Jasmine Mejia

There has always been a stigma around me—that I’m sure others have experienced as well—about receiving extra help.
— Jasmine
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Growing up as a Mexican American, my tongue has always been split into two.

My family expecting me to speak Spanish while my environment, English.

At the age of 3, I spoke only Spanish.

My siblings already 9 years old, spoke only in English.

Thanks to my siblings, Jenny and Chris, I now spoke in Spanglish.

I still remember the family and friends that would get together at my house and found my Spanglish amusing.

They meant no harm but, as their laughter continued, I stopped talking.

Unsure of which language was correct, I spoke a few words to nothing at all. 

My mother didn’t mean for it to escalate.

Alarmed, she took me to my pediatrician. Both were on a hunt for speech programs that would take me in at the age of 3.

Two of my mother's friends told her to not take me to these programs. 

“If you mix her with those kids, she’ll get left behind.” They said.

Ignoring my need, feeding their pride, those friends made my mom doubt her decision.

My pediatrician reassured my mother. 

At the age of 4, they found the Rainbow School where the teachers evaluated me for speech therapy. In my childhood, I was diagnosed with selective mutism and a speech disorder.

The school I attended provided a bus, lunch, snacks, and the best toys!

By the month of May, I overcame my speech impediments.

To my mother’s “friends”, take a look at me.

I was at a high risk to redo many grades. 

If it weren’t for my mother’s heart, my pediatrician’s commitment, and the Rainbow School’s support, I wouldn’t be here

To the parents and guardians, don't let anyone sway you into the decision they think is the best for your child. 

And to the students, don't let anyone hinder your progress. 

There has always been a stigma around me—that I’m sure others have experienced as well—about receiving extra help.

This stigma surrounding special education or needing extra help needs to stop. 

Because the more we focus on our weakness, the less we see our strengths, and the more we’re left behind.