Reaching out for help


Beck Iannucci

Students and their families have been speaking out about their negative educational experiences. There are many  students with disabilities in the Rye School district. However, there is an overall feeling of a need for change. An Instagram page and website was started by an unknown person and now people are speaking out about these experiences on the @ ryedisabilitydiscrimination Instagram page. Students and parents are sending submissions through DMs or a google form. These submissions give students and parents the option to add their names if they chose, but most are opting out.

Part of the problem is that we even need an anonymous Insta in the first place. People have been speaking for a long time but have been ignored. Of course, this caused frustration. Parents and students are both feeling a disconnect from the school.

Honestly, when I think about disabilities in general there seems to be a huge disconnect between neurotypical and neurodivergent people. In middle school when I tried reaching out to adults for help I ended up without any help. It was just me and my best friend against the world. Neither of us knew what was going on. In truth, I still don’t know to the full extent. I still feel like there is another reason why I have trouble communicating. It’s frustrating.  When I ask an adult for help and they ask if I have been diagnosed with anything I feel sick to my stomach. It has shaken me up so much that I feel I constantly need to explain myself. I have reached out to teachers to let them know what I need specifically but also broad issues that may come up.  I don’t have the energy to do more explaining outside of school. I’m exhausted from explaining myself so much.

And how does someone “prove” that they need help? After I was rejected, I hid. I kept to myself as much as I could. I didn’t speak up and I tried not to stand out. After you finally reach out again, adults might start to wonder why. Actually, I have been asked why I’m reaching out. People assume that it’s an issue that just came up, and I’m making a big deal about it. They don’t stop to even think about the possibility that everything was a huge lie because I was scared. That maybe I pretended to be okay. If you think someone is faking a mental disability or a mental disorder of any kind, then you’re a jerk. You don’t know about that person or what they’ve gone through.

We can start the conversation with how the school handles disabilities, but let’s also talk about our town as a whole. What can be improved? How can we as a community show support for each other? 

Well, one way is to listen. Listen to what we have to say. Listen to your students. Listen to your kids. Listen to your neighbors. Listen to your friends.