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Being offensive about disabled people - Carers UK Forum

Being offensive about disabled people

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From the original thread http://www.carersuk.org/Forums/viewtopic.php?p=63575
(I think you need to put this in the context of grim reports from educational psychologists a mere nine years ago that his IQ was in the bottom 1% and that he couldn't cope with mainstream education, i.e. put him with the cabbages. Luckily we just ignored them, and so did he. He is thriving in mainstream comprehensive and is starting a creative arts course at the local FE college one day a week this autumn).
I totally object with your refering to non mainstream children as cabbages, utterly disgusting on a carers website!
Vicky
I do not think that is how it was meant to be read, Vicky, in context it made sense, i.e. that Rob used the word "cabbages" to reflect the attitude of the people carrying out the assessment not his, I certainly read it that way and thought that Rob was expressing anger at that attitude, an attempt had been made to write his son off as so many children, and adults, are written off as not worth the expenditure of effort or resources.
He wrote "put him with the cabbages" so unless the LEA were suggesting a vegetable plot I can't see any other way to read it.
My son is in an SLD school, he couldn't cope in a million years in mainstream but that does not render him a cabbage.
Vicky
Wonderful pictures Rob. What a great experience for your son.

i have to say though, i can empathise with Vicky's views.
Me thinks ROB has "morphed" into JAMES PURNELL Image
Vicky, I have no idea what Rob meant - only he can say. But there has been a long tradition in Down Syndrome circles to push for mainstream schooling rather than special schools. For many people with Down Syndrome, it was felt that special schools were simply a dumping ground - which at least prior to 1971 most of them were. Some still are, frankly.

Rob is one of the lucky ones: not every child who has been mainstreamed has thrived on the experience. Our case files are full of examples where the opposite is true - many of them on the autism spectrum, but also some with Down Syndrome. It's one of the reasons why I don't fully agree with mainstream only options: for too many kids they just don't work.

As for whether the authorities think of our kids as cabbages is another question. I remember one special school (no longer with us) that opened an autism unit. The staff were not keen to have this specialist unit because it implied that they were not doing their job right in the first place. Which was true, incidentally. They called the unit "the goat pen" until parents got wind of it.
My own sons school is a special school Charles and I certainly haven't come here to defend it as I am locked in a fierce dispute with them, imo a cross between a nursery and a rest home for the elderly!
Mainstream would be even worse, my older boy attends a special school also for what used to be called MLD, he is doing much better there and will take his GCSE's unthinkable in mainstream and go on to college [not for the usual horticulture course], it was never enough for me to force my son into mainstream just so we can make like everyone else when there would be nothing concrete at the end of it. A whole lot of mainstream is just a dumping ground for disabled kids also, and inclusion is so much cheaper for the LEA, where I live they will mainstream anyone it's special school places that are hard to get.
The comment was "with the cabbages" !!!
Vicky
These words were in common usage not so long ago: "cabbage", "vegetable", "cripple", "handicapped", and were frequently used by professionals, it was not unusual 30 or 40 years ago for parents to be told that their children would only be vegetables and that they should put them into institutions, forget them and get on with their lives. The attitudes which gave rise to these words still persist, it is just that people are more wary of using them, "retard" is still commonly used in the US and used as a term of abuse in English schools Image . I have learned not to be too sensitive to their use, I particularly dislike the term "handicapped" to describe people like me, it is derived from "cap- in-hand", still a common, and frequently wrong, perception today. People can be far more offensive without using these words, abusive even as I know from experience, get rid of the attitudes and you get rid of the words which reflect them but this is no easy task.
Then I would question the idea that we should not be too sensitive, there is a good comparison imo to race and sexual orientation, there would be few who would suggest not being too sensitive to the N word.
Unless we challenge the usage of such words then nothing will ever change.
I already question things in my own mind that others wouldn't on discrimination in the fear of being considered too sensitive or touchy but then when I look at other groups I can see this isn't so, most especially as all the other minorities are better able to speak up for themselves than those with learning difficulties.
Vicky
I agree, Vicky. We should challenge the use of any derogatory words: "cabbage" is certainly one of them to challenge, it's one I've challenged before.

The context of Rob's post was ambiguous as to whether he or the authorities viewed children in special needs schools as "cabbages." One is acceptable, within the context of the post, while the other is not. Without knowing Rob's intentions on this, I can't say fairer than that at the moment.