Living with a Disability

Sienna Guptill

Of the 1,502 students that are currently attending SPASH only 13% of them have a form of disability, according to Jennifer Melville, the Assistant principal at SPASH. Many of our students here at SPASH have a disability and a lot of their stories are incredible. Take a chance to talk to them and maybe you’ll get to know how similar they are to you. 

Many people think that having a disability gives you an easy way out of doing stuff. When actually it’s very complicated to problem-solve, to figure out what is right and what is wrong. You have to work on those certain skills to be like everyone else, according to Mrs.Ann, a retired speech therapist, who says that “I helped some students to be more successful in the classroom and some to communicate better at home and in the community. It all depends on their individual needs. That’s why each student’s IEP was different.” Each individual has their own struggles to deal with.

 It doesn’t matter the length of your disability, it depends on how you want to improve the ability to strengthen that skill that you are struggling with and be able to overcome it. According to Mrs.Reimer, an IEP manager to many students that attend SPASH (Including myself) she goes on to say “ Reading, writing, staying organized, staying focused. It really depends on what form of disability you have. Because everyone is different or unique.”  All of those are a struggle for many students and adults with a disability called ADHD. ADHD means Attntion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This means you struggle to stay organized or to stay focused for a long period of time or even to keep track of things. Like someone like me who has this disorder, including Mrs. Reimer, my IEP manager, many of us have to work 10 times harder to do the simplest tasks. 

 Now, think about people who don’t have those certain social cues to make them understand what that other person is feeling. According to Ash Zimmerman, a SPASH student diagnosed with autism, “Getting diagnosed early especially if you’re thinking about having kids. It’s important to get them tested for autism because it can really affect how they are in a social area and work academically and you can really discover a hidden gem with autism.”  When they were in middle school and Elementary School they were always treated differently because they weren’t meeting anyone’s expectations because they were different and so everyone treated them differently. When they finally got diagnosed with autism they felt a new door open to them and felt like they could finally understand why they acted the way they did before they got diagnosed with autism. 

 You may struggle with a lot of certain stuff but being able to understand why there are certain things you do makes it better and feeling like you have to isolate or shut yourself down because you don’t understand or someone else doesn’t understand. When you finally are able to understand the person that is struggling with that certain disability or even with mental health comes to an end. And all the pain or being frustrated all the time finally has a conclusion. 

Now having a disability comes with a lot of satisfaction, maybe not from you but from other people that may have worked with a student or an individual that has a disability. when you finally are able to help or to comfort someone that hasn’t really recognized their ability to overcome many obstacles in their way is something that people actually really notice.  According to  Mrs. Ann, a retired speech therapist, “Yes I have definitely had kids who put very little effort into improving their skills. Those who were focused on making progress and had strong parental support made good progress and eventually graduated from speech.” Many people take their disability as a letdown but once you really get to know more about it makes it easier to understand, according to Mrs.Reimer “Yeah a lot of students sometimes hide their disability because they are afraid they would be different or treated differently by people or by others.” Having something different about you is always a good thing in my opinion because you’re not like everyone else and you shouldn’t be like everyone else. Your disability shouldn’t be a letdown in your life. If you take it as a disadvantage you wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that you’re special and you’re one of a kind. “That your disability does not define who you are, It’s just part of you and you are capable of anything that you set your mind to .” According to Mrs.Reimer, an IEP manager. You are capable of everything and it doesn’t matter who you are.  

There is a lot to know about someone’s disability and to make it more of learning expectations you should be patient and try to put your feet in their shoes because their life hasn’t been easy. When I got the chance to talk to one particular student about their story, I got to understand how hard it was to grow up without knowing what was wrong with them. “Just because I’m autistic does it mean I don’t know when you are laughing at me. “It’s like sure but I am still human. It’s hard to be here at school when people just see my disability as a game or a toy.”According to Ash Zimmerman. So the question is how do you make someone understand someone else’s disability? Do you go up to them and ask them about it and possibly get an answer or do you keep quiet in watching them be themselves? There is no right answer. If you don’t feel comfortable going up to that person asking them why they act the way they do then you shouldn’t be wandering. It’s okay to be confused and wonder but if it starts hurting the other person because they know that you want to ask them just go with it. Life is full of questions and you may never get an answer to the specific question and you should just accept the fact that not everyone is comfortable with their disability yet. “So what a lot of people don’t understand is with autism there comes this being called sensory overload. it’s where a normal person is able to read and write and listen to music and touch something at the same time but too many things going on at once for me makes me go into overdrive and I have mental breakdowns and it’s hard for me to get out of them and then people look at me like I’m crazy,  I’m just autistic.” According to Ash Zimmerman.  

“Life’s like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’re going to get.” Forrest Gump. Since you know a little bit more about disabilities and what struggles people have and even owning their disability just to make their lives a little bit easier, I would say that having a disability makes life harder in some ways. It does depend on how you look at it. But you know that’s just me and I’m very different and I’ve learned to accept that yes I may have a speech impairment and I struggle with severe anxiety and living with ADHD but that doesn’t stop me from anything if I don’t let it. 

You have a choice to make your disability or disabilities stop you from doing what you love because life it’s going to be hard and you’re going to have to try 10 times harder 20 times harder. You’re going to have to try harder than anyone else. But once you feel like you have tried your hardest and you put in the effort you’re going to feel pretty good about yourself knowing that all those people who told you that you couldn’t do what they were doing is going to feel great because they’re going to look like a fool and you’re going to look like a champion. So in conclusion, life is a whole lot different but once you look into it you are going to be amazed how everyone is unique.