The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
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Room 103
My inspiration, Alex.
My inspiration, Alex.
Room 103

The bold numbers above the door read, "Room 103." I stood outside and contemplated walking away. Presently still in high school I had made many assumptions. When I finally summoned up the courage, I walked through and I met Miss Silva who then introduced me to her students. The students seemed to be unaware of my presence and continued to play with their toys. I was then introduced to Alex, he was eight years old and had Down syndrome. In a raspy voice he introduced himself by placing his hand on his chest and repeating his name to me. Playing blocks with Alex and another boy named Devon, and also watching them, made my anxiety diminish. As soon as I realized they interpreted things just like typical kids do and interacted the same way, I made a personal connection to them. After that, I decided to dedicate my entire summer to getting to know them. Being able to see their defiance everyday, against people who misunderstood them was utterly inspiring. Being stared at, laughed at, and mocked on a daily basis would offend anyone, but they seemed to embrace it. The classroom I volunteered in had an array of different degrees of special education: some children had Down syndrome, some were severely autistic, some had an I.Q. of 31, and some were physically impaired. Though these students were misplaced by a former teacher or their parents, we made the best of the situation and made the classroom as functional as possible. Alex, and every other student I met this summer, irreparably changed my entire view on Special Education. Applying what I have learned from these students to myself is surprising. Seeing the students strive so hard at simple tasks and lessons was incredible. This showed me that if a person works hard enough, and has enough support, they can surprise anyone. Applying that to myself allowed me to have appreciation for what I am able to achieve. These students defy the odds everyday and have taken every opportunity they could get. After going through this experience, I wish that regular students would take advantage of their abilities and fully realize the opportunities they have. I also believe that every person should have to work with a Special Education student at least once in their lives so they have the chance I did to reflect and grow from the experience. Alex and the other Special Education students I volunteered with have made me reflect on myself and what I have overcome personally and I am forever appreciative. Volunteering in Room 103 has made me want to become a Special Education teacher.

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Katie Brunk, United States, NH
1/31/2011 4:02:52 PM
Nice insite into great kids.

Kirsten Dressel, United States, FL
1/25/2011 1:27:48 PM
Thank you for reading and voting :]

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