How Special Education Has Impacted Me
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Health and Wellness

How Special Education Has Impacted Me: A Letter To Room 201

The T-shirt says it all.

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How Special Education Has Impacted Me: A Letter To Room 201
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In high school, I spent an hour each day in the special education classroom in my high school. In the beginning, I thought it would be a new experience, something I'd be good at and a way for me to help others in my school who may need it. By the time I graduated, choosing to spend time in this classroom was all of these things, but it was mostly a chance to spend time with my closest friends. The memories I shared with you, Room 201, are memories I hold dear to my heart and are some of which I will never forget.

When I was around the age of seven, my aunt and uncle adopted a newborn baby girl. Little did they know, she had a severe case of cerebral palsy. This disability left her unable to speak or walk, and I was determined to understand her, get to know her, and make her feel like the happiest little girl alive when I was around. I have grown to watch her form into an incredible young lady and her family wouldn't trade her for the world. This experience, along with getting to know other family members and friends with different types of disabilities, caused me to be passionate about working with individuals with disabilities from a very young age.

When I went to high school, I joined Best Buddies. Our chapter was incredible and it led me to some of my best friends. When I joined this club as a freshman, I knew this was where I was meant to be. The older students told me about a program at the high school through which we could take a class as a peer tutor to students with special needs and get credit for the class. When I learned that I could spend an hour with these students every single day, I was in. I spent almost three years in this program, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Room 201 was the classroom where I spent the most time doing what I love.

Your determination was exceptionally inspiring. Some of you had challenges only superheroes could handle, and that you did. No matter the struggle in writing, typing, mathematics, history, reading, you never gave up. You finished your assignments, you participated, you tried your best, and you gave me your all on the worst of days. You worked through intense speech, occupational, and physical therapy sessions as we held hands. I watched many of you graduate, I graduated alongside you, and I saw pictures from your graduations after I left. I have watched you get jobs, go to college, and give back to your communities. I am so proud of you, Room 201.

I don't think there was a day when I didn't laugh inside those walls. The number of sarcastic remarks is too many to count. I remember loving music therapy as we accidentally hit drums off beat and laughed when the therapist wasn't looking. The goofy smiles and daily jokes never got old and I looked forward to making you laugh the second I walked in. I could be having the worst day but knew that as soon as I got to the classroom, everything would be okay. This room was my safe haven and I am so thankful for you, Room 201.

You taught me so much.

I witnessed a new level of discipline and struggle that only few face. I studied the faces of determination and those of success. I learned that a disability does anything but define a person. I learned things about myself. I learned how to be patient and how to handle difficult situations that may arise. I learned to let the small things go. I learned a new level of kindness and understanding that some may not be able to express. I learned that you are my passion. You are my calling. You lead me to my future career. You led me to share this love with others. Thank you for inspiring me every single day, Room 201.

I carry each and every one of you with me in my heart every single day. I miss you, Room 201. I love you. Thank you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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