Acceptance: 12th Grade
I have been in Special Education for my entire school career. I'm in a great place at this point in my life. I am getting ready for my senior year in high school, I am beginning my first real job - with pay and I finally feel like I belong.
Things have not always been like this. Let me start off by saying that I really hated being in Special Education. Most of the kids I started out there with in elementary school moved onto regular classes and I too moved on - to a self -contained class. Not exactly what I was hoping for.... It's sort of like we were all riding our bikes up a really steep hill only they got to the top and I was struggling the whole way even with my training wheels.
After I got over the fact that this is where I truly needed to be: things got a little better. I realized that I was actually learning and that so what if it took me longer to get there. The important part was that I got there. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some perks to being in special ed. When everyone else is stressing over state tests, I don't have to take them. When everyone else is complaining that they have a load of homework and studying to do I'm done in 10 minutes. Algebra? Geometry? How about addition and subtraction - with a calculator.
But with every up there is a down, of course. When everyone is getting ready for the school dance/prom I'm not. Not that I couldn't go if I wanted to, I just worry and stress over every last detail and it is too much pressure for me to take. When most kids are taking drivers ed., I'm not. I did get my permit though and right now that's good enough for me. I like having an official identification. God Bless that lovely lady at the DMV who let me take it 3 time AND read it to me.
I am the middle sister. Nicole is my older sister. Danielle is my younger sister. People always think she is older though and it gets me mad. I think it is because she really takes care of me and always helps me out. She also has a car and drives me wherever I need to be. I feel really blessed to have these amazing sisters in my life. Without them I think I wouldn't care what I looked like or know what's popular. I have been told I'm very stylish; I give them props for that. Nicole was recently appointed joint guardianship with my parents. This is to protect me when my mom and dad are no longer around. I love Nicole for not being afraid to take me on, she loves me for who I am.
Even though I am still young I feel like my life has been a journey. I really struggled with being placed in a class that I hated. I felt stupid and embarrassed. One day I was in a regular class with support from a teaching assistant and the next I was in a self-contained class. I was like, "what just happened?" I was angry. I was mad at everyone including my mother who "plotted" with my teacher to get me in there. It took literally the whole year for me to relax enough to allow the teachers to keep the door opened. I thought I would die if anyone saw me in that class. Little did I know, no one was talking about me, they didn't even know where I went. One day a friend from the regular class asked me where I went. She wanted to know why I didn't tell her I was leaving. To tell you the truth, I wish I just told them that I needed to go into a smaller class for the extra help. I spent way too much time and energy trying to hide the fact that I was learning disabled. I should have told them, then it would have been up to them to accept me or not. I do feel that being secluded from the regular classes my social life did suffer; but now I feel like I am lucky because I think Special Ed. made me a better person. I used to hate myself and always wondered what was wrong with me? Why was I different? I felt like I looked like everyone else, why can't I do what they're doing? My experience in that class has taught me a lot. The kids in there are all unique, like me. They are smart. Just because someone can't talk doesn't mean they don't understand. It also doesn't mean they don't have feelings. Everyone has a different issue but we all accept each other for who we are and that part of Special Ed. is great.
I hope that kids like me with an intellectual disability will learn to accept themselves and own their disability. What other choice do they have? You can either be miserable or find some kind of happiness. I want sibling to know just how important they are to us and most of all I would love for everyone else to learn to be kind and not judge people because of their differences. We are all unique and need to learn to live together. The world would be so boring if we were all the same.