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Down Syndrome »

In each of my entries that I have written, I have in some way related what I discussed to a personal experience of my own, and I wanted to continue that theme here. Over the last couple of years, I have gotten to know my girlfriend’s young cousin, Max, who has Down Syndrome. I have spent a lengthy amount of time with this guy now at a couple of holiday get togethers, a graduation party, a couple of times when we were visiting my girlfriends parents when Max’s family was visiting to, and we also stopped by his recent birthday party to say hi on his big day. I absolutely love spending time with him and his family, and he is a wonderful kid. I was thinking about it though, and I know that he has Down Syndrome, and I can clearly see that it has some effects on him physically and mentally, but really I don’t know anything about Down Syndrome so I thought it would be good to explore this a bit.

After a brief trip to, I learned that Down Syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21, which means that these people are born with an extra 21st chromosome, and actually have 47 instead of the normal 46 that humans generally have. The site says that physical and medical problems very greatly between cases of Down Syndrome, and some lead relatively healthy lives, while others need a lot of attention.

I also went to to look for issues related to Down Syndrome, and actually I was pretty horrified by one of the things that I found. The writer of this blog cited a statistic that 90% of parents that receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis before the child is born choose to have the fetus aborted. Knowing Max and his family, I can’t imagine seeing them any different way. He is such a wonderful child, and his condition has gotten his parents very involved in organizations that help people dealing with Down Syndrome. Also, one of the biggest things that I notice in the effect Max has had on his family is his older brother, Luke. Luke is only a few years older than Max, but acts very maturely and does a great job of looking out for a taking care of his younger brother. Though it is unfortunate that the family does have to deal with difficulties that are related to Down Syndrome, I feel that all of them, especially Luke, are stronger people for having handled it so well. It’s kind of frightening that people would be so quick to abort the pregnancy because of something that really brings out the beauty in this family.

Blog #2 – Are We Taking Care of Our Students With Disabilities? »

I thought it would be appropriate to blog about accessibility and disability awareness issues, since today I spent 7 hours in a wheelchair for an outside experience. This experience has definitely given me a lot to think about in terms of what life is like for those in wheelchairs, which I will write about in more detail for that assignment. For this blog I would like to focus on the issues of accessibility and accommodation. I found an article from the BG News from October of 2007 talking about programs that the university has to help students with physical or mental disability.


At the time that the article was written, there were more than 600 students with disabities, including hearing, visual, mobility and learning impairments. Robert Cunningham, the head of disability services at BGSU stated, “They have the same opportunity to hopefully succeed, or fail. There’s no guarantee, just because you have a disability,” Cunningham said. “But what we don’t want to see happen is that the disability is the determining factor as to whether they fail, should they fail.”

The article does go on to point out that the entire campus is not handicap accessible, specifically Hanna and Mosley Halls. However, it also points out that University policy is that, if a person who is unable to get to these buildings wants a class offered in them, the University will move the class to an accessible location. This is good, though obviously not the most ideal scenaio, which would be an entirely accessible campus.

Still, there are a few other things which I have realized after my wheelchair experience can be minor inconveniences, such as extensive sidewalk cracking and the high of printers in the computer labs. However, I don’t think that the negatives necessarily overweighed the positives. As the article states, and the many helpful people I encountered reinforced, there are a great many things done to help people who find themselves in unfortunate situations. That said, however, we should always look to improve to make things better for everyone in the university community, no matter their physical abilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act »

For my first blog, as I thought it would be interesting to write about something that I have a little bit of familiarity with. I chose the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Back in April, my company (National Amusements movie theaters) sent all of its managers to a presentation from a lawyer who deals entirely with law regarding the ADA, and I learned quite a bit in this session. I thought it would be interesting to share a bit about the ADA with my fellow classmates.

If you go to, you can find a very good overview on what the ADA is exactly and what purpose it serves. Here’s a brief excerpt that gives a good idea of what is going on.


“The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.”

Basically, the ADA is helping to ensure that all people with disabilities are receiving fair treatment in all of the different areas described in the above quote. For example, my seminar that I went to dealt exclusively with employment and commercial facilities aspects of the law, since those are issues that we are constantly confronted as movie theater managers. It was amazing how many things were part of the law that we didn’t even know about. Though I think most of us have a good sense of compassion and right and wrong, sometimes there are things that we don’t consider, and being familiar with the ADA is helpful with this. While I don’t have them on me as I type this, I got some very informative information at that session if anyone would like to see it.

What is quite important for us to note as future educators is the portion of the ADA that deals with education. The following segment is taken from the same link that was listed above:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (formerly called P.L. 94-142 or the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs.

IDEA requires public school systems to develop appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s) for each child. The specific special education and related services outlined in each IEP reflect the individualized needs of each student.

IDEA also mandates that particular procedures be followed in the development of the IEP. Each student’s IEP must be developed by a team of knowledgeable persons and must be at least reviewed annually. The team includes the child’s teacher; the parents, subject to certain limited exceptions; the child, if determined appropriate; an agency representative who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education; and other individuals at the parents’ or agency’s discretion.

If parents disagree with the proposed IEP, they can request a due process hearing and a review from the State educational agency if applicable in that state. They also can appeal the State agency’s decision to State or Federal court. For more information, contact:

While I think it is very unfortunate that we need laws to make sure that everyone deserves and has the right to a quality education, it is a good thing that was have the ADA and the IDEA in place. As a future educator, I feel fortunate to have had an extra opportunity to familiarize myself with these things and how they apply to many settings, so that I have a better understanding of how the law works as it pertains to disabilities.