Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Journal #12 | Disabilities | Wendy Wu

First of all, I think this is a pretty hard prompt. I like it because it's making me question what it means to have a disability. As a privileged able bodied person, I never really thought too much about it. Even growing up in school, students with disabilities were in a separate part of the school, so there was not much interaction. These tended to be the students with disabilities that were more obvious such as speech impairment or students who used wheelchairs. I always wondered why these students were not integrated into our classrooms, and I think it's probably to prevent bullying, teasing, or as this prompt discusses, unfair treatment. So, I have seen unfair treatment of students with disabilities. One, they definitely get less resources as mentioned earlier, they were kept in a separate part of the school. The fact that they were not integrated into the classroom made things worst because students instantly noticed the differences and teased them. If there was more initial interaction, students might be more used to these differences so they wouldn't react that way. As for adults treating students with disabilities, I've noticed that adults either treat them with care and provide them with more attention or they treat them as if they were inferior students. I haven't seen many adults or teachers in the middle. Many seemed to be in these two extremes.

What makes this prompt hard is the first question. I really don't know. Initially, before this class, I would be gung-ho about the former, but after reading "Adam, Adam, Adam", I'm not too sure anymore. I'm not sure if I can either one or the other, but instead, I think it's a mixture of both. I think that it's a social construction of classifying people because if you're not normal or the majority, then you tend to be "different", and in this case, people are classified into the category of "disabilities" in terms of their intelligence, performance, etc. However, I do think that disability is a concrete physical/mental characteristic as well because people can get disabilities genetically. Although I'm not a science major so I don't know my scientific terms, I do know that disabilities can be passed down from your parents and family. So, that's a tough question. I really don't exactly know, but I'm definitely fascinated by the topic.

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