Working with special needs kids was never an easy task, but it was one of the most memorable and cherished experiences of my life.
I remember first walking into a room of children with all kinds of disabilities thinking: "What am I getting myself into." Those words I thought to myself on my first day still bother me today.
Every day I worked with those children, they never ceased to bring a smile to my face. They all have unique characteristics that should never be judged based on the way they were born.
That being said, I understand why they were picked on.
You'd think it would be frustrating to work with special needs kids, when in fact the most frustrating part was going on field trips with them.
I'm sure many children who are enrolled in regular classes have never spent more than a day with someone suffering from some kind of genetic or developmental disorder.
Unfortunately, special needs kids are different, which is why they can get so easily picked on. And this taunting from their peers has such a negative effect on their self-esteem.
It felt like my heart was going to shatter into a million pieces every time I heard a group of boys snicker while walking past two of my students who suffer from ADHD and autism. Or the time one teenager girl asked a student of mine who has Down Syndrome "why he talked that way."
It's hard to just stand there and watch. How are you supposed to give a lesson to kids who just don't get it?
One mother shared her heartbreaking story about the day girls mocked her son at the mall, and perhaps the lesson she taught them is one they will never forget...