Kids School

My Strong Opinion on Special Education

Do you know the child, the one that no matter what, even though you’re sure he’s capable, he’s just not a good student? There’s no motivating them. You’ve taken the iPod away, the TV, he’s grounded until he’s 39 and there’s absolutely nothing left short of taking away his next birthday that could make something click or motivate them.

I’m old school.  I’m not going to hand my children “life on a silver platter.”  I wouldn’t be doing them any favors.

I think I’m a rare breed of parent. I don’t condone disrespect at school. If you’re my child and you get in trouble then you can expect to spend your time as the school official sees fit. I instilled that in all of my children. Sort of the old saying “if you do the crime, you’ll do the time.” They made a mistake, they should learn from it.

I’m the same way when it comes to my children’s education. I attended parent-teacher conferences this week. My child struggles in school, it’s no secret. I’ve been at this awhile, so I think I have a pretty good foundation or understanding of the way this works. My child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) but be that as it may, I don’t believe in using it as a crutch.


I think as the years go on “helicopter parents” are becoming the norm and parents like me are becoming rare. Everyone is so worried about hurting feelings, or bailing kids out because we don’t want to see our child punished, or calling the coach because “my child isn’t getting enough playing time,”that we fail to see that we ruining our children.

During an IEP at the beginning of this year, a teacher stated, “I can modify his assignments, break them in ½, so he has less to do.” Ummmm NO! Let’s tell him “You can do it!” and see how he does, let’s challenge him and watch his eyes light up when he aces that spelling test!

IEP’s are put in place to both protect the child and the institution. Don’t take advantage of it. You’re just as much responsible for your child’s education as the instructors. The IEP is not to make it easier on the child, it’s meant to assist in educating and finding a process or plan that works for your child. Just because your child has a special need does not mean that they are incapable of learning, it means they may need to learn in a different way than mainstream kids. I also know that it’s just as important for that child to be able to see that they can succeed. It takes work, patience, and encouragement.

I have strong opinions about special education. I’ll catch hell for this, but if you don’t advocate for your children than most likely no one will. I find too often that individuals with special needs are not a valued asset in the community.

My child took a career assessment test this week, my child is a freshman. They’re already gearing him to consider working in manual labor, in my opinion they are not confident he will succeed in college. I’m OK with that if that’s what HE chooses NOT the instructor. 

Hard work, sometimes tough love, definitely patience, and lots of encouragement shows your child you have confidence in their ability.  “Baby! Reach for the stars; you can do whatever you set your mind to!” If your child is employable at whatever they choose, then mama get out the cake, we’re going to celebrate! 

About the author

Cynthia Smith Huhman

I am a mother of 5 children, with a difference of 20+ years from the oldest to the youngest. I’m a new grandma to a beautiful baby boy! I have worked in the broadcast business for 9 years; I’m putting myself through college, studying marketing and leadership, and I’m a self-proclaimed big mouth for Tourette syndrome and developmentally disabled.

Previously divorced; I now co-parent with my significant other of 12+ years, in 2 separate homes. Unconventional, but with a combined total of 8 kids… his, hers, and little ours it works for us!

I live for my coffee & vanilla chai. I love to teach my daughter new crafts & inspiring her creativity. I enjoy my gardening, cooking, wandering around the hills with my camera, and writing.

You can also find me at my new blog

My motto: Pick yourself up and keep on moving!


  • What state do you live in? Once your child turns 16 he would qualify for Voc Rehab service which will help him with career selection and supports in college and in the work force if you live in Nebraska here is the website

    • Thank you MMF, but unfortunately, my opinion is also based on experience that we’ve had with VR. Although I feel like it’s a good program there are individuals in each system that does not have the child’s best interest in mind. The child deserves to be heard. My oldest daughter received services through VR. The rep felt like an institution that more “hands on” or a vocational setting would be more appropriate. She was not confident that my kid could or would be able to complete an education in a 4 yr college. She convinced my child it would be better for her. So off she went to the city for an 18-month program. Kudos to her for completing it, but my child was
      miserable, mom was a mess, and it was the longest 18 months of both of our lives.

      The woman was not interested in my daughter’s opinion or choices. She was rude and overbearing. When my child finally stated she really wasn’t satisfied with her choice the woman screamed at her, told her she was making bad decisions and promptly hung up on her.

      I can proudly say that kid will graduate in December with her second degree, a 4-year degree in Public Relations. Something that woman told her she could never achieve something she would not have done had she listened to someone that kept telling her she couldn’t do it. She transferred
      VR offices with a new rep and we learned of several new programs that would assist her in seeing that she would succeed. Something the other representative had not done for her. With perseverance, hard work, tutoring, and learning to self-advocate my baby has already secured “a big girl” job that is waiting for her upon graduation. Her words NOT mine. LOL

      Readers should keep in mind; I’m not bashing the education or sped ed system as a whole. I have a brother, a son, daughter- in- law and 2 sisters-in- laws, that are working in education, one of those specifically in sped ed. There are some very good individuals out there, but there def is some bad apples in the barrel. We’ve had experience with both!