Edition Words like ‘special needs’, ‘mental disabilities’ or ‘learning difficulties’ are used to cover all sorts of problems that affect the way people learn, communicate and behave. So although a group of young people might all be called ‘special needs’, as individuals they may all have very different problems that affect them in very different ways. And of course, like everybody else, they are all very different people. In this issue of Under Exposure, a group of young people talk about what it is really like to live with their particular needs.
by Chidi, 15
Moving on Peace man!
Hello, my name is Mirella and I am from Romania. Romania is a tiny little country in the middle of Europe. I have been living in London for nine months now. London is so big. There’s a big difference between Romania and England. In Romania, I was in an orphanage from the age of three until 17, which is when I decided by myself to move to London for a better life and for more opportunities.
A friend of mine brought me here. London is an expensive place to live but it’s nice. I go to B6 Sixth Form College and I am studying to be a beauty therapist. I’ve known the English language since I was four years old so I find it easy to communicate with people. I live with a foster mother. She’s very posh and nice. She takes good care of me and watches over me.
by Mirella, 18
My favourite music is Hip-Hop and RapRock music. I like fighting games, zombie games and shooting games on PlayStation. In America there are too many real shootings - the most in the world. Rappers like Tupac, Big L, Notorious B.I.G. have all been killed. I think stabbings in London between young people are very sad too and I want freedom, friendship and peace in London.
by Yasmin, 14
He is my brother One of my three brothers has special needs. When he was six weeks old he had meningitis which left him brain damaged. He looks 19 but mentally he is immature and behaves like an eight year old. I don’t like talking to my brother about his special needs. I’m not sure how he feels about or even understands the condition he has. He’s big and strong and is really good at playing footbal and he goes to watch Tottenham Hotspur. In front of people he shows off a lot and thinks he’s funny. Sometimes when he gets really angry, he can be violent - he doesn’t hit anyone but he throws stuff like remote controls or shoes. When we were younger we used to play. We had strange games but we had fun. Now that I am 15 and he has stayed the same age, it’s growing harder to find common ground. It’s difficult living with someone with special needs, but it has helped me realise how lucky I am to be able to do all the things I want to.
by Samantha, 15
hands up if you dislike your
school! I really don’t like going to Moselle because it is a special needs school. I don’t feel it’s right for me - I want to be in a mainstream school. I went to a mainstream primary school and I feel that I would be able to handle a mainstream Secondary School. I don’t like special needs stuff whatsoever. I want to go to Northumberland Park School. It’s down to parents where I go to school and whether the decision to go to Northumberland Park will change. If I talk about it enough, they might allow me to go there, and this article might help them realise how strongly I feel about this.
by Marcel, 13
I don’t like being at Moselle Upper School because it’s a special needs school. I want to go to Northumberland Park because it’s a good school with a swimming pool. I feel very sad about being called special needs. I’ve told my family I want to leave Moselle because I don’t feel I am a special needs person. They said that if I study hard I will go to Northumberland Park.
by Yasmin, 14
bike! Hi, my name is Darrell and I’m 17 years old. Last year I was in the Tour de France with my bicycle. We got the undergound from Turnpike Lane all the way to Trafalgar Square. I like going on the train. When we got to Trafalgar Square, we had some food and then we started cycling. We cycled all the way to Green Park and then we stopped. We helped park the bikes in a van in Green Park. I felt fit and healthy cycling. It was enjoyable to participate and one day next summer I’ll hopefully do it again. It was arranged through my school, Moselle Upper School. I think Moselle is a good school. There are lots of sports to do at Moselle. A lot of my friends at Moselle have special needs. I feel I am normal and some of my friends do too.
Illustrations by Sam, 15
I like to watch comedy shows on the internet especially on YouTube. I type the word ‘Jamaica’ which is my country and I watch funny comedy sketches. I enjoy going to Number 10 every week and using the computer facilities.
by Darrell, 17
Motor Head Hi, my name is Ali. I am 13 years old and I go to Moselle Upper School. I like going to Moselle because it is a good school. When I go to Number 10 at Bruce Grove, I like to go on Computers and to look at motorbikes and motorcyclists. Lorenzo Zanetti is my favourite motorcyclist. I also like Max Biaggi. I would like to ride a motorbike when I’m older. I love going on holidays. I recently went to Germany with my family. My brother lives there and so does my uncle. I have also been to Holland where I went to the funfair.
Illustration by Sarah, 15
by Ali, 13
snake charmer Hi, my name is Jason and I’m 15. I go to Moselle Upper School. I like doing sports. I like lessons. I love snakes - they are my favourite animals. I don’t feel scared of them - I have touched a snake. The most important things in life are computers and to learn stuff.
by Jason, 15
Illustration by Jason, 15
each other! Hello, we are best friends and our names are Sarah and Samantha. We’ve known each other since we were little. We grew up in the same neighbourhood, and we still live in the same place, and we go to the same school. We like to go to each others houses too. We have other friends aswell but we’re always together. Even when we’re not together, we talk on MSN because we’re best friends. We understand each other and support each other. We do girlie stuff when we’re together. We talk about boys and we laugh all the time. We also talk about our education because it’s important, like Maths, Science, English and History. We have been on outings with the Bruce Grove University in Summer holidays and it was fun to go to different theme parks.
by Sarah, 15 and by Samantha, 14
Illustration by Sarah, 15
This booklet was produced by young people at Bruce Grove Youth Centre and at Exposure, Haringeyâ€™s award-winning youth media charity. It was paid for by Awards For All. The following young people took part in this project: Ali Ahmed Chidi Abei Operun Darrell Myers Jason Talbert
Marcel Fearon Mirella Confedert Samantha Harding Samantha Spink
Sarah Odogu-Dosunmi Yasmin Hassa
Words like ‘special needs’, ‘mental disabilities’ or ‘learning difficulties’ are used to cover all sorts of problems that affect the way peo...