Navigating grade school with paralysis — Reeve Connect
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Navigating grade school with paralysis

BrookeU Moderator Posts: 175 Moderator
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If you attended grade school while living with paralysis or are the parent of a child who did, what were your experiences like? My brother's experience featured lots of uphill battles, so I'm curious to know how yours was.


  • Zcollie
    Zcollie Moderator Posts: 239 Moderator
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    Hi @BrookeU I have been paralyzed for eight years and graduated with my Bachelors of Science in May of 2018. It took me 5 years to get my degree. I am a C-4 quad with no finger and wrist function. I am currently in my first year of graduate school. My school has been very accommodating of my needs. I get a notetaker in each of my classes, When I take a quiz or test I have a scribe with me to help fill in the answers, and get double the time. All of my teachers have been very understanding as well and my campus is pretty flat so easy to get around in a power chair. Let me know if you have any questions for me. 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • BrookeU
    BrookeU Moderator Posts: 175 Moderator
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    Congrats on grad school, @Zcollie! If I think of any questions I'll let you know!
  • Monica.T
    Monica.T Member Posts: 105 ✭✭
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    Dealing with school problems is a hassle parents and students shouldn't have to go up against. The first issue I faced after my son returned to school after his SCI was that all disabled and Special Ed students were required to unload (from the bus and cars) behind the school, next to the kitchen, the entrance was muddy and dirty. I complained to the school, nothing changed - So after a few months I did what I felt I had to, not just for my son but for all the kids with special needs - I contacted the ADA. One letter from the ADA to the school changed things! Now the disabled and special Ed students unload and load in the front of the school just like other students.

    The other battle I had with the school was over Charlie's absentees - he missed more than the allowed 5 days. He had doctor appointments and illnesses and even illness I had prescribed meds to treat at home. I went to his doctors and got each of them to sign a "Blanket Excuse" form and each added their own notes to the form explaining that many times I could care for Charlie without the need to always bring him into the office to be seen. The principle wasn't to please about it but had to accept it.  

    Another issue I have with the school is that the only truly wheelchair accessible bathroom is located in the Special Ed class, wheelchair using students are required to go into the class room, go to the back of the room, through a set of double doors past the supply closet to reach the bathroom. The school has a 'handicap' bathroom stall in the regular bathroom but it's one of those that simply has a slightly wider door and higher toilet with a handrail, wheelchair is left facing the toilet with no option for an easy transfer.  

    The teachers and staff and students at his school are amazing, it's the principle and school board that seem to be clueless.

  • BrookeU
    BrookeU Moderator Posts: 175 Moderator
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    @Monica.T, your tenacity reminds me of my mom! Forgive me if I mess up on little details, but I believe the story goes like this, taking place in the late 90s/early 2000s when my brother was little:
    Our elementary school had a typical wooden playground that my brother could not enjoy at all. His parapro was supposed to ensure that he was having fun at recess, but my mom happened to show up during recess one day only to find that my brother and the parapro were sitting on the sidelines. My mom sent a handwritten letter to our governor at the time, requesting that the school be given money to build a more accessible playground. He obliged, using what I think was his discretionary funding (I think that's the term?), and sent the school a check for enough money to build this playground. It featured ramps, interactive games (like giant tic-tac-toe), and even a swing just for children who could not sit up on their own in a typical swing. The stories I could tell about my mom fighting for what's right...sometimes more feistily than this story.
  • jamieallison
    jamieallison Member Posts: 1
    First Comment
    Thank you very much for the very detailed help!
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    katedaisy Member Posts: 1
    First Comment
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