The sad reality is, even with early intervention, there are still students whose disabilities are overlooked or not addressed in school. Whether it be from a lack of care and attention, or fear regarding the stigmatisms associated with special education, these students ultimately suffer from not receiving the proper supports. A possible educational outcome from overlooking a disability is that the student will never be able to reach his or her academic potential. The student may fall short and/or get lost in general education classes that do not have the accommodations needed to support him or her. Instead of receiving modifications or the extra guidance from a special educator, nothing will change, and the student will continue to fall behind. This will inevitably negatively impact how teachers, peers, and families view the student.
This snowball effect will also impact how the student views him or herself. Without knowing the real reason behind his or her struggles, the student may internalize these feelings, and become pessimistic about the future. There often comes a need in the student to then act out through negative behavior in order to hide insecurities. The point of an individualized education program (IEP) is to allow the students to see their differences are accepted and supported. Without these supports, a student who is missing the mark in class may be labeled as “bad” or “stupid” and blamed for the problem.
When a student struggles and believes they are unintelligent throughout secondary school, it impacts their future plans. Students are often turned off by the idea of academic education, and do not seek postsecondary options. Thus, the student is not even given the chance to reach his or her full potential. There are still people, families, and students who associate special education with negative stereotypes, despite the fact that, in recent years, future outcomes for exceptional learners have been looking up. Normalizing disabilities, rather than overlooking them, can drastically improve the life of these students.
Instead of wondering what they are doing wrong, the student has access to the supports and modifications they need to succeed. Even accommodations such as double time on a test can be carried into many college today. These accommodations can help a student, who would otherwise feel overwhelmed or lost, succeed in secondary and postsecondary environments.