Now a parent of a special needs child, I look back on my teaching career with emotion

I was a teacher for 6 years. Throughout that experience I worked with many special needs children. Mostly because I did well with them, so administrators and parents felt good with their kids in my class. I was at many countless IEP meetings. If I had known then what I know now. I would be such a different teacher. I would be so much more understanding to the kids, the parents, and the special ed teachers. Having an autistic son has taught me so much. These kids are so special. They are the love of someone's life. And most parents are trying to do the best they can and deal with their situation. I was good with special kids and their parents, but could have been, should have been, so much better.

I want the absolute best for my son, no matter what. I sit in his IEP meetings and really wonder if they have his best interest at heart. Do they really get him, love him, want to help him. It is his life we are discussing here. And you know what, I am not ashamed to admit that I need help, daily. We struggle with so many issues and I look to his school staff for guidance and help. I am happy with his schooling so far. His IEPs have addressed his needs and have had reasonable goals attached. And his teachers have worked very hard at helping him reach his goals.

I could go on and on about this forever, but I will conclude by saying again that I am now sitting on the other side of the table and have experienced both. Special education really is so important. These kids and parents need so much guidance, support, and love. And these teachers (the ones that do care and are doing their job, which most are) need respect and understanding. It should be a relationship where everyone involved is truly working together and doing the best they can for that particular student.