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Gail's Story

Gail, an elementary school teacher, talks about how her sister impacted her life and encouraged
her to advocate for children with disabilities in her classroom and beyond.

Gail's Story
00:00 / 03:55

I was very alone when I was with my sister as she grew up because when I went somewhere with her I felt very vulnerable when I would get stares from other people not knowing what they were thinking and so it was very difficult and she could not speak for herself I endured many negative comments you know I didnt know how to speak to people about her so I just kept everything to myself well in my career I started to realize how much she was discriminate against and I wanted to change that in my classroom In a classroom its easy for children to single out someone else if thye are different I didnt want that to happen so what I did was I if someone was coming to my classroom who had a disability I asked at the meeting that when I was told that someone would be coming I aksed that the person, the chld who was going to come to my room not come for a week so I could trian my class we met my class and we talked about what do you do if this person is out on the playground and does something to you that you dont like how do you handle it what do you do if you want to come in and you are really upset with him we talked about how to come to me to tell me about thei problems with this other person and then we would have a meeting to discuss how they could handle it and learn to accept this person at the end of the year a mother of a disabled child invited my class to go to the birthday party and every single child went I was very proud of it and then another thing that happened that I could tell people were understanding was that I met one of my students who was going to UMass I asked him what he was going to be what he was majoring in and he said special education and I congratulated hima nd he siad it was you you were the one that got me interested and I felt so good about it so ya know it carried into my teaching career and I also oh one word that I wanted to have him relaize kindness those people everybody desrevs kindness not just them so I really was firm about ya know how you have to be kind to everybody even if there's something you don't like about that person you know come in and talk to me about it and we can see what we can do I want to well I started to speak out more because I’ve kept things about my sister inside and I feel like its more than time to speak out and also a way to advocate to others you know so that when others pass someone on the street who is disable no matter what their disability is they don't stare and make the people who are wit them feel embarrassed they see them as someone who was born the way they were there's a lot of positive about them an to say hello that I think just to be kind say hello and let these people know they are accepted

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