By Kodey Toney
I want Konner to fail. Yes, that's right, I want my nine-year old son with autism to fail. Of course I'm not trying to be a jerk. I want Kruz, my five-year old, to fail too. I'm all about equality in parenting.
Ok, let me explain. I feel like he has to fail at times in life in order to succeed.
Booker T. Washington said, "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
So what brought on all of this positive thinking? I was at the Oklahoma Association for Higher Education and Disability (OK-AHEAD) conference when a presenter told a story I felt was pretty interesting. I'm going to paraphrase a little, but they were talking about a man who has a disability and he had just been given a job. The problem was that despite being told several times, he wasn't doing the things he was asked to do. He was called in several times, and finally the supervisor called the parents to explain the situation. When the mom was asked what should be done she asked, "What would you do with someone else?"
He replied, "Fire them."
She said, "Then fire him."
He did, and the employee learned a huge life lesson. He learned that he had to abide by the same rules as anyone else.
You see, while most times people with disabilities tend to take more pride in their work, we often use kid-gloves with them. We want to treat them different and tip-toe around them because we think they deserve special treatment. While we may need to make modifications to help them we don't have to change the job. It's still a job, and they need to understand that.
The same can be said in the classroom. While we should modify the work or the room to help them learn, we don't need to let them slide on the work.
In our IEP meeting last week I explained to the principal Konner will have next year that he tends to manipulate sometimes. He knows that if someone doesn't pay attention he will try to slide by and get out of doing things. His aide has been really good at knowing when he's trying to do this and keep him on track.
I think all of these rules apply to any child, but for someone with a disability we think we need to be gentle with them. Guess what? It's them same harsh work out there for them as it is for your child without a disability.
Sometimes you have to learn by failing. That tough-love is important for anyone.