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.