the real person behind the words. I often wonder, “What were the writers of this document thinking!?!” Did they forget that their words can damage a child, dash hopes, and cause parental distress? Some of these documents seem to be completely out of touch with reality. Many of the goals are downright ridiculous.

The one thing that is often missing is how the environment contributes to the child’s difficulties. We need to ask ourselves, “Is the child dis/abled because of the environment?” At the very least, we should try to figure out what parts of the curriculum/classroom/teaching are negatively impacting the child. Maybe we need to write IEPs based on what needs to be done to the learning environment to make it work for the child, rather than seeing what the child needs to do to comply with the school. It’s the system that is broken, not the students.