Recognition of Life Skill Students


Devin and Mr. Wiest

EvaLynn Sias, Reporter

You know as a student of Lakes, I’ve always noticed how we talk about awareness and recognition, especially towards sports players, dances, and teachers.  Yet I’ve never seen a whole week or day dedicated to our life-skill students and teachers who work with them all day. Now, I know we do recognize autism awareness month but that’s only in one short speech through one announcement in the morning. I feel like as a school we could do more to talk about a lot of things that aren’t talked about. Especially with 9/11 that just passed earlier this month. I was expecting a 9/11 assembly, but we aren’t having one. Why is that?  

It’s important to know the way life-skill students play a role here at Lakes. Because honestly, it feels like they are being unintentionally unacknowledged and the only times you see them are when they are taking out your classes recycling.  Now I think it’s also important to know how the teachers feel when they work with the students.  

Q: What is the proper name to use for your students? 

Mrs. Thornton: “We don’t have a preference. They are students. Nothing more.”

Q: How do you feel about the use of the r-word? 

Mr. Wiest: “It’s a word that’s been used to bring people with disabilities down. Good or bad intention it’s still a hurtful and offensive word. It hasn’t been used for a while in a professional sense.”

Mrs. Thornton: “I believe in the campaign Spread the Word, to End the Word. So, Whenever I hear it, I try my best to teach people that that word isn’t okay.” 

Q: What are some misconceptions about life skill students? 

Both teachers: “That they are incapable and incompetent. Our students are very capable and very competent.” 

     These are just a few words from our teachers, now let’s hear from our students:

Q: How is your daily life? 

Devin: “It’s pretty good, just do fun things like watch movies, listen to music and sleep and go to school.” 

Jayden: “Read comics and walk, play soccer and recycle.”

Q: Do you feel comfortable at school? 

Jayden: “Yes, I like Mr. Wilsons class.” 

Devin: “No, because I don’t like to work.” 

Q: What do you like about coming to school? 

Jayden: “Seeing Mr. Wiest and saying good morning to people.”

Devin: “The free time. Getting rewarded for hard work.” 

So, as you can see, our students just want to be recognized as students. They don’t want to be pitied on or feel like it’s an accomplishment when they can do something any other kid can do. They are human beings just trying to graduate just like any of the rest of us. It was lovely talking to them and their teachers. It gave me perspective because I have a cousin with down syndrome, but I’ve never asked her or gotten her perspective on how her life is. So now I know that these students are just like us and shouldn’t be treated any differently.