My original research upon Heroin and Steroids:
We have just finished the smallest unit on Disability. For people at our school with a disability, we have a special unit that they learn in, yet they join mainstream students a couple of times a day. We visited these students and played games with them, and the following week we discussed our visit and were shown video clips of ballerina amputees.
Additionally, my homework was to write to our school principal regarding the advantages and disadvantages of facilities for disabled students in our school:
I am writing to inform you of my opinions upon the facilities our school provides for students with physical and intellectual disabilities. It has come to my attention whilst learning about various disabilities in my Year 10 Health class recently, that, although our school provides many features to help more needy students, many overlooked cases cause the freedom of some students in the school to be limited.
A lot was taken into consideration while the school was being built, for students in wheelchairs, because our Student Centre, Social Studies block, Languages block, Field prefabs block, Music block, ‘P’ and ‘N’ blocks, and our school gym are all equipped with ramps, so as not to hinder the accessibility for disabled students.
Many blocks in the school are two storey blocks, but for someone in a wheelchair, it makes no difference, for the English block has an elevator that is easy to use, and our old Science block apparently used to have an elevator too.
However, some top levels in the buildings are inaccessible for a not so mobile pupil. For example, neither storey in the Maths block is an option, and there is no excuse for this, especially as even the lower level has a step of about twenty centimetres. I also think that a closer look should be taken at the ‘A’ and ‘O’ Media Studies and Visual Art blocks, because, although only one storey each, the slight step at all the entrances could set back a wheelchair bound pupil.
It is an advantage for our college to have a Learning Centre, which greatly supports students of lower learning rates and mild learning disabilities as well as extending the competent. Our supported students have easy ramp access to the Disability unit, and I am in favour of the mixed amount of time that they spend supporting each other and learning in a kind environment, and joining mainstream students for various events or classes.
I think that for those students who have trouble with limb control or have mild forms of arthritis, doorhandles in the school could present problems, as the majority of classrooms open with spherical -twist-doorknobs. It is much easier for anyone to use a push down door handle, and so I implore you to consider making these slight changes for big differences around the school.
Some people unfortunately have skin disorders that force them to refrain from soaking up any Vitamin D, or merely to be in the sunshine at all. Other, autistic students require especially quiet or non-distracting environments to concentrate or function in. It is therefore ideal that we have the ‘P’ bock and the ‘N’ block as shaded areas, and furthermore, the library, which is generally a quiet place also. However, I strongly think that there ought to be more quiet, shaded places for students with developmental disorders to feel safe and happy in, perhaps with tranquil features or an especially beautiful garden.
Our college has far too many seemingly unnecessary poles in its walkways, which present hazards for visually impaired or ultimately, blind, students. I second this with intolerance of uneven paving around the school, and definitely more so behind P7. There are accidents waiting to happen back there. I, myself, have tripped slightly once or twice before, so you can imagine how much harder it would be for a visually impaired student to find their own way around the school, or to classes, can’t you?
Please consider underground wiring because the randomly scattered poles that hold up electrical wires should be removed. Next, I urge you to fix the paving around the school. Perhaps some blindfolded students could be used to test where paving should be smoothed out.
A specific danger to hearing impaired, or deaf, students in the school is the inability to hear when a car is behind them, for the driveway down the left of the college constantly has moving vehicles. Students generally hear the motors and are warned, but a deaf student would have no way of knowing when to move out of the way. A reflective mirror here could possibly aid these students in being aware.
It is pleasing to see that smoke detectors are fitted in various bathrooms around our college. These help to reduce the number of smokers around, but more importantly, should help out students with severe asthma. Therefore, I think that something else could also be done for asthmatics, regarding the excessive use of perfumes and sprays by everyone else after PE lessons. It would be wise to provide better ventilation in the PE changing rooms, as often students walk in and gag at the overpowering smell of Cool Charm, Lynx, or Impulse, or all three, and this could easily set off an asthmatic pupil with severe bouts of coughing. This would hinder breathing. If ventilation is not the answer then seclude a changing facility that isn’t exposed to such aromas.
Occasionally a student who is smaller than us enrols at the school, so I’d like to make a point that the tuckshop windows and door handle height, e.t.c, need to allow students like this to be safe and content at school, as well as having sufficient opportunity to use the school tuckshop, without craning their necks, or not being able to get themselves back out of the mob that surrounds the tuckshop at lunchtimes.
Lastly, I approve of how well the PE department caters for disabled students, both developmental and physical. Teachers are able to look after the students who need attention, efficiently, and are still able to ensure fairness and equality within any class.
All PE buildings and areas are very accessible and with such a wide range of lessons and games, all students are able to enjoy Physical Education at school.
Please remember my suggestions for needed improvements around the college, for I speak on behalf of some of the most special students in the school, and all because their voices are often drowned out by the crowd.
I'm grateful for all the things I've learnt in Health lessons because they have equipped me for different times in my life. I have under ten lessons left, so I suppose that concludes Health for the rest of my schooling!