I’m starting up a sort of Thoughtful Thursday series here, of reflections I had after reading a book that my friend’s daughter had to read over the summer.
The book Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is the story of a young girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy. She basically cannot move and she cannot speak. So people just assume that she is profoundly mentally retarded. In fact, the opposite is true. Her brain works quite well otherwise, including a photographic memory, and she possesses an intelligence that only she really knows she has.
Luckily for her, she has family and caregivers who suspect there is more going on in there than most people realize, and they support her. Eventually, they find a machine that will allow her to communicate with the outside world and everyone finally realizes how smart she is. She still faces adversaries and prejudice, but also manages to teach a lot of children and adults some very important lessons.
It’s an amazing book that I think all kids and adults should read, to become better people.
It’s a story that really touched me because of my years working in the classroom. While my focus was on ages 3-6, I did also do some work with elementary students over the years. I also had many opportunities to work with children with special needs, both in and out of my classroom. So many memories came flooding back to me. I thought of the terrible treatment I witnessed at time. I thought of how so many people would just look at them and see someone who was incomplete and not take the time to look deeper within. And I remembered some of the amazing successes that I had with certain people that really touched me and helped to mold me as an educator.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you some of those memories. There’s a lesson to be learned from each of them. I share them so that I can enjoy my memories, but also to hopefully teach a lesson or give reminders to people out there about how to treat these individuals, to embrace them for who they are, and to look deeper within.
Check it out on Amazon via my affiliate link below. (This just means I may earn a few pennies should you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.)