Norm Means Feelings by AZ Chapman

In seventh grade one person made me want to come to school. Her subject might be surprising if you knew more about me. Hello, My name is AZ Chapman. I have Cerebral Palsy , Non Verbal learning disorder and pretty significant anxiety. Now you probably think because I have a disability that I must have had a special needs teacher who helped me;however, that is far from the truth. The special educator that I was assigned to, Ms. Malfoy, not her real name I am a huge Harry Potter fan :) , was the teacher who caused me so much stress in seventh grade. The teacher that saved me , keeping with the Harry Potter theme, was Ms. Lupin. Ms. Lupin was my seventh grade English teacher who really cared about me. Who understood that despite my disabilities I was normal human being with feelings. Her class was one in which I felt safe. I was lucky to have her for third and fourth period, I still remember that even though I was in her class nine years ago that is how much she meant to me.
Ms Lupin gave me a good reason to make my way to school and suffer through all the bullying that I received throughout my seventh grade year. I would spend many school days crying, yes disabled people cry, mostly because all the students in Ms. Malfoy’s class would pick on me. It was like clock work seventh period would roll around and I would be devalued by the other students in the class and all Ms, Malfoy would advise me to do was “ just ignore the comments.” Ms, Malfoy did not acknowledge that I was suffering. Ms. Malfoy did not think that I was important enough to get the other students to stop picking on me. Ms. Lupin did not believe any of this. She saw that I was a human and realized that all human beings need nutrients , water, and have a full range of emotions.
You may be wondering what this has to do with I am Norm. I will tell you. To me I am norm is about realizing that disabled individuals are more normal then others might think. We are normal and we cry real tears we laugh real laughs and can get excited by real things. It is a challenge to all educators to be more like Ms. Lupin, to create a space for all children where they can learn and grow. Ms. Lupin made a big change in my life and I hope she realizes how a few caring gestures allowed me to survive seventh grade. She allowed me to turn my anger from being cut from a sports team, that she coached, to a persuasive essay. She saw my abilities and challenged me when I left for high school a year later to keep on writing which lead me to write stories and create a blog which allowed me to connect with Dan Habib which lead me to work with I am norm . Thanks Ms. Lupin for seeing that my disability is a big part of me but at the same time does not make me less human.

I am lucky that I had Ms. Lupin for Seventh grade English
I am a Huge Harry Potter fan
I am Norm