Monday, July 13, 2009

Why bother?

I've actually had people ask me more than once why I care so much about including my kids in typical activities with typical peers.

Why it matters is very simple. Seventy-five percent of disabled are unemployed. A vast majority of them were in segregated placements. Educational services and a vast majority of supports end at age 21. And then what? Folks, contrary to popular belief, there IS no special ed track in the real world.

Having said that, the water-cooler skills, the collaboration skills, all start HERE. In the neighborhood, in the community, in the public schools. My kids, because of the nature of their disability, LACK the hardwiring that make these skills second nature to their neurotypical peers. And for that reason, they need to be among them to have this behavior modeled.

Yes, I understand that not all NT behavior is good. We have a lot of bad modeling that happens right in our vicinity that I'd rather not expose my boys to, anyway. It's been instructive, however, on multiple levels. My kids have a level of empathy and compassion that many of their NT peers sorely lack. I believe they can be positive role models for that very reason.

My kids stand to gain in an inclusive environment, but the children who willingly choose to interact with mine will gain so much more. Empathy, caring, compassion--all these start at home, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce these values in the community.

Does it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You seek a great fortune. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first, you must travel a road fraught with peril. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.