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Alice: Feeling Different

Alice was born in 1957 in Buckinghamshire. She went to mainstream primary schools and moved to a residential special school with her sister for her secondary education.

Here Alice describes how she feels the school buildings highlighted her difference.

  • Alice
  • Alice
  • Alice
http://howwasschool.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/feeling-different.mp3

Transcript

When did I first start noticing that I was a disabled person? Because they did make me feel a bit, awkward maybe, and always a bit left behind, because, for instance there was a step, at least one step into the classroom block, so I always had to be got into the class after playtime when the bell was rung and then everybody lined up with a hand on everybody else's shoulder and I can't remember, I don't think I partook in the line-ups, I think I was kind of segregated off at that point, and I definitely didn't use the same toilets as everybody else, there was a dinner lady I think, or somebody, who used to come in at lunchtime and take me to the loo, and that was an indoor toilet, so that was a bit different and the other thing that was different was there were no chairs at assembly, everybody sat on the floor, cross-legged and I didn't of course, so I towered above everybody, and it was the same if people sat then, on the floor in the classrooms, I would be above them.

So, I think in a way the nature of the buildings began to highlight my difference. They were kind of interesting buildings really because they, the Laleston primary school buildings, because they were quite grim, but I think that was their nature anyway, I think any child going into those buildings, I think they were, probably when they were built, I don't know whether they were genuinely Victorian, but probably when they were built, they were considered to be lovely 'cause they had massive windows, looking out, but of course I was too short to see out of those windows but then again, most of the children would have been, too short as well, I think. They were, they certainly began to reinforce, or highlight let's say, my difference.