A Day of Celebrating Uniqueness
Posted by Caitie F on June 5, 2015
Yesterday I went to two middle schools to participate in a day for the entire sixth grade called Celebrating Uniqueness Day. It is a day where regular school stops and they spend a day learning about people with disabilities. There really made sure to have a wide range of people speaking. It is a day I wish every school did and if any teachers are reading this and want to know more about bringing it to their school, just send me an email and I can get you in touch with the organizer.
I spoke to one or two classes at a time and told my story. I had a student introduce me who also let the kids know that I am partially blind. I told them my story – what happened, my struggles then and now, about the people who helped me, and even gave them a demonstration of how much vision I lost. I told the story ten times in one day, which was a lot.
What I noticed the most throughout was these kids. They were extremely well-behaved. Only one class had kids talking and not paying attention, and that was at the end of the day. Other than that, they paid attention, participated, and asked really great questions. Several kids asked if I was bullied growing up (yep). They asked if I drive (no, I can, but don’t want to put others in dangers because of my limited vision). They asked really smart questions like if it ran in my family that let me talk about the genetic disorder I have and one student asked if it had an impact on who Iam. They also asked very much kids questions like “Does it hurt?” “Did you still play sports after?” “Why is it another color?”. The teachers also asked questions, and not just when the kids didn’t have any. There was not a single disrespectful question the entire day.
By being a school that takes time to have a day like this, the kids have been taught early on that people who are disabled aren’t weird or the other. They are so open-minded and I am sure that is because of the teachers and atmosphere of the school.
The other interesting thing is that in preparing for this, yesterday, and after I was told so many times ‘You are so inspiring” by both adults and kids. I always just say thank you, but it is something that i am never comfortable with. I didn’t set out to be inspiring. This thing happened to me and I have a disorder and I just deal with it the only way I can. Talking about it ten times was emotionally draining. This is heavy, hard to talk about stuff, even if I can keep a sense of humor about it. I don’t want to talk about it for a while (a big reason i wrote this post because so many people want to know how it went). I don’t want to even think about it, which is impossible.
I don’t really have a point – I am so glad that the school invited me and if they do again next year, I will go. I am glad a school has a day like this and I hope that more start to.
Some days though, I don’t want to celebrate my uniqueness, I just want to pretend it doesn’t exist and have the world do the same.