Sunday, November 16, 2014

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

Last week we focused on how segregation is still present in our schools due to social classes. This week we have moved to another way students are segregated in classrooms- disabilities. Students that are not able bodied or fall under categories in S.C.W.A.A.M.P. are pushed out of normal classrooms because people believe they have the same capabilities.  Christopher Kliewer advocates that although a child may have a disability it does not mean they should not have full citizenship in the classroom.  They may not develop or think the same as those with out disabilities; however, it does not mean one should “interpret a child's nonconformity to developmental theory as a manifestation of defect” (77).  The excerpt we read from Kliewer’s “Schooling Children with Down Syndrome” focuses on ways for schools to fully accept students with disabilities. In order to do so we must “erase negative attitudes about people with develop­ mental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities.” (71).
"Don't Limit Me!"

I found that this video best put into perspective what Kliewer is trying to explain in his work. Megan Bomgaars discusses in the video all the achievements she has made despite having Down syndrome. She is explaining to educators and to even other students that her disability does not define who she is. She is capable of doing everything that those with out a disability can do.  People often believe “many who are capable of exhibiting significant understanding appear deficient, simply because they cannot readily traffic in the commonly accepted coin of the educational realm” (80). So schools put children with disabilities in segregated classrooms just because they do not high mathematical and linguistic skill levels.  They neglect the fact they have so much more to offer and these children interpret things differently.  Megan tries to explain in her video a lot of the aspects Shayne Robbin’s incorporates in her classroom.  Megan reflects on her school experiences- saying that she really benefitted from learning in “regular classes”.  She says “include me and all your students in your circle of learning”.  Essentially, you should not single out the student with the disability but instead incorporate his or her needs with the needs of every other student.  Shayne Robbins “broadened and strengthened the learning opportunities opened to all her children" (75) by fostering to the needs of every individual.  She built upon things the strengthen skills of her disabled students as well as those who were not. Throughout the entire video, Megan really hits a lot of the topics that are discussed in this weeks reading.  It really helps to understand the information by hearing it from someone who has experienced it.
Tim's Place - Breakfast, Lunch, Hugs
I also wanted to share this video with you because I think it is really inspirational. It shows that if we follow what Kliewer says about breaking down the barriers and letting those with disabilities be an active participant in society that they can offer so much.  We should not limit them.  Tim's story is truly inspirational! Tim said it best -"I do not let my disability crush my dreams. People with disabilities can do anything they set their mind to. They're special. We are a gift to the world"

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is amazing. I love the videos you posted. Tim's Place is inspirational. Everyone should watch it. People who have disabilities can do anything if they have the opportunity to do so. It is up to the rest of us to advocate for equality and break society's views on SWAAMP. Great Job!