logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Children with Special Needs Site

BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

g

Advocating for Inclusion - Unexpected Benefits


I am unexpectedly surprised still about how my son continues to benefit from what we both learned in his early intervention experiences, in supportive programs for those growing up with intellectual disabilities, and especially the opportunities that arose because he found opportunities, interests and lifelong friends in mainstream preschool and neighborhood classrooms.

It is frustrating to know that it is still as difficult for parent-advocates to find or create the opportunities that made a world of difference for my son. Because I did everything I could to let other parents know what they could do and how to work on different ways to get to their goals, there seemed to be more obstacles in his path. There are sometimes unexpected negative consequences to advocacy efforts, but more often surprising benefits.

We both found lifelong friends as he grew up. Other moms advocating for their children with IEPs inspired and encouraged me. I am also indebted to moms of his mainstream friends who told me that the assessments that pronounced him 'low functioning with low potential' must be wrong. I still believe that every child with Down syndrome should have *at least* the support and encouragement that helped my son show us his true potential.

I found a picture I took of him a few years ago, reading the community college catalog of the next quarter's classes while he was waiting between classes in a lounge area there. It is equally satisfying to know that he learned how to make friends as he was challenged to learn along his mainstream peers in his elementary and high school years, and that he found new friends in his college classrooms who had similar advantages in their neighborhood schools.

Even if my son had never learned to dress himself, pack his own lunch, communicate effectively by sign language, computer, or voice, he would have deserved to follow the hopes and dreams that helped him grow into the interesting, informed and congenial person that he is today.

But his academic success, talent in theatrical productions, sports and other achievements really do fly in the face of school district experts and other 'professionals' who said it would take every minute he had in segregated special education classrooms until he was 21 to learn how to dress himself and point to items on a picture menu so he could order meals at McDonald's when he grew up. Two or three also remarked that building friendships in school while he was growing up was a luxury he did not have time to learn how to do.

We learned that educational assessments and delays in reaching standard therapeutic goals don't predict as much as we expected when students grow up with support and encouragement in mainstream classrooms, where small accommodations are expected when any student struggles. Let's all raise a glass to celebrate "late bloomers" as well as the "Down syndrome superstars" and other children and teens with disabilities who pave the way for each generation.

We each need to move forward in advocacy and encouragement for every generation. Of course that is true whether our children have Down syndrome or not. Many of my son's mainstream classmates faced unexpected challenges as they passed from grade to grade. All our children deserve an inclusive atmosphere where they can learn and develop the skills that help them to live successful and satisfying adult lives.

Browse at your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for books like: Widening the Circle: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms and How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms

Helping Your Child Be Friends with a Child with Special Needs
http://www.starkravingmadmommy.com/2011/08/helping-your-child-be-friends-with.html

Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Twitter Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Facebook Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to MySpace Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Del.icio.us Digg Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Yahoo My Web Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Google Bookmarks Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Stumbleupon Add Advocating+for+Inclusion+%2D+Unexpected+Benefits to Reddit



 



Inclusion Benefits Classmates
Friendship, Inclusion and Childhood Disability
Inclusive P.E. for Children with Special Needs
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map




For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Children with Special Needs Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.

g


g features
Medication for Behavioral Issues - Down Syndrome

Teens with Type One Diabetes

Babies with Developmental Delays

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor