Disabled AND Deprived

Disabled AND Deprived

I have become ashamed to call this school my alma-mater.

Let's start out by explaining what I mean by 'Disabled and Deprived'. My brother has a disability. A few, to be exact. He is autistic, diabetic, and has epilepsy. And before anyone says 'How dare you! That is not a disability.' Ok, yes it is. I love my brother, but these prevent him from living a normal life. It is incredibly disheartening... but whatever you call these illnesses, they still lower his quality of life.

So my brother will never have a normal life. He is 18 and will never drive, go to college, get married, or have kids. Incredibly heartbreaking, right? You'd think everyone would do everything they could to help and improve challenged children's' lives...right?

If any of you have read my previous article "How The Stark MRDD Prom Made Things Worse For Disabled Students", I address the fact that the Stark County Board of Education was trying to move my brother, his senior year, from his previous school to a new one. Any kid would be destroyed; especially my brother whom has gotten to know the staff and his peers very well. Long story short, he did transfer...the school board has more power and money than a 4-person family.

Skip ahead. My brother is at this new school, and it is only about one month into this school year. The principal has a twitter because he's the 'cool principal' (disclaimer, I do think he is a great principal, excluding what I am about to say). I receive a text saying "Does your brother go to *blank*? I think I saw him on Twitter!!" Me, being excited, thinking that my brother was possibly enjoying his new school, was appalled.

Above, is the tweet that my brother was in. He was one of the 'Playmakers' for the day. He and a group of other special needs people go to this camp yearly. This year, kids from his school helped out.

Nice, right? Except. These kids all go to the same school.

The principal tweeted about the wonderful football team volunteering their time...but nothing about the children who actually attended this camp? AND who attend the same school?? Don't get me wrong. I was on the cheerleading squad, and know some of the kids in this tweet. It is nice of them to volunteer their time. But, nothing mentioned about the students in the special needs class. But, hey. As long as the football team has a good publicity shot, we're good...right?

The point of this article was not to berate the principal. The point was to show how my brother, and others like him, aren't seen as people; they are seen as their disability. And that needs to change.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.rise4disability.com/img/rise4disability-logo.png

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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