<< Neighborhood Reports, The Teen Guideā€”It's all part of L.A. Youth's Health Project

By Lindsay Spann, 15, Concord HS
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I am a disabled teen. I had a brain bleed, and I was born premature. As a result, I have compensated vision, a soft voice and tightness on the right side of my body. Over the years, I have grown to accept who I am and have tried to compensate for whatever I have to do. I sit at the front of the classroom, borrow talking books from the Braille Institute, and tape my classes and listen to the tapes.

I have often thought about what kinds of services are out there for disabled teens. What would happen if a disabled youth were to walk into a "regular health care center?" What services are in Santa Monica, where I go to school? If a blind teen walks into a clinic, how would she/he get help? Does the clinic provide a person who "speaks" sign language? If a deaf teen wanted to speak to another teen about a personal problem over the phone, how would she/he do it? Does the service have special phones for the disabled? If a teen has made this much effort, the facility shouldn’t reject them because of their inability to communicate.

Organizations should give the disabled access to their facility; not only ramps, but also Braille and large-print materials. There should be sign language and special telephones for the hearing impaired. Every teen deserves the best.