I am an Exceptionality

I am taking a course called Exceptionalities for Students in Elementary School. We learned that people who are disabled are to be called people first. That may sound crazy in the sense that it seems that most of us already do, but the truth is that we don’t. How many times have you heard someone refer to a child with a disability as “the disabled child,” as if they were their disability before there were people. The language of people first can change the worth of someone’s identity by simply flipping a couple of words around. I am learning a lot in this class, but one of the most important things I have learned is that I am an exceptionality.

It is called Culturally Linguistically Diverse. it is when a child from a different cultural background starts to have trouble in academics because of the cultural difference. To expand the understanding of how native culture can interfere with secondary culture I will use a boy in the text book we read. The boy was asked, “what are the four seasons?” He answered, “fishing season, deer season, duck season, and rabbit season.” Technically he is not wrong depending on the culture, but he got it incorrect because of the Americanized education. This does not mean that he is incompetent or does not understand the question, his answer simply represented his culture.  Getting a question incorrect is the bare minimal of it. most of those  especially Latino and African American, are placed into special education because they are believed to have a learning disability. It is present in the educational system because it was built to benefit the majority, but I am the minority.

It is difficult for a child to grow up in an education that benefits the majority because culturally it is different. Being a first generation Dominican American, I found getting an education extremely difficult as early as kindergarden. Spanish was my first language and I learned english through cartoons. I was doing well in english when it came to conversations, but my brain could not connect the letters and sounds to words because I did not even know the english alphabet. I was pulled out of my classes for a year and half to learn how to read and write in english until I was at my grade level, but that was the least of it.

Growing up I had no one to rely on at home to help me with my assignments. I knew as early as five years old that I would need to take advantage of my teachers to make sure that I knew everything that I needed to know before I went home because I knew I would be on my own. My mom would not be able to read me the task or help me understand the sounds of the alphabet because she was not familiar with the english language.

My native language, facial features, and skin color all contribute to the prejudice I receive in America. My knowledge is questioned because of my ethnicity as if I cant be Latino and smart at the same time. This is the issue that is raised in the American education system because people do not acknowledge how other cultures affect a child trying to live an American life. People forget that we are exceptionalities.


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