Skip to main content

Inclusion: Live Your Best Life


What is inclusion? This is one of the first questions I always ask my Adapted Physical Activity class. The dictionary’s definition states the act of being included. In special education this term means opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside typically developing peers in the general education classroom.

Then again, for some, the term can bring on feelings of that constant parental guilt. Worry or guilt that they aren’t doing enough or doing the right thing. For example, that if they don’t work to have their child in the general education classroom that they aren’t doing the right thing. Even though they know their child and feel it would not be in their best interest for certain classes. No matter the IEP’s percentage of time in the general education classroom, inclusion goes well beyond the school walls. It is about individuals being viewed as a valued, accepted, and yes, included member of society.

I’m not one to use popular expressions and sayings. Probably because half the time by the time I seem to be aware of them they are already going out of style. But start signing Paw Patrol, The Lion Guard, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song and I’m golden. Lately one of the popular sayings has been, “living my best life.” To me, this sums up and gives the best definition of inclusion. That every individual, no matter the diagnosis, has the opportunity to live their best life.

It’s about me constantly working to help equip Kaleb to live his best life. As parents this can take many forms. It might be fighting with insurance for specialists, therapies, etc. For some it might include battling school districts on their child’s IEP for inclusion, supports, or therapies. For us, it’s going against the norm of Kaleb starting 3 year old preschool with others on IEPs, and instead going to an early childhood center with his typically developing peers, just like I would for my typical developing son. It’s all with the goal of allowing him to live his best life.


Advocating for inclusion is about opening doors and opening minds. However, inclusion is not just about getting the door opened and letting the individual in the door. It’s about inviting them in to be a part of the party. Opening the door to only push my kid to the corner and make him be a wall flower, viewing life from the side, is not inclusion. He should only be a wall flower if that is what he chooses. He fights, and as parents we fight every day so that ultimately he is gets to live his best life.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

These Adventures We Call Life: A New Diagnosis

I’ve unpacked most of our luggage from vacation. Laundry and dishwasher are both running. I’m now sitting here in the recliner researching and reading, trying to expand my knowledge on Kaleb’s latest diagnosis. I am reading about cerebral palsy, or more specifically, spastic diplegia CP. The movie Avatar is playing in the background. Why do I mention the movie playing when I have much more on my mind today after Kaleb getting yet another diagnosis added to his seemingly ever growing file? It’s because the choice in movie.
After a few minutes I am reminded as my heart aches from processing this new piece of information that this movie ironically was on the tv on another hard day in my life. That realization, the recall of that memory, and life following suddenly makes it easier to process this new added section to Kaleb’s file. That day was the day after Kaleb’s diagnosis of Down syndrome. It was also our last night in the hospital. I was going to be discharged the following day. TJ an…

Happy birthday: I Love You Stinky Face

Happy birthday Kaleb! Every birthday a person experiences is special but I'm not sure one has held so much significance for me as your first birthday. In some ways I feel that it is my own, since it signifies the beginning of my own transformation.

I think back to this past year filled with all the tears, heartaches, prayers, cuddles, hope, and love. I am reminded of our bedtime story, I Love You Stinky Face. I read it to you each night while you sit on my lap nestled against me. Yes, it's the one that you try to hold and turn the pages while I'm still reading. At least once or twice during the story you will turn your little head to watch me with your big beautiful eyes as I read.
I love that book. It's a very cute story. The other night while rocking you and giving you a few extra cuddles I read the back of the book. The back of the book speaks to the unconditional love of a mother. In the book the mother's love is tested. This year has tested us but I hope you h…

Preemie Mom: Grief from pregnancy and delivery

I don’t have baby fever. Nope, not at all. Instead I’m the person tagging my husband on the story of the vasectomy celebration thrown by a wife for her husband. Complete with the snip snip hooray cake.

However, when I see a big pregnant belly or hear of a mom talking about packing her hospital bag, the twinges come. This is when the twinges of grief and dare I say envy come in every now and then.

I’m a preemie mom. As preemie mom I lost out on the last three months of pregnancy. I just got to the third trimester in time to have my pregnancy unexpectedly come to an end. Suddenly, gone was my time to spend with my oldest as I savored the last little bit of him as my only little boy, my baby. Gone was the time of planning and prepping the nursery. And yes, gone was the time of sleepless nights, crazy feeling hiccups, heart burn, and aches and pains. Basically the unpleasant but proud markers of pregnancy.

I lost out on so much. I didn’t get to post to social media asking for everyone’s h…