Titi’s Test (Part 1)

In the chair across from mine Titi sits in a chair of a different kind, one with a small, powerful motor and large, rubberized wheels that allow her to travel across gravel, grass, asphalt or dirt. Her chair takes her through rain and snow, summer days and winter nights—as long as there’s someone there to act as a guide. Today her chair takes Titi from her modified home to her modified van to our unmodified school.


To get to our classroom, Titi depends on her aide, a shoestring, and the elevator key they share. Titi’s chair doesn’t allow her to use the stairs. Cerebral Palsy won’t allow her to use her fingers to manipulate the small, brass key into the tiny keyhole. Every day her aide takes the knotted shoelace with the elevator key on it from around Titi’s neck and uses it to call the elevator. Then she puts it back on Titi.


The aide can’t keep the key because of district policy. The Special Education rooms are on the second floor because of Building Policy. They are as far from the office as one can possibly go and still be in the school. That’s not policy, just the way things are. 


Titi sits at her table, brand-new purple beads at the ends of her cornrows. Her threadbare Steelers t-shirt is still stained the way it was last Friday. Today is Wednesday. Today Titi and I will begin the PASA test, short for Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment.

[part 2 here]