The Student Voice of Spring High School in Spring, Texas

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A Different Kind of Special

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Digitally generated Autism awareness design vector

Digitally generated Autism awareness design vector

Wavebreak Media LTD

Wavebreak Media LTD

Digitally generated Autism awareness design vector

Maiya Bennett, Editor In chief

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spe·cial
ˈspeSHəl/
adjective
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

What is the first thing to pop into your head when you hear the word special? Special, by definition, means better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. The word special is now more open to association with special needs, and special ed. The irony is, by dictionary definition, special means greatness. Today these traits tend to be used in negative context based upon human, biased, definition.

Special ed (education) is designed for those who have disabilities, people who can’t communicate, move, or experience the world as we do, special education is what they need, not what they are. We categorize these people, these individuals, these souls as special. Yet instead of embracing their uniqueness and difference, most run from it, and feel uncomfortable.

My younger sister, Paisley has had to deal with people not fully understanding her, her entire life. It’s difficult to process that some people truly don’t understand her impaired speech because I’ve lived with her my whole life and can confidently say I am fluent in Paisley. Its the hard truth however and unfortunately some people just don’t want to understand.

Paisley is fourteen years old, and for those fourteen years not even doctors understood. for fourteen years no one was sure what exactly made her…special. She was delayed in speech and mobility, she found it hard to process and retain information, high risk bouts of anger and had a severely disfigured spine. One would wonder why it took so long, or assume it would be easier to simply diagnose Autism or other commonly known diagnostics such as Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy.

That was not the case with Paisley. We waited for fourteen years, saw doctors, waited some more, ran multiple tests, Paisley even received intense spinal surgery which required putting an iron rod and 15 screws into her spine, but that was a very small piece of the puzzle to put together. We still only had bits and pieces of information that told us many very different things. That is until, finally, on November 9, 2015, Paisley was diagnosed with Trio. Trio is exactly what it sounds like, a combination of three or more special disabilities. Paisley’s diagnosis is one of twenty-five in the entire world. Paisley is unique, she is different, she is special.

15 percent of the entire world population is diagnosed with some form of disability. To put that in perspective America alone is responsible merely 4.4 percent of the world population. Why then are we allowing these individuals to be treated so poorly.

Earlier this year a young white male with autism was brutally attacked and tortured by four of his classmates. during the assault, which consisted of taping his mouth, tying him to the wall, slashing his clothes with a knife and beating him repeatedly, the kidnappers were allegedly calling out distaste for our president elect Donald Trump and white power. However, officials are convinced that there was more to this crime than politics. Chicago Superintendent Eddie Johnson says he doesn’t “believe the incident was politically motivated.” Rather it is suspected that this young adult was attacked because he was different.

This issue of the poor treatment of these individuals is not a concern limited to these individuals specifically, but their families and their communities.

“These kids make my entire week.” says Spring High School Special Ed coach, Kelly Bach, “I honestly can’t understand how someone wouldn’t love to simply take the time and get to really know these kids, they are really missing out.”

Special is a word used to describe someone or something as unique or different. These kids and adults alike, all over the world, with Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, cerebral palsy and all other disabilities, they are unique and they are different, meaning they are special. Special is special and everyone should learn to embrace it. Because that love and acceptance towards others is pretty special too.

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The Student Voice of Spring High School in Spring, Texas
A Different Kind of Special