5 Reasons I Love the Summer as a Teenager With Hypotonia

I could not be happier to have school out. School may allow me time to see my friends and time away from chores, but for someone with hypotonia, school can be anywhere on a range from being just a pain in the neck to a complete nightmare.

These are the five main reasons I love summer:

​1. No gym class. Gym class is an absolute nightmare for those with hypotonia. Since we have low muscle strength, it can seem as though gym was created just to torture us! For me, gym is filled with games I can’t possibly win, teammates and partners who are blaming me for losing, gym teachers who just think I’m lazy and yell at me, and students who laugh at, tease and judge me for my lack of athletic ability. In summer there is no school, and as a result, no gym class for two whole months!

2. No essays. Since I have hypotonia, the muscles in my fingers are a lot weaker. When writing essays for English or social studies (there are a lot more essays in social studies than you’d think!), I am allowed to type instead of write by hand. Yet most of the time, I end up writing entire five-paragraph essays by hand. Why? Most of the time, teachers think I’m just making excuses, especially substitutes (why teachers can’t take five seconds to write in their sub notes that I type, I will never understand). Other times, both the computers in the room are being used — accommodations aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity! Either way, writing an essay by hand means my hand will be pretty much useless the rest of the day because my hand will be cramping, spasming and trembling the rest of the day. No school, no essays. Yay!

3. No teachers. To all you teachers out there, I have absolutely nothing against you! The reason I’m excited is, sometimes, even a couple months into the school year, I’ll still find myself arguing with teachers over everything. Every. Single. Little. Thing. I don’t try to be difficult, but asking for my ​legally mandated IEP accommodations should not be an issue. I understand self-advocating comes with living with a condition like this, but arguing over every essay, test and assignment can get to be a teeny, tiny bit annoying (if “a teeny tiny bit annoying” means “making me want to smash my head into a wall on a daily basis”).

4. No substitute teachers. To any substitute teachers, I know your job isn’t easy. The only issue with subs is, they’ve dealt with so many kids that when one comes along claiming they have a condition no one’s ever heard of and needs to type an assignment, the sub is “smart” enough to say no. Sub days also lead to more partner work, which means more time with my classmates who think it’s funny to point out my every flaw. Even if an absence is unexpected, most teachers usually leave a sub note with instructions. If a teacher has a student with autism or dyslexia, a sub note will include mentions of their  accommodations, so why can’t a teacher take five extra seconds to mention I type assignments? Lucky for me, no school means no teachers, and no teachers means no subs!

5. Swimming. Since I have hypotonia, low muscle tone accompanied by muscle weakness, many forms of exercise are too hard for me. Running around for just five minutes will make me feel like I’m gonna pass out, so there aren’t many options. However, swimming is a lot easier for me because the body naturally floats and there isn’t as much gravity, so my arms and legs don’t hurt as much after swimming as they do after running or playing. Plus, swimming is just plain fun!

Follow this journey on Hypotonia Awareness

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