Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Talking Points #9 Christopher Kliewer


I could heavily relate to Chritsopher Kliewer's chapter titled "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome". In my senior year of high school I was highly involved with the special needs students in my school, and in the state of Rhode Island. Luckily, I was fortune and privileged to be part of a school who welcomed students with developmental disabilities with open arms. I stopped playing soccer my senior year and joined the school's Unified volleyball team, a league created by the Rhode Island Interscholastic League and the Rhode Island Special Olympics.
I built many bonds with the athletes. We practiced together and had a game every week for the season and ended up coming in second place in the playoffs. I later on joined the Unified Basketball team, and we also had an amazing season and came in second place again. I was also on the committee for the RI Special Olympics youth forum that year, and went on a trip to Yawgoo Valley with my hockey teammates to cheer on Special Olympic athletes in the winter games. I really think it's amazing that schools systems are starting to give students with developmental disabilities recognition as equals, which they rightfully deserve. I believe that assimilation within the classroom should always be practiced, and no one should be segregated for being different.

"I suppose you could argue that and it's hard to argue that you might be wrong. Lee is, in a sense, in a way he's branded. People see him. They see Down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. That's what they see, but they wouldn't be seeing him. Do you know what I mean? Because Lee is Lee, and anybody who knows Lee knows, and this includes all the kids, they know he's gifted-in how he solves problems, cares about others, reads, loves math. So I guess what I'm arguing is that if you did pick Lee out, you wouldn't be seeing Lee. It's not Lee you're picking out. It's your stereotype, your mind-set. It's you, and
it has nothing to do with Lee. But if that's how you choose to see him, I don't know that anything I could do, we could do, I don't think there's anything Lee could do to change your mind."(84) 

This quote basically summed up everything that I feel about this article. Any individual person, no matter what disabilities they may have, is still a person. Lee is a person, just as you and I are people..and that's what we all deserve to be treated like. I find it completely degrading to separate an entire group of individuals solely because they we born with individually entirely different disabilities from each other. In fact, it doesn't even make sense. I believe we've come a long way since this book was written in 1998, but there are still many schools, and people for that matter- nationwide who really need to change their paradigm.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cara,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post-especially when you shared your wonderful personal experiences. I loved the quote that you chose. When I read the article that particular quote really stuck out to me. "Lee is Lee." That is how we need to see people: they are who they are. Everyone is their own person and brings their own strengths to the classroom.
    Great post!