The magic word to any mamma’s heart, to my heart, Inclusion.
To know and see that children like yours will be included in whatever community or school event taking place.
Inclusion – the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.
This mamma knows when girlie is included and knows when she isn’t.
We deal with it in our family, since we are a family of 5. As a family, we ask questions of: Does it make sense as a family to include her? Will she hate being included and fight us the whole time? Will she be happy to be with her family at this event? Does the place we are going accommodate her in the wheel chair and can we change her if needed? Is the time of day good for her?
Time of day matters, if near a meal time we make sure we include eating in the activity, and not near bed or nap time or make proper provisions if it is. Weather matters, as her skin burns easily, and she does not like wind, and excessive temperatures cause seizures. Type of event matters, as she is sensitive to noise, she is sensitive to lighting, and she is sensitive to surroundings.
In our family, we don’t try to “force” inclusion where it does not make sense to include girlie. We won’t bring her, we will get a sitter, when she won’t be comfortable. We also may choose not to attend when she won’t enjoy the event – our family may choose to sit out on that event because of lack of inclusion.
For our family, inclusion takes 1) work, 2) forethought, 3) action, and 4) strategy.
In the same way, community must think ahead on the goal of inclusion, put in work toward that goal, take action toward that goal, and have strategies toward that goal in order to include special needs children and adults.
Wheelchairs don’t just fit anywhere. Girlie can’t be changed just anywhere. All manner of things must be thought of for those who have sensory integration, hyper sensitivity, and sensory seekers.
Inclusion will not occur without those 4 things.
Families with a special needs family member will not attend an event or community activity when they know that there is no plan, no action, no forethought, no strategy to the needs of their family member.
This mamma notices when a choir of children has a little boy who has extra needs and has an adult buddy helping him. It blesses this mamma’s heart to see an organization trying inclusion. In the same way, I notice when events do not include a child like mine.
Does not including everyone from all abilities negate any good that comes of it? For the special needs mama, whose child is left out, any good falls on deaf ears. Yes, it negates the good for that mom.
Apathy is the opposite of inclusion. Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern.
Apathy has an impact:
- causes children (who turn in to adults) to fear those who are different than them.
- causes the special needs community to become invisible
- causes families not to attend community events.
- causes families and children not to hear about Jesus (the largest unreached people group)
Inclusion at its source is really a heart condition.
Inclusion shows a heart like Jesus – Jesus said ALL children should come to Him. Jesus always reached out to the ones who were different, strange, unloved. In fact, He left his home in heaven for them.
Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” John 9:39 NASB