Monthly Archives: September 2015

To special school, or not to special school? What a gift it is to have the choice!

As a new school year commences, I am reminded of my years and years and YEARS of education. When I say I am a strong advocate for both special schools, which are schools for disabled children only,  and inclusion(inclusion is enabling students with disabilities to attend regular public schools by providing whatever support systems the child needs to succeed in a regular education classroom), people often gasp and say, “You, a staunch proponent of equality, equal access and a fully inclusive society, support special schools! Well, I never!” Ok, maybe the response isn’t quite so dramatic, but the surprise is palpable. Yes, I support the option of multiple school settings because one size does not fit all children, and one size may not even fit the same child for the entire duration of their academic career. Believe me, I know… I was one of those children.

Many are quite surprised when I tell them that I went to Sunbeam School, a school for disabled children, through second grade. When I ask why they are so surprised, they often say that I am so self-confident and independent that they assumed I attended a “regular” school for my entire educational career. I say yes, I am self-confident and independent now, and I am pretty sure that I was born with that spirit. However, developing those skills as a child depends on having people around you who help you hone those skills. While my parents and other adults helped me to hone those skills outside of school, my teachers at Sunbeam reinforced those lessons throughout the school day.

Continue reading To special school, or not to special school? What a gift it is to have the choice!

Blazing trails at the Olympics or in academia…

When I was little, I absolutely loved anything having to do with speed. Whether riding my bike as fast as possible, having friends run as they pushed me in my wheelchair or blazing down a ski trail, nothing excited me more than going at top speed(in the interest of full disclosure, I STILL love going at top speed)! This is probably why I also loved watching sports where speed was the ultimate goal. I use the term “watch” loosely because watching generally meant that while a sport was on t.v., little Allison would cheer loudly for the person she wanted to win, jump up and down on the couch and stomp her feet in sheer excitement to will her chosen athlete to victory. By the time I was done “watching” these sporting events, I was so out of breath you would have thought I was the one competing!

One of my favorite sports to “watch” was track. And I especially enjoyed watching the track events at the summer Olympics. One summer afternoon, I was watching the Olympics and rooting for the track star, Flo Jo(I loved her nails!). After watching some of my other favorite track stars win their events and receive their Olympic medals, I had an epiphany.

Continue reading Blazing trails at the Olympics or in academia…