Saturday, May 28, 2011

Always assume intelligence.

Yesterday, while talking to an acquaintance about next year, I mentioned JT and his transition to Kindergarten.

She asked where he was going, I told her.

Then she asked if he was going into the 'severely disabled class' (remember that Wake County schools segregate disabilities, so that would be the kids that need major modifications in curriculum and a separate classroom).

I said no, that he was going into CCK, that his teacher decided he didn't need curriculum modifications, since he had mastered a lot of the K curriculum as of right now.

"Really?!?!?!" was her response.

Granted, she hasn't spent a lot of time with JT. But still...

So because JT won't speak on command, and he has some odd mannerisms, it's shocking that he's intelligent?

Last night I was thinking about this. It goes WAY past the autism community. I'm sure parents of kids in wheelchairs, with any learning disability, with speech impediments, etc ALL understand completely what I'm saying.

For all the people out there with disabilities, please go one step further than "Don't judge a book by it's cover."


If you want to see a perfect example of why, please see Carly Fleischmann. She had no communication until the age of 11, when she typed the words 'hurt' and 'help' on the computer - astonishing everyone. They had *no idea* Carly was capable. Take a minute to watch the videos. Carly is clearly a very intelligent young lady, who was assumed to be mentally impaired.

From Carly on The Talk:
Carly (through computer): It's hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People just look at me and assume that I am dumb because I can't talk or act differently than them.

Again, I implore you:

That person who is physically disabled, the person who is mute, the person who can't act like you... show some respect. They are people who are just as likely to be intelligent as the rest of us.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you, and that is what I always try to do. I implore the same thing for my daughter. HOwever, I did find it difficult when addressing a 9yo with the same condition as my daughter.

    My tone of voice came across as condescending because it sounded more like I was addressing a 6-7yo or so. I've found it difficult to circumvent this without "talking around" the person I'm trying to talk TO. In this instance I tried to show her the minimal respect of letting her roll her eyes at me. I especially let her see my embarrassment and recognition that I had misjudged her.

    But, she was done with me and I think that is respectful as well. To let her have her limits. :)