By Lucy Meyer
My name is Lucy Meyer. I have cerebral palsy and graduated from high school last year. While staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging, I have been doing my best to stay busy and positive. I have kept on a regular schedule filled with practicing life skills, cooking, painting, exercising, swimming, and LOTS of Zoom and FaceTime calls to feel connected to my friends and family.
I have talked to some of my friends with disabilities who are still in school. They told me that they are having a really hard time being home from school because they miss their friends so much. This makes me very sad. Unfortunately, few of their fellow students call them so they feel so alone and isolated. I know the schools are teaching online, but my friends said that for them, they only have online classes once a week, unlike their peers without disabilities who have school five days a week. I believe this must change and students with disabilities should also experience online school five days a week.
I know schools are trying really hard to keep students learning, but I don’t think enough is being done for students with disabilities. Kids with disabilities are often already isolated and excluded, and this pandemic is making it worse. Just because kids with disabilities need extra help doesn’t mean they should not continue to get the same opportunities to learn and interact with their friends just like students without disabilities. A few calls on FaceTime from other students and teachers would really help cheer up any kid, but especially those with disabilities. You can do this too—give someone an unexpected call. I bet it will brighten their day (and yours too)!
Oh, one more thing, as a real Zoomer now, I have started giving speeches and answering questions for schools over the internet. The focus of my talks is the importance of accepting and including all young people, especially if they have a disability. I love doing this! I think it gives the students (and their teachers!) a change of pace from their regular classes–kind of taking lemons and making lemonade!