Dear GHS; an Editorial on Autism Awareness Month

Dear GHS; an Editorial on Autism Awareness Month

Eden Celsor, Editor in chief

Dear GHS students

April is Autism Awareness Month and I’d like to discuss what I’ve noticed about students’ interactions with other students who have physical and intellectual disabilities over my years here. Overall, I feel like they are being neglected and ignored by most of the student body. Having taken the time to get to know some of them over my years here at GHS, they’ve shown me just how they are neglected and ignored. From being pushed into the corner of the cafeteria becoming isolated from their peers, and struggling to find someone to work with during projects, to being talked about behind their backs, most students do not interact with them in conversations and activities. 

Its the smaller situations mentioned prior that can lead to the build up of frustration and resentment in students with disabilities – microaggressions, or the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights(whether intentional or not), that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages that target minorities(students with disabilities). These microaggressions have many effects on students with disabilities such as the lowering of their self esteem, isolation from society(which only makes the problem worse), and having trouble finding safe, creative outlets.  

We need to educate ourselves on microaggressions to be aware of our behavior, and reflect on our current actions to notice our mistakes in working with or talking to students with physical and intellectual disabilities. It is not acceptable to treat students with any kind of disabilities the way society typically treats them. Society ignores and neglects them, whereas we need to treat them with kindness and inclusivity. 

As a community, as residents of Greendale, we need to put this ignoring and neglecting behavior behind us. Society needs to see a change regarding how people with disabilities are treated, and that starts with us and the rest of our generation. So I beseech with you Greendale, the next time you see a student with disabilities having trouble finding a partner, or wanting to join in a conversation, invite them over and get to know them.