It goes without saying that being unique is sort of a brand, it’s fashionable and perhaps the new norm. In an interview with CLE staff and students I found it’s really the simple, everyday things that makes us all truly unique. Here’s a little profile of what makes us all stand out.
Am I “cool”? I used to know I was back in the day…when I was young and filled with adventure, edge, and possibilities. And I still think, I’m “cool” but I have to acknowledge that my definition of that word has changed over the years.
Scott and I talked about how our student socials have evolved over the years, and how they reflect our larger goals of fostering friendships and independence outside the walls of the center.
We have the privilege of observing and assisting students as they gradually shift from withdrawn and hesitant to self-assured in making new friends; from harsh self-criticism to forgiving self-care; from being ashamed of their differences to wearing their own ‘Community of Misfits’ badge proudly.
Students often come to me or their CLE mentor with their questions about sex because they do not know who else to talk to; it’s too uncomfortable to talk to mom and dad about it, and their peers may be struggling with the same questions and limited knowledge they have.
Living with a “Learning Disability” comes with its own set of preconceived notions, assumptions and expectations. I asked students in my CLE focus groups and individually the question, “Are there things you avoid talking about in the disability community?” Here are some of their answers
Students with disabilities can find themselves in situations where differences hinder their ability to complete work at the same rate as others. When students are offered tools to compensate for their difficulties, then the gap between them and their peers closes. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), "accommodations provide an alternative way to accomplish the course requirements by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers."
Are you a new student? You may have NSS! Fortunately, you can educate and prepare for this affliction by reading ahead.
What would we say if there were no rules and no social consequences? What would we reveal about ourselves that is important to us, but we are afraid to say aloud because of how others might react? I posed that question to a group of CLE Rockville students, and passed out postcard sized paper.
When it comes to retraining our minds to create new habits of positive thinking to create greater happiness in our lives, the good news is that we CAN change our mindsets from old patterns into new healthier ones.