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Posts Tagged ‘disabilities

Some Serious Thoughts On Halloween

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Even though I don’t dress in a costume or go treat-or-treating, Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for me. During this time, I like to watch fun Halloween kid movies and read at least one gothic novel.

The reason I love Halloween so much because it is the one time of year where it doesn’t matter if you’re “scary”.  All through October, you’ve got Tim Burton movies playing on television. Also, there’s the fact that everybody is excited about dressing up in costumes that may or may not be “scary”.

As fun as this stuff is, I wish we could take the entire month of October to learn to celebrate people who are deemed “scary” every day.

Some of those people include disabled people (esp. the mentally ill) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual,Transgender, and Queer community.

Every time there is a shooting, the words “mentally ill” come up in every article. All this does is stereotype and perpetuate fear. Next thing you know, we’ll be having witch burnings again.

At the same time, we’ve got everyday people and well-known people, who are disabled and are making a positive impact on people’s lives.

For instance, singer Mary J. Bilge conquered her depression and became one of the best singers ever.  Actor Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s disease, but he’s still acting today.

An everyday example is a girl I’d run into every week while attending community college. She was in a wheelchair and she seemed to be paralyzed because only her arms could move. I can’t remember name, but I remember her kindness.

Whenever I saw her, she’d wave and sometimes asked how I was doing. Her good mood despite her circumstances made me feel good too.

When it comes to the LGBTQ community, they are also stigmatized and stereotyped. In some cases, they’ve also been murdered or driven to suicide.

Yet, like disabled people, many have impacted society. Some include singer David Bowie, poet Audre Lorde, and model April Ashley.

My personal favorite members of this community so far are singers David Bowie, Debbie Harry (from the band Blondie), and Adam Lambert, poet Walt Whitman, and upcoming rapper Angel Haze.

Maybe it’s because I commute to college, but I haven’t met many LGBTQ members in my everyday life.

The one gay girl I met and became friends with was in high school. We were lab partners and she kept me from puking at the sight of a dissected frog.  Not only was she nice, but she was cool because she was my first goth friend AND my first gay friend.

As long as you are a good person inside, it doesn’t matter how “scary” you seem to be. I wish more people would take this to heart, not  only this month, but everyday.



Written by Serena Zola

October 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Book Review: Rogue by Lyn Miller- Lachmann

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Rogue by Lyn Milller-LachmannPlot Summary (Taken from Goodreads): Kiara has Asperger’s syndrome, and it’s hard for her to make friends. So whenever her world doesn’t make sense—which is often—she relies on Mr. Internet for answers. But there are some questions he can’t answer, like why she always gets into trouble, and how do kids with Asperger’s syndrome make friends? Kiara has a difficult time with other kids. They taunt her and she fights back. Now she’s been kicked out of school. She wishes she could be like her hero Rogue—a misunderstood X-Men mutant who used to hurt anyone she touched until she learned how to control her special power.

When Chad moves in across the street, Kiara hopes that, for once, she’ll be able to make friendship stick. When she learns his secret, she’s so determined to keep Chad as a friend that she agrees not to tell. But being a true friend is more complicated than Mr. Internet could ever explain, and it might be just the thing that leads Kiara to find her own special power.

My Review:

One of the best things about this book are its characters. Kiara is a protagonist worth caring about because she is more than just a person with a disability. Chad, Kiara’s potential friend, is like an onion. You gradually learn to sympathize with him as you learn more about him.  When it comes to the supporting characters, they were well-done because they gave a spark to Kiara’s personality and life. It was creative how the author gave some of the characters traits that were similar to some of the X-Men.

Another thing that was interesting was the treatment of Asperger’s syndrome, broken families, drugs and alcohol, and friendship. The author did a good job of informing outsiders about Asperger’s syndrome. Although the author has it herself, she portrayed it fairly by showing how it affects the person who has it and people around the person who has it.

In addition, Lachmann weaved in other issues into the story well. It realistically shows how complicated life can be for young people. The only downside was that linking a couple of these issues to one of the characters created a too ambiguous ending for that character.

All in all, this was a great book. Anyone who works with young people with disabilities should read this. Due to the drug and alcohol content, I also recommend that only upper-level middle school students and above read this book.

Related Book Review:

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Written by Serena Zola

September 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Book Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

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On the outside, eleven year-old Melody seems to be just a girl with cerebral palsy in a wheel chair. Yet inside is a photographic memory and intelligence that goes beyond her years. No one knows it, because Melody can’t talk, walk, or write. For while, Melody is stuck in her mind, until something gives her a voice. However, not everyone wants to hear it.

One of the best things about this book is the author’s writing style. It brings Melody’s world and her story to life with rich sensory details. Melody hears music in colors and visualizes flavors. Jazz “sounds brown and tan, and it smells like wet dirt.” Country is “lemons, sugar sweetened tangy.”

Another amazing thing is this book are the supporting characters. Melody’s mom is like a tiger when she sticks up for her daughter. Mrs. V, Melody’s neighbor, is the most encouraging and kind mentor any kid like Melody could ask for. Last, but not least, Melody’s special needs classmates (forgive me if I use the wrong term) shine with humble and fun traits, such as loving music and wanting to zoom like a race car driver to the moon.

An important trait in this book is its realism. Everyday, kids like Melody are teased or ignored by normal classmates and misunderstood by adults. Not only is it because of a lack of knowledge and understanding, but because of the assumption that any physical or mental limitation equals a lack of heart and soul. This book does a fantastic job of stating otherwise.

I recommend this book to anyone who is around kids like Melody. This is Sharon M. Draper’s best book yet.

Written by Serena Zola

November 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM

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