I have a student who for privacy reasons I will call Aamir. I have had him for three years now. He has cerebral palsy. Aamir has had some pretty hard knocks in life. On top of dealing with cerebral palsy, his mother died about a year ago. Now he lives with his father and stepmother, whom he feels does not understand him. He has a very highly developed sense of humor, and is extremely articulate and intelligent. I would like to tell you that the other children are understanding and helpful, but Aamir has had the misfortune of dealing with some really cold hearted bullies. He gets angry and lashes out from time to time, but this year he has an excellent teacher who is really on top of the dynamics of the classroom atmosphere, so things are getting much better for him.
A few weeks ago the children had a classroom project. They had to list their goals and how they intended to accomplish them. Then they stood up in front of the class and read them out loud. After all of the future doctors, lawyers, teachers, rap artist, singers, and sports stars had their say, Aamir went to the front of the class. It was all I could do to choke back the tears as I heard him read, "My goal is to walk up the stairs. To accomplish this I will have to put one foot in front of the other."
Kind of puts it all in perspective doesn't it?