31 for 21: I is for Inclusion

in·clu·sion

Noun

the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure

Another word that we’ve added to our vocabulary in the last seven months. Right now inclusion is easy because there’s nothing to exclude Hannah from. She’s in a daycare class with three other non-mobile infants, she goes on the same walks, naps in one of the four matching cribs, plays with the same toys, gets the same care and attention.

Thinking about inclusion can turn daydreams of Hannah’s future into nightmares. Will she be in the same classroom as her peers, but stuck in the back with an aide? Will she be invited to birthday parties out of pity and then ignored by the other kids? Will we sign her up for recreational sports and watch her sit on the sidelines? Will she walk the halls of her high school seemingly invisible to her classmates?

As Kidstogether.org says, “Inclusion is part of a much larger picture then just placement in the regular class within school. It is being included in life and participating using one’s abilities in day to day activities as a member of the community. It is being a part of what everyone else is, and being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs.”

Isn’t that what all parents want for their children? 

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