This article began with a somewhat political aspect, but after reading it a lot, I decided that I am not interested in giving it that tone, since I think it transcends politics and is a human question. Own a changing world, a fascinating world, a world full of atrocities but also wonders, a world that, at least for me, does not reach 100 years that I intend to live to see, enjoy and know.
And it is in that same world where sometimes it seems that we are all looking at our own navel. And in this very limited vision of reality, it gives the impression that anything goes.
But for me not everything goes. For me there are things that require a thorough analysis and commitment. There are things that cannot be played with, because as the song says “they have no spare.” And one of these “things that have no spare” is what is so much on the lips today: “the best interests of the child.” Does anyone really know what this means?
Its legal definition is as follows: “set of actions and processes aimed at guaranteeing an integral development and a dignified life, as well as the material and affective conditions that allow minors to live fully and achieve the maximum possible well-being …”
And of course, this in itself requires a very, very thorough analysis.
And this is where I go to my tiny dot within the grandeur of “the best interests of the child.” The education. No. I’m going to make it even more miniscule: going through school (which is not the same as all education, which is, of course, much more extensive).
I have been working with families of people with some alteration in their functions for many years. And in recent years, specifically with families of people with disabilities – from mild to moderate / severe. I don’t know of any who don’t want her children to be “integrated” into society. What’s more, everything they do and stop doing is to try to guarantee that integration. And I can assure you that it is a painful process. And as professionals we must support, argue and propose from the scientific and clinical validity. And sometimes the messages are not “pretty”.
As a professional, I have had to talk about many uncomfortable things with families. I have had tough conversations in which to tell a father that her son will probably never speak and have to find another way of communication. Or that he will not be able to go to the same international school as his brother @ because he needs another way of learning. Or that now is not the best time to enroll them in the first grade at school when they return home because they need to stimulate all those prerequisites necessary to access formal learning and that the rest of the students of that school have already acquired. Or that you cannot be an engineer and we will work hard so that you can access an adapted professional program.
There are families who, with tears in their eyes, learn to see the possibilities from another perspective – some even discover that there are thousands. And there are others for whom at that moment I am the worst of all the professionals on the planet (with the vast majority of these families, to this day I have an excellent relationship). But what I’m going to is part of this profession. You have to be serious, put your cards on the table, provide opportunities without giving false expectations, work very very hard to always achieve the maximum, accompany, support, learn. For me these “things have no spare” and I take very seriously “the best interests of the child.” And for this you have to fly high, but without forgetting to put your feet on the ground.
Has anyone ever taken the trouble to observe each of your students or patients and push their skills? Has anyone ever taken the trouble to get to know centers or spaces that accompany this development? Has anyone ever taken the trouble to learn about the possibilities that special education can provide? And to contrast them with the possibilities of that same child through the ordinary way? And even more, to assess the pros and cons of specialized care at an early age? That gentlemen is part of the best interests of the minor.
I do not believe that today we return to the typical little drawing of the teacher saying that the exam consists of climbing the tree and a monkey, an elephant, a fish participate in it … Have we really gotten stuck there? Is there really someone who thinks that a single teacher can meet the needs of the monkey, the fish, the elephant and a long list of peculiarities?
In my opinion, to decide and propose, you have to know, learn, analyze each of the possibilities. Thing that is done very little in this world that goes at full speed.
So if we are really going to put “the best interests of the child” first, let’s do it with conscience. Because childhood, education, access to opportunities, building self-esteem and self-concept … are things that have no spare.