Mon, 24 Apr 2000 23:51:16 EDT
This is Stuart Williams-Ley, a staff member at Cedarwood Sudbury School in
Santa Clara, CA. During our five-year history we have had several students
who were considered to have special needs by their former schools. The ones
who we have now are doing quite well, but none are over 14, so it's too early
to know how they'll do in adult life. Their parents are quite happy with the
school; they often tell me ways in which their kids are flourishing.
Usually, these kids do not appear to be "special needs" kids at all. I doubt
if many of our other students have ever thought to attach such a label to
most of the kids in question. In fact, some of these students are highly
regarded by their peers for their knowledge, skills, and values (the latter
being the most important means of gaining the respect of others). By the way,
our late readers have eventually learned to read.
We have also had a few "special needs" children who did not work out as well.
At Sudbury schools, people need to be responsible for their own behavior,
which means that they must be capable of changing inappropriate behavior. In
our early years we had two young students who were sufficiently "behind" so
that we were never sure that they comprehended what we told them they
couldn't do. We've had other "special needs" students who had emotional
problems, probably aggravated by their experiences in other schools. Some of
these kids have exhibited destructive, malicious, or impulsive behaviors
which they could not or would not stop.
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