As a special-education teacher with some experience with autistic children, I read "The Right Place for Patrick," by Kathleen Doheny, and then kept returning to Mary Rudd's statement: "In special education, he will be baby-sat and not taught."
Special education is not baby-sitting; it is the carefully crafted integration of skillfully planned teaching and constant encouragement of learning.
The majority of students placed in special education are very fortunate. In a "normal" classroom, a student would face about a 30/1 student/faculty ratio; in special education the ratio is close to 6/1, so the learning potential, along with the probability of the student's return to the "mainstream" classroom, is enhanced.
BARBARA R. DOODY