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December 13, 2019
People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the United States. There is a wide range of what a disability can look like, and for senior Aaron Hernandez, it comes in the form of a speech impediment.
Hernandez was born with a stutter and he received speech therapy starting in kindergarten. His stutter can hinder his communication skills, but he doesn’t see it as a disability.
“Prior to the school year, each teacher I am going to have is notified of my speech impairment. Overall, they tend to keep it cool with rare exceptions of extra treatment, and honestly, I prefer it that way. I prefer to be treated normally,” said Hernandez.
There are some other students on campus with similar speech impediments but Hernandez is not significantly close with any of them. “I am personally close with people who have other disabilities so we can connect, but not when it comes to speech impairment,” said Hernandez.
Classes with an emphasis on participation can create anxiety for Hernandez and possibly lead to insensitive reactions from peers. “Occasionally I will hear murmurs when I’m talking but I just tell myself to get it over with. To me it’s no big deal, I know inside that what they are doing is immoral, so I’ve learned to not really care,” said Hernandez.
In middle school, Hernandez struggled with social interactions and was a little self-conscious but throughout high school, his confidence has been able to grow. “It’s something I know won’t change anytime soon so I might as well embrace it,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez also feels as if the majority of people at school embrace him as he is. “Although there are a select few who will obviously remind me of my impairment, there is a whole sea of people on campus who look past it,” said Hernandez.
“You are the one who decides if it’s a weight on you or if that weight is going to provide you momentum forwards,” said Hernandez. He believes disabilities are not an inability.
“Those with impairments simply have them, they’re not any less of a human,” said Hernandez.