This week the article was "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Christopher Kliewer, and I decided to do an extended comments post on Jen's quotes/argument post this week. Jen mentioned some very meaning quotes that really got the main concept of the article.
Her first quote was "We've got to learn to get along as individuals and as citizens" (pg. 74) I totally agree with what Jen says about how it's the way people react to people with Down syndrome or other disabilities. It takes a strong person who is grounded enough to see past the differences and to be able to not be phased by a child with disabilities, who as Jen says doesn't fit into the norm, and to treat them like any other child. Jen says it best that we as citizens need to learn to accept that people have differences and that those differences are something that needs to be embraced and accepted in a positive manner. I mean we all have something that we don't like about ourselves and I think that letting people know that they are beautiful and special can change the way they see themselves.
Jen's second quote was "To eliminate a single person through any form of banishment, no matter how benevolent the logic, reduces the web and makes the community a less democratic and less rich place" (pg. 95). Kliewer's message behind this quote was that not accepting people for who they are doesn't just affect that one person it affects the whole community. Jen's example of "Tom" was really inspiring and I am glad that there are still good people in the world that would want to get up and join in the dancing and accept for who he is not what he has. My high school didn't integrate the special needs kids into regular ed. classrooms as much, but I do have some experience working with kids with down syndrome and other disabilities through an organization that I volunteer for called Special Olympics.
The last quote that Jen used was "Educating all children together reconfigures the representation of Down Syndrome from burden toward citizenship" (pg. 95), I agree with Jen that Kliewer's message here is to voice that putting kids with disabilities in separate classrooms is bad. If we make the classrooms inclusive from the start there wouldn't be any stigma against them, making it easier for us to call them different. We have to weave them into our community web and treat them as one of our own for them to start thinking of themselves as one of our own.
I also loved the video that Jen posted at the end of her post, it is so sweet and inspiring. GREAT JOB JEN!
I just also wanted to mention the volunteer work that have done and currently doing with the Special Olympics organization in my town. We meet every Sunday and work with kids with all sorts of disabilities, I love doing it and I believe it has made me a better person and also made me want to pursue Special Education. I make sure that I am giving my 100% effort into every week because they are the one's who deserve the attention.