Tears in my eyes~ a very special student

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Kathy813, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Last year, I had the pleasure and honor to teach a special needs student with cerebral palsy. She walked with a gait and was hard to understand and was one of the most courageous students that I have ever taught.

    This year, as part of our "all students can be leaders" program, the young woman (10th grade) asked our principal if she could address the student body. She wrote the speech herself and spoke in front of 3,000 students. You could hear a pin drop when she spoke.

    I wanted to share with you what she said:

  2. What a special young lady! I hope that her peers take her up on her offer. I know that I have already, without ever seeing her.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    :beautifulthing:That's absolutely beautiful...

    It reminds me of my step-cousin with CP. She fought long and hard to do the things most of us take for granted: go to high school, live independently, get married, hold down a job & have a family. She's an inspiration and so is your student.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    She has obviously found her purpose! Can she travel here and inspire some people?

    I hope you can find a subtle way to let her know that many people find her admirable and very courageous!
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I should have added that she did move into regular ed classes and is doing very well. She got a B in my class (Algebra 1).

    When I offered her extra time to get to my class because of her gait problems, she said "No, I want to be treated like everyone else."

    She is an inspiration.

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    How beautiful. She is an inspiration, and I am glad you shared this.

  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She certainly is an inspiration! Thank you for sharing this!
  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Oh, Kathy - brought tears to my eyes.

    *This* is what mainstreaming is all about. Not only has she benefited, but so have her nondisabled peers.

    What an amazingly strong voice she has.

    I have to say, kudos to your SD for having given her the opportunity - there are still so many that refuse.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    She sounds like an amazing young woman. I'm very impressed. I'm so glad she has the opportunity to be educated where she wants to be.

    That said, I'm not in favour of inclusion at all costs - an organisation I joined here some time ago, in the mistaken belief that it was there to help people with disabilities, actually has the brief to enforce inclusion in all situations, at all costs. Your girl would be fine with this - but kids like difficult child 3 simply can't handle mainstream, they do need special provisions and a separate environment.
    If difficult child 3 could have you to himself, with him the only student, I have no doubt he'd do well - and he is bright and gifted in maths, he would do better than many other students given the same environment. But that would be at the expense of all the other students you could teach.

    This girl sounds like she is where she wants to be, by her own choice. Having that choice is so important, I feel.

    Does she know what she wants to do when she finally finishes school? She describes herself as "slow" - is this only referring to her physical speed?
    A man I met back when I was heavily involved in charity fundraising, was the representative for The Spastic Centre. This man himself had CP, you could see it when he walked and it was definitely in his speech. I had to listen hard to understand him, but we all learnt quickly that when he spoke, it was in our interests to listen. A wise, witty, highly intelligent man - he became the treasurer for the fundraising foundation. It was a very high post indeed and he did the job brilliantly. A man with the typical speech difficulties of CP - had become a spokesperson and advocate. I just Googled his name - he's still very senior with the organisation.
    Another CP public figure in Australia was a comedian who gave himself the name "Steady Eddie". He was NOT fond of the Spastic Centre. I remember one of his comedy routines centred on his childhood experience of having to go to a Special School and being told, "Now when you go out into the world you're just as good as everybody else, you are no different," and as he then said, "they then sent us on out into the world in a big bus with the words 'SPASTIC CENTRE' in huge letters all down the side."
    Eddie's a bit of a rebel, but in his own way is also an advocate. He is also an actor and a real Aussie larrikin.

    There is a "Steady Eddie" in Berkeley - not our bloke. Our Eddie lives in Queensland, still does stand-up comedy. I think I saw a glimpse of him streaking, on youtube. As it costs too much for us to download, I can't verify it was our bloke. But it is the sort of thing he's do.

    The thing is, these people - Eddie, the charity foundation treasurer and your student - have all in my opinion showed drive, initiative, determination to live their lives each in their own ways, to find their purpose and live it to the full.

  10. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    What a courageous young lady. She is absolutely a special young girl. How awesome that the kids all respected what she had to say. I hope she made a difference in all the students that were there.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I'm so glad you shared this with us. What a special young woman. I'm sure her words touched at least some among her peers, but even if it was just one person, that would be enough.

    Ripples in a pond.

  12. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Thank you for sharing this - kind of takes you out of yourself & see others. What an inspiring young lady. Wish I could meet her myself. :bravo:
  13. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Kathy, what a gift that she could share this with everyone. You don't have to be a student or a special needs kid to learn life lessons like this one.
    I tell my son's that everyone blossoms at different times. If you aren't Mr./Ms. popularity in high school doesn't mean you are a loser. This just may not be when you are blossoming.
    To remind oneself of our own purpose it the best lesson we can learn. All of us.
    Bless her heart and her courage. Give her a thumb's up from me. I hope all special needs kids hear her and listen to what she learned. (special needs is all difficult child's in my humble opinion)

    I don't want to take this off topic and ruin the message of this beautiful post but I believe inclusion is wonderful for those who benefit but a one size fits all policy is damaging for kids like mine where inclusion should be a slow gradual individual process.
  14. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    Beautiful message! Thanks Kathy

  15. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for sharing that, Kathy. I had tears in my eyes! What an inspiration this girl must be for her classmates. This is truly what "mainstreaming" was meant to be.
  16. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Truly an inspiring message to everyone! -Alyssa
  17. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Gosh, Kathy...after retiring from teaching this year, that made me cry, but cry in a good way. I taught special needs kids for many years and all it takes is a teacher who understands and works with them.

    Kudos to her.

  18. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Those are the stories that make me proud to be an educator. What an inspiring young lady.
  19. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member


    Thank you for sharing this. What a special young lady. :) You are special too! :)