One of the first questions parents have when special education is recommended is “How will it affect my child’s self esteem?” Opinions are mixed as to whether or not special education has a positive, negative, or neutral effect on a child’s self esteem.
How your child’s self esteem is affected by special education will vary depending on the unique aspects of your child, her educational needs, and the individual aspects of the special education setting.
Assuming that special education has been recommended, you need to evaluate how your child is coping emotionally, socially, and behaviorally in the mainstream classroom. If she is frequently in trouble in the classroom, unable to follow rules, and rejected by her peers, chances are she has low self esteem. If she remains in the same environment, she has little chance for changing the way she feels about herself. However, if she moves to a special education classroom that is structured for her to stay out of trouble, increases her ability to succeed in following the rules, and places her with similar peers with whom she can make friends, her self esteem is likely to increase.