A Changing Experience

Thinking back a few years ago, I remember what it is like to receive a kind and honest smile every day. Helping my disabled school mates was a touching experience that I wouldn't change for any other. It taught me so many things, even though I didn't realize it at the time.

The class was filled with sixth through eighth graders. They were all friends and laughed at nearly everything.

The main person I helped was a handicapped boy in sixth grade. He was unable to walk by himself, and could barely stand while holding onto a table. He wore braces on his legs, and rode in a wheelchair everywhere he went.

The first day of my eighth grade year, I was called into the principal's office. I was so nervous. I didn't think I had done anything wrong. Still, my nerves overtook me. I walked to the office and said they had called me. The secretary said my name, and I confirmed it was me. She led me into another room behind her desk, and my stomach flipped. The counselor was there with a woman. The woman had brown hair and round brown eyes. She introduced herself.

She was the teacher for the disabled children in middle school. I was confused, and many thoughts rushed through my head. They both smiled, and the counselor asked me a question, that my answer would change the way I looked at certain people forever.

They asked me to be her aid for her fourth hour science class. The woman said she really needed someone, and the counselor had recommended me. I was unsure, but I felt honored, so I agreed. The brown-eyed woman thanked me and said, “I'll see you tomorrow.” She left with a smile on her face. I thanked the counselor and left.

The next day, I was nervous. I had no clue what I was doing. The woman, let's call her “Mrs. P”, pointed at a boy in a wheelchair with fiery red hair. She introduced him and he smiled at me wholeheartedly. She explained that he had a hard time writing, so I would be writing for him.

I looked around the room filled with students. Only two of them looked “disabled”, the rest looked fairly normal. Some of them I had seen in the halls and never would have suspected they would be considered disabled.

Mrs. taught her lessons and handed out worksheets to the students. I would read the questions to the boy, and he would answer them. I would record his answers. I was struck with a feeling of awe. Most of the answers were correct. I began to realize that he was fairly intelligent.

After a while, I was able to get to know each of the wonderful people. Some of them just had a hard time learning, while others had other problems. They all had drama in their lives, just like everyone else. They all had their problems and concerns. It became clear that they were similar to normal, everyday teens.

Bonds were made with a few of them, especially with the boy. From then on, I have tried not to judge a person by the way they look or act. You never know, they could be just like you.





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