Obviously, I have other interests than my current medical issues. For example, I hold a Bachelors of Arts in Special Education – I am a certified teacher in the state of New Jersey in Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education. I’ve been looking for a job since I finished student teaching December 2013 – but I was unable to start looking until March 2014 (Yay for wisdom tooth extraction & the state taking a while to send out my license?), so I was looking for almost a year until we found out about my cancer – so the job search as been temporarily suspended. It’s a shame, too, since this is when every school starts to post jobs, as it is nearing summer (even though schools in NJ don’t let out until the middle or end of June, depending on how many snow days were scheduled).
So, I went on a bit of a tangent there, but a necessary one to provide some more background info on myself. Some interests I hold are genealogy (aka family history), which I have been interested in for around 5 years – my family tree is a bit… hard to research, so not much progress was made until recently, when I got an ancestry.com subscription for a nice discount ($99 for their world membership for 6 months of access). The farthest I have traced back is to a couple on my mom’s side, who came from Baden-Wurtemburg and were born in the 1820s-1830s.
Another interest of mine is special education & advocacy. I have a lot of personal experience with special education, given my multiple disabilities, I have been through almost the entire continuum of special education services* – self contained, partially mainstreamed, resource room, general education, inclusion, and adaptive PE (A special form of gym class for those who cannot perform well in a regular gym class). I am very interested in advocacy for those with special needs due to the fact that I was not treated very well K-12, as after I was taken out of the self-contained classroom, the district failed to comply with the law (A fact my parents never knew, until we got my special education records after my HS graduation), which resulted in me being unable to even write my name legibly.
I am also interested in advocacy for people with disabilities in general – I know a great deal about SSI (Supplementary Security Income, a service the United States Social Security Administration offers for people with severe disabilities to have a small stream of income) – as it took me 30 months to qualify for it, to the point where I had to convince an Administrative Law Judge that I was disabled enough to qualify for SSI (Sort of a catch-22, when one of the reasons you are applying is because of anxiety). So if any readers of this blog have a question about genealogy/family history, special education, special needs advocacy, or just anything regarding education in general, feel free to post a comment and I should reply within a few hours, unless I am sleeping, or at the doctors.
*The continuum of special education services consists of the folllowing placements, from least restrictive to most restrictive (However, the most restrictive might be the least restrictive for a student with a disability, based on their needs. This is different from the term Least Restrictive Enviroment, which all students with disabilities are guaranteed to per IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
Placement with nondisabled peers (general education)
Inclusion (A special education teacher comes into the classroom, teaches either a few classes or the whole day with the general education teacher)
Resource room (A placement where the student is split between gen ed/inclusion and a room with other disabled peers where they learn under the instruction of a general education teacher)
Self-Contained (The student spends 60% of more of their day in a classroom taught by a special education teacher – they might leave, or be mainstreamed, for one subject, such as language arts. They typically share subjects such as computers, art, etc. with nondisabled peers, along with lunch)
Homebound Instruction (Typically given when a student is too ill to attend school OR a doctor determines the student is unable to attend school and would function better if instructed in their home. Some states allow cyber schools to be their method of instruction, others require a teacher to come for 1-2 hours a day after school and instruct the student)
Out of District Placement (District pays for a student to attend a private school for students with disabilities, which tend to have excellent care, but are targeted for specific types of disabilities, so you might have a school just for students with autism, one for students just with learning disabilities, etc.)
Residential Placement (Think boarding school, but just for students with disabilities)