I have a difficult time accepting this. My child has significant cerebral palsy, attends Catholic school and flourishes beautifully. You’re right, in that they don’t have special classes for the disabled. They don’t have to accomodate her beyond building codes and even that is a bit ‘iffy’.
We’re blessed to have a priest who supports our decision to keep her there. She receives love and compassion from everyone, from the students, the teachers and staff, all the way to the principal. I have a whole bunch of stories I could tell that reinforce ‘mainstreaming’ her at school. She benefits from the other students, and they benefit from her. She’s expected to do the assignments, just like everyone else, even in PE. Sure, she’ll always be last in a foot race, but the others still cheer her on. They don’t treat her any differently, because they don’t see her as different. She doesn’t see herself as that different than any of her buddies.
What I’ve seen in the public schools are ‘special classes’ where ‘those students’ are all tucked away, nice and tidy, out of sight, protected from all the ‘regular kids’. The ‘regular kids’ don’t get to know them, and they are clearly different. With that environment, I believe that socialization for both the ‘regular kids’ and the ‘gimps’ is thwarted. They’re kept apart and treated differently. The ‘special-ed’ kids at the local public school just don’t seem as happy.
I just don’t believe that most of the disabled kids need to be anywhere but a regular classroom, with regular kids. I simply don’t know of any other kid (except the handful of other disabled kids I know in Catholic schools) with the disabilities mine has, who has the social skills, personality and level of happiness that my child has. Concerning the lack of ‘special-services’ in Catholic schools, for me, less is more.