A Letter to Students with Special Needs

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Picture: iStock Source: iStock

The letter below was written by a student at our school who has an IEP, or an Individualized Education Plan. IEPs are plans for students who have special needs due to a learning disability. These plans help students access the learning material by requiring teachers to provide accommodations. These measures are in place to support students who need more help with reading, writing, speaking, and/or understanding information.

Although this is an important part of making sure our education system is fair and available to everyone, not everyone is sensitive about students with disabilities. The student that wrote this letter, did so in order to raise awareness of the struggles that these students face and to encourage them to hold their heads high. 

Dear Student, 

Either you’re a “regular” student or you’re a student with special needs such as an IEP (Individualised Education Plan). I wrote this letter to give advice to students with special needs who  require accommodations for their learning. I know having these accommodations are probably great for some of you. It is probably quite useful too, like if you need to be seated in the front of the room so you can see the board. You are given extra time in all your assignments, even allowed to retake test, but sometimes it is also a struggle to have them. 

Believe it or not, I sometimes wish I could be a regular student. You may call me crazy for writing this, but hear me out first before you judge me…I started to feel left out, not being treated as a regular student, being blamed for having special help from the teachers themselves. This didn’t happen to me in high school, it happened to me when I was in elementary and middle school, not at Lotus though. 

When I told others about my IEP, I was hated by people I didn’t even know. What hurt more was that I lost some of my friends that I have known since I arrived in elementary. Because of this reason, I kept my IEP to myself and teachers from then on. This changed the way I interacted with people. I was beginning to not talk to people. I would become distant with people. I couldn’t make any friends. 

Life for me was difficult, so I wrote this letter to let people like me know that you’re not alone. If other people or your friends know your special needs and don’t blame you for having it, I’m happy for you. People didn’t do things like that in my time. People with special needs were treated differently, but I am only hoping that the future has treated you better than it was for me. If you have a special needs, don’t hide it like how I did. Be proud of it; it’s what makes us better learners. 

As my friend once said to me, “Never let people judge you by your looks, writing, and regular smarts. You’re special in every other way.”

Sincerely, 

Anonymous 

Special needs is a serious topic, with nothing to joke about. Already dealing with this situation, getting bullied on top of it makes everything worse. We should treat kids with special needs just like anybody else. Like this student with IEP said, “Don’t let your special needs change who you are, you are still a person like everyone else.”