Monday, July 19, 2010


About a month ago, I gave a presentation to a group of about 20 teachers about how I think the school system has helped or hindered me, specifically with regards to my Cerebral Palsy. I wanted to share some of the most prominent parts of the whole experience:

1). I was both enlightened and amazed by the types of questions I was asked by these teachers. One of the most enlightening questions was, "I assume you took chemistry lab, did you ever have any accommodations when working in the lab?" At first, this question seemed slightly out of the blue, but then I realized that this teacher's question must have came from a personal experience. i soon learned that a colleague of this teacher had a student with Cerebral Palsy who had accommodations in chemistry lab. Honestly, I would have never have thought of giving someone with Cerebral Palsy accommodations during chemistry lab.

2). People don't understand that Cerebral Palsy runs from very mild to severe or that conditions like, intellectual disabilities are not caused by Cerebral Palsy, but are completely separate entities.

3). Teachers are trying to help students recognize and be proud of their personal differences, but (at least in my school county) teachers are not allowed to talk about the differences of a particular student in front of his or her class, or some other group of students.

At the presentation I handed out a flyer titled, "Attending School and Having Cerebral Palsy" The flyer included beneficial actions, which are, encouraging, asking, and adapting, and detrimental actions, which are, patronizing and assuming.
A fun acronym to remember these actions is "Don't PA, EAA." Other acronyms and insight is greatly appreciated!

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