In June, several REV students completed eighth grade and their first completely inclusive school experience. These students began participating in all general education classes with their same-age peers in sixth grade. Now, as they head to high school, a few have been reflecting back on the experience. We hope you've read Ethan's and Harry's reflections over the past few weeks. Here are some thoughts from one more student.
Five years ago, I met an amazing woman named Miss Soma. She freed me from the bonds of silence that I had for nine years, and I am forever grateful.
With communication came the opportunity to attend real school. I have been going to middle school for the past three years, and in less than two months, I enter high school.
These last three years have been better than I ever could have imagined. The students like me and the teachers enjoy teaching me. The teachers even say that they have learned a lot from me.
Yes, controlling my body is sometimes too hard and I jump out of my chair or vocalize loudly. But the teachers and students have come to understand that I’m not intentionally misbehaving, but rather temporarily losing the battle between mind and body. They know that I am always listening. I can be jumping up and down and if the teacher asks me a question, I hear it and answer. The students have accepted me so well that I no longer feel embarrassed when I lose a battle. Being “just a kid in middle school” has been so wonderful.
I’m a little wary about going into high school. But I’m also excited about continuing my journey of learning. The work will be a lot harder than middle school and I may not make all A’s like I have been, but what’s more important to me is that I keep making friends and become “just a kid in high school”. I am determined to win more battles than I lose.
Mike Keller is a 14-year-old boy who wants everyone to know that not being able to speak doesn't mean you don't have a sound mind. Please pass on the word.