June 29, 2015
CNN presents an intriguing story of how a child with a disability is treated within the school system. Due to the low funding supported by the government, there are children that are not receiving the attention that they need for a good learning experience. This story is presented by Ola Ojewumi who depicts the unfair discipline, discrimination and restricted opportunities for disabled children.
It’s not always a label you’re born with. Sometimes, being disabled is something that happens to you over time, after years of living a healthy life.
This is precisely what happened to me.
It was a cold, fall day during fifth grade. Like most kids, I was preparing for my yearly physical and expecting to receive a clean bill of health. But in less than two minutes, the diagnosis of a rare heart condition changed my life forever.
I was blindsided. And as I matured, my illness only progressed. By the time I was 11, I had received both a heart and kidney transplant, turning me into a person living with multiple disabilities, such as limited mobility and chronic illness. This new identity brought a host of challenges and complexities I had never considered before.
My public school system officially identified me as disabled, but it treated me as able-bodied because I did not appear “sick” — my struggles were internal and not outwardly obvious. My illnesses caused a weakened immune system, resulting in missed classes for weeks at a time, which educators met with suspicion or resistance.
Despite doctor’s notes and parental explanations, the preconceived ideologies about hidden disabilities remained. When it came time to make up assignments, teachers tried to decipher if I was legitimately ill or just another truant student looking for a reason to get out of class or coursework.
Continue reading this account by Ojewumi on CNN news.