Thursday, July 26, 2018

When the ship goes down.

I have always thought of my body as this vessel. Sometimes it’s just shell of skin, bones and organs, sometimes it’s a temple, but most times I think of it as a ship. Every now and again, this ship springs leaks, breaks down or just simply refuses to propel forward. Sometimes the engineering is off, or the software is obsolete. Either way it sucks when the ship goes down. When it does, the white surrender flags are put up. I guess this is my funny way of talking about chronic pain and illness.

I never thought much about chronic illness or pain in myself (I have family members with Fibromyalgia, so I am not completely unaware of the toll it takes on a person), until I landed myself in the hospital a couple of months ago, thinking I had a bad stomach flu. As I sat there in the ER, feeling miserable, it never occurred to me that a stomach bug would be the catalyst to why I have been feeling off. It just so happened that the stomach bug flipped a switch in my body that made the “RED ALERT” sirens to go off.

Now to backtrack here, because let’s face it, everyone likes a good story. Back in January, when we had snow on the ground, I am being the crazy person that I am, was out shoveling snow. Not a big deal. I like to do that. Yes, I am nuts. After shoveling snow, I normally have a few aches and pains. Growing old sucks. Don’t think too much about it, pop a Motrin and move on with my life. As the weeks go by, I have this dull pain in my left side. I get to thinking, well I must have pulled a muscle, not a big deal for me. It comes and goes to the point where I just got in the habit of popping a Motrin anytime it acted up. This goes on till one fine week in May, when I get the flu.

With the flu, I know to keep my liquids up and rest. I took time off work, doing what I am supposed to do. Now normally the flu will be your best friend for about 24 hours, unless you are lucky, and you get some super nasty strain. After the third day of this literal shit show, I decided to go to urgent care, there they gave me IVs and sent me home with instructions on how to take Imodium properly. Long story short, I ended up in the ER of a hospital because my body went “NOPE!” CT scans and bloodwork were done. Turns out that the flu jumpstarted a raging case of diverticulitis and my colon was very unhappy. Remember all that discomfort I had back in January, that I thought was a pulled muscle? Yeah, no. It was diverticulitis. On top of that, they found that I had a nice sized nodule in the lower lobe of my right lung as well.  His name is Ned, btw. Ned the Nodule.

For the past couple of months, between shuttling my special needs children back and forth to their own appointments, I have been doing my own collecting of doctors. I now have a Pulmonologist and a Gastrointestinal Specialist on healthcare my team. I have regular appointments with these fellows. I feel like I have won the medical lottery, or I am playing a medical version of BINGO.

While tests results come in, it turns out that polyps and diverticulosis are going to be my norm. Ned and his friends get to be monitored every couple of months. They better have a smile on their little nodule faces when their picture is taken again in September. That pain in my side, will always be there, as I am told. Some days good and some days not so good. I feel bad of course, when I am feeling at my worse, as that effects everyone.

I think that is my hang up about chronic pain and illnesses. The guilt. The guilt that you are not always going to be on top of your game. That sometimes you will feel that you have let people down, because your body hates you. I now fully understand the anger and irritability people who have chronic pain have. It sucks. It really is one of those things, that you aren’t going to fully understand, until you are rowing in that very same boat. This need to just feel better.

Now I know that my diagnoses aren’t life threatening, but they are life changing. Since my trip to the hospital, I have changed my eating habits (which to be honest, sucked). Right now, I am in the middle of a flare up and my colon hates me. No, I don’t feel well at the moment and bless my husband’s heart, he has been my rock. It isn’t easy, and a lot of people would have just tossed in the towel and left.  I am sure it frustrates him when I am down for the count and when I am so discombobulated it ain’t even funny, it’s shocking he hasn’t said “Fuck this shit, I’m out.”

While we are still at this beginning of this fantastic voyage, I am slowly learning that it’s an “All Hands-on Deck” situation to get the ship buoyant again. Leaks need to be plugged, software updated and routine maintenance a must. While I am not anywhere near what happened to the Titanic, I have had some icebergs come my way. The damage done to my bow and stern are in repair, but the ship is still afloat, barely. I look forward to being in the yards for a while.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

One bad spike on the track of life.

I, like everyone else on the planet have not been able to turn on a pc, radio or TV without hearing the sad news of the passings of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. I don't want to speculate why either person had gotten to the point of no return.

We never know what is lying on the tracks people are traveling down. Obstacles in the path of life are often man made. If a train track has a bad spike, it can upset the rail and derail an entire train.  As we ponder how successful people fail, we can't help but wonder what were the causes. But what if we see those bad spikes on the tracks of those we love.  

I am going to tell you a little story. Bare with me. It's going to connect with every single person who has ever had to deal with a person who made it a mission to bring another person down. The bullies, the harassers, the abusers. We have all had them in our lives, in one from or fashion. If we are going to have conversations about suicide, then we must have conversations about the people in this world who push people to a point of no return.

My story starts with a child. A young man, who with his own struggles in daily life, didn't need to have an adult make his struggles worse. While it may sound dramatic, but to an impressionable mind to have a person with authoritative power, be a person of endless negativity and aggravation in his life, its a big deal. While this child isn't perfect, he is a young person who is still learning how to live his life. Throughout the last two years, things said to this young man took its toll. Things like " You are a stain on society.." When called out on the remark, an excuse followed. This was a person who had a responsibility for this child's academic life. An Educator. One that was responsible with the task of writing this boy's IEPs and a person he had to go to for help when he didn't understand something in class. While he fought to keep his head up, this person tried their hardest to bring him down.

In regards to this child's IEP, by law, before an IEP meeting happens, a parent has to have a draft of the actually IEP. A day before a certain meeting, parents were wondering why they haven't received a draft. They had been emailing people for a couple of days, trying to find out why something hasn't been sent home. The response, a day before the meeting is as follows

Educator: " Didn't someone reschedule the meeting?"
Parent: "Nope."
Educator: " Well it should have been rescheduled. I am not going to be there"
Parent: " Too bad, We have taken time off of work to be at this meeting. Find someone to be there in your place that works with my child. Also We need the draft."
Educator: " I don't know that I can get it to you today."
Parents: " Not my problem. Email it. Courier it to my place of work or deliver it personally. Not my mess up. "
Educator: " I email it you and call you later about it"
Parents: " Great."

Parents received the draft. Its a word salad. There are spelling mistakes, names wrong, information wrong and a cut and paste from another student's IEP. When Educator called parents later that day, it was asked of the parents to waiver, what is called the "Five day prior", which means the school wouldn't not get in trouble for sending out a draft a day before the IEP meeting. Parents declined. Educator persisted. Parents still declined. Parents stated that this was the worst IEP they have ever seen written. " This child's disability this and this child's disability that.. " Nothing that talked about this child's strengths. The parents sat through an IEP meet that pretty much rewrote the whole document. From beginning sentence to the end period. This apparently did not sit well with the Educator. For the remaining months in school, it was taken out on the child.

The parents of this child always wanted to keep a line of communication open with all of his teachers. That way if there was something that needed to be discussed, it could be talked about. Again this child isn't perfect and when the teachers needed to have a conversation about behavior they could openly talk to the parents with their concerns. The parents had an email chain with teachers so everyone was on the same page. Again didn't sit well with a certain Educator. Complained to the child that they "Wished his parents would stop emailing them because it was annoying and they didn't like it" Not to mention they would single this child out on small insignificant stuff, like giving them a detention for trying to help out a friend who was being bullied in class by another student.

Now with all of this, you all might be wondering how this ties into suicide and the conversation that needs to be had. The final straw for this child, happened yesterday. They received an award for doing a fantastic job on their science fair project. A project that they worked really hard on. Met all the deadlines and aced every portion of this project. An award that their Science teacher thought he deserved. It was the aforementioned Educator that presented this child with their award, with a whispered comment of " You didn't deserve this." While back in class, they asked this child if they had gotten in trouble with their parents over the detention. Child calmly replies, " You can ask my parents as you have their emails", then walked away from the Educator. The Educator then proceeds to scream at the child in front of his class " Don't you ever ask me for help again".

This is an adult. One that works with young adults. Impressionable minds. Again you might be wondering how this ties into suicide. Let's look at it this way.. You have a train. A well oiled, working train. All systems running. It only takes one loose screw or nail to derail that train. In this case, an educator who had a problem with one child, no fault of their own. While the child tried to carry on, it didn't matter. That one person did their best to derail the momentum of this child. We as adults have this unspoken duty to ensure that everyone has a way to succeed, grow and prosper to become better human beings. In the eyes of the youth it only can take one negative person to bring their lives crashing down. Whether it be a adult or another child, a bully is a bully. If you all hadn't gathered, I am writing about my eldest. This has been his life for the last two years with this one particular authoritative adult in his life. As much as we have tried our best to make sure this person had very little to do with our son's academic life, it was either put him in private school( which we couldn't afford) or have to deal with this person. Thankfully, this is his last year at this school and then we move on forward to high school.

In my mind, how dare someone say to a child, they don't deserve something for working hard on something. People wonder why things like suicide rates are up. People wonder why young people are starting to take a stand against those who are trying to tear them down.

Had my son not been the person who he is, I am not too sure how he would have kept his calm every single time he had to deal with this person. As yesterday, we as this boy's parents have lodged a complaint with the school. I get we only have 5 days left, but I am willing to bet he isn't the only student being targeted by this person. If that is case, then this person doesn't have any business being in a job that is supposed to support and encourage our youth, not strip them of every ounce of self esteem they have.

 There are some excellent teachers out there that are either getting pushed out because they dare to challenge a system that needs to change or getting burnt out due to lack of support. In any case, it is never an excuse ever to take out the issues being had on the children you work with, because the impact felt by the students can destroy their entire life.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Was it funny to you? Really?

I am going to start this post off by saying that I think that every child deserves to have the opportunities to be a kiddo. Regardless of anything that they may have that society thinks restricts them. This includes things like playgrounds to field trips to special awesome places.

Now I am not a big time blogger and I know that my message will not reach the ears that matter, but I feel that I need to get my thoughts down on paper. I have always been a strong advocate to making sure that everyone has the opportunity to experience life to the fullest, from Adults to children. I write, as I know there are others out there that do read my material.  Anyhoo...

Last week, browsing through my newsfeed, I came across a video montage on America's Funniest Home Videos of women doing stupid stuff. In that montage, was a woman on an adaptive swing that was meant for special needs. I had commented, that it makes me angry to see something like that, as there have been times that we have gone to the park and those swings have been broken, due to idiots doing stupid stuff on them. Long story short, there were some comments that supported my outrage and then there were some that didn't. There were some that called me a "Snowflake"( which btw doesn't bother me as I am from Canada, and we all know that Snowflakes bring on Blizzards, which can be inconvenient and mess up even the best of life's plans). Now normally I wouldn't be blogging about silly internet spats, as we all know a lot of them are fruitless. If there was ever a time where someone's opinions of something changed because the energy spent from a keyboard warrior, please alert the news. Anyway I digress. There was mention that the woman in that video might possibly be special needs herself, which I took into consideration when replying back to the post I had made. Throughout my exchanges with multiple people, it was suggested that I seek counseling for being a special needs parent.( Thanks for the concern, but really I have a better handle on my mental state, than a rude stranger), but it was the people who got all butt hurt that I had indeed called them.... wait for it.... IGNORANT ....*Gasp* I know. Not the dreaded "I" word.

Yes.. Ignorant. It made me realize that just because they all thought it was funny that a woman had gotten into an adapted swing, made an ass out of herself, not realizing just how insensitive it would be to those who rely on swings like that one, to enjoy something, like actual swinging Or maybe it would be insensitive that they were perhaps laughing at a person with a disability falling out of a swing and hurting themselves . Either situation, its ignorant. Their comments were ignorant. It just makes me want to be work harder and use my voice louder to advocate for those who deserve respect and don't get it.

Now don't get me wrong I love watching stupid videos on the internet. I am mindful of those that involve the destruction of other people's property and serious injury aren't particularly funny. My stupid internet video watching normally involves the funny stuff our fur babies do and cat knocking stuff off shelves. And I like watching people do dumb stuff, lets face it, we are hilarious. As for the rest of that montage, it was other women doing dumb stuff, just that one segment struck a nerve. It could have been that we have gone to playgrounds meant for special needs and things have been broken due to people being dumb. As everyone who knows, it isn't easy to calm down a child, who is cognitively delayed and doesn't understand, why they can't do the one thing they love to do at the playground. Those swings were things that most of us parents had to fight for at City Council Meetings to get put into our parks. A park is for EVERYONE.

With all that being said, we did go to a park today that had one adapted swing. As I strolled around watching over my own special needs children, I heard parents tell their children that, that particular swing was not for them, but for those who needed a little bit of extra support in enjoying the art of swinging.

I get it. People do dumb stuff all the time and at times it can be funny. When it comes to actions that result in hurting someone or breaking something that isn't yours, you need to ask yourself, why would you be offended by someone calling you ignorant, when it clearly isn't funny to someone else.

So parents of special needs children or the caregivers to those who are special needs, never stop advocating, ever. As there are so many people out there that are out of touch with what it means to be compassionate, understanding and accepting of the differences that makes us human.

Please enjoy a picture of my son, in absolute joy doing something that every child should be able to do, swinging.

Snowflake Out.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The carnival of fond memories.

Most parents of children with special needs often find themselves in a pickle trying to find places that can accommodate our littles and our loved ones. Sure there are places like Morgan's Playground, but if you don't live even remotely close or can't afford to go to places like that, you are at a loss as to what you can do to ensure your child has the time of their lives and just be a kiddo, instead of a label or person that garners stares and unwelcomed comments. Even at the best of times, it is hard as a parent to try and figure out vacations and places we can take our special needs kiddos on or to. While places like Disneyworld/Land are trying to incorporate special needs persons, it still isn't perfect and not everyone can afford to go. Sure, I would love to take my son to go see his favorite characters from Disney, as I would love to capture that special moment when he gets to meet Mickey for the first time, but I know in my heart that he will not be able to handle the lines, even with a special pass, that we have to pay extra for and provide the documentation prove his disability, just for him to meet his idol. Most of parents wish we could give our special children that joy.So with that being said, a lot of us try and find the smaller amusements give joy to our children, who deserve it.

On the kick off to Autism Acceptance/Awareness month, this isn't going to be a blog post about the power of puzzle pieces or the sea of blue, but of a child that got so much joy out of something small. The other night we took our son to a local carnival. For most, it wouldn't be a big deal, but for him it was. It had every thing a small time carnival had to offer. Cheesy games, like win a fish and dart throws to the rides that make you sick that make you feel like your insides are on your outsides. For him it was everything he loved. Things that spin and light up, but best of all they had a swing ride. One that spun around and made a person feel like they could fly. Sure it squeaked and creaked and it needed a paint job, it didn't matter to him. He saw those swings and knew that, that was the ride he wanted to go on. So first ride off the bat, was the swings. I can't even express how much joy came to that boy's face. He flapped in excitement as I strapped him in to his chair. As I took my spot next to him, the verbal stims where just as noticeable, not that I cared. My boy was happy.  It wasn't until the ride started up, in that moment of movement, did he really get into his enjoyment. I was almost scared that he might of vibrated out of his chair. As I watched him from the seat next to him, I could tell that so many things were going through him. It wasn't just the lights or the fact that we were spinning around and around, but the experience for him was much more. For him, it was being able to be a kiddo. Getting so much joy out of this is what it meant for him to finally not be bothered by all the triggers, but to let loose. I think in his own mind he thought he was flying and he truly was.

From the swings we went on many other rides and we played some carnival games (which he ended up winning a green ball), but nothing compared to the swing ride. Sure, as the sun went down the lights of all the rides, lit up the night, which to our son was fun to watch. The cowards getting bigger, we decided to call it a night, but not without one more time on the swing ride. We got into our spots, I buckled my son in and away we went. This time I decided to take a couple of pictures of him, as I wanted a kodak moment of his joy. Sure enough, he gave me one the best photos I have of him. I wanted to remember and cherish this moment, because when we are hip deep in the chaos or going through a rough time, I will always have a photo of him in the throws of absolute joy. That photo will be my reminder that he is just a little boy who deserves happiness and joy just as much as the next kiddo.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

When Marching today, please remember those who can't or don't understand.

March 24th, 2018 is the day that many students will gather in the nation's capital to voice their concerns over school shootings and school safety protocols. All over this nation, young people who will be able to vote soon, will stand up and let their voices be heard in respect to all those who have lost their lives to school shootings. This takes courage and bravery to stand up to the establishment and tell it, it needs to work on a lot things. Within this process, I want to make it clear that not all students are able to let their voices be heard. Not all students, who have been affected by school shootings or the safety protocols, have a voice or the means to be able to make it down to the marches occurring today. For those who are participating in the March for Our Lives, please remember those students in your chants, your thoughts and your movement.

A couple of weeks ago, when the shooting down in Parkland occurred, I wrote about what kind of impact that would have on the type of classroom I work in. For those who haven't been following, I work in a classroom with special need students. While on that same day, we also had our own incident, everything was put into perspective for myself and my coworkers that day. It became very clear to us, that even with everything done right, we would be the first targets, if and when something like a school shooting was to occur. As much as we would all do our best to maintain the safety of our students, there would be absolutely no way we could make them understand the severity of a situation of a school shooting. Most of them are not going to understand why we are cramped in a bathroom and that the playing the "Silent Game" isn't going to work. We love these kiddos like they are our own, but when you are talking about kids who see the world differently than the rest of us, it is very hard to make them understand the severity of situations. It doesn't matter how many times we do drills for these types of things.

I am very proud of the youth today. I am proud that so many want to make sure their voices are heard. For me though, I hope that many of them don't forget about the students like the kiddos in my class. These Kids deserve to have the right to have their lives protected. They deserve to have someone remember that they are still here and are trying to learn, just like the rest of the general classrooms. While I know there are some down in DC and all over the nation, who are like my kiddos out there marching, I wanted people to keep in mind, that not all have a voice and that they too, need someone to champion for their right to live and be able to learn in a safe environment.

My plan was to be just one voice for my students today, along side my eldest son. We got sidelined by an injury. While my eldest wanted to be part of this march as it was something that was important to him as student, I wanted to raise my voice in support to all those who can't. Every child deserves to have a safe academic environment.

So today on  March 24, 2018, when we are listen to the voice of the youth, please remember to lend yours to those who might not have a voice today. Please remember to lend your voice to those who might not be physically able to march today, as they all deserve the same amount of respect as everyone else.

Friday, March 9, 2018

International Day of Women... International Year of Women.

I am a day late. I know. Its ok. It gives me time to sit and think about what I want to write about regarding yesterday. Yesterday, if you didn't know was the International Day of Women. I celebrated that day at a field trip with my special needs son, not that important, but that is how I observed a day to celebrate not just my gender, but all those who made it possible for my gender to be able to do the things my gender is able to do.

As I sat around in a room full of amphibians and reptiles, listening to how myself and others can help the environment and protect our planet, I made the observation that all the instructors we had, were indeed Women. Women who knew exactly what they were talking about. Intelligent women, in a field that is normally dominated by men,(let's face it there aren't a lot of women who have a keen interest in things like snakes, spiders and crocs, I wish there were!)As I continued to sit there and make sure my son's stimming wasn't on overload, I lamented that all of the teachers on this trip, were also women. Every single one of them. Then like magic it got me thinking about the work environment I work in. While we do have male teachers, most of the faculty is made of Women, myself included. While in the past, the teaching profession was at one time, one of the only professions a woman could have gotten, it got me thinking to the roles that have expanded from that. For example, I am fortunate enough to work in a school where both my top admin are women, not saying that a male admin isn't just as awesome, but it is nice to see the roles that women once had, have evolved and have expanded. And of course I kept thinking...

See this is how my mind works. I get started on one basic thought and it expands, till I am pondering the mysteries of the universe. Back to Women.  I have always loved history. The good, the bad and the ugly. I have always thought that history is a gateway into seeing how we have become the people we are today. What has shaped us, helped us learn and who has been significant in those roles. Role Models. Sitting in the jungle of snakes and spiders, I thought about who in our history have been a momentous influence on shaping the women we have today. While I tend to look at the trailblazers like the Suffragettes, or the women who basically told the male dominated field they worked in " Not today, sir, not today.Today is mine and mine alone."I thought about my own personal heroines. The ones that have helped me discover my own womanhood. The ones who made me proud to say that "I am Woman, HEAR ME ROAR!" I have so many in my 40 years on this planet. There are women who stood up for what they thought was right. There are women who quietly guided me to understanding my potential. I firmly believe that every woman, young women and girls out there need to have someone out there to show them that potential.

While yesterday was the International Day of Women, it should be noted that 2018 should be the Year of the Woman. We saw the spark of it last year, starting with the Women's March. From then, the #Metoo movement evolved and blossomed. The #Timesup initiative going strong. A lot more women becoming stronger and brave to stand up for themselves, as well as for those who do not have the courage just yet to speak out. We have seen the young women of Parkland FL, look Senators, law makers and bigwig corporations in the face and say "We will not stand for this". Young women who will be voting soon. We are seeing more women in politics, taking a stand against those who wish to take all that has been fought for, for the last 100 years.  Women in 2018 have become a force to be reckoned with. The world has started to take note.

I go back to the women standing before me talking about how to properly hold crocodile. There was one point in time where she wouldn't be standing up there talking about crocodiles, as it wouldn't have been "Proper" for a woman to even be in a field where she was touching and understanding an animal.

So to all the naysayers who want to tear down the spirit of a fighting woman, try it. Our voice is only going to get louder, braver and stronger.

For those who are still fighting for themselves and their womanhood, don't ever stop. Remember that the world is watching and somewhere there is a little girl out there who will or does look up to you.

Remember who taught you how to value your worth. Those who showed you your potential. Today and every day, remember you are worth it.

Back to crocodile handling, as I got to hold on to an awesome little female croc, named Wally.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

School Shootings and the Special Needs World....

For a lot of our kiddos, the world can be a very scary place on any given normal day. Sights and sounds can overwhelm our kiddos. Of course in our classrooms, we have our standard fire drills, tornado drills and earthquake drills once a month. All things that are scary but are things that are preventable. Lock downs are something of a different nature, especially when it comes to our kiddos who are special needs.

I think it needs to be said that we shouldn't even have to have lock down drills to begin with. Even for the General Ed it is a sad reality, so can you even imagine what this all means for those who are special needs and the people who care for our children?

Lock downs are for schools who have a intruder or active shooter(s) trying to either get into the school or have managed to succeed in getting in. The very first thing for an educator and their aides is the safety of their students, as well as personal safety. Scary stuff. Again as much as all the fire drills are the same, safely get your students to a safe location. Lock downs, the faculty and students are stuck within a school. Stuck. Stuck until it is safe from them to get out. Quick thinking on the faculty's part, law enforcement or sometimes the students themselves.

I don't think it needs to be said that since Sandy Hook, most school's protocols for lock downs has changed, but other things have not. As a parent of a two special needs students, I have to ask when protocols for schools are being laid in place, what is being done for our school children who are special needs, as we all know that special needs encompasses a lot. It isn't just physical. It isn't just cognitive. There is a wide spectrum that deals with special needs. While we as parents at the best of times, reluctant to send our children to school, it makes me wonder if we have to start putting in drill protocols within our children's IEPs. What should happen if an active shooter enters our children's school.

As I sit and write this, I am aware of the fact that I am not only a parent to special needs children, but now I am also one of many care givers within a school system to those with special needs. I am not going to lie when I say this whole idea of lock down drills scares the shit out of me. It is something that I am never going to used to, ever. I know what we do in our own classroom to maintain safety for our kiddos and ourselves during drills, but I can't help but wonder what it is like for our kiddos, themselves. I am taken back to my initial response to Sandy Hook. While at the time, I wasn't employed by the school system. My shock was the same as it was to the tragedy of Florida. It gave me nightmares. As I thought about what would have happened to my own children if this was what was happening to them. How would they deal in a crisis? Especially one so horrific as to watch your teachers and friends being gunned down. Again I am not going sugar coat this issue. I know there are crisis counselors out there that are trained to help those who aren't cognitively aware of what has just happened, but I still can't even wrap my brain around how my children would deal with something like this and that they would still have to deal with something like this after Sandy Hook. Its not like I can sit my non verbal child down and explain to him that bad people do bad things to other people.

Since Florida we have seen the young people who have been directly affected by this tragedy speak out. Calling for gun legislation and calling out those who have been in the pockets of the NRA, all while sending "Thoughts and Prayers". It is now encouraging to see the younger generation getting involved. It is sad however, that it took a senseless act of violence to finally hear their voices. I have sat and listened to our POTUS talk about arming teachers in the classrooms and giving the ones who are trained a bonus.Teachers who have to peg and plead with parents to send in supplies like pencils, paper and glue. He wants to arm them all with firearms. Seriously? Not only a liability issue, there is no way you could regulate it. It would take one disgruntled personnel to take gun from a classroom and do the same as an active shooter. I can't even fathom a gun in a special needs classroom. I can't and won't.

So what happens to our special needs kiddos during a crisis. For the most part if we the adults are calm, most of our kiddos are too. When it comes to trying to keep our stimming children quiet during a lock down, it is mission impossible. Most of us are in a small secluded space with kiddos that are reactive to no light, the inability to keep quiet or being in a space that is small and cramped. While we try to do our best to keep them quiet and safe, it doesn't always work. Even though we are doing everything in our power to maintain safety, nothing is 100%. That is what scares me to the point of nightmares about lock downs and special needs kiddos. We would be easy targets to a person with no regard to other human lives.

While I am happy to see students speaking out against the current gun laws of this country, it saddens me that I haven't heard too much from disability advocates and organizations about what happens to the special needs community when tragedies like this happen.What are we as care givers and SPed educators to do when this happens? While I am fortunate to work in an awesome environment, where the SPed department is supported, I know that not all schools are the same.

I hope that this recent tragedy in FL opens the lines of communication, finally, for things to change. While I feel there is hope for the future, it isn't the immediate future. We now have a group of young people who are angry. Young people who now have been taunted by those who are either in a seat of power or sitting in a computer chair hurling insults. Young people who in the next couple of years will be able to vote. I hope that the anger they have now will still be fresh in their minds when they are deciding who becomes our next POTUS and those who sit in Congress and the Senate. I hope they remember the local politicians who told them they were fauds because they stood up and said "Not Anymore". But I hope that these young people will remember those who don't have a voice, but were there as well during tragedies like Sandy Hook and FL and every other school shooting this nation has seen and will see in its future. Don't forget the protection of those who don't understand why lock down drills have to happen and active shooters are a reality.