Saturday, November 15, 2014

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome - Kliewer

I found this weeks article by Christopher Kliewer to be very interesting and to send across a really powerful message. I decided to pick out a couple quotes from the article that stuck out most in my mind as well as I was able to connect to other authors:
"Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life. The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with developmental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities." (71)
This quote by Jason Kingsley, a young man with down syndrome, perfectly sums up the main goal of the article. He states that people with disabilities are just the same as any one else, they are perfectly capable to have a happy and fulfilling life. They are also able to learn and create knowledge in school and in life. The goal of this article is as Kingsley states, to try to get rid of the stereotypes that allow for judgments of those with development disabilities and that also create obstacles for these individuals. I do believe that people who are born without any disabilities find it easy to judge others who were not born with the same privilege. It reminds me of Johnson and the S.C.W.A.A.M.P. activity we did in class. Able-bodiedness is a privilege in our society, and it is important for those of us who are able bodied to acknowledge our privilege and realize that because we have this privilege, those who are disabled do not. We must all work together to get rid of the ridiculous stereotypes that come with being disabled, because they can not do it on their own.
"When she enrolled in a regular public high school as a freshman, Christine's Individual Education Plan was passed on from her segregated school; it suggested that she had extremely poor motor control, low-level cognitive skills, low-level communication skills, a lack of adaptive skills, and aggressive "acting-out" behaviors. In the general curriculum of the regular high school, however, these images of defect were dramatically transformed." (92)
Christine, a young woman with down syndrome had been in segregated school for 14 years when her mother finally demanded that she stopped being segregated into society and be put into regular school. Once she was put into regular school and entered into a community surrounded by other students without labeled disabilities she was able to grow and improve on her skills. I found this quote to be very inspiring, it also really reminded me of two previous articles we read. The first was the article we read last week by Jeannie Oakes about tracking in schools. In her article she expresses the negatives of tracking by stating, "Professionals and parents oppose tracking because they believe it locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as "less able," and where they have fewer opportunities to learn"(178). It also reminded me of a quote by Kozol that stated, "Clumping so many people, all with the same symptoms and same problems, in one crowded place with nothin' they can grow on? Our children start to mourn themselves before their time" (11). Both of these quotes I found to be closely related to Christine's situation. As both Oakes and Kozol state, clumping children who are labeled as "less able" all together leads them to only see themselves as less abled and disbelieve that they can be anything else. They begin to mourn themselves before their time and in conclusion become discouraged and lose motivation to improve themselves. These students also need to be surrounded by individuals that truly believe in them and see their potential to build their self-esteem. Students who are segregated because of their disabilities do not receive this because those around them are not inspiring them to change their situation and become successful. Student's and children that are labeled as "disabled" or even "less able" need to not be grouped together and segregated from other students, they need to be socialized and challenged to improve, just like Christine was.


  1. Enjoyed your response! I like your connection to the S.C.W.A.A.M.P activity and Johnson.

  2. Enjoyed reading you blog post! you really did a great job connections to SCWAAMP

  3. I enjoyed your blog. I liked how you connected the SWAAMP activity to the reading.

  4. Great blog this week! As I was reading this, I didn't even make the connection between the reading and SCWAAMP. Your connections to other readings were great as well!

  5. Great Job ! I liked how you connected the reading with SCWAAMP !

  6. Really loved the first picture i thought that was a really good way of showing the reading in one comic