Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dear University : An Open to letter to all institutions of higher education regarding the inclusion of students with disabilities

   Dear  University,

  I want to tell you a story  about   a once highly motivated student  who is now the poller opposite.
   This student  grew up in a family that valued higher education.  The student was from a home where bed time stories were  a natural occurrence and  the path to college was  discussed at length    The parents paid students grades in junior high  and high school.  During  a middle school graduation the student friends parent  told   the student that  they only had four years of college left.  Without  missing a beat the student said. " No. I have  eight more  years, the student was  graduati
ng from 8th grade,  I am  going to college.   The  student's  path was set. They wanted to get a BA.

    The spring  of the students freshman  year, they  developed OCD.  It was  really  hard and made the student  regress. Also with the demands on social  in high school  the student was  behind and had trouble making friends due to  Non verbal  learning disorder.  In her junior year of  high school a  job coach told the student and their mother that  the student would probably work in the back room of Safeway. This and  OCD  made the student fear  high school graduation.  Nonetheless she  graduated.  Although the student had a rough start, they ended up excelling  in school.  Th
ey   graduated with an AA in social scince   with honors.  But they  were not done. They wanted  to get a BA and  go into the education field.

    Last year they went to a University  highly motivated to  finish.  But then  they  ran up against ableism.  The campus  was complete  inaccessible     There was no way for the student to   self serve in the lunch room.  The  room that housed  classes  lacked an elevator.

   One Professor  told the class " That all students   lean language  without ever being taught."   The  student  held their tongue at  first but was visibility upset because she  a speech impairment due to Cerebral  Palsy and had a  hard time learning to speak.   When they the student did say something  the professor  replied , " Well all  normal children do. "  That really  hurt the student.   What was  worse  is that the  professor  overly  praised the student when they  got the seconded highest grade then  admitted to the student that they  " were surprised that [the student]  did so well."    When an able bodied  student who got higher then said student was given the  test.  The student received no fan faire despite getting a hundred percent.

 Another teacher tesed a student's hat.   When the student had long hair and due to Cerebral  Palsy could not  do  their  hair  so they needed a  hat.  The same history  professor asked the  class " If  anyone had a rope." when said student had too many questions.  The student was   part African American  and the teacher  taught United States history.   They  could have  ment  lynching.
  This  remark was complete out of line.

    The last teacher  compared  student  to a  child  in front of the class.  The  teacher later apologized for this  remark.   Making her the only teacher to apologize 

  The administration  refused to let  the  student return  to school  for personal reasons    The  student   returned to school Fall 2014 under a contract.     The contract  stated  among other  things that   the student could only  take  two classes and  had to behave.  In the event that she  did not  behave, she was blamed for reacting to teachers   remarks, she  was to see  the  Disability  person, how  can  one person be in charge of all students with disabilities on a college campus.   On thursday  the student got  a message from a conduct  person.     Which violated the contract.     What made it worse  was that the student  went to advisor asking what the meeting was about. The consular said "  I do not want to speculate.    The student  then met with the conduct person  who said the consular  was    the one to report the incident.   The  student had  went into  a class  asking  to  switch the classes that she    wanted  because everyone   who  took it was fun.    The    advisor  said the student broke the conduct code.   Another student said the  student  had   followed  procedure and  had not broken the conduct  code.

 The student  is already  behind because they  do not feel wanted.    They do not  trust  anyone at  the university.   They feel betrayed  by the consular.  They  had  problems   committing to two  classes.  Although the professors were decent this  semester  the administration  has  been  hard to deal   with.

   So what  happend  to the student.  Well,  they  are currently recovering  l  from a major  bout of depression  brought on by this  stressed.  They  recovered not by  the  promise of  a college education but   with   I  pad  games, The  now   scan   the community for  entry  level  jobs and  are having a hard  time focusing on  education.  They   are   hesitant  to   try another  school.   The  student is  writing  this  to  teach you a few things.

 1 Make   campuses  accessible.   Every  lecture hall  should have  an  elevator.
2  Treat every student like a person  not a trained seal.  Not  a   half  person  not   a miracle.     
3   Dont  joke  about disabled students.    Make  them  feel  included.
4     Follow the  Golden  Rule.

5   If the  student  is on contract  follow  it. 

6   If the student  has   social  problems  do not criminalize them.   Use it a  teachable  moment .   Be  patient  everyone  make  mistakes.
7  Honesty
 8   Admit that you do not know everything.  Ask the student  to  teach you  about their  background.  Be willing to listen  about  what it is like  to be them.
9  Be  Patient
 10   Have training  for all  staff  on  ability  awareness.  Take  the   R  word  pledge.   Learn what Ableism  is.  

 ***  You  may not be able to do all of these  things  due to lack of  funding, yet  all  staff can  have  heart and show a little loving kindness  for all  students.  Especailly   minority  students.

   All the students  that  I have  met in  university  have  rallied around me.   I  have  enjoyed   talking to you guys. Thanks  for treating me  kindly   when  the  staff  has  not.  The   Center  for spirituality and the  director  of student  retention  have  been awesome  too.  You  guys   rock.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Midsummer nightmare

       So today  I  had class at my  beloved  jr college.   I  needed a text book  for philosophy which  my  dad  came  to the bookstore to get,but  we  ended up not  getting the book.  " Why  did  we not get  the book?"

   When  my  dad came to bookstore  he traded places with me so I could  rest my feet and look on my iphone.  I looked on Facebook that was fine, but then I  got an email from  my old university  The  plan was I  would  take classes at both  the jr college and the university  since  I can only take two classes at the  university.     The same university  that I   talked about here.

   Apparently not  much has changed in terms of inclusiveness  towards   those  with disabilities. Ableism  rules  supreme  and  the term  has not began.  How  do  I know this.

  The  email I  got  was play invite  to all the students   to try out for  Shakespeare's  A  mid summer nights  dream.   I  kinda  like  that play and  have always wanted  to be in at least one play  my school career so  I  was interested  in  trying out .  Until  I  read the following,

"This play requires clarity of speech and a passionate desire to communicate one’s point of view."

   This is clear ableism. Why  I  have  speech issues.  I  can  barely  say my own name.  I have  been in  speech  therapy   since I was   three.  The  speech  issues are  due to CP. Futhermore   this  was sent out  to all  the students.   This  was not broadway its a school play,  something that I  always wanted  to do.   Did  they  think about this?No.    

  I am  leaning  towards not going back to school and  school starts a  week from now. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This could change my life

      ***** Authors note :  I  do not mean  in any  way shape or form to  be disrespectful  to  people with intellectual disabilities or  those that love them.  If I  did  I  apologize.  I am  just  sharing my  story. 

   So yesterday at around  5:00  I was talking to my psychology   teacher.   We  were   talking about my  inability  to communicate clearly and how  people  often assume that I am  intellectually  disabled.   It happens   right away.    The movement I open my  mouth  to a new person   bam   they assume that I  do not comprehend anything  which is   untrue.    It has  happend to me when  I attend university . Lets  think about this for a second.    I had to apply   and  got in but still a professor was  really  surprised  when I aced  a test.

  How I felt when the professor  was surprised about my  A . 

         Not even 24 hours  later I am  reading Love that  Max  that mentions Talkitt.         Its an app that translates  unclear speech into  speech  that others can understand.  This  has  to be the greatest thing ever invented.    Now this does not change ignorant minds,but   it allows for my message  to be expressed in  real time which   takes off the frustration from me and  the listeners.  And perhaps if they do not have to disappear what I am saying  just  maybe   they will be able to  see my  cognitive ability.

 Talkit  needs your help  it is  seeking funding to  make  this into a reality.  If  I could  I would donate all the money but I  can not but if any of my readers  would  I'd appreciate it.     This has the potentialr  to  change the world for  people with speech  impairments.  It would  make my life a little easier.   Go here  to donate and  watch a video of it in action.

Got image of  elsa  from

Monday, July 28, 2014

World CP photo montage Call for Pictures

      Its that time of year people  time  to   start  sending in photos of you  or your child with CP.    October  is world CP Day .  So  send in  one photo   to and tune in   October first   to see this great  montage.

 Wanta know what it will look  like here are some videos,



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I am not sorry because I am not broken

           Hay  guys   sorry its  been a while things  are  good  here just been  busy  with summer school  at my   old  jc.   I am  breaking the silence  because     something has been on my mind  that I want to  talk about.

            Back when  I started   my  jc  one of  my first college  professors   apologized  when I  told her that I  had Cerebral  Palsy.

               When  I  introduced  myslef   to  my  Psychology   teacher this  summer and told him  I have  CP,  He did  the same thing

            Now  before  I  move on  I want to say that  both
of these  people were  well intentioned. The first professor and I are now  friends   on  fb and she  has helped me out a lot     this  past year.     I  also  am  enjoying my    summer  class and the professor  is  very nice and understanding of my  recent  history.

        But to get back to    my topic.  When  people   apologize  for   my disability  it  does not  feel good.   Imagine    if   someone  said  sorry    for   a characteristic  about  you.    Having Cerebral Palsy  is a part of me.  Its  been around  for    long as I can  remember.  It  has been  with me  and has  given  me  more  reasons  to  celebrate.    Because  some things  come harder then the average person,   I  get   to have more celebration  when  I achieve  them.     I  do not  mourn  CP  because  its a part of  me.   Does  CP   make  my life hard at times  yeah.  Are there  times  I  desire  normalcy?   Yeah  but  happly   the feeling  does not   last  long .   I am  not  broken.  I  do not think  that we  need to invest money  in trying to  prevent  others  like  me.  I  am  amazing.   I  bring   joy   and laughter   to   those  around  me.   I have a  unique  perspective  of the world because  of  my disabilities  and  experiences. note the  quote  below  is   my own  about disabilities particulary    CP and  NVLD.   *****OCD  is    different   as the  condition  itself  causes   me  unwanted  stress.  *****
I have  hope   but am  not  mourning   CP.
   The   hardest part about being disabled  is not the disability itself.   It   is much  harder  to live in a world  that   does not see  your life as  having  value.  It is much harder to deal with ableism   and  discrimination that  comes  with  disabilities.    AZ 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Gap in my knowledge

      There is a show on  Fox and  National  Geographic   called  Cosmos.  I really  love this show.   The show   talks about    science.

       Ever since  I  have been watching this show, I  can not help  but  moran  for    a chance to be in middle school again.  In   middle  school  kids in  resource  only  took three core classes.   Everyone was  required  to  take   English,   then referred  to as Language  Arts, and  Mathematics. In terms of history and scince   at my middle school  you  were supposed  to  chose  between  the two.  All three  years of  middle school  the school and my parents  chose  history.  This  really  paid  off because  now I am  a  self  proclaimed history buff  and   passed  my  AP  test my junior year of high school in  American  History.   But   all three  years I
missed out  on  science.

  In high school   when  I  finally took  science ,  I struggled  in science  a lot.  In  biology  I was able to  work with the teacher who  was able  to help me  on test.   In   Chemistry  it was   really  hard  because I was  lazy  probably  in part  because I  had never  had  science  in  middle school.  In  college   I did well in Biology , but when  it came time to  take   the Solar System,  I was   lost  because  I   did not  know the order of the planets . I had  to work really  hard and  I  passed.

    Instead  of   learning science  in  middle school I  had   resource  room  where  I was bullied a lot   from other students  while the teachers did not  do anything.

 Lets think about what  my day would have looked like  if  my school   practiced  best practices  My   teachers  would have  came into the class  and   help me  inside   my  general education  classes.    Maybe  I would get pulled out   in a small group  once a week  for  pre-teaching  and  study  skills  development  in  areas  that I   needed help  with.      Since it was  a small  group   and  it was   with a purpose   perhaps   the other students would have been busy and  not   teased  me.    I  would  have  taken  Science and   History .      I wouldn't  have gaps  in my knowledge    Perhaps in  high school  I would  have   had an  easier  time  in  my science  classes.     I  might  have had the   foundation  I needed  to  take  an  AP  science course.  In  short   I  might have  had  a  educational career  similar to   my  peers  who did  not have a disability.

  All  schools  should   practice  best   practices   All  students  need to  learn   in  inclusive classes just like  they  would have  if  they did not have a disability.  We  are  Worthy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

60 years later

 Over the weekend,   Brown  v  Board of  ed turned 60 years  old. This court  case  turned  over Plessy  vs Feguson  which said  Seprate but equal  was not acceptable.

  All the news stories     that I have heard   only talk about race.     Race is  important  I  totally  agree.   It is still an  important problem  that    society  has not worked out.

   But  there is another  issue   in the fight  for  equality in the schools

           Disabled  students

   Disabled students everywhere  are  learning in segregated classrooms.  Segregated  classrooms.  Children are missing out  on the opportunity  to learn  grade level class work  and   meet the kids  in their neighborhood   All studies have   shown that   special education  classes produce   bad outcomes for kids.   The  unemployment  level  for people with  disabilities is high.

  The  next  time you talk about diversity  remember that there  are students  who  look, move,  roll different  too.    In a  country as rich  as ours  we should  find the  resources to   allow all  students  to  learn  together.  There are  no excuses.

60 years later.
 We have a lot of  work to do.