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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 61
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Location: Long Island, New York

12 Feb 2019, 4:22 am

Kids with Disabilities Pay a Steeper Price in School Than We Ever Knew

Quote:
Each year, more than 100,000 American schoolchildren are subject to corporal punishment. Another 120,000 are physically restrained or locked in seclusion. Millions are suspended or expelled. Many — if not most — of these children have one or more disabilities.

The Kids We Lose — a film developed and executive produced by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., founder of the non-profit organization Lives in the Balance and author of The Explosive Child — does more than put faces to these numbers. The 90-minute documentary outlines how these traumatizing tactics, currently proliferating in U.S. schools, are causing harm that reverberates long after the incidents. By punishing children with disabilities for behaviors they can’t control, the film warns, we’re doing more than disrupting their education. We’re pushing them from school to prison.

The film tells nine stories of children, adolescents, and young adults, all of whom have attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), autism, a learning disability, or another emotional or behavioral disorder. A tenth story, narrated by Dylan, an ADHD adult, weaves the threads together.

The story of Lucas, a preschooler who is shown lashing out when he becomes overwhelmed, leads in to the story of Eric, a preteen with autism who — in a scene that is sickening to watch — recounts having his arm broken by a teacher while being shoved into a secluded room during a meltdown.

Though the film draws on lots of studies and statistics, it maintains its human element, presenting each subject as more than a list of diagnoses and misbehaviors.

Each expert interviewed in the film is listed only by their title — “ACLU advocacy coordinator” or “preschool teacher” — rather than by their name. The decision to anonymize these professionals is an odd one, and detracts slightly from the film’s authoritative message.

The film briefly touches on solutions to the problems it articulates, the most basic of which are increased funding and stronger supports for children with disabilities. This decision — combined with the heartbreaking conclusions of the characters’ stories — forces viewers to confront the harm that’s being done in America’s schools.


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Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity