We understand Inclusion is not easy. We are aware of our son’s oppositional behaviors and sensory needs. We see that he struggles with focus. That he has cognitive limitations and poor communication skills. That he has anxiety about food and transitions. That he has a stubborn streak about two thousand miles long.
We know that adapting curriculum to meet his needs is a lot of work. That it requires patience and knowledge and creativity and extra time. That sometimes the challenge of educating him with his peers seems too great or even impossible. It might be easier not to try.
We know all this because we face the same challenge every day. Many of the daily tasks that require little or no effort with typical kids, require super human strength with with our son. Teeth brushing, hair brushing, bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, homework, getting in the car, getting out of the car…to name a few. Each task is a struggle. Mentally and physically. Sometimes the challenge of getting out the door seems too great or even impossible. It might be easier not to try.
But we keep trying. It would be easier to stay home. However, our son has been on trains and buses and planes and boats and subways and ski lifts and hot air balloons. He has seen the sunrise from the top of a mountain in Maine and the sunset over the water in the Florida Keys. He has walked in a Colorado river and waded in creeks all over Pennsylvania. He has been to every state on the east coast except one and he has hiked and swam and explored them all. He has rescued stranded Horseshoe crabs, watched a turtle lay her eggs and held a Fiddler Crab. He has met musicians and been to concerts. He has walked busy city streets and quiet wooded paths. He has experienced so much in the last nine years.
If we’re honest, almost none of those things were easy. But ask us if they were worth it? Every single time.
Because this is our reality. This is our son’s reality. For us, life requires patience and knowledge and creativity and extra time. It requires overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. Anything less means missing out on experiencing the world. That is as unacceptable for my son as it is for the rest of us.
He lives in the real world. With all kinds of people and all kinds of challenges and all kinds of experiences. He needs the same knowledge of the world as other children if he is to experience it fully.
Inclusion is not easy. Trying to navigate the real world after spending 21 years in a segregated classroom is probably a lot harder.
Two parents who want the world for their son and their son in the real world
- New York State of MInd
- Worth the Trip