You often hear a child being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The typical answer may be a teacher, doctor, astronaut, or even a ballerina!
What if your child has a disability, are you still asking that question? Do you believe that their answer can be achievable?
Since I was young, I have always said I wanted to be a teacher. I love to see people learn and succeed. I remember when I was in high school and one educator asked me, “What would you do if your student fell and you couldn’t physically pick them up because you’re in a wheelchair?” Looking back, I see how that was a valid question, but I was horrified at the time because I took it as me never being an adequate teacher that could be entrusted with students!
Years passed and I looked for other occupations. I majored in therapeutic recreation in college. I thought it could be a way to teach. I had a professor who taught me how to advocate for accommodations that I needed and it turned out I began to teach recreation classes to students with disabilities!
It doesn’t end there! I returned and earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Upon graduating, I have a job where I…
- TEACH young adults with disabilities to advocate for themselves!
- TEACH families about services!
- TEACH the community about full inclusion!
I am a teacher!
So I hope you hear the message: having expectations for children with disabilities involves affirming their dreams. Just like every individual is different so are the ways of achievement. While some obstacles may appear along the way, the mountain top experiences are worth the climb!
***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela West earned a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her passion for disability advocacy stems from advocating for her own rights as a young woman with cerebral palsy.***