Have you ever suppressed something in your mind for so long, that when you finally said it out loud it was like an anvil was lifted off your chest? Me too.
My friends with disabilities have been on my heart hard & heavy the past month or so. I’ve seen my friends treated poorly, by adults and peers and I just can’t handle it anymore. I’m constantly trying to stand between them and “normal” people to protect them from the hate and in the midst I’ve been trying to advocate for equality. So I finally told someone about it.
I’ve reached out to administration at my job and asked them to talk to kids at our school about why kids who are different than them do the things they do. I’ve asked administration at our school to try to explain to ‘normal’ kids that our kids like the same things they like; mind craft and fidget spinners, happy meals and fun dip! Just because the chemicals in their brains look different, or their chromosomes were made differently or they were born with one arm instead of two doesn’t mean we can treat them like they are fish in an aquarium by staring or not including them in normal activities like checking out books from the school library (see FAPE)
Administration kindly revoked my proposal.
Since I got no where at my school, I contacted the district. They haven’t gotten back to me. I wont stop guys. I am relentless in the pursuit of fighting for my friends who are different.
The people I’ve talked to wont listen, so I’m going about it a different way. Will you join me in this conversation? Will you start talking about kids/adults with disabilities to your friends, families, and especially KIDS (see below for a list of books that are good to read to kids, or adults). This is in no way singling them out, as they are already singled out. As one parent from this Pacer Center guide witnessed, “When there’s an obvious difference and no one is talking about it, children become confused and think there must be something ‘bad’ about it. When the children understood that the disability was not bad, but just different, many were eager to help him.” More understanding leads to more acceptance, loyalty and support.
If your friend or son comes home talking about someone who looked different or acted different at school-will you take that as an opportunity to talk to them about how not all people are the same?
Sometimes saying it out loud makes it more true. Not all people are the same. God created us each uniquely and beautifully and I’m glad for that. The problem is we as a human race don’t accept it.
We must lead the way in shaping their perceptions. Because administrations at schools wont, so it must be up to us: as mothers and fathers, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters to bridge the gap and speak out for those who have no voice.
My only hope for my friends with disabilities is acceptance & inclusion, empathy, not pity.
I have witnessed first hand doctors and nurses treating kids in hospitals (admitted because of mental illness) with disrespect. At first I wanted to march down there and give them a piece of my mind while feeding them a knuckle sandwich (there’s no mayo OR turkey on one of those, just FYI). But then I thought, ‘hey maybe no one ever taught them about people who are different’. The harsh reality is a kid coming into the hospital with a mental illness might be in just as much pain as a kid who just broke his arm on his bike- but the two are going to look really different.
My fear for the ‘normal’ students at my school is their fears they have now about kids with disabilities will carry with them into adult hood and they will become adults afraid of adults who are a little different. Because last I checked kids grow up… right? The kids in my elementary school are the doctors who will take care of me when I’m older, they are the ones who will chose our nations leader in 8 years and they will be the ones working and paying for my social security.
If no one is leading these kids to know that kids who are different from them aren’t scary, why would we expect their thoughts and notions to change in the years to come? And if you’ve seen the news recently, we could probably agree that people are scary when they are scared.
Let’s stop letting fear drive us. Let’s start an easy conversation and lead the way for inclusion of people who aren’t the same as us.
Will you join me?
“It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”