Many times, students of color are overrepresented in some of the official 13 disability classifications and underrepresented in others. Nationally, for example, fewer African American students are classified under “ADHD” than white students. Likewise, they are underrepresented in the category of “Autism” and overrepresented in the “Emotional Disturbance” category.
We have many conversations—sometimes controversial ones—in the autism community. High Functioning vs. Low Functioning. Atypical vs. Neurotypical. Public School vs. Private School. Vaccinations and autism. We don’t often talk about the lack of minority representation in the media. It seems to be taboo.
As a parent to Jack and through my professional work, I live with the implications of student segregation everyday. As a result, I push for systemic policy and cultural changes for better outcomes for the more than 250,000 students with disabilities in New York City.
“As a swim instructor and manager at other companies, I was disheartened by how low the expectations were for children with disabilities. I founded REACHswim on the principle that children with disabilities can be trained like anyone else,” said Florencio Flores Palomo, Executive Director & Founder of REACHswim.
“Extreme Kids is an open, welcoming place. We believe society can learn a lot from the children and families coming into our space. Kids with disabilities shouldn’t have to fit into society’s mold. Instead, classrooms and the broader community should be more open to neurodiversity,” says Executive Director Caitlin Cassaro.