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Krystalinda

My University discriminated against me (Asperger's)

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I have had a tough time at my University. I was in a program to become a teacher and during one of my internships, a representative from the university discriminated against me. My foolish university decided to fail me because the representative did not like my "body language.'' The internship environment was tough because all of the teachers I interacted with isolated me. All of the teachers ignored me and acted as if I did not exist as soon as one of the teachers complained about my "body language." I did not want to tell the representative about my Asperger's diagnosis because she heavily stigmatized against mental health conditions. She contended that all you need is a good night's sleep to feel happy. I was supposed to pass the class because I did everything expected of me, but my University decided to fail me. They treated me as if I was a trouble maker. I had to meet with the dean of the faculty and she forced me out of the program and showed no compassion for what I experienced. 

At first, I did not think that what happened to me was discrimination, but I now believe it was. The way I was treated by the teachers during my internships was akin to the way people stigmatize the depressed. I went to the Ombudsman and a group for students with disabilities and both groups sided against me. The disabilities group argued that Asperger's did not have a bearing on my studies and they told me to "go learn how to socialize." The Ombudsman told me that I should apologize to the faculty. 

I decided to write about my experiences in the student newspaper. The staff of the paper was supportive and sympathized but other students in education were hostile to me. I mentioned in one of my classes that I have found university life difficult and instead of supporting, students in the class laughed at me. I think I annoyed students in the faculty because I mentioned how one of the more popular teachers in the department stigmatizes against mental health. This teacher, who teaches about psychology, refers to learning disabilities as "retardation". It bothered me greatly because that term is outdated and stigmatizes students with disabilities. Most people I spoke to told me to ''shut up and stop whining" when I brought this issue up because the teacher is so popular. 

University life has been difficult. A lot of the administrators I have spoken with have treated poorly. A career advisor mocked my facial expressions and told me that ''feeling depressed is a choice'', and you have to ''will yourself to feel happy by doing what you like.'' Students have bullied me and group work has been difficult because of my condition. I've been called a loser for playing video games, "uncultured" because I do not enjoy watching movies. During one of my group projects, my peers purposely excluded me because I did not have a Facebook account. I haven't been able to form any connections with peers or teachers. The environment at my university seems so toxic. I find it frustrating because you need to network with teachers if you want to pursue a masters degree and you need connections for most jobs. I haven't been able to make any connections because of bullying and people generally not liking me. As it stands, I should just keep my head down and try to finish my degree. 

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