Sunday, April 10, 2011

Disability & The School System


"What challenges does disability bring to the school situation?' That question pops up quite often. Having a disability can prove very challenging for many reasons. For the time being let's discuss K-12 because college is a whole different story.

Elementary School- Thankfully I wasn't terribly sick during elementary school, people didn't know I was disabled until 4th grade when I started getting worse. The main problem I had in elementary school was gym. I HATE GYM. Obviously, due to my crippledness I could barely do anything in gym. My family had to go to the school and ask the teacher to modify my gym activities. It was a small school so the teacher listened. The kid's usually pretty nice to me, except in gym. People used to laugh at me because I always was last. CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- This is the point where you start having to advocate for your needs. If you don't bring the issue to the school's mind they are not going to notice. Parents, at this point teachers might start thinking you are a crazy whining parent (sorry about that) but you are the one who knows your child best and you are right. Also if you child is visibly disabled, perhaps go talk to their classmates to help them understand why your kid is different. 

Middle School/ Junior High- I was very sick during middle school. Due to my disability I was home schooled for most of my middle school years. The school was bigger and thus it became harder for me to get aid. I had to have a 504 (official plan of care) and meetings with the heads of the school to make sure I got what aid I needed. The aid I needed was a tutor, modified schedule, no gym, extended test time, and an aid to get from class to class in a wheelchair. There were times when we had to put up a big fight in order to get what was needed. The kids in middle school were acted rather nasty towards me. They ignored me, teased me, and tried to trip me on occasion. CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- The bigger the school, the harder you have to fight. And again parents, at this point the people at the school will think you are insane and annoying. Too bad for the school. Again, you are right.

High School- I wasn't terribly sick during high school, but I still had my health issues. I had the 504 in order to get the modifications I needed and it almost always worked out rather well. I actually worked out my schedule so I could leave early. The kids weren't as stupid as they were in middle school, but there are always idiots that think it's okay to tease cripples (BTW, don't tease cripples, we have enough emotional baggage from being crippled). CRIPPIE'S TIPPIE- This is the point where the cripple has to start speaking for themselves when possible. Partly because the school system probably hates your parents by now, and partly because your parents won't be there when college comes around.

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