Battling The ‘Special Needs’ Stigma

To the Readers’ Forum:

I commend the teachers at Fletcher Elementary School’s creative way of comparing children to pumpkins in a pumpkin patch, each one different, but each one needing a friend. I commend your new ways of communicating between the ”blessed” children and the children with special needs. i hope this will continue to combat fear and stigma.

I was a special needs child in elementary school. I was placed with the so-called normal students, but I sat in a corner, never spoke and continually put together wooden jigsaw puzzles. Once, a substitute teacher locked me in the cloak room because I would not speak.

I was shy all the way through college. It took the touch life of homelessness and institutional incarceration to teach me how to be a people person and to make my way in the world. I feel blessed that I suffered the hardships of being ”special.”It strengthened me in the long run.

If people learned to celebrate their differences instead of mocking them or fearing them, there might be an end to war and domestic violence.

Patricia E. Moniot