Training and Reality Collide

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Training and Reality Collide

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When I started college I planned to be a nurse.  At 18 it had not occurred to me that I'd have to give shots and clean bed pans.  All I could think of was how much I liked science and medicine and well I planned to be a nurse and then become a doctor.  A year and a half into college I changed my major to education. It makes me laugh now because I really wasn't nursing material and was mostly thinking about the pay! After a year of education classes and loving every minute of it, especially the times in the classrooms, I had to decide what area of education I wanted to specialize in. I really didn't know but a former teacher suggested special education (she said they make more money - Ha!)

I knew very little about special education. Matter of fact, I was quite sure that my high school didn't have special needs classes. Those were days when the special needs classes were on alternative campuses or were in a portable building. I did however have a friend who had a sister with Downs Syndrome and from the first time I met Brookie I was mesmerized by her. (I can't look in the face of someone with Downs and not melt!)

Therefore I studied to become a special education teacher. I was envisioning teaching classes of kids with mild learning disabilities and great attitudes. Well that didn't happen but I did learn a lot from my teaching experience. As a teacher I learned that the students who had parents who were educated about their child's disability and pushed for what was best for their child were successful in the end. I learned that many of these kids felt so out of place in mainstream classes and yet that was the push. I learned that you cannot make someone with a disability do something they are not able to do...no matter how much you will them to do it. Those special education kids that I taught stole my heart because they sincerely wanted to not be disabled.

Fast forward a few years I meet my husband. His grandmother and mother just so happened to have been special education teachers.It is our family joke that that training was needed to deal with the men in the family! ( :

Fast forward 6-7 years and my husband now is disabled. I have invested much time and energy to be informed about his "condition" and treatment. He is sometimes really awkward with his peers. He cannot do a lot of things and no amount of pushing him has changed that. I've learned that success is measured in many ways. I know that if my husband could not be disabled he would choose to be "normal".

I think the hardest thing as a teacher and now the hardest thing as a wife is seeing indifference in people who could make a difference. I used to watch a few teachers choose not to help a kid merely because it would take more effort on their part. I see people overlook my husband or not invite him to things because it might be weird for them or they don't want to have to be responsible for him. I used to cry for my students and now I cry for my husband.

I am thankful that I chose to be a special education teacher. I do laugh now though that I also get to be a nurse (mostly because I dispense medications!).

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Denise

Ooohhhh, Natalie, what a touching post. I hear you on this one: \"The hardest thing as a wife is seeing indifference in people who could make a difference.\" I wish others understand what a big difference they could make simply by acknowledging their awkwardness and then asking for help with it! \r\n\r\nPerhaps these are truly the \"special\" people in our world, more so than any child you taught. And, certainly, more so than your husband. Funny how the disabilities in those who aren't disabled can become so much more visible.