Monday, April 11, 2016

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome By: Christopher Kliewer


I found this article to be the most interesting one that I have read this semester. Special education is something that I have considered getting my degree in. I hadn't considered that before this semester maybe because I wasn't yet familiar with it and what it really was. After this semester, with my service learning experience being in an inclusion classroom and SPED 300 I have really taken an interest in it. I have learned the importance of placing my attention on what the individual with a disability CAN do rather than focus on their disabilities. 

This week I chose to do my blog based on connections to other text we have read. While reading Kliewer's article I thought of so many of the other topics we have discussed from other texts. I found it especially interesting because at first the title kind of threw me off...Citizenship and Down Syndrome, what the heck do they have in common? But once I started reading and got into it I thought about August, TAL,  and SCWAAMP.

August- In "Safe Spaces" August discusses the issue of acknowledging the LBGT community. She emphasized the importance of including and accepting differing sexualities and making the classroom a safe place for students who are not secure with their sexual identities rather than alienating them. This relates to Kliewer when Shayne Robbins explains, " Its not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label." Just like or LGBT community, our disabled community just wants to be included without being looked at and treated differently. 

TAL- "All Lives Matter" discussed the need for the integration of races in schools. The story highlights the need to give all lives despite their race equal values, specifically when it comes to education. The value of of whites is significantly greater then that of blacks. The whites get the more qualified teachers and nicer schools while the blacks get the poor schools with the less qualified teachers. The article also pointed out that having integrated schools with black and white students results in many more learning opportunities not only for black students but for white as well. Kliewer's article reminded me of "All Lives Matter" because the author argues the need for integration of disabled and non- disabled peers in schools. If all of our students with disabilities are segregated, they are being deprived of such rich learning experiences. Not only would our children with disabilities have rich learning experiences but so would our non- disabled students. 

SCWAAMP- Leslie Grinner argues that there are certain categories in society that are valued in society over others. One of categories she identifies as highly valued by society is able-bodiedness. This connects to Kliewer because he addresses the fact that society presents a negative attitude towards individuals with disabilities, and in a way look down on them. 

Connections/ Comments to Share: I think that it is important to acknowledge the progress that society has made when it comes to the inclusion of children with disabilities in the regular education classroom, but there is definitely more improvements to be made. It is so important for young children especially to learn how to interact with their disabled peers and get to know them. It will better prepare them for later encounters in community and society in the future. 


  1. Grace I loved how you mentioned that when dealing with a special needs student it is important to focus on the person and not the disability. Even with any type of student it is important to keep in mind who they are as a person so a teaching method can be made to work for them. I also think your connection to August was spot on. Accepting all sorts of people for who they are makes it easier to have a more well rounded classroom that is comfortable for everyone. Awesome blog!

  2. Great connections Grace. I too thought of the "Safe Spaces" article when reading this. No one should feel like they are excluded. I also agree that there is more to be done in the classroom. I just don't know if that means getting the teachers more prepared, or having a specialist come in.