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Acceptance of those with special needs

LeopardLife Jackson Willard, Managing Editor

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Unsuspecting students slam doors, scribble essays, and chase their peers. Unsuspecting. Unsuspecting of the beauty behind the closed door. The one they pass everyday but never acknowledge. The one in the corner next to the lost and found – Room B106.
Room B106 is home to some of the divergent, unique learners who may be treated with contempt from other students . People born with a unique learning or physical, if anything, are not treated the same as any other middle school student. Their self worth and well being seems to be a matter to be ignored by the student body when really, it shouldn’t be.
One of these special characters is Amaris Willard, who has Trisomy 13, or Patau Syndrome. Her father Cody Willard and mother Lori Gibson Willard give out personal information about raising a physically delayed child.
“It takes a lot of time, it is expensive, and emotionally hard, sometimes it makes you sad. But we have never had any doubts because she is our baby and we love her. Seeing her smile, and giggle is our motivation for this baby,” said Cody.
Trisomy 13 a very rare disorder that only strikes fewer than 20,000 babies per year. Amaris has passed the average life expectancy, which means 10 percent of Trisomy 13 children live after one week, which translates to 2 out of 20 babies with the disorder survive this per year. Trisomy 13 occurs when an infant is born with a duplicate of the 13th chromosome. Because Amaris suffers from Trisomy 13, some of the are symptoms an abnormally small head, internal organs outside of body, and low birth weight. She doesn’t suffer from all of these symptoms, and she is living a “full and wonderful life at 18 months,” said mother Lori Gibson Willard.
“I think we are all born with unique differences and some of us need more support in certain areas than others,” said Leah Chabra, WSMS special education teacher. “But it is our job [to support them] I think. God created us to accept others as individuals regardless of what needs we have.”
Some of the most common disabilities/disorders found among students are:
ADD/ADHD
Autism/Aspergers
Cystic Fibrosis
Cerebral Palsy
Developmental Delays
These are just the five most common, although when taken a large view their are over 250 cases of intellectual disabilities that have been discovered. All students have their own unique strengths. But all the special children have different features which makes each child admirable for their qualities.
ADHD/ADD makes it harder for people to concentrate, and there are many medicines to help the people focus. Autism/Aspergers is a spectrum disorder which impacts the nervous system in a human body. It can cause difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.
Cystic Fibrosis is a different disease that thickens mucus, sweat, and digestive juices, which can cause blockage in the lung airways.
Cerebral palsy is due to abnormal brain development, often before birth. Symptoms include exaggerated reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs, and involuntary motions.
Finally, Developmental Delay is when children do not reach milestones like first steps and first spoken word longer when they should. But this is the process of development, if a child is lagging behind it doesn’t mean they have Developmental Delay. Children progress at different rates, and it might take a little longer for different children to grow.
“I think my heart continues to grow for different individuals as I continue to grow with different people and different students. I think that I’ve always had a heart for people in difficult situations. In a sense I was kind of born this way,” Chabra said.
People will segregate children with special needs every single day. Avoiding them and not treating them how they treat everyone else. They are human beings too, just with an extra dimension which makes them more interesting. The point is instead of pushing away what is different and keeping our heads down as “that different looking kid” passes by. We need to acknowledge and approach those with disabilities, not just to be more equal and fair, but to expand our horizons and meet new and different people.
This generation needs to learn to coexist with special people. The rise in intellectually delayed children has risen two percent, which is almost two million kids since 1998. Because of the rise, the people of this generation need to learn to live and work with people of all types for they will be a large part of the population when we as a student body graduate and begin to work. We must live in acceptance as we all rise together to become strong, cooperative adults.
“We are very lucky because we have lots of support, we have people coming day and night to help take care of Amaris. I can’t fathom someone doing this as a single mom or without family support. [It would be extremely difficult] If you weren’t as lucky as Cody and I are,” said Lori.
Unsuspecting students slam doors, scribble essays, and chase their peers. Unsuspecting. Unsuspecting of the internal beauty behind the closed door. The one they pass everyday but never acknowledge, the one they should acknowledge. The one in the corner next to the lost and found. Room B106.

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Acceptance of those with special needs