Episode 54: High School


E: Hi I’m Emily Ladau
K: And I’m Kyle Khachadurian
E: And you’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall. K: What are we gonna talk about today, Emily?
E: We are going to talk about exposure to other disabled people K: Really? Cool!

E: We come from very different experiences with this which I know we talked about many times before. But specifically I want to focus on the positives and negatives of growing up around other disabled people both like you and unlike you in terms of your disability. And also talk about how growing up versus being an adult with a disability and being surrounded by disabled people is an experience unto itself.

K: That is a wonderful topic. That’s one of those where it’s cool that we’re talking about it now but it’s weird that we’re fifty episodes in and just now we’re covering that. Because that is a perfect Accessible Stalltopic because we come from exactly the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to that sort of thing.

E: Every topic is a perfectAccessible Stalltopic if we try hard and believe in ourselves! K: Aww. Look how full of herself she is, isn’t it great?
Emily laughs

K: No, it’s true though. We are so good. Um…I’ve grown up around disabled people my whole life. Like even in Nursery School, guys.Nursery School. Like, pre Pre-K. I went to a special school called “Stepping Stone.” And it was cool. I didn’t know at the time that I was different. I knewI was disabled and I knew that that made me different technically, but there was nothing in my world that let me realize that until I went to college fifteen years later. Like that’s how long I was around disabled people. 24/7 except for my parents and later, my sister.

E: I did go to a preschool for kids with disabilities. My mom had me involved in all of this Early Intervention stuff so I went to a school through a program called, “Adults and Children with

Learning Disabilities.” And I think that, I can’t say that it influenced me one way or the other because I don’t have too many recollections of it. But then I went to mainstream elementary school and I stayed in mainstream school throughout my entire life, and the only time that I was surrounded by other people with disabilities other than of course, my mom, on a daily basis is when I went to Summer Camp. And that was this very isolated, secluded experience where it almost felt like it wasn’t the real world so I don’t think I ever really had full exposure to other disabled people until much later on in my life…Like probably past college I would say.

K: Yeah. That’s interesting. And it’s interesting how it like manifests now because I think part of the reason why I’m so indifferent to the Disability Community like politics and all that aside, like getting rid of all of that, I think part of the reason why I’m so like “Get it away from me” is because that has been such a major chapter in my life that you know, when I finally got past it, it was just like, “Ah I’m free!” And there’s nothing wrong with that either, it was sort of like I had a revelation or an epiphany or an awakening of, “Oh! The world isn’t like this and I am the different one! How cool is that?” Like, something that may have been painful to realize under different circumstances for me was liberating. And it was just bizarre, it was all because I came from that world of having been around disabled people forever.

E: I don’t know that, “How cool is that?” Would’ve been my reaction

K: It’s so weird, right? Cause it really shouldn’t have been. Like that should’ve devastated me. But it didn’t, it was so great.

E: I almost wonder if we come at it from opposite angles but actually had similar experiences in a way. Do you get what I’m saying?

K: No. But explain because it makes good content.

E: Hahaha! I’m not sure if I know how to articulate it properly. I think I was isolated in one way and you were isolated in another way, and we both had moments of self- realization when it finally occurred to us that we are different. I’m not saying that I was always hyper-aware of being different, but I think that being surrounded by disabled people brought a different type of awareness, is maybe what I’m trying to get at?

K: I could see that. I also have a bit of a warped outlook because of it. I went to Henry Viscardi School for the majority of my education which is the saddest thing I’ve ever said.

E: How many times do you think we’ve actually said these things on the podcast in some..?

K: In some form, probably a bunch but I don’t think we’ve ever really touched on it in this sort of depth. Um, you know, Viscardi had this like “Don’t ever say No!” And you know, “It’s not a Disability it’s “DIS-Ability” And all those corny phrases that we laugh at now that when you’re a kid probably means the world to you…

E: Viscardi pushed all that?

K: I don’t know if they still do, but they did at the time. It’s like, “Don’t say, ‘Can’t!” You know? And you know, fifteen twenty years later at this point it’s like when you’re a kid you probably do need to hear that, but also it influenced me now because and it’s horrible for me to say this but when someone tells me they can’t do something the first thing I think of is, “Are you sure?” And it’s all cause of that. Because it’s not like they just said, “Don’t say can’t” without any sort of reasoning. You know, they were for all their faults they were like, “This is the world we live in and you gotta get through it, so figure a way through it no matter what that is.” So it was like, “Okay, you can’t do this but now you gotta figure out how you can.” So it wasn’t all just platitudes.

E: See it’s funny because I feel like my disability was treated like I had a built in excuse basically for why I couldn’t do things. Like uh, can’t participate in gym? Okay! You know, can’t do some kind of strenuous activity? Okay.

K: Well that’s the thing, it’s like when everyone is disabled, no one is. In the sense that you’re speaking where it’s like, “Oh, I have CP I can’t participate in Gym.” It’s like, “Yes you can cause we’re gonna adapt Gym! So nice try, friend.”

E: See, I had adapted Gym but again this was the isolation feeling. So, in Junior High they adapted Gym for me by having me come into school early a couple mornings a week and my parents bought a ping pong table from the Synagogue thrift shop and donated it ot the school and that became Gym for me basically.

K: Ping Pong?

E: Yeah. I literally had to wake up earlier than everybody else, get to school earlier than everybody else, hang out with one of the Gym teachers and play ping pong. And then in later years when I was in High School, they had a teacher who…I think he was a Student Teacher or an Assistant Gym Teacher and they allowed me to bring one friend and I went off and played Bocce Ball. I mean the level of not trying….I know this isn’t really the point but like, Wow.

K: I mean if we’re talking about Disabled Gym, I mean if you ever wanted to see a sport look disabled you can pick your favorite sport and then head on down to Viscardi and watch how we play! Because there was nothing normal about it. And that was okay! Because they like made it work, to their credit. But on the other side of that was when I got to be like a Junior and Senior in High School, I stopped having PT, my school offered PT and I stopped having it mostly because I had been plateauing and the only way for me to improve at that point in my life, it’s probably not true now that I’m a little older but at that point in my life the only way to improve was to lift weights, like you know properly work out. And my Gym Teacher and PT would like argue with each other because the other side of that is we were treated like faberge eggs. Like, “He can’t work out he might hurt himself!” And my PT was like, “No, but he has to.” And I eventually got

my way but like, I was watched like a hawk like, “How much are you benching today? That’s too much!” You know, so….

E: Yeah, it was the complete opposite for me, there was never any actual trying. So I think it sent so many weird mixed messages to me. It was like, “You’re just like everybody else, but you’re not just like everybody else!” And I definitely grew up with a conflicted sense of identity, that’s for sure!

K: That is one thing that I think Viscardi did right. I mean, they didn’t say this but I think we all received it, that like, we were an Island of Misfit Toys in a world of regular toys, and you know they made it work for us. And that was probably the one best thing about them. And I’m probably going to give them a little more credit than they perhaps deserve, but they made it work trans-disability like it didn’t matter which one ya had, they made it work, period.

E: I think you mean cross disability K: Trans means “across.”

E: Yeah but it sounds…You made me think you’re trans-abled. Which is a whole other topic in and of itself.

K: Oh God. Yeah, we are never doing an episode on that, sorry everybody. But yeah like across disability no matter which one you had. Which was like thinking back, kind of innovative. But the other side of that was that you ended up having corners cut in ways that may be inhibited the people that didn’t need them the most, you know?

E: Yeah

K: I mean, I can’t say for sure like a specific example, but like Gym Class, they wouldn’t let us like catch the foam football. It’s like, “…But I can catch a football.” you know?

E: What do you mean they wouldn’t let you catch it? K: Like, because not everyone could, no one could. E: And what do you do with the football if not catch it?

K: Uh, my rule was that if it touched my hands, then I had to stop running. If I did catch it, then I had to like, stop dead in my tracks. But the thing was right, so here’s another example of that but on a worse scale. So I’m just using Gym Class because it’s a very practical example that I think everyone can visualize. If you were in a power wheelchair, the rules of football for you was that the gym teacher who was the Quarterback would throw this thing, all with the might of Thor, he would just throw this thing so hard it could go through the wall, and if it hit you at all, if it was

your body or your wheelchair or just in your general breathable air space, you’d be able to go. That’s not football! But we made it football! I don’t know…

E: I’m surprised that he threw it so hard.
K: I mean, it was foam, it wasn’t gonna hurt anybody but like still he took it very seriously.

E: Well yeah, I mean there’s something very condescending about not being treated seriously. I mean, you are there for an education, including a physical one….for whatever it’s worth.

K: Absolutely. And that was cool. I’m just saying sometimes, throughout all my experience there, there were corners cut that were completely unnecessary and perhaps neutering to the people that didn’t need them. And I understand that that was entirely because there were some students that did. But looking back, I’m not really sure of the cost to benefit there, you know? And again, I’m using sports as an example because I don’t want to bore you all with my education, but like…

E: No but like the education is the other aspect of that. How do you feel like…Do you feel that it stunted your education in any way?

K: Yeah, yes! Yes I did. Because there were things that I wish that kids in High School learned today that we learned like how to do a job interview and how to write a resume, like very useful, very practical skills, we learned those things. But even that, we learned those things under the guise of like, “If you don’t go to college, here’s how you apply for a job.” You know what I mean? LIke it was well intentioned but just for all the wrong reasons but I can’t get too mad at it because a skill is a skill. And also like we didn’t have AP classes… we didn’t learn how to take notes, but we had proper Sex Ed. Like there was such a weird, like the difference between the two extremes in education are just night and day. It’s like I don’t know who was in charge of making those decisions, but like some of it was really out of whack. You know? I don’t know. You really had to be there.

E: I think that my education was obviously valuable but it did nothing to serve the formation of any sort of sense of self or identity. And so what I would do especially because schools are so heavily focused on extracurriculars, especially sports. So I just tried to throw myself into things…So Drama Club, and being a good student, and getting into this Honor Society and I just did everything I could to define myself without having to be part of so much of what was going on in my neighborhood which was all sports basically. So I think I spent a lot of school trying to find ways not to feel left out.

K: Would you say that that in the long benefited you though? Given what you do, and how many awards you’ve won and how you’ve pushed your education solely due to a lack of not wanting to feel isolated and different? LIke I understand what motivated you to do those things was

perhaps bad, but the end result looking at you now I would say that you probably made the right choice. And not just because you don’t play sports, you know?

E: Oh yeah, everyone can bite me now, you know? K: (unintelligible) ….Well, High School sucks!

E: I know [what you mean] You know it’s not like I forced myself to be a good student because I thought it was the right or the only thing I could do, but it just seemed like the natural fit for me

K: Yeah

E: It was like, “What canI do? What can be my sports?” And so i tried to find myself in the academic experience as much as I could, but while I was defining myself as a good student, I had no opportunities to figure out who I was as a disabled student….as a disabled person. I tried every once in awhile to make Disability into something that could be a cause for me if you will. I mean now it’s a cause for me now but in a completely different way. You know when I was in seventh grade I got this idea in my head to have every student in my grade, in their English classes, take an index card, write a question on it anonymously that they always wanted to ask me. Looking back on this it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in terms of Disability Awareness. I don’t know what I thought i was accomplishing. It was right after statewide testing, I convinced the principal to let me hold an assembly…

K: Wow

E: … Where I would answer those anonymous questions. And a group of my friends, all not disabled obviously, helped me pick out the questions to answer. And we sat up there in a panel and answered questions in front of the entire seventh grade class, as if somehow that would make my reality of being disabled less intimidating and scary to them. When in fact I think I was just successfully serving to “Other” myself further. Even though God Bless my friends…

K: But you got them out of class.
E: Like I’m not saying my friends were saints for participating. But like, they were good friends.

K: See, we didn’t have that. Like whenever a new student came to Viscardi we were just like, “So what’s wrong with you?” Like, that’s what we would say. We wouldn’t say, “Excuse me, what’s your disability? What is you’re medical affliction?” No no no. What’s wrongwith you. It was just immediately casual and we all knew it was okay, because we all had something.

E: Nobody ever asked me anything though. Or you know sometimes they would make dumb comments but I didn’t really get questions. I didn’t really get bullied! The worst thing that happened to me for the most part was that I got excluded. I had plenty of friends, I was fine but I

just think that I spent years being incredibly confused about who I was trying to be and how Disability fit into that equation. And so every once in awhile it would rear its head and I would say, “Alright Emily has a disability let’s make sure everybody knows it!” And then it would go back to like, “Please forget that I’m in a wheelchair, please forget that I’m in a wheelchair!”

K: That is so…But I think see, everyone in my school was a disabled person like I never had a problem figuring out who I was. My disability was even a part of who I was, and I think part of the reason that it’s still not today, in the sense that you’re speaking about anyway is because of it. Like, even my Guidance Counselor was disabled. He had Polio. And it was like oh okay, here’s a person who’s older and he had a real job. I never…there was never that stereotype of, “What’s he gonna do with his life? He’s disabled!” I’ve never, ever thought that because I never had that. Like it’s just never came to me because of the environment I grew up in. And sometimes I wonder how much more that like influenced my politics even. When you’re in a world where you know outside of it people are gonna think less of you, but inside of it you have proof like anyone can do anything, within reason. Like, I’m not gonna be a track runner but you know what I mean. Like you don’t have that! I never had that like, “Oh, I’ll never be a whatever…I have CP.” It’s like, “No, I might.” I was surrounded by people who did.

E: I had almost the opposite in terms of that. My Guidance Counselor tried to help me apply to Ivy League Schools behind my parents’ back!

K: Wait, what about you? Not behind your back! E: No, with me.
K: Oh okay.

E: Yeah I showed up and I was like, “Yeah I’m not really satisfied with where I’m applying and can you help me?” Turns out I needed a couple of SAT IIs and the only one I had taken was Spanish and I bombed it, like so you what not believed. So I didn’t have enough time to take two more before the due date for the applications because I was recovering from major spinal cord surgery. So I let go of the Ivy League dreams because in college I was still one of the only disable people, visibly disabled people on campus but then I started to dive into Disability a little more to the point where most of my assignments when possible took a Disability lens. And I started to do a little bit of Activism and I started to speak up about things so I had this whole evolutionary process. I mean, what happened for you once you got out of school?

K: What? Oh God, it was amazing. Like even, I don’t even, it was almost like getting glasses for the first time. Like, “This is a whole different world than I had been living in and…

E: (Singing) “A whole new worlddddd…”

K: It was a fantastic point of view! I had something else to say and now I totally forgot it because I was thinking of Aladdin

E: Sorry!

K: No, it’s fine. It’s fine. It was something about my Guidance Counselor cause he was a good man, and I probably could’ve treated him better! But we all learn lessons hard like that

E: Oh yeah, for sure.

K: Oh, I remember now! So the other side…So I’m speaking pretty critically about where I went to school but there’s you know, a different side to that. Underneath all the, “You can do anything!” was….and this wasn’t necessarily the fault of any one person, but underneath all of it was this not so thinly veiled guise of “But what if you can’t, and what if you don’t.” Like they were… It was almost pessimistic, except for that part of the student body unfortunately absolutely fell into that category. And so what they did was they made us all take whatever precautions we had to just in case. And one example of that was….you have a Regents High School diploma, right? Maybe even an advanced one, cause you went to school in New York?

E: Yes
K: Right. So do I
E: Regents are New York State sanctioned tests that you have to take K: Do they still do them?
E: Yeah I think so! In pretty much every subject area.

K: So there is a another for kids who…I don’t wanna say smart enough, but smart enough. Called the RCT. And that’s what you get when you can’t….It’s another type of test but if you can’t get a Regents Diploma you get one of those. And it’s totally the same you know, functionality wise, but they made us all take RCT Tests, and the reason I’m bringing that up is because we all had to devote like a month of class time to this test, this other test just in case some of us didn’t do great on the Regents. And I remember one in particular was for Earth Science. And the teacher gave us a practice test and that was the year we learned that the State reuses practice tests as tests because it was the exact same test but the years were different. And it wasn’t like the school planted it. So we all finished the test in like ten minutes cause it was the same test we just did!

E: That’s convenient

K: It was amazing. But the reason that I bring up that story is like it was such a weird place to be in like, “You can be anything, but also maaaaybe not.” It was a weird message, it was just bizarre.

E: So aside from the academic part of it, what about coming out into the world and you know, you said putting on glasses for the first time. Can you like, talk more about that?

K: Oh yeah.

E: Because in every sense just knowing what I know about you, but what about socially?

K: Oh, well. It’s a shame you’re bringing this up thirty minutes into the episode

E: Well we can touch on it more in another episode in and of itself but I think it’s worth pointing out.

K: So, my high school did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong but honest to God, the worst thing they did, and it wasn’t their fault, it’s not like they explicitly did this. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that there is nothing in this world stunted my social growth as much as going to that school for the first seventeen years of my life. Well except for nursery school. But like, at two you don’t have a social life. Because we were 200 kids in the whole school; that’s Pre-K through 12th grade. Everyone knew everyone on a first name basis whether you were five or seventeen. Which cool, like there’s nothing wrong with that. But ya also had Like clusters …Like your class, which was by the way, nine people and not thirty like ya find in public schools which we didn’t know wasn’t normal, followed you around from class to class. So you know like in college when you go to class and there’s a whole different group of people in the class you went to from the one you just came from. That was not the case for the entirety of my life. I grew up with the same nine people from five years old to seventeen. And that sounds amazing, and it is on one hand, but on the other you get so comfortable with these people that you grew up around that you don’t know how to behave around people that don’t know you, because everyone knows you. You know? We couldn’t date anybody, not that I did except for one person but like, we couldn’t because then everyone would like immediately know. And not that in just the way that teenagers talk about everyone anyway, just because you couldn’t do anything without the entire school, including the staff finding out about it. We just didn’t know how to behave around people we didn’t know. And whenever a new kid would come, they immediately would be welcomed into the fold.

E: Did they really in no way, shape or form tell you what the other schools that you were not in where like?

K: Oh yeah, they did in like senior year but at that point it’s like too late, it’s too late, you know? I mean like, I knew from my sister, but like, there were a lot of only children in my school. They’re not gonna know! I mean, they can watch TV and stuff like that, but you know what I’m saying.

It’s like, I can’t even begin to tell you…And this might have to be its own episode but like, I can’t even begin to tell the lengths to which school has stunted my social growth. To the point where I’m still finding stuff out, to this day, that I never quite caught onto cause I never had the chance. So…

E: Yeah I definitely think it’s worth pursuing as it’s own episode. I just think we would be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on the social interaction. And I feel like I didn’t have any particular stunted social interaction as I got older, but when I was younger…and again, I hate that we’re doing this so far into the episode, but I had paraprofessionals that followed me around all the time. Basically an aide, and it was horrible and she would always be all up in my business and interfering and just generally ruining my life. And so that was how my social growth ended up being stunted at least at that particular point in my life. When I finally took a stand and got rid of it. “It” being the aide, because you know that’s all I can muster and call them. I finally think I came a little bit more into my own.

K: That is, actually now that you’re mentioning that you had an aide and paras so did a lot of other kids at my school. And some of them even had honest to God one to one nurses. You know that thing when you’re out in public with somebody who needs a para or an aide, or a nurse or an interpreter? How like people don’t know that you shouldn’t talk to the person in the background but you should talk to the person who you’re talking to. You know, don’t talk to the para unless you’re addressing the para. That’s one thing that we learned right from the get go! The fact that most people have that problem is something that I can accept as true but mystifies me to a degree that I can’t explain. Never, ever didn’t know not to talk directly to a person. Not to ignore the aide, but you know, treat them as if they’re a background character in his person’s life unless necessary. That’s one thing that I see on like every Disability Etiquette list it’s like, “Don’t talk to the aide!” It’s like, “Oh, people do that?” Like, yeah they do. Sorry, I cut you off.

E: No, it’s okay was just gonna say that I think (sighs) I just wish there was a way that etiquette could’ve been taught when it comes to the Paraprofessional, both for the paraprofessionals and for the students around me. But etiquette was never really a thing, it was just kind of people behaved the way they did and that was that and what can I really do?

K: That’s true. One thing where my school really shined now that I’m thinking about it is we ad a couple teachers that treated us like you know, glass bones and paper skin type creatures but some of them really didn’t and those are the ones that I remember. Like, my goodness some of the teachers threw like softballs at us. We were in a Civics class my senior year of high school and the teacher like asked us, “What does buying and selling have to do with the economy?” It’s like, “You’re asking a bunch of seventeen year olds!” I don’t even know what kind of answer she wanted, it’s like, “Are you serious?” That’s what you teach somebody in first grade who just learned the word “government.” You know what I mean? It’s like…I’m serious! But on the other hand, on the other hand, my English teacher who like I really should call him and tell him he’s amazing. He was a hard-ass but like he was sogood, he was so good!

E: It happens occasionally.

K: I don’t know. Viscardi also taught me how to be beyond tolerant. Like politics and religion were openly discussed…Students and teachers, like it wasn’t weird. I always knew that was weird. Like everyone’s been to a Thanksgiving where you don’t talk about things that people don’t wanna talk about. But like, even in those doors, some of my teachers were extremely religious, likeextremelyreligious.

E: Really?

K: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I had like a super Catholic Home- Ec lady, teacher. My Math Teacher was Baptist, my English teacher was Methodist and they would talk over lunch about Jesus. And it wasn’t weird, it’s still not weird.

(Emily laughs)

K: My principal was a lesbian, not that that’s a religion but you know, LGBT acceptance I’ve never had a problem with that. I’m not saying that if I didn’t have a lesbian principal that I wouldn’t be accepting of LGBT people but having someone in my life at an impressionable age in a position of power and authority and all that stuff and respecting them as a person, I have no doubt that that helped. None. And then the TA’s were like their own group and then the volunteers, the youngest volunteers were two years older than us. And so they treated us exactly the same which was amazing.

E: That was kinda like at camp which I hardly even talked about. They would have counselors who were 18, 19, 20 and bossing around twelve year olds acting like they were God. And the more conceptually I thought about it, the more annoyed I became because it was like these able-bodied people having control over me just because they happened to be my Camp Counselors and…

K: Noooo
E: I just, nope.

K: But I loved my camp counselors, I did! They were cool. I don’t know about you…We went to the same camp but different years but I don’t know maybe you had a different group…

E: No they were all great but there were some of them, especially the head counselors who obviously had to enact their authority to reign us unruly campers in. But I don’t know, it just made me so angry when i realized how arbitrary the set up was..I don’t know.

K: I get what you’re saying, it’s like when your ten years old and your parents hire a thirteen year old to watch you, it’s like “You’re no really that much better than me.”

E: Yeah like, “What do you know about life that I don’t.” K: Nothing!
E: I mean, a lot probably.

K: Ten and thirteen is a difference. No but I mean, think about it! Like, those camp counselors were younger at the time than we are right now and we don’t know anything! and we’re functional members of society.

E: Ha ha!
K: I mean, it’s scary to think about.
E: Yeah, they were just taking care of us, what? What? K: But I loved all of them,
E: Yeah they were good people.

K: To the point where I’m sad that I didn’t keep in touch with some of them, any of them at all. I don’t know…That was a good time. But yeah acceptance was a huge thing at Viscardi. Every like race, religion, political affiliation…Oh that’s another thing! We would argue about politics as a class. Like in my Senior year my English class became Current Events and we would talk about like McCain vs. Obama, remember that guys?

E: Ohhhh, now I’m sad.

K: But like some of my teachers were very conservative and they were always with the utmost respect would argue every point with a degree of decorum that frankly you don’t find in pretty much anyone any more. Like they didn’t treat us like they were talking to…I mean we were children but they were in their forties so to them, we were. And it was little moments like that that really made me appreciate what Viscardi did. But then there were other times it was like, “Don’t run when you’re turning the corner!” Which is something that every kid hears in school! But the reason that my school was saying that was because the rest of that sentence was, “If you fall and you sue us, we’re gonna be in trouble.” You know?

(Both chuckle)

K: I don’t know, I was rambling I apologize.
E: No, I just think there’s a lot wrapped up in this experience

(Kyle chuckles)

E: Why are you laughing?

K: Do you make it a point not to say, “There’s a lot to unpack,” and you just use similar packing metaphors now because we pointed this out?

E: Oh no, I wasn’t even thinking about… K: Oh!

E: No, I was just saying there’s a lot wrapped up in this because it’s a social, emotional, psychological, physical…it’s everything. And it was basically our entire lives growing up, you know? It’s how we learned to navigate the world or not navigate the world and I think that…Or rather can we come to conclusion that one is better than the other?

K: No, because I think that we both turned out what I would presume as just fine. And because we came from complete opposite ends of that spectrum I don’t really think that there’s a definitive conclusion. But I will say as a Final Takeaway is that where I came from did a lot of things to me on purpose and the best thing that it did to me was completely by circumstance, was that it taught me to be tolerant of everybody. I had to, you know? I probably still would have anyway. But you know, like I said before, just to see every kind of person coming in and out of your life from such a young age…the value in that is priceless! And yes, my school did sacrifice in terms of education and social growth and I learned those later. That’s not to say that there wasn’t very, very valuable things taught there. So yeah, I mean it really is a double edged sword, at least where I went.

E: Yeah, that’s where I’m at too, I see the pros and the cons. And that’s not even getting into the inclusion debate which I know we’ve talked about before.

K: Well we didn’t, we were on some guy’s podcast!

E: We were on someone else’s podcast! I was just gonna say what are our final takeaways then if we can’t definitively say whose experience was better.

K: I didn’t realize this was a competition! For what it’s worth…

E: Well no, that’s the thing I don’t think it is because I’m highly aware that there were pros and cons of every aspect of our experiences.

K: Well what I will say Emily, as a final takeaway is that my experience at Viscardi was a very mooooving one Emily, it was very mooooving

E: Hehehe
K: You’re all not gonna know what I’m doing, but don’t worry cause she’ll tell you!

E: We went to this benefit events and it was for an organization that educates kids about Disability Diversity using puppets. And then gave us little finger puppets. And Kyle the whole time has been wearing a cow finger puppet on his pointer finger and trying to get me to laugh. I think I’ve succeeded. I’ve had to look down for a lot of the episode to control myself, but if you’ve been wondering what podcasting with Kyle and Emily is actually like, there’s finger puppets involved.

K: And on that note….

E: We didn’t even…did we come up with takeaways? That was a terrible takeaway…”Mooooving!”

K: You got a better one? What do you want me to say, “There’s no conclusion, so here’s a conclusion!” I came up wit on, now it’s your turn!

E: You’re right I guess there’s none.
K: Oh my God, I’m so tired. Goodnight everybody! E: Moooo
K: See ya later
E: Thanks so much for listening!
K: Until next time!
E: Bye!