Growing up, the end of summer was always a bittersweet time. I always looked forward to going back to school. I loved learning, and my favorite subject was language arts. However, I always was left with questions around the beginning of every year.
Thankfully, I was able to have the same paraprofessional with me for ten years, from the age of five to the age of fifteen. A student rarely has the same paraprofessional for that long. It was always comforting knowing that this person was there for me. Even now, we still keep in touch. It’s challenging to enjoy school if you wonder if someone will be available to give you a bathroom break. I already limited my fluid intake to not have to go to the bathroom more than once. In that respect, having the same paraprofessional was a huge relief.
I was always hoping that the teachers had read my IEP, but at the same time, they knew that I was more than an IEP. I always wanted my teachers to embrace my disability. Every student has their strengths and weaknesses. The brain damage that led to my Cerebral Palsy has affected my spatial skills, which makes math a challenge. I knew that I wasn’t good at math, but that was okay with me. It just meant that I wouldn’t be an engineer or computer programmer.
More than anything, I was hoping that my peers would see me as just like them. In elementary school, I fit in pretty well. However, middle school was a different story. Peers who were my friends suddenly wouldn’t talk to me anymore. The older I became, the more isolated I felt from my peers. This led to me becoming more reserved and would later lead to depression which still persists to this day. Not getting a driver’s license or part-time job when I was a teenager made me feel worthless. I knew that I wouldn’t be invited to parties which was hard for me to accept. Outside of school, I was able to form some solid friendships.
It’s not easy to let go of the trauma and the fears school causes, but no matter what occurs, every student is more than their challenges Everyone is intelligent. It will ultimately show, and it will be the most satisfying sensation you have ever experienced.