Thursday, November 12, 2015

I knew "Special Education" was a magical and sacred place

I can clearly remember one of my early experiences in “Special Education.” It was an overcast and rainy day. I was a relatively new nurse in a classroom for orthopedically disabled children. Many of the students in this particular class came to school in power wheelchairs. On this dreary January morning the veteran special education teacher, seeing one of her newer students stare out the window at the other kids playing in the rain, asked if she, also, wanted to go outside and play in the rain. The girl, sitting in her purple power wheelchair, said she’d love to go outside in the rain, but her mom didn’t want her to get her chair wet--because it could malfunction. (Later, I would learn that this girl had never, as a child, been able to play in the rain.) I stood on the other side of the classroom and just listened. I thought the conversation was over; it was not. The teacher told the student if she really wanted to go outside that she would be glad to carry her out. The girl slowly smiled then quickly unbuckled her seat-belt and the teacher lifted her out of the chair. After they left the classroom, I watched out the window as the teacher ran through the rain holding the student in her arms; the student had her head back trying to drink up rain drops. After watching this I knew “Special Education” was a magical and sacred place--and I wanted to be there.
--Allen Lujan

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