I am doing an extended comments blog post based off of Kaileen's blog post.
Kaileen, as always, your blog posts are always so detailed and well done. I thought that this one was my favorite out of all of your other blog posts, not only because Special Education is your major, but because of how personally this relates to you and your life. I liked how you included a definition of what Down Syndrome is genetically, and then also included a link to learn all about it. I personally did not know there were more than one kind of Down Syndrome. I used to think that it was all the same thing.
The story you included about your best friend, Haley was touching and inspiring, and the fact that your school had a class where you, a "regular ed" student could go in and work with the Special Education students is simply amazing. I think more schools need to do this all around the country, never mind the state. I think it is extremely important for the "regular ed" students to see how the Special Ed students learn, even if your major isnt going to be Education when you get into college. One thing I noticed in that story was that you said their classroom was in the basement. In my middle school, the Special Education classrooms were all in the basement separated from all the other students, classrooms, and other teachers. All the gym, art, and music classes were all segregated as well. When I got to high school, it was a slight change: the Special Ed classroom was on the first floor, instead of secluded in the basement (all other classes were mostly on the 3rd floor, so it was still bad, but not as bad as before). The one improvement, though, is that the gym classes were inclusive. Some of the gym classes made a point to mix their class with the Special Education classes. I think this is a great step in the right direction.
The connection that you made to Johnson was spot on. I also agree with you that we need to accept the differences and talk about them so that later on there will be no more problems. Schooling children with disabilities in the correct and equal way is what will help kids become successful and noticed as individuals, not just there disability.
I think this quote is excellent. A students disability does not define who a student is, nor should it! Sure, it is a part of them and makes them who they are, but that should be something to be celebrated, not stigmatized.