How The Stark MRDD Prom Made Things Worse For Disabled Students

How The Stark MRDD Prom Made Things Worse For Disabled Students

What I learned after being my brother's prom date.

Let's start out with explaining that my brother is not 'normal'; he is autistic, diabetic, and epileptic. He is a senior this year at Fairless High School, however he will be continuing at FHS until he is 21 given his circumstances (hear that Stark County Board of Disabilities? He WILL stay at Fairless. (This is another argument where they think he is transferring schools). But for all intents and purposes, he is a senior and within his high school peers, and is treated as such. Meaning prom, senior nights, and senior skip day.

Since he is registered as a disabled student, my brother was invited to two proms: one with FHS and one put on for all of the disabled students within our county. Sounds really sweet right? Well, let me explain.

If my brother had his choice, I am sure he would not pick my mom and I for his prom dates. Why both of us? My mom attended the prom with FHS, and I attended the Stark MRDD prom. Originally, my mom was supposed to be his date to both proms to attend to my brother's medical needs. She filled out a guest form for and attended FHS's prom no problem, no questions asked. But when she tried to attend the Stark MRDD prom, oddly enough, this action got the most controversy.

Apparently, parents are not allowed to attend the special needs prom to make sure the kids don't act differently with parents around. I get that. We all act differently around parents. However, even given my brother's need of medical treatment (a shot after dinner, as well as checking his blood throughout the night), no exceptions were made. Even after discussing that this was for his health and well-being, the administrators would not budge. This prom is supposed to accommodate those who would not be at a 'normal' prom, but nope. No accommodations here. They did, however, try to compromise with a nurse; a nurse who offered to check my brother's blood every hour. Now how is this fair to him? To get pricked every hour unnecessarily?

Finally, I ended up being his prom date. I know how to check his blood and can give him a shot at the end of the night. BUT even with me knowing how to draw his insulin, he was still affected by my mother's absence, in that, I had to provide him with a bigger shot as a just-in-case cushion, because his main caregiver was not allowed to be present.

Oh, and did I mention kids were NOT allowed to leave early? We all know we left our proms early to go to a bonfire or if the prom sucked. But no, these kids had to stay there all night even if they wanted to leave early. This prom is supposed to be a great opportunity for those not able to attend their regularly scheduled high school proms. In reality, this is just another event reminding them they are not like the 'normal' kids, and they never will be.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.


I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.


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