“Share a topic/idea from class this week. What’s one thing you did with students this week that you will (or will not) do again? Why?”
An important topic discussed in my class is self-advocacy.
Many of my high school students believe that they are in a special ed class because of their behavior and not because of a disability. For some reason they can stomach the idea of being segregated from their classmates because of a behavior problem (that they could control) rather than having a disability (that they can’t control).
It is important for my students to understand that having a disability is not something they should be ashamed of having because they did nothing wrong. Having a disability is not their fault. Also, they might have a disability in one area but be quite gifted and talented in another area.
I spend a lot of time talking about disabilities and the perceptions that people have. We talk about how we view ourselves and how we think others perceive us. We also talk about how our perceptions may possibly be exaggerated or skewed like how a person feels that everyone can see the huge zit on their face when in reality, it is so small that no one notices it much. In fact, it is our own behavior that draws attention to it rather than it actually being the center of attention.
It always amazes many of the students to find out how many celebrities have a disability and how they have successful lives in spite of having a disability. They do not let their disability define who they are.
What is more important is how they deal with the life they are given. Their actions will define who they are and how others perceive them.
This also applies to all people and not just people with disabilities. Throughout life, everyone will face obstacles that can either defeat them or make them stronger. I want my students to come out being stronger and I hope that I can be the right tool to help them get this way.
What is an important topic in your class? Please share.