It has been a while since my last post. Mainly because of school, but also because I have been stumped as to what to write about. My goal is to inform, not spill. So, I sent a "tweet" out asking my followers what questions they wanted me to answer and my first responses were about school. How did you fit in? Was it difficult to adapt? And, ultimately, how was the school experience as a whole. In order for me to explain, you know I have to use real life situations...it's just better that way!
For many, school does not start on the first day of kindergarten. Like most, I attended daycare, pre-school, k-12, and now back in college as a "typical" student. When I started school, the idea of being a 'special needs' child never crossed my mind. A physical and mental challenge at times, yes. A challenge for overall social acceptance, absolutely. But, never once did I have to encounter any of the cruel and difficult hardships children with physical challenges face today. But was I a 'special needs' child? I don't know. I don't like to categorize anyone because unltimately we all are faced when challenges of different magnitudes. One of my best friends is an advocate for special needs children on all ends of the spectrum. Some easy, some difficult, some so challenging you start to question how many people, especially in education, understand kids with special needs. I admire her for her amazing work and dedication, and there are many situations I am able to relate to with these children on a social and personal level.
I started going to daycare at 6 weeks old. Granted, I only went the two days my Grandma worked (at the daycare I attended). I then went on to another pre-school, and eventually Elementary school. While I don't remember being hesitant about the younger grades, I refused to go to middle school. It terrified me to think I was going to this new huge school...like the kids were going to eat me or something. I cried for a week straight before school started, BEGGING my Mom to home-school me. Why? I dont know. It's not like I would've listened to her, nor did I really want it. I was perfectly comfortable with the kids and staff and I found no logical reason I needed to move up grade levels...nor did I want to have new faces staring at me. Ultimately, the fact was I didn't like CHANGE. Period. I tend worry about everything before there is ever reason to worry, but it's my nature to give myself ulcers! If you know me, you are smiling right now because you know I am not lying. :)
Well, turns out it wasn't so bad. Everyone else moved up to the 3rd grade with me. Funny how that works! It also helped (and hurt in my later years) that I had family friends as Teachers, Principals, and Superintendent's throughout my entire schooling career. The question was raised not too long ago regarding how I 'fit in' at school and if I was given any 'special' treatment. The short answers would be, like everyone else, and no. The reason was because I, nor my family, allowed me to be treated any different. In fact, even when I tried to pull the 'wamp-wamp' card, it was almost always discarded immediately. While I may not have liked it at the time, that was the best lesson I was ever taught. I can do anything everyone else can, sometimes the same, sometimes different, and somtimes better. But, in order to understand that, I had to fail on my own and do it again...ON MY OWN! If my Grandpa had it his way, he would have went to school with me and did everything for me...at all times. And, at times, it would have been great, but then I wouldn't get to be as bossy as I am today! Special needs children are the same. If you always try to help, they cannot be challenged on their own. One of my favorite little girls has Down Syndrome, and she also happens to be one of the smartest 5 year olds I know. She's independent and that is the most important trait a person who is faced with challenges can be blessed with.
One good thing was when I had band or P.E. and the kids wouldn't hit me with the dodge ball or steal the ball away from me on the court in fear they would 'hurt' me. That usually lasted about 2 weeks until everyone realized I wasn't sparing any ass-kicking on them. Band on the other hand, I pretty much sat and listened. I could play hot cross buns. That's about the extent of my instrumental talent....lol.
Junior high and High school brought on a whole new world. I'm not really sure how else to explain it. I would like to fast forward through this part and finish this post with my college career, but that would leave out the reason I am back in college and back under my parents roof (which I love!)...at 25. Like most teenagers, I went into Junior high...boy crazy. Well, kind of. I had one boyfriend from Junior high...through high school...until I moved to GA in 2007. (I don't think I need to name names...lol). But, anyway, Yes, that's a long time (I lost count). Yes, I missed out on the whole "dating" thing (which explains the reason I am against it now). And yes, I didn't move to Austin after graduation to attend the best Accounting school in The U.S., University of Texas, as I had planned on doing since I was little. But, that's beside the point, and had I persued that life, I would not have had the experiences that led me to who I am now. Other than the boy, I was a pretty good teen. I got a car when I was 14, hardship on my 15th birthday, and carted everyone around...and around. I was never exempt from any class, sport, or experiment. I still had to suit up (or out, I cant remember the term), type tedious reports for Ms. Brandon, blow up chemicals, and disect cats and pigs in my favorite Coach Little's biology and anatomy class.
In 2009, I went back to college to re-start and finish my finance degree. As I have stated in a past post, that has been my life since and until I graduate. I was devoted to taking care of other people and things for so many years, I feel like this is my time to do what is best for me. Selfish or not, independence and determination is all I have ever known and regardless if it is from having one arm, or simply my personality, I will not back down until my goal is completed. Thanks to my parents, I am able to successfully do so, with their support and trust in me and my fear of getting my butt kicked...lol.
Whether you are special needs, handicap, armless, toothless, all, or none of the above, you are faced with the same hardships of growing up. Everyone has a voice, everyone has an opinion, so when 2,000 kids come together it can get nasty. And sadly, now days it does. My advice for the kids and Moms I am friends with, or working with, who have or is going through some of these experiences, is to embrace it whether they are good or bad. Trust me, it isn't always going to be peachy keen, and sometimes you think there is nobody who understands, but it usually is more comical than not, and there are more children that are faced with challeneges than you realize. Most of all, it passes and you move on a stronger person.
So, get out there, dig in, and enjoy life!
Love to All,