From the News

Will you please practice inclusion in front of your children?

Letter on inclusion from a frustrated parent:

I just want to go to the park, grocery store, anywhere and have one parent, just one is all I ask, not stare at us, and move to a farther seat like they’ll “catch it.” It’s like they’ve never seen a person with special needs before. We’re all parents. We’re all burnt out. We’re all anxious, worried, and scared about our children’s futures. I feel like I’m in constant survival mode. My son has Down Syndrome. I didn’t think I’d need to worry about him being ostracized or treated differently for being disabled until he started kindergarten; I was wrong. But it’s not kids. It’s parents. There’s been multiple instances, once when we were at the park and some older children wanted to play with him and one of them curiously asked why he looked different, and her mom hushed her and dragged her away. The same thing happened at his doctor’s office in the waiting room. Parents think I’ll be offended by this but it’s the complete opposite.

I WANT your kids to be curious. They have no idea what Down Syndrome is. If they see you hushing them and pulling them away, you teach them that it’s not polite to be friends with my child or to talk about it or to him at all. You teach them that playing with kids who are different isn’t normal behavior. They are watching you and absorbing your every move.

Parent to parent: will you please teach your children that different is, okay? That we are all human beings who want the same things in life. Our children will be comfortable with disability if we teach them that we’re comfortable with disability.