So happy to receive an invitation from Veronica Zalis to participate in a blog hop to raise awareness for autism. Spent a fair amount of my career working on special education law, so it's a topic near and dear.
You can find Veronica's post about the blog hop here. Here's my card.
Since I don't have any kid themed stamps (what's wrong with that?) I decided to use this wonderful quote from an old Technique Tuesday Stamp set, Loving Words. Painted a blue and white background, using an easy technique that I saw on Kymona's blog. You can find her directions here.
I used white and blue gouache paints, let them dry, and embossed the sentiment in white. The sentiment came out a little wonky, but I've decided it goes with the mixed media idea. The nice thing about gouache is that, unlike watercolors, there is no need to add water and if you don't go crazy, plain cardstock will not warp.
Soapbox on Children with Disabilities and High School Diplomas
The IDEA provides critical special education and related services to approximately 12-15% (varies by State) of students. Many of these children have autism or are considered to be "on the spectrum." Personally, I think we have a long way to go before we will really understand autism and all of its variations (however, we do know that there is no scientific data linking autism to vaccines). In the meantime, it's up to parents to be informed and to advocate for what they believe is best for their kids.
You may be very happy with the education and services your kid is getting now, but keep your eye on the end game -- it is never too early to think about what will happen when your child is no longer a child. While the IDEA provides for transition services (services to assist in the transition from high school to college, other training, or employment), those services do not kick in until late in the game.
While many children with disabilities go on to college, most do not. This is in part because the high school graduation rate for children with disabilities is around 63%, which is shockingly low. These graduation rates are supposed to include only kids who graduate with a regular high school diploma. However, more and more States are adopting "special" diplomas, and including kids who graduate with a special diploma in the graduation rate (it's my view that that is why you see so many stories about the increase in graduation rates.) So, this means that 37% of kids with disabilities are not finishing high school with any diploma (in some States the rates are much worse).
It's important for parents to know about the options for their kids. Suggest you find out what the graduation rate for children with disabilities is in your State. Ask, before high school begins, whether your child is on a path to receive a "regular" high school diploma or a special diploma. It is important to make sure you understand the implications before agreeing to a particular curriculum. For example, will a special diploma permit your child to enter the military or be accepted by colleges? You may conclude that a special diploma is the perfect option for your child, given his or her particular circumstances.
However, if you believe that your child is capable of receiving a regular high school diploma, advocate for it, and for any necessary supports and services that will help your child achieve that goal. It is hard, but I believe that the majority of kids with disabilities are capable of receiving a regular high diploma -- if they get the special education and related services to which they are entitled. But, if you wait until your child is already in high school before planning, you may unnecessarily limit your child's options.
MOOD WHEN DONE - Soapbox out!