Adventures with Rio: Helping Others


Liz Hacker, junior, shares her experiences with handicap accessibility.

I’m disabled, but how can I help others with disabilities?! This is a question I have asked myself countless times over many years.

I was homeschooled until I went into fourth grade. Before going to school, I had experience with other kids with disabilities, but I would wish I was with my mom most of the time when I interacted with them. I never realized how much I could really help other kids who had more severe disabilities.

Fourth grade was a big awakening as to how much I could help others with their disabilities. It was during that year where I began to attend public school at the Gaenslen School, located in Milwaukee. It was overwhelming at first, but I slowly got used to this new idea.

The bus ride was the experience that really made me grow interested in helping kids . It was not easy, but I learned a lot from it. There was one boy who suffered from severe back pain who cried almost every day on the bus. I helped him by singing to him and that seemed to really help him calm down.

Another experience that really changed my point of view was that I was in a classroom with 27 other students who also had disabilities . This was another realization that the world did not revolve around me. I think being homeschooled sometimes made me think that I was the most important girl with a disability and that I would never help anyone else.

Well, that all  changed once I was in school. The class was kindergarten through eighth grade, so the older students helped the younger students. I loved helping the younger students with their assignments. Also, another way I would help was letting the teachers know when a student needed something that I could not help them with.  

The teachers instilled in the students that just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean that you cannot help other people with disabilities. I truly believe in that idea now.

Check back next week for a “part 2” of this topic. Also, let me know in the comments below your experience with helping people with disabilities!

The Gaenslen School, where I attended school for the fourth through eighth grade, is located in Milwaukee.