And Stimming With Rainbows of Every Design

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Rule That Shouldn't Be Followed

I was reading through archives of my old high school's newspaper and came across a statement that a student must be failing their classes in order to be 504 eligible. Disabled and have C's? Too bad, no accommodations for you.

When I went there just last year, my 504 plan wasn't thrown out because my GPA was too high. I was able to get my first 504 in middle school despite having received A's in every class except for Ceramics.

Now as I read the laws, it seems like they're biased against letting students with high GPAs receive accommodations. As long as we look fine on the surface everything is okay. Right?

No. The student who looks fine on the surface might be crashing every day after school. They may be unable to have meaningful conversation for hours after they get home. They may be living with chronic pain as a result of constant overload. They may be near-unable to participate in any non-paper-based academic activity, just getting shuffled along because their reputation is protected by their more academic work. They may be doing all this and still have the veneer of success.

That was my life from grades seven through ten. (Elementary was in a neat, ultra-tiny autie-friendly school). There's no grade eleven. I had to quit.

Even having to quit furthers the illusion of success. I'm a junior college student now, so the reaction is some sort of, "Look at you, look how accomplished, you skipped the last two years of high school, aren't you brilliant!!!"

No. That's not it. I want to throw away the coating of success, make people see the truth. I'm not in junior college because of a personal preference. Despite any illusions to the contrary, the system failed me just about as much as it failed any typical drop out.

If a 504 Plan or an IEP will help a student get what they need to make the educational system accessible without a later crash, then they should get it. It wouldn't have helped me (I had too many communication problems for listed accommodations to work for me, and too many communication problems to state proper accommodations, so I was stuck.), but for those it can help, it should be accessible. It shouldn't matter whether or not the person looks good on paper.

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Information on Laws Banning Incandescent Lightbulbs

Several months ago, there was some buzz in the blogosphere about the possibility of incandescent lights being banned. Ballastexistenz posted about it here. The BBC has since written about how compact fluorescents (the main replacement) can cause migraines, trigger seizures in some, and worsen rashes in people with photosensitive skin diseases.

Since then, legislation has been passed that will eventually ban incandescent lighting.

In the US: current incandescents banned by 2012. It does say that GE is making higher efficiency incandescent bulbs which will be permitted. That's more encouraging than what I've been reading elsewhere.

In Ireland: banned by 2009

In Australia: banned by 2010

Canada: banned by 2012

European Union: trying to phase out sales by 2009

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