Bullying At School :(

Hello all my P.A.N.D.A.s and new viewers of Proabled Not Disabled,

Due to school and life, I have not been able to post for the last month and a bit.¬† However, I will be trying to get back into a good schedule of posting soon ūüôā

I began this blog, P.A.N.D.A., because I wished to reduce stigma around me and in the world in general.  Throughout this time, I have spent apart from writing, I have definitely still kept up with my beliefs of anti-bullying and positive attitude towards educating others on proabilities.  I say this, because this is a special blog post about what has happened in the past months.

To start off, I’d say that I’ve seen around ten incidents in my time off.  These ten incidents range from physical and verbal of students on the Autism Spectrum to mocking, staring and finger pointing.  Truth be told, my school is caring in it’s faculty, but not within the student body.  My peers constantly make reference to someone looking as if they have Cerebral Palsy; my peers endlessly imitate students who stimm.  And I am done with this.

Just in the past month, I have yelled at a grade 9, seen the principal and felt emotionally unsafe.  I am not writing this post to feel anybody’s sympathy.  I am simply trying to stick up for what I believe in and raise awareness for my cause.

Therefore, I urge all of my readers, old or young, to stick up, too, for what they believe in and do what they can to use their voice.¬† You can stop a fight or speak up or ‚Äėsnitch‚Äô‚ÄĒit isn‚Äôt true that they get stitches‚ÄĒor write like I am doing.¬† Anything.¬† So long as voices are heard in the most positive and considerate sense.

The idiocy of people will never truly be abolished, but knowledge will grow.

Signing off now.

~Anon

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Proabled Problems: Bullying & Beyond

We all know bullying isn’t good. ¬†I mean, that’s obvious, right??

Most of us have seen the news where a child kills themselves over being bullied.

But none of you have heard my being bullied story.

My name is Anon and this is my story.

~~~

I’d say I was in grade 3 when it started. ¬†I had just moved from a special needs private school, uptown, to the small, quaint elementary school, downtown. ¬†I was new; fresh meat, people call it. ¬†I was also proabled and required a support worker who was with me at all times. ¬†I was in the proabled classroom for the morning and in the mainstream classes for the other half of the day.

I thought I made friends with a girl named Melanie. ¬†I was dead wrong. ¬†I don’t remember much, but I recall being in the bathroom with her (due to the bathroom buddies system) and her taunting me. ¬†I remember feeling completely helpless. ¬†I was alone, me and her. ¬†I remember pulling my arm back, ready to punch.

But I was never a violent child.  I only behaved badly when I was treated poorly.

I didn’t punch Melanie, but I definitely¬†threatened her.

That was the first time.

In the next two years, I would be thrown to the floor, bullied by teachers, kicked behind my knees, so that I fell over and guess who got the blame for everything…me. ¬†It was because I fought back. ¬†They told me that I needed to be in the Behavior Program, instead of special needs, but my mother said otherwise. ¬†She stood by me through everything. ¬†I was constantly being placed in the principal’s office. ¬†Luckily the principal liked me. ¬†Instead of a harsh detention, I got to shred documents.

I moved schools and the bullying followed me, hovered around me like a specter, a ghost.  Everywhere I went, I was bullied.

In grade 7, I was put into restraints after people taunted me to the point of me becoming physically aggressive.¬† Restraints are not supposed to hurt. ¬†But imagine an 11-or-12-year-old girl being held by two people who were 2x her size. ¬†Imagine the lock she would have on her wrists, cutting off her circulation and the palm on her back, shoving it downwards, so that all she could do was weep and stare at the ground. ¬†Tell me that doesn’t hurt. ¬†If not physically, then emotionally.

In grade 8, I was subjected to a horrible one-on-one support.  She was an abuser.  She abused me.  Her nails were long and sharp.  I remember her trying to grab me and cutting the skin on my palm with her nails, in the process.  She caused me physical pain.

The day after my 13th birthday was the worst day of my existence. ¬†I was angry and threw a water bottle at her stomach. ¬†She immediately bent my fingers back, towards the back of my hand. ¬†It hurt like hell, after all, hands aren’t supposed to be bent that way; it’s unnatural. ¬†My hand turned red. ¬†After that, she held me against the wall by my shirt, which she had a fistful of. ¬†I screamed and screamed and lunged for the doors, using all of my strength and speed to get away from there, but when I wiggled the doorknob…it was locked. ¬†The doors–my only escape out–were locked and I was stuck here with this insane woman. ¬†Sure I may have hurt her…but this was inhumane. ¬†No one deserved this.

I screamed for help until my lungs hurt.  Luckily, the teacher across the room heard, called the vice principal and they unlocked the doors.  I vaguely remember collapsing in my beanbag and crying.  My memories of the aftermath are muddy, but I cried into the shirt of my support worker and then she brought me downstairs to my social worker.

I’ve been with that social worker since then. ¬†I’m in grade 11 and she still helps me.

This is only part of my story, but for those who read it, I hope it’ll be effective.

~~~

As always, like, comment and follow for more ‚̧

UPDATE: I’m still recovering from this incident. ¬†Recovering and processing are not always a fast process. ¬†For me, it’s been three years. ¬†The best things that have helped me are family, friends, support and love. ¬†I realize that it sounds cliche, but it is undeniably true ūüôā

Tourette’s Problems #1

The room is rambunctious around me. ¬†Three teenage boys are physically fighting at the table beside me. ¬†The teacher, oh, she simply doesn’t care anymore. ¬†She’s tried, but who can really get young men with no manners to be nice and pleasant and do their work??

You’re sitting there in the middle of all this, just trying to paint. ¬†Your brush is in one hand and your palette in the other. ¬†You had a presentation that went terribly just before this class. ¬†You’re still fuming about your teacher interrupting you twice while you were presenting. ¬†What a load of crap that you are in.

You begin ticking,¬†thanks to all the pressure you’re under. ¬†Did I mention that your teacher is very strict? ¬†She wants your painting–the blending of the acrylic–to be 100% perfect. ¬†Your best. ¬†Not your mediocre-best. ¬†You’re so in your head, that you hardly notice when you try to

You’re so in your head, that you hardly notice when you try to tic with your hand. ¬†But then you see the next few seconds in slow motion. ¬†The palette tips, but you have to break your knuckle. ¬†Then, the palette tilts back the other way and falls.

Instead of falling onto the floor, you catch it but press it against your body in order to save the floor.  Your black pants are now covered in paint.  You walk over to your teacher, hoping that she could help you, but instead she starts laughing.  Maybe she wants to laugh off one of my most embarrassing moments ever?

I ask to go upstairs to the Calming Room and she asks if I’ll be gone long. ¬†I shrug. ¬†I want to get away from this hellish classroom, but of course, I can’t tell her that–that’d be rude. ¬†She tells me to come back soon and I nod. ¬†Inside, I know that I won’t be coming back, so I go upstairs and I only come back in around 15 minutes to find my belongings.

~~~

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Lessons I’ve Learned From Being Me: When Your Mom Understands You Too Well

My mom, who I love fondly, understands me too well. ¬†And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a problem, in fact, I enjoy it. ¬†It means I don’t have to explain and say everything that’s on my mind. ¬†She feels my moods, my vibes and the atmosphere around me to better know how to help me better. ¬†She understands my stressors and what calms me. ¬†However, this post isn’t a boasting post. ¬†This is more like a “F*ck-You-System” post.

When I was first born, my mom knew instantly that something was wrong and I wasn’t just fussy. ¬†Basically, from the first time I cried until a year later, I didn’t stop. ¬†My mom was constantly looking for help and “screaming from the rooftops”, but nothing seemed to come. ¬†Now that I’m older, she tells me that she cried herself to sleep at night because of the way society treated her and myself. ¬†When my mom searched for aid, all she got was “you’re a bad mom” or that I was a bad child.

My mother tried putting me in classes–tap dance, to be honest–but the sounds were overwhelming. ¬†The society we lived in told us that, that would be fun for me; that making loud noises was playful. ¬†But I was a different child than that kid who this was fitted for. ¬†How could my mother know, though? ¬†Was the world a helpful place for her? ¬†Absolutely not.

At the age of three, I got my first diagnosis (Sensory Integration Disorder aka SID). ¬†I wasn’t a bad child and my mom wasn’t a bad mother. ¬†In truth, society had basically told her that she was a bad mom for having a baby who didn’t fit the social norms. ¬†I had a neurological probability. ¬†The world was too loud, too confusing and too overwhelming for me. ¬†My mom knew that something was wrong from the start and she had been correct.

How SID Effects Me Now:

Sensory Integration Disorder makes my social life pretty difficult.  I find it tough to go to busy places (i.e. malls, attractions, amusement parks, etc.) and loud music still annoys the crap out of me, but sometimes I love it.  When I went to the winter formal at my school, I loved feeling the beat pulse in my chest and the wooden floor bounce with moving people.  But after a few hours, I went home, because the music, the bustling people, and the lights became all a little much for me.

Why am I explaining this, you ask?? 

I believe deeply that showing your passions is one thing, but connecting it to yourself and the world around you something else. ¬†I’m hoping that by sharing my own personal stories through a fake identity, I will be better able to shape and impact those around me.

What do I want you to take away from this??

I’m hoping that by me telling you this story, you will be able to better understand what SID is and how it effects people. ¬†When you some child crying while at the mall, remember this post and perhaps it’ll even change your views of that one kid.

~~~

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xoxo A

Anxiety Problems #1: When You Can’t Ride Public Transit

Before I begin, I should mention that due to my anxiety, I do not take public transit and therefore, I am bused to school.  I have a support worker who helps me when I AM on public transit.  Down below, is a mini story about what it is like for me to be on a subway.  I find things above ground to be more manageable minus the carsickness I feel when I am standing.

~~~

The sterile smell is thicker than that of in a hospital, here.  The fluorescents are too bright and it makes the stainless steel shine, showing each and every individual scratch.  The coarse fabric seats carry germ after germ and person after person still manages to sit on them!  The floors are linoleum and dirty.

This is what I perceive from being on transit.  As soon as I step over the threshold of my safe, quiet and clean Earth and into the world of the dingy unknown, my heart begins to beat faster and faster in my chest, feeling as though it will leap out at any time.  My breathing accelerates and I try to keep my cool by looking at the things around me but with each squeal of the rails, with each infectious cough of the person sitting there, I get more and more anxious.

I can not handle my anxiety, but my support worker is right there.  She is there for me and I lock eyes with her.  She speaks in a calm voice, one that I can barely manage to keep.

“What level are you at, A?” she asks me.

“On the anxiety scale? ¬†Probably like 4. ¬†It could be worse,” I say. ¬†“I want to stick it out.”

~~~

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Specialized Interests: A Guide

Okay, so if you read my last post, I touched on specialized interests quite briefly.  In passing, I mentioned it and added an asterisk, meaning that later I would discuss it on a more thorough basis.

Definition:

Specialized Interests are the thing people on the Autism Spectrum are sometimes the most passionate and intrigued about.  They are fixations per-say.

What Are Mine???

Over the years, I have had multiple fixations ranging from dinosaurs (circa 2003), sexual well-being (circa 2006) and now Deaf culture and American Sign Language and ableism (circa 2017).  Although my intense love for these topics has much subsided, I still have ruminates from when I was into such things, such as books, toys, artifacts, etc..

Let’s Talk About Currently:

For over 3 years have I been learning American Sign Language (aka ASL).  It started as a project to enhance myself and turned into a means of connecting with more people and breaking stigma against people who use ASL as an aid.  Now, I want to become an ASL Interpreter (aka terp) and sign everyday, any day.  My personal favorite is to sign songs with lyrics and interpret the lyrics into *ASL-PSE.

Currently, to fight ableism, I am writing this blog, talking about it and attempting to better educate my peers by simply discussing it on a one-on-one basis, using my own personal experiences to better explain, and I am also in Equity & Social Justice class. ¬†If my terp dream doesn’t turn out as planned, I know I can always become an activist for other people like me!

More Common (some stereotypical) Specialized Interests:

  • Trains // Aircraft
  • Animals and Pets
  • Sports Facts
  • Really **weird things such as mushrooms, etc.
    • **being weird is something to be celebrated, not to be ashamed // afraid of. ¬†Normal is something to be afraid of. ¬†Always be afraid of being normal; it’s overrated. ¬†The more weird, the better.

*Will explain this at a later date

Advantages to Having Proabilities

In society, we are shown the disadvantages of having special needs.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there are many advantages that no one tells you about:

  1. Having an IEP (advantages: extra time on tests // exams, use to a computer // techie device in school, breaks, walks, time to study before test // exam)
  2. Having Sensory Integration Disorder (advantages: being hyper aware and perceiving everything around you–can also be a disadvantage at times)
  3. Having OCD (advantages: being able to memorize hundreds of songs and telling yourself to remember something and then, ACTUALLY REMEMBERING IT)
  4. Having ASD (advantages: skipping to front of lines // *specialized hobbies)
  5. Having Anxiety (advantages: being able to anticipate things, but can be paralyzing; mindfulness)
  6. Having Depression (advantages: developing skills to contextualize troubling observations and see both the highs in life and the lows)

*will make an actual blog post explaining and analyzing this ūüôā

Content? What Content?

Let’s talk content.

For “Proabled¬†Not Disabled” I want to really discuss and try to normalize proabilities for those with friends or family who suffer/have any of the special needs stated in my “about me” bio. ¬†I especially want to help those who are trying to better understand their friend // family member(s).

My second objective was to create a RELATABLE blog for those with any of the said proabilities. ¬†Saying this, I’ve been thinking of some different blog post ideas // content templates. ¬†These are some of my ideas:

  • Proability Problems
    • This is where I would discuss problems with a certain proability, such as Anxiety or Tourette’s and then add a gif to show humor and of course make light of, while still having solid educational content.
    • Another idea was where I could discuss issues with people understand me and giving me accommodations, whether in school or in real life, etc.
  • Proability Advantages
    • This is the exact opposite of what’s above.
  • Funny Stories
    • Here, I would discuss funny stories that happen around my proabilities
  • Lessons I’ve Learned From Being Me
    • Witty, educational, etc. posts about lessons I’ve learned from having proabilities, etc.. ¬†I thought maybe some could discuss going to therapy and mainstream vs. specialized schools.
  • Random Rambles
    • This is where I’ll post some arbitrary facts about me, music, TV-shows, films, etc. that I enjoy as well as just some really nonsensical junk that one can either like or ignore.

So, comment down below with ideas or if I know you in real-life and you have me on Facebook then just send a quick message! ¬†I’d also love to get some nice likes if that’s a thing on WordPress (obviously, I’m new).

I hope to start posting soon.

5 Things People Say When I Say I “Have” Something

In my “About Me” bio, I explained what I “have”. ¬†So, if you haven’t read that, then go back and do so, RIGHT NOW, before continuing to read.

For someone struggling with these many documented and diagnosed proabilities, I am doing extremely well.  Here is a list of my some of my accomplishments:

1) I wrote a nearly 300-page novel, which I then self-published and sold 50 copies of

2) I taught myself American Sign Language to combat stigma against people who use it as an aid and bring two-or-more cultures/groups of people together

3) I’ve passed all my courses since the end of grade 9 with flying colors.  (This is my 3rd year on Honor Roll!!!)

Now, that you’ve seen this, it’s time to get into the reason why I’m posting this.  The truth is, is that I enjoy discussing my proabilities with people and raising awareness for others like me.  However, whenever I tell someone I have special needs, they often come up with some really sh*tty response.  This happened a few days ago.  So, here’s a list of what not to say, written by someone who has heard all of these:

1) Minimizing Said Exceptionalities: ¬†‚ÄúAt least you‚Äôre high-functioning and not ‚Äėbrain-dead.‚Äô‚ÄĚ ¬†The thing about this one is that no matter if you‚Äôre high-functioning or low-functioning, your brain is still able to work and function, just in different ways. ¬†So, try not to be that thick-skulled.

2) The Intelligence Route: ¬†‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt seem stupid.‚ÄĚ ¬†Yeah, that‚Äôs because I‚Äôm not! ¬†And neither is anyone with special needs, for that matter. ¬†Like I said before, we all function in different ways.

3) The Uneducated Response: ¬†‚ÄúIs depression contagious?‚ÄĚ ¬†No, you dimwitted homo-sapien. ¬†For those who don‚Äôt know, depression is not contagious. ¬†It is either in one‚Äôs genetics or triggered by a change in hormone level, stress, grief, difficult life circumstance, etc. ¬†Sometimes it could be an onset of a medical condition.

4) The Free-To-Ask-Any-&-All-Questions Response: ¬†‚ÄúSo, is your Tourette‚Äôs acute or mild? ¬†Do you have vocal tics??‚ÄĚ ¬†Surprisingly, people every once in a while ask this. ¬†They think that just because I tell them what I have, they can ask me all the questions they want about my exceptionalities. ¬†Trust me, I understand that there is a blurred, gray line here, but at the end of the day, my conditions are still incredibly personal. ¬†You wouldn‚Äôt ask a person how much they make, now would you? ¬†However, if I am close with the person, I will most certainly explain more in-depth to them about myself and how I work.

5) Lastly, The Normalizing: ¬†‚ÄúWow, I had no clue. ¬†You look and act so normal!‚ÄĚ ¬†Now, the prior is fine to say, but the latter‚Ķmmm, not so much. ¬†After all, who is normal? ¬†What is normal? ¬†I‚Äôm not normal and neither is the next person.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my list here.