“She’ll Be in Special Ed”

Hello again!

Before I dig into this topic let me preface this by saying I in no way think there is anything wrong with needing special education services.

Before I was born, when my parents found out I was going to be born with spina bifida, the doctors told my parents that it was likely that I would spend my school years in special education and that I would likely never graduate high school or even go to college. Let me just tell you how wrong they were.

I have never spent a day in a special education class. Ever since elementary school it was obvious to everyone who took care of me that I was not a candidate for special education classes. I was in general education and learning things my classmates were learning.

Now through, I believe, third grade, I was pulled once a year in order to do testing to make sure that I did not have a learning disability and after that it was clear that I didn’t so they stopped testing me.

When I got to high school, not only did I graduate with my class, I was a part of our schools advanced science program, known as Poseidon academy. This was a select group of students that had to apply in middle school to be a part of the program. Throughout the program we had a focus in all of our science classes on Marine sciences. We took classes like marine biology, chemistry, and project science. In that class we were expected to go out to our local estuary and study either the plants, or the wildlife and we had to come up with a hypothesis and then conduct investigations to test our hypothesis. finally we had to interview a local authority about it and create a video.

Throughout this program we studied with the same group of students all through high school. We were expected to take harder classes than our other non Poseidon classmates. In 11th grade I took AP English, and my senior year, despite my best efforts, my counselor essentially forced me to take a class called rhetoric and writing, which if you haven’t heard about it, is basically an advanced reading and writing class. I took all of these hard classes and still managed to graduate high school with my diploma.

I didn’t stop there. I moved on to college and this is where I started to struggle a bit. When I first started college at my local JC I didn’t really know what exactly I wanted to get a degree in so I just started taking classes in anything I thought I needed. With no goal to focus on I lost my focus and started failing and withdrawing from classes. Finally five years after high school I figured out what it was I wanted to do, I want to teach.

Ever since I figured out what it was I wanted to do and went to a counselor to set up my schedule of classes that I needed to transfer to a university, I have thrived. This past semester I took four classes and was able to achieve a 3.2 GPA. I am now only one class away from being able to transfer to my local university where I will pursue my degree in early childhood education and I plan to go on to get my masters in special education.

Not only was I able to graduate high school, I was never in special education, but I am actually working on TEACHING special ed.

I saw my favorite quote one day while visiting my mom at work, she used to work with kids and adults with disabilities and in her office was a poster that said “presume competence” it’s short, sweet, and to the point. It basically means that if your interacting with a person with a disability, whether it be spina bifida, or some other condition, presume that the individual is smart and can learn and understand just as well as anyone else. All children deserve a chance at success.

Well, that’s all I have for you for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this and I thank you for joining me on this journey. Remember to be kind and to always keep an open mind.

 

Welcome!

Hi!

Welcome to my site. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m wheeliegirl, a name I gave myself because I was born with a condition known as spina bifida and use a wheelchair to get around (for now). Before I was even born doctors were already telling my parents all of the things that I would never be able to do. I don’t know about you, but to me that is just wrong, and so were they.

For those who are unfamiliar with spina bifida, allow me to give you some insight about what it is. Spina bifida is a condition that occurs when the spinal cord doesn’t form properly. There are three main types of spina bifida. The first and least severe form of spina bifida is called spina bifida occulta. many with this type never know they have it until the end up going to the doctor to get a back x-ray for something totally unrelated. The second most severe form is called meningocele. and finally the most severe form, the one that I have is called Myelomeningocele. With this form, the spinal cord protrudes outside of the spine and a lesion is created on the back of the newborn. a surgery is required the day the baby is born to close up the lesion on the back.  Spina bifida can occur anywhere along the spina and the higher up on the spine it occurs the more severe symptoms. My level of spina bifida is at the L-4/L-5 level. This basically means everything from my waist down is some how affected. I can use my legs but certain muscles in my legs either don’t work or have limited function. Also, often times spina bifida is accompanied by a condition known as hydrocephalus, this is when fluid builds up around the brain and the body can’t flush it on its own. This requires the placement of a shunt to drain the fluid. Despite having spina bifida, I have huge dreams just like anyone else and I intend to see them through!

Now that all that is out of the way and you understand a little more about what is going on with me, lets talk about the point of this blog. Like i mentioned, since before I was born I was already given a long list of things that I would never be able to do. Well, I absolutely can’t stand people telling me I can’t do something. therefore I have been very determined to prove all the doctors who said I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that wrong. My parents were told I would never walk, that I would be in special education all through school and that i would most likely be mentally delayed. Besides the doctors, the media and society have made it seem like people with different abilities, can’t do anything. In this blog I intend to share my experiences and show everyone all of the things that I am doing with my life that doctors and society think are impossible. I will also be discussing my thoughts on different issues relating to having spina bifida. My goal with this is to show the world that people with disabilities can do ANYTHING everyone else can do, even if we have to do it slightly differently. I’d also like to educate people about spina bifida so that those who don’t know about the condition can have a more open mind when they meet someone who has it, and those who do have the condition won’t feel so alone when they realize that someone else in the world is going through the same feelings and issues. I hope you will take the time to read this blog and I look forward to communicating with everyone.If you have any questions feel free to comment on any of my posts or email me. Also I would love it if you have any ideas for blog entries that you would like for me to talk about. please email any ideas you have and I will get to them.  For now, have a beautiful day and keep an open mind.