Being Special Education

January 26, 2011
By , lewes, DE
On average, 6,634,000 students are receiving special education services nationwide. I am one of them. I have been labeled as a special education child since the age of six when I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Today, I hardly feel like a “special education” child, but rather, I feel like an extraordinary child. Many of my teachers have helped me become a strong willed-student and worker. I never give up. I always give it my best. Just because I have an IEP, also known as an Individual Education Plan, doesn’t mean that I am any different than every other student who doesn’t have the extra help. I am special… that part of the label is absolutely accurate. I am special inside and out. And I must thank and dedicate this to the teachers who have influenced me in positive ways; the real champions at work. They are the reason why I aspire to become a special education teacher.

To be labeled and to own a label are vastly different. Walking into a new school can be very hard, whether you are “normal” or “mentally disabled”. I was a “mentally disabled” student walking in to a new school. It was middle school. At this school is where I met my first champion at work. She always told me, “Be who you are and work hard.” I took these words to heart from the very beginning. During middle school, I struggled. Being labeled as retarded or slow by many of my peers was extremely troubling. I wanted to fit in with everyone else, but this wouldn’t happen until I was in high school.

Once I was in high school, I owned that label of being an ADHD student. I strive to show it off, to bring awareness to the needs of ADHD students. I met four or five champions at my high school. My freshman year, a guidance counselor said to me, he said, “Look, I know you can achieve this. I know you can get over this hurdle. You just have to try.” And by this he meant high school. I thought and thought about these words. It took me a long time to get myself running, but once I got to the hurdles, I didn’t even miss one. I might not jump perfectly, but I try my best.

When I was in middle school, students and teachers both always told me I would never be able to write and comprehend correctly. They told me I would have to try so hard. Today, in high school, writing is my favorite thing to do. And, sure, I do have problems comprehending sometimes, but don’t most people have at least one weakness, or one subject that is tougher than the next? We ask questions, special education kids and non-special education kids seek answers, and these champions help us to find them.

Now let’s revisit that original statistic. 6,634,000. I am one out of that large number. If that number is so big, then why are so many children failing? It is because that number is so big! We now have such a large ratio of students with special needs and such a small amount of teachers that can truly help. I have been lucky enough to have very supportive teachers throughout my high school career thus far. They have held me together when I felt like I was going to fall apart. Something is certain, when a teacher can stand in front of you and tell you something about their own troubles as a student, it helps. A lot.

I stand here promising one thing. I will become a teacher. I will stand in front of children and instead of tearing them down, I will cheer them on. When they say, “I can’t.” I will stop them and say, “You can.” When they say, “I don’t know.” I will say, “Yes you do.” When they say, “I hate school,” I will stand in front of them and say, “Well, it is here for you!” And if they can sit there and say, “I just don’t understand,” or, “I can’t get it.” I will say, “Yes you can, and let me help you understand.” This is what a champion says. One day, I will be like these champions. I will help make kids smile and proud. I am here to tell ever special education student out there right now, “You can do it. I have faith in you, just try; And good job!”

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