Monday, August 26, 2019

To the Parents Who Don't Understand, Just Ask...

Last year about this time I posted a blog about inclusion. See, I am not a strong proponent either way as I feel everyone should be included to the best of their ability no matter what their extra needs or disabilities. Certainly, a child with disabilities should not bring trauma to your own typical child but reality is, my own children have had more struggles with typical children than they ever have with a child with extra needs and actually have learned more from them than their typical peers.

That being said, I know that when paperwork came out regarding your child's teachers, some people received notification that their typical kiddo was in an inclusion class. I also know that it upset some. How do I know? Truth be told because some people don't know WHO I am and share their feelings unaware that MY child is the inclusion child in YOUR child's class. Yup. That is her.

First, let me tell you a little about her. She's beautiful. Inside and out. She cares for babies, animals and puppies. She has an innate sense to want to support those struggling or suffering and has an empathetic heart. You've read that children with autism don't have typical social emotional feelings? Perhaps that is true for some, but like the vast array of children typically speaking, its the same for kids on the autism spectrum. She likes to eat pizza, but has to eat it gluten free and has a preferred pizza shop, just like your child. She enjoys being outside, riding her strider bike, blowing bubbles, coloring with chalk, she wants to play soccer but doesn't understand you can't pick up the ball. My daughter is my everything. Yes, all my kids are my everything but she brought purpose in my life. I have learned to stand up for her, for others, I have learned to reach out to lawmakers and sit in a meeting where you hear the worst and work with a team to plan for HER best. Just like you hope for your own child. Like you, when she was born, I imagined dance recitals, tutus, field hockey sticks and lacrosse. I imagined like her siblings she'd be bright and she'd complete our family. She does. Just differently. She wears tutus and dances to Sing at home. She can light up the room with her smile and her ability to remember far surpasses that of any person I have ever met. She's exactly as she was meant to be.

So according to the comment said "word got around" just what the class was your child was placed into. Let me tell you a little more about "that class". My other children are often in inclusion. I wouldn't change it for the world. They learn to be more patient, compassionate and you as a parent will learn too. You will learn how lucky you are to have the day to day struggles you have with typical kids. You will learn that your "bad days" and losses at football, soccer and field hockey don't mean so much. Your child will come home and cheer for the child with extra needs who finally wrote their name, answered a question or was able to play with them. In fact, you know, your child was probably chosen. When your child was placed in the class, the teachers, administration and support staff saw something. Something beautiful in your child. Most likely they saw the capability to love, you taught them that.They most likely saw the ability to go with the flow, to roll with the punches, you taught them that too and they probably saw something in you. Acceptance. Understanding. Compassion. What an honor to have that seen in who you are and the child you are raising.

I understand, we fear what we don't know. We fear what we don't understand, so I am coming to you with a plea. Please, just ask. Take a moment to learn about the beauty of having differently abled children in your class. As a parent, when we hear that word got around your child is placed in "that class" and "that class" is because of our own children, it hurts. We know you don't mean it but lets talk, let me introduce you to my daughter and I promise, I won't judge your child either.

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